Happy Lunar New Year!

2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey. What does this mean for us? Not a damned thing, but it’s fun to have yet another reason to celebrate! That reminds me… I need to find me some gau.

ANYWAY, there was a lot going on this weekend. Lunar New Year events and celebrations were in full swing here in addition to the Punahou Carnival and Superbowl Sunday. And don’t forget! Tomorrow is Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday! Of course, if you look at what I did over the weekend, you’d never realize that anything was going on… I was happily playing games in my cave/house and mostly ignoring the outside world.

Every Friday after work, we go wine tasting at a local wine store. We picked up a bottle of Sinister Hand. I forgot to take a picture, so here’s my friend’s Instagram post:

As a gamer, I HAD to buy the wine that had a severed hand on it! I mean, come on! (Don’t worry, I wouldn’t have bought it if it didn’t also taste damned good.) It’s a red wine blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. (This combination is often referred to as a GSM.) The label has a cool story, too. Apparently, the family who makes this wine was involved in a feud with another family over some land, so they had a rowing contest. Who ever touched the land first would own the land. The family that now owns it was losing, so he CUT OFF HIS OWN HAND and hurled it to shore, thus touching the land first. The family still owns the land to this day, apparently. I always wonder about stories like this. How much is true and how much is embellished? It doesn’t honestly matter, though. Who doesn’t love a good story? That’s why I play video games, after all…

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After wine tasting, we picked up a friend and headed over to board game night. We played Dixit for the first time. I was enjoying it, but I was starting to get a headache which was making me nauseous, so the abstract and creative thinking got to be too much for me. I felt bad, but we ended up leaving after one game. I love game nights. I went home, took a migraine pill, played one mission in Final Fantasy Explorers with my husband and zonked out super early. I guess my busy week caught up to me…

On Saturday, I was a good girl and did all our taxes. (I really need to teach my son how to do his own taxes…) As a reward for a job well done, I treated myself to an enameled cast iron cooking pot. Then we did our grocery shopping for the week. FINALLY, after dinner I got to play games! Sometimes I hate being a grownup, but then I remember that it’s because I’m a grownup that I can play whatever I want. So yeah, it’s all good.

Aside from Final Fantasy XIV, my current focus is on The Talos Principle. It’s a philosophical first person puzzle game. It’s made by Croteam, the developers of the Serious Sam games, which is kinda weird. I started playing this game the day my son left to go back to college. We played together, passing the controller back and forth, trying to figure out the puzzles. We played until we absolutely HAD to leave for the airport. And then on the way home, I got a text from him that said, “If I knew going through TSA was going to be so fast, I would have done a few more puzzles haha.” He loved it so much that he bought it as soon as he got back to school so he could play it himself. His roommates are all engineering students, so they had a blast playing it. When I spoke to him on the phone last night, he said, “Mom, make sure you let me know when you beat the game. Actually, I KNOW you’ll let me know because it’s one of those games you want to talk about when you’re done.”

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You play as a robot and there is a God-like voice telling you about overcoming trials and having faith in order to have eternal life. He also says not to climb the tower because only death awaits you there. I wonder what would happen if you totally skip the tower. I wonder if you can finish the game. Hmm. The world you’re in is obviously a computer simulation, so “God” is probably also a computer, too. (I don’t know. I haven’t beaten the game yet.) There is another person you talk to through computer terminals and he asks some pretty tough questions. “What does it mean to be a person?” “Are you a person?” “How do you KNOW if you’re a person?” Existential philosophical questions. I love stuff like that. Philosophy was always one of my favorite subjects in college.

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As you solve puzzles, you unlock more tools to solve harder puzzles. By completing puzzles, you figure out new ways to use the tools you have, which is crucial when you start working on the hardest puzzles in the game. You need to remember all the tricks from before to move forward. There are 3 worlds: A, B, and C. I’ve completely finished A, including the star levels. I’ve finished all of B except the star levels because I haven’t found enough stars to unlock that yet. So I’m currently working on world C. I also climb the tower whenever I unlock a new floor.

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The game is beautiful. The soundtrack is soothing and the ambient noises from the environments make you feel like you’re in a virtual reality simulator or something. The environment even has visual and auditory glitches to remind you of where you are. I’m hoping to finish it this week. I should be able to unless the puzzles really stump me. Sometimes I have to give up and go back to them later. Thankfully, it’s pretty non-linear and you can work on whatever puzzles you want.

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(Side note: I figured out how to get HD screenshots from my PS4! Woot!)

On Sunday, my husband watched the Superbowl on the XBOX One. That poor console hasn’t seen any action in MONTHS… While he did that, I had noise canceling headphones on while playing Final Fantasy XIV. I capped my gatherer’s red scrips and started working on making the collectibles for my crafter’s red scrips and ran a level 50 roulette with my niece to get some experience on dragoon. Once the football game was over, a bunch of us did the first part of Alexander normal because one of our FC members finally hit 60 and got his gear score high enough. /cheer Then we ran Derp Ark, I mean Void Ark. We wiped on the tentacle boss twice, but aside from that, it was pretty smooth. I’ve certainly experienced worse. I played more Talos Principle until bedtime. 🙂

Today in Game/Nerd News:

I haven’t bought a Japanese game in a long time since most things eventually come out here and in English. But I can pretty much guarantee that this will never hit US shores. I love Kamen Rider and I love the Dynasty Warriors style of gameplay. This is releasing in Japan on February 25th. It’s a celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Kamen Rider series. I NEED THIS. This video features the Riders from the shows between 2006 and 2009, but the game is supposed to have them all, or close to it, anyway. Looks like I can get the special edition for about $100 and the regular one for $60… I’m REALLY TEMPTED.

Opening Cinematic for Dark Souls III! I have the collector’s edition on preorder. Can’t wait for this game!

Someone did an Amnesia: The Dark Decent/Frozen mashup. I still haven’t played this game. I STARTED it, but I haven’t even seen the monster yet. I get scared and then turn off the game. I really want to play this because I love horror stories, but I have a hard time with movies and games. I can read horror books, though. I’ll do it eventually. Maybe I’ll stream it on Twitch and then people can laugh at me. Seriously, I’m the biggest chicken EVER. This video series is pretty awesome, though.

Tonight on Twitch:

I’m hoping to stream more of The Talos Principle. I have roulettes and stuff to do in Final Fantasy XIV, but I might try to get those done early so I can just focus on brain-bending puzzles and philosophical questions… Come by and say hi!

  • h4tsum1
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