Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lucid Dreaming - Motivation Trouble

Hi everyone.
I've really been slipping in the lucid dreaming department lately. I think one of my biggest problems right now is motivation. I haven't felt all that motivated to make an effort to have lucid dreams as of late. It's not that I've completely lost interest, I just don't feel all that motivated to actually try to recall my dreams or altering my sleeping schedule to boost chances of lucidity.

I guess it's got a lot to do with my situation in life as it is right now. I have a lot of things to look forward to, and some things I have to take care of once certain procedures are settled. Once I receive word from the university in Kyoto, I have to apply for a student visa, I'm going to visit my grandmother today, first time in way too long. And in just five days my girlfriend is coming to my country. It's been several months since we've seen each other, so naturally I'm pretty excited.

All these things tend to pop into my head at night when I'm about to sleep, and I just can't concentrate on the dreaming itself. So, I think I'm going to take a short break. Once some of these things settle down and I can focus better on the dreams, I think I'll give it another shot. The memory exercise I mentioned about a week ago was quite successful, though. So that's nice.

Well, I hope I can settle down and focus a bit better after a few weeks break. Who knows, maybe I'll have a spontaneous lucid dream just like that? You never know! Until next time, have a good day!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Game Music - Rogue Galaxy

Hi everyone! Today's music comes from the PS2 action RPG Rogue Galaxy, a fun and addictive game from Level 5, the developers of the Dark Cloud and Professor Layton series. It tells the story of a young man who lives on a desert planet (just like a certain other young man), who meets up with a crew of space pirates and joins them on their wild and wacky journeys across the galaxy. It's a fun game, but some might find it a little tedious, with a lot of time being spent running through seemingly endless corridors or vast fields on your way to the next location. In any case, I like it a lot, and the music is nice.

"Shadow of the Sun"

I totally like the game, and I hope Level 5 will make, if not a sequel then at least some sort of spiritual successor to it on the PS3. Fingers crossed...

Well, until next time, have a good day!

Friday, July 29, 2011

What makes a game worth playing?

Hi everyone! This is something I've been thinking about lately, and thought I'd write about here.

While playing Rule of Rose this week, there were many times where I was outright offended by how sluggish and annoying the gameplay can get at its worst. You play as a young girl who runs slowly, attacks slowly and with little power, turns around slow as a freaking battleship, and who starts limping like a cripple when she gets low on health. Now, there isn't that much combat in this game compared to many other survival horror titles, like Silent Hill or Resident Evil (Which is less survival horror and more third-person shooter anyway), but the combat you have to do is quite bad. Sure, it feels exciting to beat down a mischievous imp and see him squirm and die in a puddle of his own blood, but the excitement swiftly gives way to annoyance when you realise that every enemy you encounter will be a struggle to defeat, and the game usually throws groups of any number between 5 to 10 enemies at you at a time.

On second thought, let's NOT go this way.

So you run, you run as fast as your scrawny little girly legs can carry you, and hope that the enemies won't catch up. Fortunately, most enemies are fairly slow, so you should be fine in most cases. But then there are times when you must fight, such as boss battles or otherwise inescapable encounters. And that's when things get really annoying. So annoying in fact, that I more than once have considered quitting the game and just watching a playthrough on Youtube or something.

And yet I don't want to. No matter how annoying the gameplay gets, I feel compelled to keep playing. I want to see what happens to the poor, unlucky girl, trapped in a vicious cycle of bullying and loneliness. I want to hear the hauntingly beautiful and sad music accompanying the poor girl's fate. I want to see the end of her story, and know that I made it there myself. That's why I don't quit. If the game didn't have this engaging story, beautiful music or tangible atmosphere, I probably would have quit long ago and returned to beating raiders to death in Hokuto Musou (Which is also quite a delectable pastime, make no mistake), but because the game manages to captivate so strongly with its story and atmosphere, I can forgive the bad gameplay. Almost.

Well, I think I'm nearing the end of the game now, so maybe soon I can be free of it. I like it, but I don't think I'd want to play it again any time soon. As good as the story is, once is enough for a game with such poor gameplay.

What about you guys? Is there a certain game that you hate to play but love to experience? One where the story, or maybe the music, makes up for lacking gameplay?

Until next time, have a good day!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Game Music - Lucifer's Call

Hi everyone! Today's music comes from the PS2 game Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call, or as it was called outside of ye olde Europe: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. The game tells the story of a teenage guy who visits his teacher at the hospital, witnesses the end of the world, and its subsequent rebirth, and is transformed into a demon known as the Demi-Fiend. Now, he must choose a reason to build the new world upon. The catch is, he has no choice in the matter, but can only support the ideas of others.
Wandering a devastated world infested by demons and spirits, he searches for an ideal which can support a new world. Like the other games in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, the music is composed by the one and only Shouji Meguro, in my opinion a living legend. So, let's give a track from this excellent game a listen!

"Normal Battle (In Dungeons)
The cool thing about this theme is that it has many different variations, which play randomly during battles, so it always feels fresh and new when you hear it. I can't think of any other games that does this. If you know of any, let me know!
Well, that's all for now. Until next time, have a good day!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Game Music - Silent Hill 2

Hi everyone! Today's music comes from one of my favourite games, Silent Hill 2. It's a survival horror game that tells the story of James Sunderland, a man who receives a letter from his dead wife, inviting him to the titular town, a town where nothing is as it seems, and whatever is as it seems, is very, very wrong. During his visit to this once famous resort town, now an abandoned ghost town shrouded in fog, he is faced with truths about his wife, and himself, that he would rather have forgotten...
It's a pretty scary game, and the soundtrack really helps set the atmosphere. Let's give it a listen:

"Theme of Laura"
The Silent Hill series is really good, both story-wise and music-wise. The gameplay is a little clumsy, like most survival horror games, but I definitely recommend these games to anyone who likes an intriguing story and who likes getting scared.

Well, I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, have a good day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Project - Finished

Hi everyone! It's finally done! The subtitles for Elite Yankee Saburou are complete.

It took a while, but now I have finally uploaded the finished product. I have to say, it's been a lot of fun to do this, and I would definitely enjoy doing this sort of thing for a living. I'm hoping I can get into the translation/subtitling business soon, maybe as a part-time job while I'm studying in Kyoto. That would be wonderful. Anyway, however small a step making these subtitles was, it's at the very least a step in the right direction.

My Battle Station during subtitling sessions. Candy optional.
So, without further ado, here is the download link for the subtitles. As for the episodes themselves, I'm sure you can find them one way or the other (Trying not to look like a criminal here *^_^* )
Here we go:

Well, I hope you'll enjoy the show! Now, I'm going to take a long break and hope the random lines of text and characters from the show will go disappear from my dreams eventually...

Have a good day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Game Music - Odin Sphere

Hi everyone! Today's musical piece comes from the PS2 game Odin Sphere, a 2d action RPG loosely based on Norse mythology. It is one of my favourite games of all time, mostly for the beautiful art style and atmosphere, but also for the challenging and fun gameplay, and of course, the music. It helps create a fantastic ambience and sets the mood for this dark and enchanting fairy tale, told through the perspectives of five different characters, as the world slowly approaches its end.

It's a lovely game that anyone who appreciates magic and wonder definitely should experience.
Until next time, have a good day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Project - The Finale

Hi everyone! It's been a long, arduous road, but now I'm finally nearing the finish line. Only one episode left to translate, and it will be done!

However, the last episode is a one hour special, making it equal to two regular episodes. So there's still some hard work left for me. But don't worry, I've come this far, and I'm not about to stop now. Once it's all done, I'm uploading the subtitles for anyone who is interested.

Well, sorry for such a short post, but I gotta get going! Have a good day!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Game Music - Rule of Rose

Hi everyone!
Today's music comes from the PS2 game Rule of Rose, a survival horror game set aboard a big airship in the 1930's. The main character, Jennifer, is being bullied and tormented by a group of children who make her life miserable. As if that weren't enough, there are imp-like monsters threatening her life, as well as adults twisted into madness by the pranks and mischief of the unruly children.
In short, it's a pretty gloomy and depressing game, but I like it. It has a very thick atmosphere, and of course, a lovely soundtrack. Let's give it a listen!


Powerful stuff! I think I'm going to play this game today, when I'm not busy translating, that is!
Have a good day!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Busy Morning

Hi everyone! Today will be kind of short, as I'm a little tired.

I just came home from my Friday routine outing. That is, every Friday morning I go out and have breakfast at a café in town, then go to the library and study for a while. Well, since I have summer vacation I didn't study per se, but I did work more on the subtitles for Elite Yankee Saburou. (See my "Summer Project" posts for more info.) I only have two episodes left to translate now! Whohoo!
The show just keeps getting crazier and funnier, with episodes 6 and 8 being my personal favourites. I definitely recommend that you check it out! And if you don't know Japanese, don't worry! I'll be uploading the subtitles next week, probably around Wednesday, if everything goes as planned.

It's raining over here now, not as much as this morning, (which was unbelievable) but still enough to warrant staying indoors. So, from here on it's another lazy day of gaming and translating for me.

Until next time, have a good day!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Game Music - BlazBlue

Hi everyone! Time for some more game music! This time from BlazBlue, a fighting game from the developers of the Guilty Gear series. It's a really good game, with some very unique and funny characters, of which my favourite is Taokaka, the loud, hungry cat girl with braids. She is a very silly and funny character, which is reflected well in her theme song, which unlike the rest of the guitar-heavy metal soundtrack is more jazzy and upbeat, like something you'd hear at a broadway musical. So, here we go!

"Catus Carnival"
Meow! Now that's what I'm talking about! Have a good day everyone!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Game Music - Okami

Hi everyone! Today's game music comes from Okami, a very beautiful and fun game with some great music. It is set in ancient Japan, and tells the story of the sun goddess Amaterasu-no-Oomikami, who travels the country in the shape of a white wolf, saving it from a spreading darkness and evil demons. The gameplay is reminiscent of a Legend of Zelda game, but with a few unique twists. Ammy (Because Amaterasu is too long), has the ability to use a magic brush, which she can use to paint the world, and in doing so produce various effects, such as making plants bloom, creating wind, turning night into day, and much more.

And the music is wonderful. It has a traditional Japanese feel to it, and really contributes, along with the graphics and art style, to suck you into the atmosphere of the game world. Just listen to this!

"Ryoshima Coast"

Well, I hope you've enjoyed today's tune! Until next time, have a good day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Story Ends

Hi everyone! Last night, I finally beat Persona 4, the game I've been playing (almost) religiously for the last two months, give or take a few weeks. It was one hell of a ride and definitely a good game. But, to be completely honest, it kinda lost it right at the end. This post will contain massive spoilers for the plot of Persona 4, so the ones of you who haven't finished it, or haven't played it at all and want to experience it first hand, you might want to stop reading here. (There will also be some Persona 3 spoilers, just so you know!)

So, I had grinded myself up to a modest level of 88, acquired Helel, the most ridiculously overpowered persona I ever saw, and thought it was about time to end things. I had fought the final boss before, but was not nearly strong enough to defeat her. This time, things would be different. I waltzed in and engaged her in battle.

And what a disappointing battle it was. Now, here we have Izanami, an ancient goddess of Japanese mythology, who together with her brother Izanagi pretty much created Japan (Standard mythological stuff about various bodily functions becoming geographical phenomenons, it's on wikipedia, most likely). And she barely puts up a fight. I ended up not even using my overpowered ace-in-the-hole, because it worked fine with another persona whose skill set just happened to make me nearly impossible to hit. The fight went on for about 30 minutes, and then suddenly, Izanami pulled an instant kill move out of nowhere.

"Now things are getting serious!" I thought, and then looked on horrified as she killed off my characters. Not just knocked them out like usual, she simply erased them from the battle. "Oh crap" I thought. "Better take this lady down fast!" (My use of the word "lady" is a slight alteration, I'm sure you can figure it out.) So I attacked with all of my strength, but she had just one sliver of HP left when her turn came around. And so, I could do nothing but watch as my last two characters were annihilated.

"If this means game over, I am so. Very. Angry." I thought as the screen faded to white. Luckily, it wasn't game over, I actually made it. I won, and the ending played out. A good ending, but the final boss was very disappointing. Here I had been expecting an epic showdown with a god, one that would thoroughly test my skills, and I get this. Compare this to the final battle against Nyx Avatar in Persona 3, where you had to fight through 14 stages, each representing numbers 0 through 13 in the Major Arcana of the tarot deck, against a manifestation of Death itself, where you and your party members were constantly on the brink of annihilation, having to struggle to just survive while trying to land the occasional attack on the enemy. This fight could take up to an hour and a half, depending on luck. All this accompanied by a rock opera rearrangement of the theme that's been a symbol for the entire game series. How can you possibly top that?

I guess that's just the thing. Persona 3 set the bar so high that Persona 4 simply could not live up to it. Even if the battle had been longer and harder, and the music better (it was kinda average), it still would have had a hard time competing with such a predecessor.

On the whole, I think Persona 4 was good, but I still think Persona 3 is better. Especially given the fact that the special edition of Persona 3 comes with an epilogue that was made in dungeon crawler heaven (or hell, depending on how you look at it). The story and pacing also felt more consistent, and there weren't as many things that came completely out of nowhere, like many of the plot twists in Persona 4 did. In all, they're both very good games, and if you haven't played them yet (you've probably already stopped reading and won't partake in this message), I strongly recommend them. I personally think Persona 3 is better, but to each his own.

Well, that's it for Persona 4. I wonder what game I'm going to play next? I have quite a few ongoing ones that I want to finish, and even a few I haven't even started playing yet. o many games, so little time...
Until next time, have a good day!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Game Music - Halo

Hi everyone!

Now, I'd be the first to admit that I do not like Halo. Sure, it's a decent FPS and it's pretty fun to play with a bunch of friends, but I don't think it's as good as most die-hard fans make it out to be. It tells a fairly standard story about humanity's struggle against a mighty alien race that threatens to bring death and destruction to mankind. I've heard it's supposed to be much deeper than that, but if it is, it sure goes a long way hiding it. Well, I digress.

There is, however, one thing that Halo does absolutely right. The theme song. Wow. It's really damn good, if I may say so, and I'm sure a lot of people agree. Have a listen and decide for yourself.

Awesome music, not so awesome game. Until next time, have a good day!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lucid Dreaming - Memory Training

Hi everyone! Sleeping well? Time for another lucid dreaming post!

Now, to be honest, I haven't felt too motivated to make an effort with my lucid dreams as of late. I haven't had any LD's for a while, I've been going to bed a little too late for comfort, and in general just haven't felt like concentrating that much on dreaming. So I figured I'd give it another try, and start with the basics again. The most important thing when it comes to LD's is your own intention. But what's easy to overlook is your ability to remember that intention as you drift off to sleep. Fortunately, there are a few memory exercises you can do during the day to improve your ability.

This particular exercise is designed to be practised for one week. There are four target events for each day. When you wake up in the morning, read the events for the current day, and only the current day. Memorize the events.

Now, as you go about your business during the day, be on the lookout for the targets. When you notice one of them, do a reality check, to determine if you're dreaming or awake. For example, if the target event is "The next time I see someone with a baby carriage," you would do a reality check when you spot someone pushing one of those around.

At the end of the day, write down how many of the four target events you managed to notice. If you realise that you missed the first occurrence of a target event, you have failed it, even if you notice it again later. If you are sure that a target did not occur at all during the day, make a note of it.

Continue this exercise for at least a week. If you find yourself not getting many of them down, then continue with the exercise a while longer, until you can get most of them. Make up more targets, write down your results and keep track of your success rate.

If you stick with this exercise for a few weeks, your memory should improve quite a bit. I have yet to try it, but I intend to start doing it tomorrow, on Monday. I hope it will be helpful, and I hope this post was in some way helpful to you. Until next time, everyone, sweet dreams!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Game Music - Fist of the North Star

Hwataa! Hi everyone! After an evening of playing the Fist of the North Star game for PS3, the boss fight music got kinda stuck in my head, and I can't get it out. Well, to be fair, it's basically just an instrumental rearrange of the opening theme from the anime, but it's just so damn epic, in my humble opinion.

The game is quite similar to Dynasty Warriors in many ways. You control a fighter who moves through the battlefield completely demolishing the enemy troops and go toe-to-toe with some fearsome martial artist bosses. And it is awesome. Based on the anime (which was based on the manga) with the same name, Fist of the North Star tells the story of Kenshirou, a martial artist who travels a post-apocalyptic wasteland searching for his lost lover, all the while fighting for justice in a lawless world.

In the game, whenever you fight a boss who plays a key role in the story, this music starts playing, and it gets you really pumped up to kick some butt!

"Ai wo torimodose" (Take back our love)

I've been playing this game a lot lately, and I definitely recommend it if you are a fan of Fist of the North Star, Dynasty Warriors, or just want a game where you can make people's heads explode by poking them. ;)
After all, if you pick a fight with Ken, you are already dead...

Until next time, have a good day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Game Music - Cave Story

Hi everyone! It's raining today, so what would be better than to find a nice, cosy cave to curl up in and ride out the bad weather? Just make sure the cave isn't infested with bats, crocodiles and demons!

Cave Story is a 2d platformer for the PC and Wii, and a 3DS version is coming out soon. It plays sort of like a Metroid game, and it's an absolute blast to play. Best of all, you can get it for free! If you're into retro-style games, definitely check out Cave Story.

The soundtrack is also great, oozing with a retro feel. I find myself humming the main theme every now and then, as it is quite a catchy little number. Listen for yourself:

This is one of those games you can replay over and over again. There's a surprising amount of content for such a "small" game. (Roughly 4 MB in size!)

Well, I hope you've enjoyed today's game music. Until next time, have a good day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Project - Halfway There

Hi everyone! I'm about halfway finished translating and subtitling Elite Yankee Saburou by now. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel... Just kidding, I'm having lots of fun doing this, and it's going surprisingly fast now that I've gotten into it. I reckon I can have it done within ten days if I keep this pace up. (So I expect to be done in about 12 days.)

Well, just a quick status update for now. Until next time, have a good day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Game Music - Digital Devil Saga 2

Hi everyone! Today's tune is from Digital Devil Saga 2, for the Playstation 2. It's a Japanese RPG in the same vein as the other games in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise: Turn based combat, a high difficulty, and last but not least, an awesome soundtrack, courtesy of the genius Shouji Meguro.

A sequel to the first DDS game, DDS 2 tells the story of Serph, leader of the Embryon tribe, who had spent their entire lives trapped in a bleak, gray world of eternal rain called The Junkyard. There, they had been in constant battle with the other tribes, each trying to conquer all others to be allowed entrance into Nirvana, the paradised promised those who emerged victorious from the fighting. Little did Serph and his comrades know that the promised land they had sought for their whole lives, was nothing but another hell, scorched by a malevolent sun that turns all it shines upon into stone.

So, the fighting continues. The first game left a slew of questions left to be answered, and the second game deals out a few more along the way, but in the end everything comes together nicely. And the soundtrack is wonderful. Shouji Meguro, who composes the music for all the games in the franchise, is really one of my favourite composers of all time. But enough talk. Let's listen!

"Heroic battle"

Awesome music for an awesome game. If you like JRPG's, you will definitely like the DDS games.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lucid Dreaming - Frustration

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I posted anything about dreaming, hasn't it? Well, to be honest, I haven't really been trying lately, and as such, have had no lucid dreams. I've had good dream recall, though, so there's no problem there. I just need to make a little more effort, and I'm sure I'll have lots of LD's.

Well, ones longer than the one this morning, at least. I actually did realise I was dreaming right towards the end of the dream, but then I quickly woke up, and the moment was gone. This could be due to the unexpected lucidity, and probably because it was quite an erotic dream. I did say I would share as much as I could about my lucid dreams on this blog, but for everyone's sake, I think it would be best not to tell you much about this dream in particular. Lets' just say it was... interesting.

But yeah, a short burst of lucidity followed by a fast awakening and a strong feeling of frustration, in more than one way. I just wish I could have stayed in the dream a few more minutes and get things under control. Oh well, no chance of that now. Maybe next time.

It can get very frustrating if you try and try and never have any lucid dreams, just as it can be frustrating to lose lucidity like I did after a long time of not having any lucid dreams. But the important thing is to not give up, and think positive. Every night, you have a good chance of having an LD, and if you make an effort using a dream inducing technique, your chances will go up even more. If you find yourself feeling very frustrated and losing sleep over this, take a break for a while where you don't try to have any LD's consciously. Sometimes, you'll have one spontaneously. The most important thing, however, is your own well-being. Dreams can be fun and wonderful experiences, but they're not worth losing sleep over. If you are, you're doing it wrong in the first place anyway.

Well, I hope these short tips were of help to you. Until next time, sweet dreams!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Game Music - Mafia

Hi everyone! This post is pretty much a spur of the moment. Yesterday, I read through the comments on my previous post and saw a comment from icey about Mafia II. I haven't played that game, but I have played the first Mafia, and icey's comment got me thinking of how wonderful the soundtrack of that game was.

So, you guessed it, today is a post about the music in Mafia. This is one of my favourite games in terms of story and atmosphere, it just captures the feel of 1930's America so well. I also really like the characters, and the way things turn out for most of them is genuinely heart-breaking. (Gangsters don't go to Heaven, after all.)

So, here it is: The main theme from the game Mafia, one of the best musical pieces of any game, IMO.

That's all for now. Until next time, have a good day!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Game Music - Ever 17

Hi everyone! It's a new day, and a new piece of game music. This one comes from the visual novel Ever 17, a game I just recently started playing, and am enjoying so far. The underwater amusement park LeMu is suddenly shaken by a series of disastrous events, leaving only a few people left in the place, which is now seemingly becoming flooded with sea water. (I haven't gotten that far into the story yet, so I don't know exactly what's going on.)

What struck me first as I started this game, was the absolutely beautiful opening theme, playing on the main menu screen. I am a sucker for emotional piano pieces, and this one leapt straight into my heart, just like
"To Zanarkand" from Final Fantasy X did. So, without further ado, here it is.


I always find myself lingering on the menu screen just to listen to this sad and touching piece of music, before delving into the story again.

Well, that's all for now. Until next time, have a good day!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Game Music - Persona 4

Hi everyone! Today, I'd like to try something a little bit different.

As the ones of you who have been following my blog for a while would know, I enjoy playing video games. Part of what I enjoy about playing them, is the music. Ever since that fateful encounter with Final Fantasy IX (Or perhaps even before that), I have really taken a shine to a lot of music in video games.

So, every now and then, I thought I'd post a tune on here, just to let you know what sort of games and game music I enjoy. If you have any suggestions for good game music (Or good games, for that matter), feel free to post it in the comments section. Anyway, on to today's tune.

I've been playing a lot of Persona 4 lately, and because of that, this tune has been a regular in my speakers. It's the theme that plays when you encounter regular enemies in the game. It's a very upbeat theme, complete with charming engrish lyrics and an electric organ. What more can one wish for, am I right?
¨"Reach out to the Truth"

Since you hear it so damn often, given how many times you'll be in battle in this game, you can get a little fed up with it after a while, but I still think it's a good enough song.

Well, that's all from me for now. Until next time, have a good day!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dead Space makes little sense.

Hi everyone. I just wanted to post some thoughts on the video game Dead Space that occurred to me the other day.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Dead Space is a third person shooting game set in space (Hence the last half of the title), and involves the player taking on hordes of mutated space aliens and undead human beings (Hence the first half of the title). As games go, it's pretty good, it controls well enough, the graphics are good, the sound and music works quite well, and it's over all just fun to play. I did not find it very scary. At times creepy and mostly just a little gross, but not nearly as scary as many make it out to be. Anyway, I digress.

What I wanted to talk about is a matter of believability. In Dead Space, a race of evil aliens are taking over human bodies and mutating them into hideous monsters in order to... well, whatever reason an evil race of aliens need to do such thing. The only way to kill these beasts is by dismembering them thoroughly, making sure they have no limbs with which to do nasty things to you. Because they will do very nasty things to you if they get you. So nasty in fact, that I don't really believe it.See below video of Dead Space 2 for details. (Warning: If you are uncomfortable seeing violent images, you might not want to watch this video, as it contains extreme violence, blood and gore.)

Now, I don't have much of a problem with violence in video games, but in this case, a lot of the ways the player gets killed by these monsters just isn't believable in the context of the game. We know that these aliens need functional human bodies in order to make new monsters. However, in the video above the aliens have no problem tearing poor Isaac, the main character, into pieces. On the contrary, most of the monsters seem more than happy to rip his limbs off, the way a sadistic child would rip the wings off a fly.

This got me wondering: Why would they do that if they need human bodies procreate? (Provided that what they do in the game can be called procreation, that is.) I can understand accidentally slicing off an arm or two in the heat of battle, but to almost casually rip off the head of a clearly incapacitated foe? Some of those aliens have a horrible work ethic, I tell you. "It might be alright if I'm the only one doing it", eldritch (Shut up spell check, eldritch is a word.) abomination 1 might think. But what if they all thought that, eh? Eh? Not so innocent now, are we?

I might have missed something that explains this behaviour, but to me it still removes believability from the game and thus makes it (even) less scary. Extreme violence is only shocking if it's believable, after all.

Just my two cents. Until next time, have a good day!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lucid Dreaming - Exploration

Hi everyone! It's been a while since my last LD post, hasn't it? Truth be told, I haven't been that motivated to focus on my dreams lately, but this morning I had a dream where I missed a lot of obvious dream signs that occur very frequently in my dreams.
So I thought: Let's give this another try. Maybe this post can boost my motivation a bit.

One very interesting thing you can do in your lucid dreams is to simply explore the dream world. Since you are in control, you don't have to just follow the dream where it was headed before, but instead just go off in a different direction. Maybe there is a door in your dream. In that case, what could be behind it? Maybe there's an elevator. In that case, how high does it go, and where will you be when you step out of it again?

Since it's your dream, you can actively choose what sort of scenery you will encounter, but sometimes it's almost more fun to just look around the scenery your subconscious has already made for you. You might find strange places, maybe places you've been to before but in new shapes. I once had a dream where I walked through a physical manifestation of a woman's internet website. Clouds of words and lines of code were floating lazily in the air, and the grass was a light shade of green and very soft.

Well, when you have your next lucid dream, exploring its scenery might be exciting. I know I will try it the next time I have an LD. Until next time, everyone, sweet dreams!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Project - Making Progress

Hi everyone! Now, the subtitles for the first episode of Elite Yankee Saburou are finally done. Hurray! It took a while, but I've got a feeling that things are going to be smoother from here on out.

Now, I just wanted to ask you guys a short question: Would any of you like me to upload the subtitles for the first episode right away, or would you prefer I finished everything before uploading it all in one neat little package? Personally, I like getting things finished before proceeding, but I wanted to know your opinion as well.

In any case, once I'm all finished I will upload everything, probably to mediafire since that's what's most convenient for me. If anyone knows of a better file hosting site, let me know. I appreciate any tips or feedback I can get.

Well, guess I'd better get back to work, then. Until next time, everyone, have a good day!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Project - Just as Planned

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to say that my plan to skip the annoying middle step of translating an episode and then doing subtitles seems to be working very well. I've gotten almost a third of the new episode's subtitles done this way, and think I can be done within about two days. Then I just gotta get around to subtitling the old ones, too. Hmm...

Oh well, I'll just grin and bear it, to quote a certain bear. In the meantime, here is the ending theme of the show, "Kuroi Sabaku" (Black Desert), by the band jealkb. Hearing it so many times kinda made me like it. What do you guys think?
Until next time, have a good day!

Monday, July 4, 2011

One Last Rant on the Agony of Choice

Okay, this is the last one. I promise.

So, Persona 4 again. Let me just once more make myself absolutely clear that I love this game, and if you own a PS2 and enjoy Japanese RPG's then I definitely recommend it. That said, there are two points in the game, one in particular, that tarnish an otherwise stellar game. If you've been following my blog so far, you might remember what that is.

Choice. Now, I don't mind a bit of choice in my games, it can make things much more interesting if done right. In Persona 4, however, it is not done right. See, the game itself is very linear. You progress through the game the same way all the time, and the story develops the way it was planned, no funny business there. Occasionally, you are presented with dialogue options in response to various situations. Whatever you choose does not have much impact on the way the story plays out, but rather just add a little personal flavour to some of the dialogue. Sometimes certain decisions can increase your attributes, or maybe improve your relationship with another character. Little things, but important little things.

This is all well and good until you come to the aforementioned major choice in the game. Now, until that point you haven't really been that hard pressed to choose the correct answer (Other than a few pop quizzes), so the sudden introduction of a major choice that affects the plot in such a serious way is extremely jarring. What makes it even worse is the fact that you not only have to pick the correct choice out of three options, you then have to pick the correct choice out of four, and then the correct one out of three again! If you do all that right, you can continue playing the game and proceed towards the true ending. If you make one mistake here, though, it's over. Time skips ahead a few months and the epilogue plays, followed by the credits roll, each individual name on the staff list spelling out a huge "in your face" right, well, in your face.

But if you make the right choice, you're good. Smooth sailing all the way to the end, right?


There is one more critical point where the correct action has to be carried out. Now, I've kept things relatively spoiler free up until now, but from here on I will mention a few things pertinent to the story, so if you want to experience Persona 4 by yourself first hand, you may want to stop reading now. Anyway:

So after beating the "final" boss in December and celebrating your victory, time skips ahead until March again. At this point, I thought I had screwed up somehow and didn't get the "true" ending. I was certain that the boss I just defeated was not the final one, since it didn't get a very epic introduction and basically just came way out of left field. Scared that I might have to play through the whole game over again, I got on the internet to confirm. And what do you know, I still had a chance! I just had to talk to all the characters I had formed a strong bond with during the course of the adventure, and then choose not to go back home. By doing this, the true cause behind all the mysteries was revealed, and the real final battle could begin.

The problem I have with this is how time skips ahead like this. If you, like me, had gotten the bad ending before, it would only be natural to assume that you messed something up again and had to try again. I can kind of see what they were going for, though, making the player feel that there was still something left and relied on the player's own curiosity to lead them to the truth. The problem is that there was no hint whatsoever to this in the game, other than the aforementioned fake final boss and obvious lack of closure. Since time had already skipped, however, the player would likely believe there was nothing they could do and just give up. If they had just made the choice of returning home or not include some sort of suspicious option, implying more explicitly that something was missing, I would have been perfectly fine with this.

Well, maybe it's just me being completely thick when it comes to solving mysteries on my own, but I think the few choices that made such a huge difference in this otherwise choice-free game were quite poorly designed. When I buy a game I expect to be able to enjoy most if not all of what it has to offer without having to rely on a walkthrough or strategy guide to get me through the decisive points. If these choices had been made more clear, I would have been close to calling Persona 4 a perfect game.

And I still think Persona 3 was better.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Project - Three Done

Hi everyone! Yesterday, I finished episode three of Elite Yankee Saburou.

Things are going quite well, and I'm having a blast. However, I've been thinking about changing the way I do this. Until now, I have first translated an episode and written a simple script for it. Then, I used that script as a base to produce the actual subtitles. However, this means I have to re-watch the same episode not only once, but twice, making sure the subtitles are timed correctly. This is kinda annoying, so I thought I might try skipping making a script and just making the subtitles right away. If it works out that way, Things should progress a lot faster.

Still, I am ahead of my schedule, so that's nice. By the way, here is a short clip from the show, just to show you what kind of silliness you can expect from it.


Well, that's all from me for now. Until next time, have a good day!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lucid Dreaming - See the Signs

Hi everyone! Sleep well?

Last time, I talked about nightmares and how they can be conquered using lucidity. Today, it's a short visit back to the basics.

If you're interested in having lucid dreams, you are naturally writing a dream journal, and ideally you should be able to recall your dreams every night. Or at least one dream every night. When you have a decent number of entries in your journal, it would be a good idea to read through it and look for things that occur often in your dreams; to find your own personal Dream Signs.

Dream signs can be anything from a certain person you know showing up a lot in your dreams, to something familiar to you being warped or different in some way from reality. For example, my dreams tend to feature a lot of my friends from different periods of my life. I frequently have dreams where my elementary school classmates are hanging out with my friends at university, in my old high school. That mix of people and places that I know from various different periods of my life is one of my dream signs.

When you can identify what dream signs tend to show up regularly in your dreams, you can then use them as indicators that you are dreaming, and become lucid easier. So look through your journal and pick out things that tend to pop up every now and then, and label them your own personal dream sign. Then, the next time you are in a situation in waking life where that dream sign (or something resembling it) occurs, test your reality with a reality check. (For example, I would test my reality whenever I am together with lots of friends or in a place I know from before but usually don't visit.) By doing this, the chances of you noticing the sign when it shows up in a dream and becoming lucid get much higher.

When going to sleep, you can also use a mantra to convince yourself that you are going to see a certain dream sign in your dreams that night.

Well, I hope this is of help to you in having more lucid dreams. Until next time, sweet dreams!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time Sink

142 hours. What the heck? Really. Well, I guess it's true.

So, apparently, I have spent 142 hours total playing Dissidia Final Fantasy on my PSP. I got the game about three months ago, and have been playing on and off since then. Of course, I spent more time on it right after I bought it, and then less as my interest dwindled with time. Pretty much like usual, you know?

Still, to think that the total amounts to 142 hours... If I were to play that long straight, it would take almost a week, day and night. Now that's pretty crazy. And that's just one game! Imagine if I were to take all the total time I've spent gaming during the last three months and stack it all together for one massive marathon. How long would that take?

Of course, this isn't really a practical way to look at time. You can isolate the time spent on pretty much any activity, and it would probably look like a lot. When you think about it that way, we have quite a lot of time available to us. It's up to us how we use it. When I look back at my time spent playing Dissidia, I feel like a lot of it might have been wasted.
But, as John Lennon once said: "Time you enjoyed wasting, was not wasted." I think I agree.

Until next time, everyone! Have a good day!