Music of the Month; Queen in the Dark

Well, it’s that time of the year. Bats, pumpkins and other scary things like Russian bots telling The Last Jedi was a bad movie, Halloween’s around the corner and it won’t affect this blog one bit. I’m not sure if I’ve ever done anything seasonal outside the occasional Christmas and New Year’s greetings, but I’m not about to start. Unless I get a stroke or something else that forces me to stay at home for extended period of time.

The above music is from Rusty, a NEC PC-98 game that was heavily inspired by Castelvania. It got a translation few years back, which I recommend checking out if you’re into Castlevania and haven’t experienced much of the golden system of classic Japanese PC gaming. That’s a topic worth considering getting into, as classic Japanese PC gaming was a very much its own thing, which most people tend to ignore in favour of consoles of the era. The US had its Macs, UK had ZX Speccy, Finland had C64, France had Amstrad and Japan and NEC PC-88 series.

Anyway, the month came to an abrupt end. I didn’t have time to do that promised Integral Works and Codex comparisons for those who were looking for some new Muv-Luv stuff on the blog, but we’re getting there. Hopefully this month too, before I lose all the sunlight. The SNES controller comparative review was sort of a stop-gag while waiting for the Switch stand parts to arrive, though they should arrive within the next few weeks. For whatever reason the post has been extremely slow as of late. However, it did serve its purpose, considering these SNES-styled USB controllers are dime in the dozen. There are so many different kind of cheapo USB controllers out there that it has stopped being funny seven years ago. Far too often people spend some ten bucks on a controller and then complain that it is nothing but crap. No shit. There’s a magical point with controllers where any new controller above twenty euro tend to be of decent quality. The Hori controllers I’ve reviewed thus far have been relatively cheap and above that price point, for example. Numerous other controllers I own, like few USB Logitech ones, also go above this threshold. You could say that under twenty you get just trash, and proper budget tier range for controller is between 20-35€. From above that we’re getting to the mid-tier range well enough. There should be no reason to start going into why controllers are so expensive nowadays, with the materials and shit going into them and companies trying to gain certain revenue marks off them. A cheapo USB controller that costs a dollar to make will always be inferior to a controller that costs ten bucks to make. If you’re interested in how to calculate a product’s true production value, I have that in a blog post somewhere around here.

On the other side of things, I need to get a new computer. No, this is not trying to shill some sort of Patreon-like service to you, just giving you a notice that at some point I’ll most likely miss a post because I’ll be trouble shooting and testing stuff before fully having a system in use. While I’m not a hardcore computer upgrader or the like, I do like to take my sweet time to pick up all the parts and then go with something good, and then spend a week or so just to get things right before taking things into normal use. I’ll be going AMD route this time, as Intel politicised their company few years back and never looked back. I don’t exactly care about companies and brands getting into politics per se, but many consumers do. Personally I don’t really care if companies get political, unless it clearly begins to affect the quality of the product. Few times this blog has gone dangerously close of being about politics, but that’s never the intention. However, don’t expect to hear much about the computer in itself once it is in use, though there is something I’d like to say about picking new PC parts if you’re building your own rig. Things are just so much simpler if you don’t really give a damn and just get a pre-build set, or want to think differently and get a Mac. Considering they botched iPhone XS’s charging and nobody knows if its hardware or software issue, I’m not putting my trust into Apple’s care.

This being a whole new month, especially the season where some people cook and cut things more often thanks to Halloween, I duly recommend sharpening your knives and oiling them with mineral oil or similar. Sharper knives are safer to use, as blunt knives will not properly and most likely will slip and cut the user instead. A sharp knife is easy to control and handle. Oiling them will also extend their live and keep rust from collecting to any extent. Honing should be done each time a knife is used, if we want to go there, but sharpening once per month should be enough. he difference between sharpening and honing is that sharpening is removal of material to give it an edge, while honing is to fine tune the edge. Both are integral part of keeping your edged tools in good shape, and basic kitchen skills everybody should know.

Music of the Month; Knights Errant


We’re getting there lads

At this point, I should just give up on planning what to do, when or how. While not intentional, ever since my career shift my plans have been thrown out of the window. Just this week I was thinking how I should do whatever I had planned, but then noticed how the month was at its end. Might as well stop planning.

However, I do have two things I want to do this month, despite my current track record; typing out a comparison between Muv-Luv Alternative Integral Works and the Codex. This wouldn’t be a review, not exactly, but rather a somewhat throughout view how the two books are different from each other and why. There are large differences, but I’ll cover those when we get to the post itself.

The second planned stuff is Switch related, Hori’s portable USB hub stand. The standard Switch dock is one of the worst designs Nintendo had done to date. Not only it seems to scratch the screen of the main unit, but it’s also absolute waste of plastic. It’s an interesting brick that looks like a two-minute hack job. Nintendo fucked this one up badly, but again, we’re get back to it in the review. I’ll most likely ditch the original shell and purchase one of those DIY kits that require you to salvage the original PCB from the official dock.

There’s been a lot of post materials in the recent weeks that I never got around. These would’ve made good posts unto themselves, but might as well discuss about them here in short.

The first is Langrisser I&II getting remade once again. While I intended to cover a lot of materials about Langrisser in past few recent years, Re:Incarnation did me in. The game’s trash and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. There is also the mobage, which both looks and plays better than the 3DS bastardisation. Whether or not Extreme was right to go back to basics and remake the first two games once more is up the question, but at least they’re not fucking up from the get-go like they did with Re:Incarnation. The first two games in the series are the most revered, and after Dramatic Edition, bundling them together seems to be par-for the course. While the new designs by Ryo Nagi aren’t bad, they’re terribly generic. Extreme probably realised that Satoshi Urushihara’s artwork is part of Langrissers charm and will include DLC code for his illustrations to replace the modern ones. It’s a great touch for the longtime fans and an option for newcomers. I admit that I have a bias for Urushihara in general, but what’d you expect from me? Of course, modernisation brings out changed UI and such, but that’s again expected. You’re remaking the games, after all, might as well improve all little things that were little cumbersome the best you can.

I’m just hoping the music will keep its synth-rock roots more or less intact. We’ll just have to sit back, wait and see.

Of course, when talking about Langrisser, somebody will mention boobs. This is a nice way to discuss the new physics engine in Dead or Alive 6 and how PR can function. Whether or not Yohei Shimbori, the director of the game, just sucks at PR or intentionally wanted to cause an uproar by discontinuing the Soft Engine only to come out much later to say that they’re going for more realistic physics engine is up in the air. It reeks of being planned so DoA6 wouldn’t fall off the discussion chart against Soul Calibur 6 and the like. While he states that he thought there’d be misunderstandings, nobody really should believe this. Either they had the new physics engine in mind from the get go and never stated this to cause controversy, or they had to go back and plan how to mend the situation for their favour. DoA used to have characters the flowed nicely, but with this new engine, everyone and everything looks extremely rigid and unnatural. Hopefully they’ll be able to achieve the natural flowing effect Soft Engine had to it down the line. Fat chance, I know.

Whether or not Shimbori stating that reducing the bust size was to make the characters appear more human was calculated shot or not doesn’t really matter, as all this ends up being him trying to cover his bases. Furthermore, it’s ignoring that bug busted woman exist in abundant numbers and flatties should stop being jealous of them. Dead or Alive Extreme 3 raised some hell and was never released in the West, but ended up being Play-Asia’s most selling title because of this. It’s pathetic that a game series that had fan service as its most prominent selling feature for years now suddenly tries to become visually more serious. Will they make the fighting more realistic and cooler to go with the graphics? Of course not, even when they should have put the effort into the gameplay and remove it from being a weaker version of Virtua Fighter. They’re lowering the standards for the game’s play with retarding the countering and adding Fatal Rush, which is essentially one-button super alá Soul Calibur V‘s Critical Edge.

We’ll see how all this translates into sales.

 

 

Music of the Month; Give it a Shot


Funny that, this is the best song on the album. Otherwise it’s extremely disappointing

Generally speaking, I don’t do music album reviews, but for this once I’ll do a short exception; Rockman X Anniversary Collection Soundtrack is not worth the price. Outside the two versions of Give it a Shot and RE;FUTURE, the album’s pretty bland. Spending track space and time to remix six first games’ Boss Battle themes. These were clearly chosen because they could been easily selected over stage themes. If we’re completely frank, the Boss Battle themes are not the best parts of Mega Man series’ soundtracks. Most of these songs simply end up being grey background noise. This is a far cry from previous releases’ quality, like Chiptuned Rockman.

Speaking of reviews, you got two last month. I’m not exactly happy how either of them turned out (though I never am with my posts) and I know the end result of the Muv-Luv Kickstarter goods did give rather negative view. However, that’s mostly due to how high standards I tend to use in my reviews. If there’s something I see that could or should have been included or improved, I aim to mention it. If there’s a point of comparison to be made for improvements, I always aim to make that comparison. In that, the aim often is to give constructive criticism, the kind of I’d want to have. It’s no use calling things shit or terrible, it ultimately ends up meaningless jabber. While improvement suggestions are always welcome, those should never be expected unless separately requested. This may sound harsh, but the reasons why something may be lacking don’t matter, as this can lead into further questions. Too many times I’ve seen and experienced people pointing the lack of experience for a reason why something is lacking in design, which always follows with questions like Why didn’t you hire a professional then? or Why didn’t you find professional to help? The reasons, ultimately, don’t matter. They can make interesting trivia though.

The JoyCon review was approached the same way. However, a controller review has to take into account ergonomics, and this breaks the whole Why isn’t necessary question thing into the air. There I tend to look for why certain shapes were made in the form they are, and often the answer is to conform to the general shapes of hands. It’s not exactly the same question or reason, but close enough for some people to bring the point up.

Pachislot Rockman got announced and we’ve got our first look at some the characters somewhat recently. I’ll be doing a comparative review of Mega Man’s redesign, just like how I did one on the Man of Action cartoon design. While we don’t have multiple angles to use, the one in the linked page is more or less enough to get a good feeling what elements were incorporated across the franchise. Pachislot and pachinko machines tend to redesign characters, sometimes to very large extents, but often do keep the core aspects intact. To use an example, CR Cutie Honey has designs that combine some previous series’ entries into one with healthy dose of detailing. People who handled this knew what they were doing as well, as the bunny girl form is named Cutie Bunny.

As for the rest of the month, I’m planning a short overview on what are Lunatic Dawn and Exogularity booklets âge is self-publishing at Comiket. I should not be surprised that the fandom seems to have taken Exogularity as the title for some story or setting, when in reality Exogularity is rebranded Lunatic Dawn. Well, I guess that’s it, they’re both source books with different names. The actual post will have examples, of course, but that’s the gist of it.

You’ve probably noticed how weekend posts have been appearing on Sundays recently rather than on Fridays. This is me moving towards the new schedule I mentioned a month ago or so. I’ll take this chance to also mention that there’s no post next weekend, as I’ll be away. Truth to be told, I intended to write this post for Friday, but thanks to rain I fell ill. My fever’s not going down, and I’m actually writing this on a phone. You can see the irony here, as I’m giving you a Why despite my arguments above stating the contradictory. Well, I do think there’s a wide gap between a KS and this blog.

Remember to sharpen and oil your kitchen knives and such. Cooking will be much safer and enjoyable afterwards.

 

Music of the Month; Metal Squad

You should go play some Thunderforce

If you’ve noticed the weird scheduling with these post as of late, it’s because I’ve been ill for the last few weeks, trying to push through work and other stuff all the while trying to keep myself on time with writing and all. Not that really matters in the end, though that did keep me from doing anything any reviews or robot related stuff this month, outside the Asimov Mega Man post.

Speaking of health, the game industry might be having yet another moral panic in its hands in the future, as the World Health Organisation has now officially released a diagnosis for what they call “gaming disorder.” I’ve discussed the ICD-11 previously, and the points still hold water. As Chris Ferguson says in his The Hill article, this is the first time WHO has marked a hobby as a disease. The most largest problem with the diagnosis is that it lacks clinical values and research itself was in poor science. When you have a diagnosis with no basis to it, you risk everyone’s health. Gaming addiction is a symptom of underlying problems, but it’s always easier to remove the tools rather than the root cause. A diagnosis like this will cause harm, especially to people who have found games as a hobby to cope with their mental issues. Sometimes, a good hobby is all it takes to keep a man straight.

As Ferguson mentions that WHO has been under pressure from Asian countries to solidify this diagnosis. Even without Ferguson’s examples, we can make an educated guess how China and South-Korea have been the spearheads in this.

While this isn’t the first time a medical diagnosis has been made public based on quackery and politics, it hurts three different fields at the same time. First, it makes WHO a laughable organisation that can’t keep with proper science or standards. They’re discrediting themselves and what they stand for with this. Secondly, it reduces the further confidence in psychology overall. Psychology has always been under fire about its science. It’s not rare to see people argue that psychology is not a science, outside the hard evidence biological psychology can yield. With this, psychology as a field can be ridiculed even further and puts mental illness classifications under question even more. Thirdly, WHO has damaged a hobby and has opened the door for further quacks to prey on patients, not to mention how hobbyists can now be treated as mentally addicted.

This is absolutely pathetic from WHO, and really puts them in a bad light. The topic really requires more writing on the subject, so we may return to video game addiction at a later date. May is a strong word here.

E3 also came and went earlier, and outside few interesting bits and bobs it was the usual show of ads for the audience. Devil May Cry 5 was probably the jawdropper of the show in overall terms. While expected, seeing it on the stage itself was bliss to the fans. However, like with any event like this, it’s good to remind ourselves that E3 is ultimately just a huge advertisement showcase. All the companies involved there are not for the benefit of the audience, but for the PR and fame. Self-evident for sure, maybe even a bit cynical, but it has become a sort of cornerstone in game marketing, where the biggest and best titles are revealed for the most effect possible. You can’t beat the PR you get from a stage show millions of people are watching at the same time around the globe, unhindered.

The relationship between the providers and consumers is pretty weird compared to other industries, as the general view seems to be that the developers and publishers are doing games for the consumer as some sort of favour, sacrificing themselves for the good of the game, when in reality it’s about the profit. Certainly, some developers have put themselves on a pedestal over things and do consider themselves as some sort of gift to the industry. I guess that’s human nature for you.

Human nature is also to be stupid, as EU is being with the upcoming Internet legislation. If you’re living inside the European Union, is do strongly hope you’ll check this site with some time and scribble an email for your MEPs to prevent widespread censorship. Hell, even this blog would go down if the legislation passes, and I like doing this shit.

Music of the Month: Rydeen EMX-1 Style

There is no real theme for this month, so I’m effectively warming an old piece for now.

There’s been few changes simmering in the background for a while now, one of which the sharped eyed readers noticed earlier this week. I’ve decided to drop doing monthly reviews, and do reviews whenever it is applicable. This does not mean reviews are gone, but it does mean there won’t be any personal pressures to keep up with schedules. I’ve also listed all reviews I’ve put up thus far into their own Page, which you can access at the top of the page alongside Robot stuff and others. I must say I was surprised the amount of game reviews I’ve done on this blog, despite wanting to concentrate more on related devices and such.

While I said I’d give the Guilty Gear design stuff priority for the time being, that clearly has not been the case. In fact, there has been no priority regarding the blog whatsoever and I’ve returned to my older way of touching upon news and events. While this used to be the main thing I did on the blog, on the long run I wanted to create content that’s more from me to you, rather than outside the box. Hence why we had that Monthly Three experiment and TSF stuff. However, I must admit that I truly have to take a step forwards and two back with this. If I must do news/events commenting, I’ll try to keep it once per week or less.

This brings out the question of time management, which requires me to change the dates I post materials on. While I hate to move stuff away from Friday, as most people seem to enjoy that date the most when it comes to reading, the Friday posts will move to either Saturday or Sunday, depending on the size of the post. This’ll be the Weekend post, while the early week post will be moved to Wednesday. You still get two posts per week, hopefully nothing recycled from now on.

As for âge stuff, the Kickstarter goodies are being send in August, so expect a review of those in the future. It’ll be an interesting bunch, as I’ll be covering the Codex, the stuffie plushie and the rest. I won’t touch much on the Kickstarter itself, though few comments from an outsider’s perspective who wanted to say a thing or two about it will get quoted. After all, I too was one of the backers, and I need to step outside my own view of things for a moment to take it all in properly.

And mecha related stuff? Honestly, I’ve got no clue. All the big things I wanted to do on the long run have been appeased, more or less. The original post for three approaches needs a complete revision, which I should get around doing, maybe as soon as next week. It’s pretty terrible post, to be completely honest, completely out of tone and people took it completely seriously rather than tongue in cheek jokingly. Then again, everybody takes everything on the Internet like they’re on gunpoint when it comes to seriousness, the ability to read text’s tone has been watered down. Now, jokes and such are made clear with the use of emoticons and such. Granted, the tone of this blog has changed few times over before setting into this dry, wry thing I try to pass off as weak humour, and as such the older posts can come across as rather schizophrenic at times.

Now that I try to recall things a bit, I had planned more design posts to come out after I bought some books for the material I needed, but I never got around getting those books. What’d I picked up instead? Games, booze and drugs, probably.

Music of the Month; Daddy Mulk


What an unfortunate name for a Zuntata song. From 1990 live show. The MaiMai+ has an excellent groove remix of this same song

This’ll probably be a short post, I’ve got only one or two planned posts for the month. Those who follow the blog for the Guilty Gear character design comparisons, I’ll be aiming to do one per month from now on, including the ones I did as a bunch prior to release of Xrd. With the models in the game being available to us, I can do a much more throughout view on what’s been changed. Someone like Sol probably will run short while someone like Potemkin will end up a catch-this-detail-here kind of post. Not the best kind of design comparison. Jam and Dizzy really had the benefit that they were upgrades from the previous designs. Someone like Millia at first appears to have completely and drastic redesign, but in reality the silhouette has stayed largely the same. You’d be surprised how much time I can sink into stupidly simple posts like that, but I guess that means I put either put too much effort in them for no reason or there’s just so much things to go through.

The second planned post is hardware related. While the most popular mod for the original Game Boy Advance is the backlit screen installation, there are surprisingly sparse amount of guides with photos. Sure, there’s a semi-official PDF that shows how its done with pretty graphics, but nothing beats good ol’ photo. Consider it a review to boot, considering the mod has become popular again with the reproduction screens becoming more and more available. I already have one modded GBA, which was more or less a test run, but I forgot to take pictures. The main problem I encountered with the mod was the new shell/housing I ordered with it. Being a third party product, the producers probably didn’t take shrinkage into account, or at least not fully. When plastic sets in after casting, it shrinks from its original volume a little bit, usually just few percents, which can cause problems if your product’s mould is taken from an actual shell. However, there are some sellers on the ‘net who seem to have access to some versions of the original moulds, though why Nintendo didn’t order them back or be junked is beyond me. Then again, what do they care, they’re not making any money on a product almost two decades old anymore.

As for robot posts, I got pretty burned early in the year with the Virtual-On posts. I did intend to follow up soon with TSF related stuff, but things just didn’t go as intended. Looking at the folders, I’ve got a MiG-29 and Tornado lined up, but whether or not I can find any proper illustrations on either is bit up in the air. MiG-29 has B/W lineart, so that’ll probably have to do, alongside possible photos from toys and such. However, the MiG-29 is pretty close to MiG-29OVT, with the only real difference being thrusters on the shoulders. Hence, why Tornado is the more probable option, depending on what sources I can find for it. I could always go with the in-game CGs, but I still want to avoid that.

As for âge stuff, there still isn’t particular I’d like to touch upon. While the updates from the Kickstarter are sparse, things are rolling slowly, but surely. Perhaps I’d need to write more about stuff from Exogularity 01 for the kicks of it.

I’ve mentioned before that I may need to drop blog to one post per week. That is closely becoming a reality, though not by my own volition. It’s all about simple physical fatigue and mind being elsewhere on work. That said, I’ll probably coerce certain someone to do a design historical on certain wolf monster.

And oh, happy May Day.

 

Music of the Month; Rydeen


Rydeen was also used as the battle them in  Ginga no Sannin on the Famicom

This month will be completely freefalled. Due to my physical health having a momentary glitch in the system and nothing all that neat being coming across, there are no plans for a review. Well, not entirely true, but I’m not sure how would one go with reviewing whisky glasses. We’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

I missed my last month’s goal to make a Guilty Gear design comparison post. Mostly because I had forgotten all about it and partially because lack of time. I resorted to combine some of the previous series of posts twice over already. If its any consolation, the GG gets priority, even if it means missing a post or two here and there. I’ll try to coerce A9 to do few more guest posts about Digimon, even when he enjoys being a consumer over being a provider.

There’s a new Cutie Honey show hitting the airwaves this month with a subtitle of Universe. There was some interesting in seeing a contrast and comparison of her outfit throughout the years. Considering the franchise debuted in 1973, there is quite the load of small variations here and there. I would have to limit myself to the largest entries, consisting the original comic versions, the few OVAs we’ve got and the live-action entries we’ve gotten during this new millennia.

I may have a bias with Cutie Honey though, considering I like the concepts and author more than most of the stories we’ve seen come from it. An android girls with the power to fabricate a new identity on command on a road to avenge his father’s death is a strong point to start with, but often the end results have been less than impressive. The original cartoon’s solid though, and so is some of the subsequent comics and series.

That’s the kind of duality you come across with this blog, I guess. It’s something that stems from the usual author/individual mindset, at least most of the time. On one hand, the author doesn’t matter on any level. The work must stand on its own merits. However, author’s intent should be something to be taken into consideration, what’s being said, how and why.  It would be so easy simply to analyse everything as one would wish and have a merry day with it, which makes it moot when we can make anything out of any other thing. No matter literary training and education will be enough to carry you, when the author’s word goes against your interpretation.

This sounds like that the authors matters, despite the original claim. It would be more accurate to say that the intention and word of the author matters over his physical presence, and anything that might come with it. However, the nature of man doesn’t allow this sort of clean separation. We’re social creatures, after all. We tend to feel like we know the people through their works. For example, if we watch someone on Youtube talking about a subject for an extended period of time, and may get an interaction or two. We begin to feel like we’re talked to directly, or that something has been prepared directly for us through the author’s work, and we grow this faux-sort of familiarity with them. The more time passes as we spend time with the work, the more the author in our heads begin to matter.

The Internet has changed things significantly, as we can get into touch with pretty much anyone with even the slightest presence if we want to. It just might take some work, but it’s always an option. If we have a positive disposition towards the author through his works, reality might slap us in the face, or we might be end up used a promotional vessel. It’d be a probably net positive for everyone of us, if we’d just keep a natural distance to authors outside the usual events and such.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but hey, Monthly Musics are not exactly highly demanded, nobody really reads these. Well, that maybe that extends elsewhere as well, but let’s not begin to depress this hobby any further.