Monthly Archives: May 2012

Beyond Life and Games: Review of Xenogears

Many people from the Playstation 1 era would say that Final Fantasy 7 is their favorite RPG.  I certainly enjoyed it when I played but I no longer feel that way.  Although I didn’t play it when it first came out, Xenogears remains one of my favorite RPGs, from its psychological and philosophical themes, the actual timelessness of the relationship between Fei and Elly, and of course the giant mechs (or gears). Check out this review of the 1998 game.

Between Life and Games

The time has come for my first review. For such a special occasion, I have chosen one of my favourite games of all time, Xenogears. Before I start, it should be known that my rating scale is in the 0-10 range, with 5 being average. I also do not give high scores very easily – for instance, only about 25 games I’ve played have earned a score of 9 or more in my eyes.

Xenogears

Game: Xenogears
Developer: SquareSoft
Platforms: PlayStation; PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita (PSOne Classics)
Original release: 1998
Territories: Japan, North America

Xenogears is a science-fiction RPG by SquareSoft for PlayStation. The main writer and mastermind behind the game is Tetsuya Takahashi, who later also became known for the Xenosaga series and, more recently, Xenoblade Chronicles. The game is considerably long, even for an RPG, taking 60-80 hours to beat. It is a considerable investment of time.

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Is that you, Aquaman?

Is that you, Aquaman?

I guess I’m not the only one who finds Aquaman drowning to be absurd.  This is relevant to my interests.

The Rains of Castamere? Yes!

“And who are you, the proud lord said, that I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat, that’s all the truth I know.
In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours.
And so he spoke, and so he spoke, that lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o’er his hall, with no one there to hear.
Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall, and not a soul to hear.”

~The Rains of Castamere, A Storm of Swords

When I saw the track listing for the Game of Thrones Season 2 Soundtrack I was thrilled that “The Rains of Castamere,” performed by The National, was included.  I didn’t expect to hear an official version of the song so soon.  Then I listened to it.

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Interested in some TableTop?

I admit Settlers of Catan isn’t one of my favorite games but the group I play with enjoy it.  In my gaming group it always seems to come down to whomever gets the most sheep, and when said group revels in immaturity, well… I feel sorry for those poor grazing herbivores.  As I’ve written in my Settlers of Catan game session: “In the Game of Catan you either have the largest civilization or you lay with sheep. There is no middle ground.”  That said, it was extremely fun watching Wil Wheaton and his friends play it in Episode 2 of his series.

Despite the number of times a 7 was rolled and resources were stolen, I was surprised that no one ever had more than seven cards when the robber showed up.  I was really looking forward to players’ reactions when they would be forced to lose half their hand.

In Episode 4 they played was Ticket to Ride, another game that I don’t mind but isn’t a favorite, but that could be because when I lose it’s by a small margin.  With the right people it can be loads of fun though.

It was another great video, and I burst out laughing when that horrific thing happens at the end of the game before the final points can be tallied.  I can’t count the number of times that has been threatened in my group.

I’m definitely looking forward to more episodes of TableTop which are released on the Geek & Sundry YouTube Channel twice a month on Fridays.

How do you make Dune a great movie?

For anyone who has seen David Lynch’s 1984 movie or seen SciFi’s two miniseries you know how difficult it is and would be to make new Dune movie, especially a faithful adaptation celebrated by both fans and casual viewers alike.  Who doesn’t want to see the mighty and terrifying sandworms, the “weirding way” of the Bene Gesserit witches, or Herbert’s inversion of the classic hero’s journey?

Here’s a good article on the difficulties on making Dune into the great movie it deserves.

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