Dry, yet fear of wet

Today was bizarre as the entire store's population had their phones ring with intensity signifying the typhoon was coming. The outside seemed fine. Some worried about their trains home. It didn't rain much.

It rained as some of us left the ramen shop where we had dinner after a day of Magic. I didn't play that much. I should just ask people to play. They probably will. Yet I worry for some reason that I am intruding.

As soon as I got home I heard the downpour being. I was lucky. The wind is whipping intensely right now. I am safe indoors. Tomorrow should be a sunny day. We'll see.

Wet

Soaked. Rained super hard today. Another typhoon. The "water repellant" spray I purchased for my sneakers did... not work. They got drenched and might even be ruined. Going to air them out best I can tonight and hope they're not ruined. That's September. Seems to have stopped for the time being. Might have passed us by. We'll see tomorrow. I am planning on hitting up some Magic tournaments, but probably won't be driving if there are any warnings. Ah, what timing. Oh well. Cannot complain. One typhoon alrady got me a day off this past week and I suffered nothing. Some snaker damage is fine.

FNM Promo Fatal Push #3: Super Lucky

No one likes hearing about bad beats. They happen.

Happened tonight.

Round one I win. Round two and three I got screwed hard. Seemingly keepable hands. Two lands, some cycle cards, 2 cost counters. Okay. Let's see my other twenty-four land.

Nope.

Should I have taken a mulligan? The basic idea as I understand it is that is there a hand minus one card that would be better than what you have. I didn't think so. But the top of the deck didn't go well.

Round three I lose. I get up, frustrated, and walk out of the store. I needed a break. I kind of love that people are so trustworthy in Japan that I can leave my cards on a table and no one steals a thing. Probably a bad habit to develop. But I was angry. I worry I have anger issues. I might have to work on this. But again, it's a card game, and when I'm done with the games, I congratulate my opponents on their wins and go off and steam a bit and when I get home I'm no longer angry.

Now I also got lucky. Because Top 8 got promo copies of Fatal Push but two more were going to be given out. Eight players pulling from eight cards. Two are the promos, the other six are random cards that no one wants.

I was ninth place. I got to pull first. I got my promo card.

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Holy shit. I felt like such a dirtbag. I got so lucky at the end. I wasso frustrated at bad luck and then good luck came up. It doesn't matter so much. It's just a card. And I would have preferred to have one it instead of getting lucky.

But I got lucky. And sometimes you just have to take that.

It's frustrating, and I feel like I am making an excuse here, but getting to go out and play games is what I look forward to after a workweek. And when luck makes it so that it doesn't feel like I played that is what frustrates me. I never mind losing a game that felt good. Or if my opponent outsmarted me.

But I have to accept that bad "luck" happens. There's randomness in the game. I cannot act like the world "hates" me because I drew bad in a card game. I must accept that I will have "good" days and I will have "bad". It feels so hard to accept this, especially when Depression is there to tell you that you deserve bad things. But fuck Depression.

What an asshole.

Octo means eight - Octopath Traveler demo thoughts

The Project Octopath Traveler demo hit the Switch today. While I was at work. So I had to see all these tweets of people having fun while I was doing my job to get paid. Okay, I cannot complain. But I was excited.

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy was one of my favorite games in… a long time. It just did everything I wanted out of an RPG. Its sequel was so good that I played it slowly, not wanting it to end. I loved them both. No. I love them both.

So then I hear the team is working on a Switch game called Project Octopath Traveler. Excitement. Then this demo drops. Hello. Okay. I’m in.

From what I can tell it is SaGa-ish. Eight characters to choose from. You see their opening story and then go out in the world. Well, I’m assuming it gets SaGa-ish. The demo sure feels that way. But the Bravely Default demo gave a good taste of what to expect without spoiling much of anything. I have a feeling these are the actual intros for these two characters, but things can change.

Anyway, beautiful sprites, nice music. Neat lighting effects abound. Now here's the meat: the battle system.

Like Bravely Default you have BP but this is just bonus points accumulated every turn. Each enemy has a shield icon and a few icons, starting as ?s, which indicate what they are weak to.

It's not just magic, though. Primrose comes with some dark magic, but also uses a dagger. Some enemies are weak to the dark, some to the dagger. You can use the bonus points to perform additional attacks or to buff magic/skills. So here's the neat part.

Say an group of enemies each has one shield point and they are all weak to dark magic. Primrose can use her dark magic against all enemies and they will all “break” meaning they miss their next turn. Now, Primrose has earned one BP so she can use it boost her dark magic that attacks all enemies and take them out.

But let's say there's two enemies. One has three shield points and is not weak to dark. But it is weak against daggers. There are two other enemies with one shield point and they are weak against dark. Your character earns one BP at the start of their turn.

So now I can star off by breaking the two enemies weak against dark. Primrose has one unused BP. The third enemy attacks, the other two miss their turn. Primrose gets her next turn and another BP. She could boost her dark-all magic to potentially blast away the two enemies or she could do three dagger attacks and break the other enemy so it misses its next turn. But then the two other enemies will get to attack. So there's stuff to balance here.

Now it got interesting when I finished Primrose’s opening and found the other character who has an intro to play in this game, Olberic. He doesn't use magic, but comes equipped with a sword and a spear. Huh, I first thought. Until I get into battle and I see left and right arrows on his attack command. Aha! He can choose to use the sword or spear, and of course this matters depending on the weaknesses of the enemies. And when you have a mess of enemies, some weak to darkness, some weak to one of the three weapon types in the demo, things get interesting. A game of “How do I quickly take out these enemies without taking much damage.” comes up. And you are going to want to play this game because plenty of the enemies hit hard.

It's not like SaGa in that there are regular levels. This means it might sell copies. How the various skills are learned and what exact weapons each character will be able to equip is still to be discovered, but there was enough meat in this one demo that I am so ready for more.

I created a highlight of the two openings. Here it is! I did play around with both Primrose and Olberic before doing Olberic’s story. I’ll probably return to the Primrose save file another day to see what else they've given us to explore in this demo. But I am already sold. Day one, this is going into my switch.

Hope I can finish DQ11 before it hits.

240 Hours

I just unlocked World 16 in Pictlogica Final Fantasy for 3DS. Completed it in maybe a half hour or so of puzzle solving. Next stage unlocks in 240 hours. Ten days! Wow, they sure want you to shell out the cash to unlock the stages. Or waaaaaait.

I'll wait. I mean, I don't mind giving cash to companies for games. But if you are going to give me two options, one of which involves me being stubborn and one involves me spending cash, I'm going to be stubborn. Sorry. You gave me the choice.

Fun game, though. Sure do like these puzzles.

Typhoon's(?) come and gone

No classes today. Heavy rain warning was announced this morning. I ended up not doing much, although I did get my translation work done. Still. I worry that I wasted the day. Time went on, though and I did what I needed to do.

I also looked through my entire Magic collection twice to find one card for a deck. Finally giving up, I got up to go get dinner and saw the card on my bookshelf. What it was doing there I have no idea. They have sayings for this kind of situation and fuck if it isn't embarrassing.

But I got work done. Finished a deck for this week's FNM. And I got through heavy rain with no problems. Can't complain.

Bojack Horseman Season 4

Fuck.

I already wrote about Episode 6, which really captured depression and self-loathing. I just finished the season and don't know what to say other than "Fuck".

The whole season pulled no punches. All the characters got arcs that were just rollercoasters of emotions. I feel a bit off just thinking about it. It's easy to scoff at a cast of characters for which money is ignored. (As with most stuff. I never understood scenes with characters at a bar after losing thier job. Uh, you're kind of going to need that money, right?) But it still manages to hit home with just how terrible people have been and how terrible people can be. And what that all means.

Last place

Played in two Magic tournaments today. Came in last place both times.

It was just bad. There were a few misplays but just times where I got nothing that I needed. I got so fed up the last round that I chucked my deck on the floor.

I'm so embarrassed that I did that.

This is just a card game. But my blood was boiling. I felt so helpless. So much rage. And all the anger and stress about other things in my life came out.

But that's just excuses. I shouldn't act that way. I hope the other patrons realize I was just angry and won't hate me or ban me from the store. That is my biggest worry. This is something I need to work on. Feelings.

Stupid piece of shit

Bojack Horseman has been one of the most amazing shows I have watched. I know, I know. It's a funny and touching television show. You've heard it before.

If you've dealt with depression, you need to see Season 4 Episode 6. It captures what goes through the brain so well. It doesn't offer any answers, because there are no great answers. There are only little things that you can do.

Becuase you have to do something. Because part of you feels like you're a stupid piece of shit.

Fatal Push 2

Unf. Came in third in tonight's Friday Night Magic and earned myself another foil Fatal Push. So that's two. There are still a few more chances for me to grab numbers three and four, which would be nice, but two is a nice number. Some decks just run two of some removal.

I pulled out matches two and three. Little bit of luck. Lots of beats with The Scarab God. The thing is good. I made two misplays against Ramunap Red and both cost me the game. Silly, silly misplays. I need to relax. Funnily enough, once I was sure I was out of it after losing round one, I ended up in third place. So if I can only remain calm during round one, I can do better.

This is just Magic but the more I play the more I see parallels to my own life. Making decisions too rashly without thinking through the whole situation. Thinking things will work out if X happens, but not accounting for what if it doesn't. Figuring out how to make do with what I have.

The game frustrates me at times, but I love it. And it makes me think about more than just the game.

Diversification

I found out this afternoon that I got $2.49 from a Twitch Prime subscriber. I am not about to go quitting my job, but this is kind of exciting. I teach, I translate, I make games, I have the Fiesta Patreon, and even Twitch is giving me a little cash.

Okay, maybe it will never grow from this. But it makes me think about how ""diverse"" my funds are.

I feel like I would like to have only one "job". But that does not seem to be how the world works right now. Especially for a divorced person paying child support and still paying off college debt. Not that I am complaining too much. My life is pretty good.

But just "one" feels like a dream. Well, at least for, ""creatives"" (ugh) like myself. I dunno. I just cannot see myself at a regular job anymore. I don't know if I'm just not employable, or just don't want that. I do have this urge to make that is taking a beating from life. I am so tired after a day of teaching. I feel this "tickle" to code, but I just don't end up doing it because I find myself passing out from exhaustion. Or doing translation work.

I'm complaining again. It is not that bad. I have been able to stream every day this week so far. I got to spend last Saturday with my son and spent Sunday slinging some Magic. Who am I to complain?

There is this feeling that something is missing, though. And I don't know what it is. Maybe I don't need to know. Maybe I just need to keep doing.

The Replay

I started my Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age HD playthrough that I promised to do if the Fiesta broke $20k this year. We went $23k. Damn. $4k more than last year.

Actually, looking at the data, that's been the trend. Since 2013, every year has roughly been $4k more than the year before. Roughly.

Speaking of rough, Final Fantasy 12! I played through to the first "big" boss, the fire-horse thing. This is one of the most memorable parts of the game for me because I remember just putting the controller down and letting the Gambits handle the boss.

They did it again - in HD!

Well Amelia cough died. Oh well. And some of my characters got poisoned. But otherwise, just put that controller down, get a good stretch in and hey, dead boss.

Ah, as much as things change, they sure do stay the same.

How long have you been married?

Back to work. First day was Monday. Classes went well enough. Kids weren't exactly excited to be back in class. But a month off of routine and then shoved back into it would do that to you.

It does it to me. Every year.

Eating lunch one student asks "Eric, how long have you been married?" I thought for a second and replied, "That's a secret."

"What? Why?" some of the nearby students asked. One replied "I think because that'll give away his age." Yes, another secret.

I am not ashamed of my divorce, but I haven't told many people that I work with. And I ""work"" with hundreds of students. And by work I mean teach, you who takes quotation marks the wrong way. Regardless, I don't need all the chatter. Although I am sure the "scandal" as it were would die down soon. But there would be those adults who ""worry"" about me, and I don't feel like I need that.

I don't exactly know what I want right now. I am just keeping up with my work and trying to find the ""inspiration"" that led to me releasing games again. I released one a year from 2013 to 2015. Last year, nothing. This year is looking similar, and I can't even look at Xcode without feeling... strange.

I don't know, right now. I don't. And that is the scariest part because time doesn't care. Time keeps on ticking.

Making mistakes

This is a video to watch in regards to playing Magic and making mistakes in general.

It, one, makes me feel a bit better because this is top level players at the finals, but it also really makes me think about my own plays. Just yesterday I had two plays I realized were bad seconds after I did them. No take-backs, of course. But it did remind me to calm down and think things out a bit more.

I've watched this twice. It's an amazing set of five games.

Goodbye, Summer

I already wished summer farewell when I "technically" went back to work on Friday, but that was just meetings and discussing the next semester. Classes start tomorrow. I hope the kids are excited. I am not.

I am scared. I am not sure what I want to do right now but I know it is not this. I have not been developing much recently becasue I have not felt much of a burning desire to do so. I only do translations because I have deadlines set by other people.

This is all scary. Life is passing by.

Oh, it's Saturday

I was staring at the list of my recent blog posts and wondering "Why is my lastest one listed as being posted on Friday. I thought I had a little streak going here!

And then it hits me.

So hey, I have tomorrow off! The last "day of summer" before classes start. Going to make the most of it. Been translating a lot tonight to let myself enjoy tomorrow.

Well, not really "translating". Doing my ""favorite"" part, which is the review. It's important! Oh, do not get me wrong, I realize it is important to go over things and make them sound more natural, find any mistakes, improve misundstandings or vague lines that sounded good when I was first pounding them out.

But I have to come face to face with my writing, which is. Ew. How often do you think I read my own blog posts? Did you guess zero? Congratulations! Have one free nothing.

But while I did this checking, I had my Nintendo Switch by my side and grinded up the spell magic levels in Secret of Mana. Not necessary, probably, but having a little finger-play while reading stuff helped me feel a bit more sane.

Plus, now I can do hella damage with Shade's spells. Aw yeah.

And summer ends

Today I sat at a desk at school for the first time in... Well, I had a meeting a few weeks ago so I did it then, but it had been a while. It is September. School is back in session.

It's a weird feeling. Not one I like. This is my tenth summer ending in Japan and it always feels the same. A bit of nervousness about going into the classroom to teach. A bit of wondering about the future. A little bit of longing for winter break. Hey, I'm human.

I feel sad. I need to keep on keeping on, and not let the sadness get to me. I have to do what needs to be done.

It's time to do.

Let's talk about why Secret of Mana sucks

I got into some good ol' fashioned internet arguments about a week ago because I am less than excited for the remake of Secret of Mana coming out. Now, apparently this is done by the team who redid Seiken Densetsu aka Final Fantasy Adventure aka Mystic Quest, which is not to be confused with Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.

Ah, the 90s sure were a time for video games.

Now, Secret of Mana might be one of my most anticipated birthday gifts. That's a lie, EarthBound was. But Secret of Mana was up there. I played the crap out of the game, much like I did Final Fantasy Adventure, having nary a clue that the two were tied together. We did not have a multitap, or whatever the SNES doo-dad was called, so we gave our youngest brother a random Atari controller and told him he was controlling the sprite. Popoi, is it?

Anyway, I replayed the game again in 2007 or 8 after arriving in Japan and I didn't like it as much. I've been ""called out"" for nostalgia glasses plenty of times, but I was actually surprised that I didn't enjoy Secret of Mana as much as I remembered.

Mostly it was the glitches. And I think a lot of these had been fixed for the North American release. I am not entirely sure. But there was a fair number of times where I beat a boss and the room never "reopened" allowing me to proceed. A soft-lock, as it is often called. This sucked. And like I said, it wasn't once or twice, and it wasn't in the same location. Various bosses throughout the game.

I am currently replaying it on the Switch collection and there are lots of little things that bug me. Things that RPGs of that era were doing already, so I have to question why this game lacked them.

Shops tell you practically nothing. You have no idea what your characters have equipped, no idea if the armor is better or not, no idea if you already have four of an item unless you try to buy it and the shopkeep tells you that you are unable to carry any more. I do hope this is remedied in the upcoming remake. It should be doable, because there sure is screen real estate available. It's free real estate. Use it up, please.

There's very little battle feedback. I do realize this was before rumble, so I don't expect that out of an SNES game, but so many times I attack an enemy and have no idea why nothing connected. It didn't tell me if I missed, if the enemy was immune to the weapon (Is that even a thing in Secret of Mana? I don't know!), or if the attack just happened to do zero damage. Actually, maybe zero damage does show up. But if it does, I cannot remember seeing it. A lot of times, especially in three boss fights I did in a row on a train-ride, there was just lots of swining and no feedback. And that was frustrating. I just kept spamming attack spells and the bosses eventually died. Cool.

Okay, I am being harsh. I actually am still having a bit of fun. The game is gorgeous, has a lovely soundtrack and going around the world is fun. Mode 7 Flammie is awesome, too.

The 3D map you get when you press start sucks, though. Don't even try to fight me on that one. It takes forever to render and there are no labels!

So what ddo I hope for this remake? Well, I was a bit disheartened when it was announced and "proud" of its new graphics. Okay, whatever. The real meat is whether or not they take the time to improve the menus, shops and information given to the player. That's what I want out of a remake. Modern touches. Even if these touches probably could have been in the original game.

My ohnly concern is that the Seiken Densetsu remake released lsat year was fairly... faithful. There's a section of the game where you cannot get keys and can get stuck. And if you happened to save in that area, whoops! Restart or hope you have an earlier save. I had to restart. That was frustrating. Some people retorted to my complaint about this that it was in the original game, and yes, that is very true. It's kind of exactly the thing I want to see fixed. But that's just me. I play old games a lot, so a new version to me isn't a chance for today's graphics, but for today's everything. And I can be skeptical, although the Seiken Densetsu remake was pretty good. Except the few times it crashed. When I was getting trophies. When I had just beaten a boss.

Eh, who cares. I will be buying this. I just have my concerns.

Tilt

Since summer is ending, I have some days to myself. Today I played some Magic. I tilted.

The first Standard Showdown I went to started off poorly. Mana screw and then flood. I mean, the hand looked good. Two lands, two two drops, a three drop, some removal. Just never saw that third land. Then the next game was a flood. This story is as old as time.

But it still tilts me.

And these emotional swings matter. I was feeling it later in the day when I stopped at another tournament and completely missed an opportunity to at least stay in the game at least twice. Who knows what others I missed. I had just resigned to losing. "Bad luck" as it were and yet it wasn't. I fucked up.

Which I have to realize without being too hard on myself.

Which, funnily, is hard.

Four and Four

Played in a proxy Legacy tournament tonight. Came in fourth place out of twelve. Not bad. My prize was a random card. Got my fourth Past in Flames. Sigh. That card I have gotten way too many times. I did win a round prize of a foil Aether Hub. That's my sixth. Felt good.

Good tournament. Had fun.