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Cirt's blog about whatever

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Hey folks, thought I'd give another go at writing some more blogs on my non-Internet life. That sounds like I'm about to tell you about where my life's been in the past 6+ months, but that's a long story for another day and another time. To be honest, I was rereading my review on Super Mario Galaxy 2, and was inspired to write again on more vidya. I feel like I wrote a decent review and (some) of you enjoyed it, so here goes.

As I mentioned in the "What Game Are You Playing Currently?" thread, I just purchased the Metroid Prime Trilogy from my local GameStop the other day. Considering it's three full-length games, I wasn't too worried about the price tag of $50. Additionally, because I am planning on playing all three of them in succession while I finish up summer classes, I have deemed this the summer of Metroid.

Like I did before with SMG/SMG2, I'm gonna go into some background with my experiences with the Metroid series. Which, considering my fondness for the character of Samus Aran, is surprisingly little. I think I'll also go into some gender stuff too - what it means for me, personally, to be a female playing a kickass female character - but not overly so. But, I think you guys will find it interesting at least.

My first Metroid game was on the GameBoy Color, Metroid Fusion. I've actually never completed this game, though I do remember enjoying it when I was younger. It is a sidescroller, as all classic Metroid games are, and I remember not really understanding how to use the map to my advantage to beat the game. Obviously, this is an obstacle that one overcomes with maturity, and I'm sure I'd have no problem going back now and finishing it. However, I remember loving the different suits that Samus would upgrade to, and this is something I'm even fangirling about in Prime. Why? Because I like the swag. It means I'm a badass. You don't want to know how much time I've spent changing different skins in Borderlands 2.

Before I even played Fusion, though, I had my experience with Super Smash Bros, where of course, Samus was one of the original 8 smashers. Yes, this is where I'm gonna get into the whole girl thing. Because I didn't know, when I was a kid, that Samus was a gal. So you can imagine my surprise when I was going through that random character bio portion of SSB one day, and I see that the game refers to her as a "she." And that was it. This character, although her jump kind of sucks and she's sluggish as hell, is super cool. Don't get me wrong, though. Kirby was my main in SSB and will forever be.

So let's talk about the girl gamer thing, because it's inevitable at this point and I've already talked about with some of you guys at different points, on IRC, skype, whatever. I'll go ahead and put out the idea that if you'd ever met me in real life, after talking to me for a few minutes, you might get that I'm a bit of a geek but not a gamer, per se. We all know the girl gamer stereotype. I do not match this description physically, whether you're thinking about girls who dress in nerdy t-shirts or the gamer grills on Twitch. I used to be subscribed to the r/girlgamers subreddit, but those girls are so entitled while being simultaneously offended that I seriously could not handle it. Like, games are not worth getting so caught up over, unless it's a huge freakin' deal to your identity. You guys know me, and you know that I am a generally positive, chill person. I could be one of those gamer grrrls and I could embrace that stereotype, with all its prejudice and negative connotations, but I really don't want to because I have more interests than that. The problem is, with the stereotype, is that female gamers are polarized. They're either extremely into it and viewed as, I don't know, unlikeable? Unattractive? Awkward? Or they're airheads "pretending" to fit in. So when it comes down to me, someone who's kind of in the middle, I don't get the credit for being genuinely knowledgeable and skilled, while being treated like an airhead (even if jokingly). I don't think I can ever play online with a headset, or even broadcast my playing out of ridicule. To be honest, it sucks sometimes, because even after four years at college, I have yet to meet someone else that is like me. This is how I feel, and I'm not looking to argue with anyone on the point. It's just how it is for me.

Back to Metroid, you can see why I think Samus is a pretty cool chick. She was a badass before she was ever put in a categorical gender, which is something that nobody gets, ever. For the record, that one Metroid game that didn't come out in 2010 doesn't exist. But other than just being female, this is why she's top ten in my book.

I'm a person that appreciates and admires physical prowess. Samus wear this Power Suit, right, in all its varieties. Has anyone else ever actually looked at this thing? Because I gloss over it all the time. This thing is a work of art. It makes her look athletic (Those shoulders?!) strong, not to be puppyed with. As well as her helmet, which stares into your soul. Again, I'm fangirling, if it's not obvious.

She's a bounty hunter. Please, insert "independent female character" trope here. While I (admittedly) buy into the whole "puppy yeah, independent women!" thing, that's not really the reason why the bounty hunter thing is likable. Being a bounty hunter allows Samus to be a silent protagonist (2010 Samus doesn't exist, remember). She's the Link of the Metroid world. Silent, deadly, and curious. And that's something I'm coming to terms with in Prime.

Prime...is a difficult game, but a beautiful one. I am often surprised that it is a 12 year old game, because it works so fluidly (though I guess perhaps the port to the Wii in 2009 helped a bit). The Tallon IV world is haunting and silent, for the most part. Though the game does offer music, it is merely repetitive and ambient, which is appropriate for an exploration game. I wouldn't want something like music to overpower the experience. The game is also strangely lonely; I forget that as a bounty hunter, Samus rarely has allies. Another thing that adds to the solitude is the storytelling device, which is mainly scanning and very short cutscenes with no dialogue. The scanning tells of the Chozo who once lived in Tallon IV, and the logs of the Space Pirates. While I admire the effort that the writers put into both types of dialogue, the Space Pirate logs tend to be very technically termed, with a lot of jargon that I tend to glaze over. But it's always fun to see the Pirates refer to Samus as "the Hunter" and acknowledge their inferior technology to hers. Gosh, I love space stuff. Sci fi is so great.

I honestly was not expecting so much backtracking and lack of direction in a game. I mentioned this is in the thread, but I suppose I've been playing linear games for so long, that finding my way around this mammoth of an overworld is confusing and time consuming. I don't want to know how many times I've made unnecessary loops in the Magmoor Caverns to the Phendrana Drifts. But the exploring is enjoyable for me, as are the puzzles. One thing I don't like, however, is how easily the enemies respawn. Like, holy shit. Can we please just chill out a bit. Though I am getting closer to the end of the game, I'm pretty sick of fighting Space Pirates, with the puppying thermal visor on. That shit is cray.

I am enjoying it so far, and I'm glad it's a lot different than I was expecting it to be. I have played a bit of Corruption (Prime 3) back in the dat, but I know virtually nothing of Prime 2: Echoes, so I'm excited to see where the trilogy is going. But first, gotta finish the rest of this game and get good at the wonky controls.

Might come back and edit this later to add more thoughts, like when I'm at the end of the game. Or even when I've played some of the other two. But, this is it for now. Hope you enjoyed the read.

So more or less spontaneously I decided that I owed myself a purchase of a video game, so I ordered one that I'd been itching to buy probably since the time of its release in 2010. Really what prompted me to make the purchase was my boyfriend making me realize that the last game I bought was SSBB, and that was jointly with my brother back in...what, 2009 when it came out? Then, as I thought harder about it, I honestly don't know the last game I've purchased alone, since new games are a rare thing for me and they've always been gifts. I also like borrowing games, and I'm not a scummy friend that keeps them forever. Anyway, this game, Super Mario Galaxy 2, was kind of a rare thing for me to find someone to borrow from since I don't know many people here in college that have Wiis...well, about none actually.

I guess I'll preface it with the difficulty I faced in finding this game. A few months ago, while I was either in Target or Walmart (could have possibly been late last year), I was shopping for whatever reason and decided to see if the price of this game had dropped since it was a few years old now. The answer was no. It is still a $50 game, new, and I suppose that's due to the positive ratings it has garnered. Used, I could probably find a little less (like at GameStop) but still quite an expensive game, when you think that Super Mario Galaxy (1) can be found for $20 and it was fantastic and is even like, a collector's edition or whatever. When I finally made the decision that I was going to purchase SMG2, it was no longer in stores like Walmart or Target. I ended up going to Amazon and buying it for a little less than $40 for a very good quality used game. Given the prior information, I think I actually made a smart move here.

Now I'm gong to gush why I love Super Mario Galaxy.

In all honesty, I 100%'d the first game just last year - After being stuck at 116 stars for about 4 years, I got all 120 stars, with ones like "Luigi's Purple Coins" taking me probably about 60-70 tries, Melty Molten Galaxy's Daredevil Run taking me possibly even more tries to get...while there are a lot of easy parts of this game (some would complain too easy, while I'm a mediocre skilled player) there were certainly some stars that made me want to scream (which I did) and rip my hair out (which I did not). The satisfaction of earning each one, though, in a nostalgic SM64 manner, is what really me drew in though. Then I found out that after earning 120, you could use Luigi to earn 240, and I snorted and shut off the Wii and went on with my life. Yeah, puppy that.

It's a pretty game. It's a very bright game. While a game like Skyward Sword could also fall under that category, SS tries to make a play on a different art style, with its impressionistic backdrops and whatever. SMG (and SMG2, to some degree) feels like an updated SM64. Mario is not a blocky polygon. Stars are not yellow, but truly golden and shiny like you wanted them to be. It's "glowy" too - there are several instances of "cosmic" influences showing through. It's definitely Mario in space.

Mario in space to the extent of really playing with some game physics. I mean, the gravity in these games is unbelievable sometimes. You can find a small planet, do a long jump, and make 2-3 orbits around the planet before it finally pulls you back in. You can even orbit around, get caught in the gravity of another planet, and start orbiting that one, then return to the original planet. I probably spent 20 minutes laughing at this (might have been drunk and found it extremely amusing) on the first level on SMG2. It is seriously a lot of fun.

I could gush about the music for probably a really long time, but I'll leave it at this. This soundtrack (other than the Zelda series) is probably the most memorable for me. It is also puppying orchestrated and it's brilliant, legendary, and really plays on your heart strings. It's nostalgic and just wonderful. Even SMG2 somehow managed to BUILD upon some of the tracks from SMG, like made them better. I don't know how. But it is fantastic and I am going to shamelessly download all of it.

I'm going to point out some things that I did and did not like about SMG2. Or maybe some contrasting things that I had hoped would be better.

SMG2 has a lot of puppying Galaxies. If you're not familiar, they use this word kind of weirdly - I feel like it should be Planets<Worlds/Solar Systems lol<Galaxies. But instead it's Planets<Galaxies<Worlds. While SMG used different parts of the Comet Observatory to access different galaxies (and made it rewarding when you "restored power" to them, very much resembling the Castle in SM64), SMG2 visually looks like a Super Mario game with the "World Map." So SMG2 has 7 "Worlds", each with about 7 Galaxies. I thought this was okay. It did make returning to past Worlds easier, but it also made the Galaxies so much more...meh. Like they all started blending together because of how indistinct they were.

You even start typing a word a lot and it starts looking weird to you? That's what's happening to "galaxy" right now lol.

Anyway, my main point with the Galaxy thing - that there being a lot of them in SMG2 - meant that there are less stars to disperse among the Galaxies. Therefore, by logic, less of the Galaxy needs to be explored, and so the Galaxies are smaller. They're less of the mini-universes that you step into. Maybe one, two regular stars, a comet star, and you're done. Or maybe a hidden star, if you're lucky. I personally enjoyed having to find 5-7 stars in each Galaxy in SMG, and suddenly to be cut short like that...I don't know. I recognized and appreciated each Galaxy more in SMG because I saw a lot of it. SMG2, I knocked out 50-60 stars in one day and I don't really remember the process of me getting there. It went by too quickly.

SMG2 does have redeeming qualities, though. For one, motherpuppying Yoshi being around on some levels. Luigi as well from the get-go, and eventually unlockable at the end of the game. There are some cute-as-shit characters in the game too - Jibberjays, adorable and excitable parrots; pink Bob-omb Buddies from SM64; and Whittles, cute wooden things that make very primitive but amusing statements. The new powerups are also surprisingly not half-assed - Cloud Mario is very fun, while Rock Mario can get a little irritating. I kind of missed Ice Mario (making ice platforms by jumping on water spouts was a super creative idea in the last game) and Flying Mario, but that's probably just more SM64 nostalgia talking. Speaking of which, my discovery of Throwback Galaxy (basically an updated Whomp's Fortress from SM64) got me so excited I spent quite some time examining every inch of the level.

Furthermore, the utility of Coins - instead of Star Bits taking the role of the main currency, Coins are used for Luma-transforming instead of a "high score" for an individual star that no one cares about. Comet Medals are also a neat idea - in the previous game, Comet stars only appeared after the arrival of the Comet Luma, but now Comets will appear given if you find and collect and complete a Galaxy's star with the Comet Medal. Some of them are tricky to find and collect and it is very easy to go through a level normally without even seeing it.

From what I've seen so far, and I'm at 104/120 stars for the moment, the Comet stars aren't nearly as difficult as the previous game. For example, there have been several instances where you need the 100 Purple Coins - but not every single one, as there are 110 total. It gives the player a little slack on those more unforgivable circumstances. Even the fact that the Co-Star Luma (aka Player 2) can pick up Purple Coins makes the Comet Stars significantly easier. Then again, I haven't raged over this game's version of Luigi's Purple Coins, so we'll see how I feel in a week.

Since this review is getting kind of long lol, I'll sum it up a bit. SMG2 is sort of like the Majora's Mask to Ocarina of Time. Same game engine, sort of the same goal, but quite different on a lot of things. I've been enjoying myself so far and from what it looks like, I might be getting the 242 stars in this game (since it seems like part 2 isn't entirely a repeat of the first half). SMG/SMG2 are really really great games, if you're truly a Nintendo fan at heart - so much so that I don't think I can enjoy a sidescrolling Mario game again because it's not 3D. Not to say those game aren't good, but one you get used to the liberty of exploration of these games, it's hard to go back to that. I'm happy to say that SMG2 surprised me in ways that I wasn't expecting, and I'm glad it didn't turn out to be an extended version of its predecessor.

Um hey. So last entry, I was high on Vyvanse and getting ready for the end of my semester. Well, yesterday was my last exam, and it's summer already! That finals week was barely anything, it felt like. Now I have hardly anything until mid-August. I'll take it.

More or less spontaneously, one of my roommates invited me to roadtrip with her and one of her friends next week up to Colorado. We are stopping in St. Louis for a night to go to a baseball game (?) and see the arch, and then we are camping about 40 minutes outside of the city. Then we're driving up to Colorado and staying with one of my other roommate's older sister, who lives out in Boulder. In Colorado (which it may be snowing, lol shit) we'll be hiking and finding stuff to do. On the way back, we're stopping in Tennessee. In total it should be a 10 day trip, so I'm excited. This is the longest drive I'll have made since my family moved my sister out to Texas ten years ago. About 1500 miles (~2400 km, UK folks) there, and then 1500 back. Should be a good time, right?

Anyway, other than that, I've been playing Pokémon Heartgold and I've really enjoyed it a lot. I didn't know what to think of second gen (I really don't think I'll actually play Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald or Diamond/Pearl/Platinum ever) so it's been really cool. My team for the time being is: Quilava (starter), Ampharos, Quagsire lol, Murkrow (a puppying bitch and a half to capture), and Eevee, who I plan to evolve into Espeon. I was getting along just fine with Quilava, Ampharos and Quagsire, but the lack of a flying pokemon was becoming a little tolling without the use of Fly. Also have you guys played the game corner game in this game? The sudoku/minesweeper game? So puppying addicting. I'm trying to get 10k coins for Thunderbolt and it's taking a while, but at least it's not slots or buying a bunch of coins. I feel like I actually earn the coins, you know? It's a cool idea.

That's it for now, I probably won't update for a few weeks after the trip (in which I hope nothing bad happens) and I won't be gaming too much. :>

Oh man, I just realized how much more I can make my chair comfortable by adding one of the extra pillows from my bed. Yes, this is good. I am in a good place to write.

So about two hours ago (puppy, it's already been two hours) I took about 30mg of Vyvanse, aka an alternative to adderall. I am chill right now. Like very focused, but I am really feeling good. Happy, even, and I know that I have work to do. I thought I would blog it up so I could get into the writing mood before I get into doing my schoolwork. I am essentially LL in the Boston thread lol.

But this is a different high than what I was expecting. While I've taken a large number of 5 hour energies in my life, they haven't given my the focus that I'm experiencing right now. 5 hour energy is a caffeine rush. This is like, alternative, executive thinking. I won't rant into it too much longer because I know how that gets irritating.

It's the end of the semester for me, and I have two more days of class - tomorrow and Monday. It's nice because for once, I'm not particularly stressed (yet) about my finals. I have a short paper that I need to finish up for tomorrow and a large research project (almost like a weird annotated bibliography) due Monday night. I can definitely do it, you know? This whole week has been finishing up projects and whatever. I've been accomplishing things and relaxing and even working out. Yeah. Good vibes.

This week I haven't been playing too much Roller Coaster Tycoon. Actually, I've been spending my evenings watching streams on Twitch, particularly Trihex, a Super Mario World 2 (Yoshi's Island) streamer. He is godlike at that game. Like takes times to warm up his fingers before he streams. It is unreal. I love that game too, so when he's completing it 100% in under three hours (yeah 100/100 on every single level and bonus levels) it kind of blows my mind, a lot. Great game though.

Last night I played Skyward Sword after putting off Eldin Volcano for a few days. Maybe it's my dislike of the physical region (it is admittedly a little mazelike to me) but I forgot how short it was. Like, after you get into the actual Earth Temple, there's one main puzzle and you're at the boss. Such a contrast to the Sky Temple, which was a legitimately lengthy dungeon. I was pleased with how quickly I remembered what to do in the Eldin region so quickly. Of course, now I'm in Lanayru and I am dealing with the puppying quicksand, but it'll be okay when I get to the Temple of Time. I think that's what it is. I get my location lore mixed up between SS and TP, especially since I played TP last.

Lastly, I am considering picking up Pokemon Heartgold. I never played generation 2 (save for a few feeble attempts on the puppying online playr.org emulator that puppyed up my really good Seasons file) and after watching another streamer, werster, try to do some speedruns of gold last night and the night before, I'm really excited to give it a try. Unfortunately, the cartridge I was going to use currently has a bunch of Cole's good pokemon and a 137 hour file that his roommate has. Like shit, I can't just throw that away. Like a level 100 metagross and some other shit in there. We tried to transfer the pokemon wirelessly to my firered game, but firered is a GBA game so that didn't work. Cole is considering Black or White 2 just so we can transfer it, plus Black/White are pretty good games. I enjoyed them, anyway. We'll see how X and Y come out too, eh?

And then there's the question of buying SMG2. I'm still deciding on it. Like I know I will love it. I just am trying not to spend too much money on things that I don't need right now. Like I need a new watch because my broke a few weeks ago and I'm going nuts because I depend on that thing all the time, literally time. It's a $40 watch. About the same price as the game. Meh.

So this summer is coming up soon, and I'm pretty excited. I will be getting in my gaming fill, as well as have time to train for triathlons like I have been and just be outside a lot. I'm also working some, as a tutor, and hopefully I'll get enough hours so I will be able to save a lot before I graduate next year. I'm ready for vacation, really. I'm burned out from school and next year with student teaching (I'm an education major) will be my most demanding year yet. So I might as well enjoy it while I can.

Anyway, that's my update with a little personal touch to it. Can I just say I've never typed so fast in my life? This Vyvanse stuff is ridiculous.

Hey ya'll. So I haven't been up to much as of these past few days, however, I spent a whopping 7 hours playing the first Roller Coaster Tycoon (think windows 98) on Cole's laptop today. Yeah. I can take a break from that game for a little while, even though I would like to get through all the scenarios.

Cole's laptop has a lot more power than my shitty 2009 macbook does, and can even run Roller Coaster Tycoon (1) on it, although it did take a lot of work making it compatible. His pc is also capable of streaming, so today I set up Xsplit and streamed some RCT for about an hour on Twitch. Some people that I know on Twitch were nice enough to drop by and say hay, and Necropolis even came to watch for a bit. So shout out to him. :>

Anyway, with that in mind, I plan on streaming more often now when I do have access to Cole's computer lol. If he lets me mooch of of him that much, you know. You guys should come hang out: http://www.twitch.tv/kelpsey

And that's it for now. I started a Skyward Sword file last night but ended up losing a good 40 minutes of the file due to my wii shutting off and other dumb things. Oh well. I'll get back to that once I'm done being frustrated with it lol.

4/11/2013

By Cirt,

Well, here goes nothing. I was looking at everyone else's blogs and thought they put like, oh, 400x more effort than I would ever put into my first post. But anyway. I do think this is a cool idea, since I've been meaning to be a little more thorough with what I do here around the forums, and with gaming in general, and so picking the most self-absorbed way to do it would clearly be the easiest method.

I picked "prime time of your life" as my blog title because I'm listening to daft punk (Alive 2007 ofc) and that was the song that was on. I'll get around to changing that later, if I can.

Today I got LL's old 3DS in the mail today, which Cole and I jointly paid for. I am like 95% sure everyone has heard of Cole, but he is my boyfriend of some time now, like over a year and some months. He's a cool guy and knows I'm involved with this site and if you're lucky you might see him on IRC some time. It's rare. He's alright.

But, back to the 3DS. Reeeeally puppying cool system. I am really glad we got it. I got on the internet with it (though it loads slow as shite) and was like, wow. This is it, this is the future. I had that feeling of when I held my indigo GameBoy color in like 1998 and thinking that it was the coolest thing.

LL was cool enough to let me borrow PM: Sticker Star, so I spent a while playing that. It's a cute game, because all Paper Marios are cute to some degree. Except where the hell are my badges and leveling system? I was kind of bummed out on that, and as LL phrased it, "stressed out" by finding stickers just to battle. It seems a little constricting to rely solely on the stickers, and while I do think it is a cool concept, the game is also a lot trickier and requires poking and prodding a lot more. I also miss having a party, and this uh, Kersti character is a bit too intense for me. I am mixed on the game at the moment, but I am also on world 1-6 so we'll see.

Anyway, I'm hoping I will give this blog a little more attention, since my tumblr has come to a near standstill and I miss doing some writing and reflecting. I think I'll mainly cover what I've been up to recently, probably music-wise and gaming-wise, since my daily life isn't much more than exercising, college, work, and eating. lol. Props to Tappy for giving us this cool new site feature.