Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIII

I know I’m probably the last person to finish FF13, but I had stuff to do (like moving) so I didn’t have time to finish it. This was the first Final Fantasy game I’ve played since FF10, so it’s been awhile since I was in the JRPG world. Anyway, my thoughts:

  • Graphics: I don’t think it’d be a surprise to anyone that this game is gorgeous. It’s crazy to think that we’re beyond the point of fully rendered animations, but they’re just irrelevant when the in-game graphics are just about as good as the cutscenes. Not that I could really tell what I was supposed to be looking at in the sequences, but they sure were shiny.
  • Battling: Overall I liked the battle system. I spent most of the time jamming the X button to go into Auto battle (or whatever the equivalent was) but I get the sense that picking the actual moves wasn’t the main purpose of the system; they wanted us to build the right teams and use them effectively. At first I remember being a bit thrown off by only controlling one character, but they did a pretty good job of making the computer as efficient as possible, so I didn’t really need to worry that it would make stupid decisions in what to cast and so on. Now having said that…
  • Summons: Why in the hell did this game have summons? Seems like it was just something that they threw at us at the beginning of the game as a challenge, and then forgot it altogether. I think I used my summon a total of two times, one of which was the end battle – and even then I probably didn’t need it. It just served no purpose and was entirely forgettable.
  • Leveling: I think I liked the new system. Get a bunch of experience, pump it into whatever roles you like, and advance on. I guess it was nicer than having to swap out materia or some such – or at least didn’t make me feel stupid for not wanting to deal with all that. The focus was clearly on evolving the right roles to get the best outcome for your team.
  • Gameplay: Here’s the part where everyone slammed the game, and I have to agree. There are so many sandbox games out there now where you can just wander around and do whatever you want whenever you want, and this was the exact opposite. You walk in a straight line for pretty much the whole game. Oh, there’s one part where you can wander around a bit, but they sort of push you away from doing that. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for the days when you got a ship and could travel around.
  • Plot: I don’t expect to ever understand the plot of JRPGs, so that’s that.
  • Music: Masashi Hamauzu did a pretty good job with this one, I think. Character and plot motifs are present throughout the game and add to it without being overly annoying. I still wish they wouldn’t use lyrics (does the chocobo melody really need words?) but I can deal with it.

Alright, I guess that turned out to be an actual list. I think I liked the game as a whole, and it was nice to play it after a long drought, but of course there were some annoyances. Now I gotta go find something else to play. Maybe Super Mario Galaxy 2…

July 29th, 2010 - Posted in video games |

How Hans Zimmer scored Inception

We saw Inception today, and it was totally effing awesome. Christopher Nolan has to be one of the best living directors. And Hans Zimmer did a really great job scoring the film. It was dynamic and interesting without being too distracting, but most of all, it really heightened the tension in the movie and brought it all together. On top of all that, he actually wrote the score himself (rather than passing it off to John Powell or someone!)

But I was thinking about what his process was when he wrote the score, and this is what I came up with.

  1. Listened to the score he and James Newton Howard wrote for The Dark Knight
  2. Played a few hours of Metal Gear Solid 2 and listened to what Harry Gregson-Williams wrote for that
  3. Drank a few pints
  4. Found a guitarist, a trumpet and a bass drum, and sequenced it so they just played one after another ad infinitum

To be honest, I really do like Hans Zimmer, and the score was great. But, well, there you go.

July 25th, 2010 - Posted in music |

Uh, what

Food bowl

Wait, really? My kids can’t eat out of this? Lame..

July 24th, 2010 - Posted in stupidity |

Made in America

The other day, a coworker told me about a woman he knows who is against farmers’ markets because of how dirty they are, and who claimed that supermarkets were invented to remove people from that. Aside from how wholly ignorant this woman clearly is about how her food is made, it got me thinking a bit about how there’s a backlash right now against the idea of local, sustainable, and organic food. A post made yesterday by the brain trust over at DieHipster looks at an article about “artisanal America” and complains that hipsters are behind the movement, and that, in their pretention, they’re claiming to reinvent everything.

But honestly, those are two of the dumbest arguments against the movement I’ve ever heard. I just can’t understand why someone would be against supporting local farms, factories, or workers. Unless you’re being paid off by Wal-Mart or some big box store, why wouldn’t you want to support the people who live and work around you? Would you honestly rather say “I’d rather go to Key Food and buy a steak, than to John the butcher down the block”? I’ll point out that I’m not clarifying who John is. He could be some recent transplant who just opened a store, or he could be the fourth generation in his family to run the shop. And here in New York, that’s rather likely.

In this city especially, it’s really easy to support the small stores around you. When I was growing up my parents would always go to the green grocer on our corner of Queens Boulevard. They didn’t go there for ideological reasons, of course, but just because it was way faster, easier, and the food there was overall better. My mom used to drive to Astoria to get fresh fish because it was better there than at the supermarket. When you think of New York pizza and bagels, you don’t think of Papa John’s and Thomas’ bagels; you think of that place down the block where they make their own stuff. And that’s not artisanal or pretentious – it’s just some person with a storefront who makes stuff.

Now yes, the hipsters who have moved in have sort of hijacked the idea of local and handmade, and I can understand how people would be upset with that. Hell, I don’t like the hipsters for the same reason – they make me feel somewhat lesser just because I don’t always buy organic, or because I have a job and pay my own bills and all that. But I do also shop at the farmers’ market and try to buy local when it’s possible, but not because I want to win a dick-measuring contest with some kid down in Brooklyn whose daddy is paying their rent; I do it because it’s cheaper, and it tastes better.

I guess what my point is is that you can support your local shops and people without shunning it because of ideology. It would be totally unfair to blame the local butcher because a bunch of hipsters started shopping there. He just wants to keep going the store that his grandparents started, and if he has to serve them, so be it. (Side note: it’d be illegal for him to turn away people just because he didn’t like the way they look.) So go and shop there, or at any of the local places, and just roll your eyes the people you don’t like.

July 14th, 2010 - Posted in essays |

Today’s Dumb Fuck Award winner is…

And the winner of today’s Dumb Fuck Award goes to Kazuhiro Hatakeyama:

Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, 22, entered Kesennuma Police Station at about 12:40 p.m. Monday, the police said.

Carrying a kitchen knife with a 16-centimeter blade, the unemployed man threatened a 37-year-old female worker at the reception counter of a traffic safety association on the first floor, saying, “Give me some money, or I’ll kill you.” But the man was quickly apprehended as several police officers were nearby.

When I think of places to rob, police stations are definitely first on my list.

July 13th, 2010 - Posted in stupidity |




The last show I saw was Mythos at 92nd St Y - New York, NY on Oct 6, 2014.
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Hey there. I'm a web developer who works and lives in New York City.