Starting out as a small time reviewer and FAQ author on GameFAQs, my writing has been even more tilted toward the old school than my gaming. I enjoy games of many eras, but I always found it more compelling to write for something that hasn't been done extensively already, which often ruled out the more modern games I played as I tend to run at least a couple of years behind the facts. My Honestgamers catalogue was initially just copying over much of my old GameFAQs work, and then for a time dual submitting to both sites. But over 2015 I posted my first HG exclusives, with hopefully more to follow.
Musing on a change in review style.
Submitted a review for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for NES earlier this week, a piece of around 1200 words which made the points I wanted to make, and gave the game the star it deserved (and withheld the other 4 stars it did not deserve). At one point I cite several examples of things somewhat implemented and then eventually not used much, or at all, implying rushing in the product.
Pretty sure I already did this joke.
My PS2 is now permanently retired, lying disconnected in the study, as it appears it actively damages my discs. In some cases unto death - such as with Final Fantasy XII earlier and Xenosaga more recently - in some cases the game survives but with visible scratching along the outer ring, like Disgaea. It still worked okay, but made a lot of noise while being played, which I suspect meant the disc was being ground further and would have died soon enough.
Another SMT for the beaten pile.
Yesterday night I beat Devil Survivor 2 and actually cheered - I wasn't sure I was going to pull it off until Hinako struck the killing blow against the final boss' last form. There have been many battles that were ridiculously close, and a couple that took several tries and team changes, but even with that in mind, he was something else. Not until I painstakingly recreated a demon team suggested by a FAQ, leveled some, tried a few times and leveled some more was I able to do it. What can I say - SMT feasts on your tears.
Or at least, when you're playing on a ten year old console.
The quote's John Lennon's, and he was very likely not referring to video games. But in my case, I'm near nine hours into Xenosaga - enjoying it far more than I did Xenogears and eager to get at it and its sequels - when my PS2 decided to stop reading it. Could be the disc - doesn't look damaged but I know from experience that doesn't have to mean anything - or could be the console, which I bought in 2005, used for hundreds and possibly thousands of hours, and has already failed me before on Persona 4. Whatever it is, I can't continue my game. It starts stuttering and then freezes during a specific cutscene, and skipping it is no help because it freezes in that case also.
I feel strangely liberated though.
Dutch comedian Harrie Jekkers complained in one of his shows that, through talking too quickly, he introduced two different stories and now has to pick what to tell about. (And immediately admits that this was quite intentional: "if I was ad libbing, things would get a whole lot more dirty.") Likewise I find myself with two review plans now: one that I picked up expecting Xenogears would take a while longer, and now that I DID end up beating that yesterday, we're up to two.
Of Xenogears and I
I've been playing Xenogears all year. I've clocked just close to 50 hours, but I started somewhere between Christmas and New Year, so I haven't exactly given it top priority. It's been my only console project though, in line with a promise I made. A little background: I was playing Persona 4 and having a good time until my PS2 stopped reading it. Wasn't the disc either, I bought myself another copy of it and it didn't work either. My console has no problems with other games (yet), but it's old, so who knows. At any rate, here I was 20 hours in and unable to continue.
Eventually what remains in the backlog is the tough ones.
I once came close to clearing the DS backlog, when the last remaining game was Rondo of Swords, and I failed to beat it. Annoyingly, where I stranded was at the final boss fight, and I just could not put him down with what I had or could grind up to. Wasn't about to do the entire game over, so just left it at that. Caught the ending (brief, unremarkable) on YouTube instead. Sold the game later, but what an unsatisfying way to clear the backlog that was.