Skip navigation

Category Archives: Plugs

I wouldn’t usually write about music. Tastes of that nature are far more subjective than with video games or movies. I can’t explain why a song with a repetitive chord structure and nonsensical lyrics like Lucky Man by The Verve is a favourite of mine.

But I wanted to make this recommendation to anyone who likes a good voice and some nice acoustic guitar. This might be your cup of tea – YouTube musician Mackenzie Johnston (or threexcaravans).

(Next week – back to games, I promise!)

Dashboard Confessional – ‘Where There’s Gold’ cover

Three more tunes below.

Read More »


Illness on my part means it’s just a plug this week. (Complete with an update once again accidentally going up and confusing any subscribers!)

Hardcore Gaming 101

The site essentially does retrospectives of older games and series’. It’s pretty interesting to learn about some of the more obscure and older games, and there’s a good chunk of nostalgia in there too.

It’s great for discovering little nuggets of information about old adventure games, what games could get away with back then or a lot of those cult series’ you’ve probably heard of, but never played.

For example, it’s pretty interesting to see that Dragon Quest did, in 1992, what Peter Molyneux has been trying to do for the past six years.

It also features an edited version of the Rise and Fall of Final Fantasy.

They’ve compiled a hefty library of games that I still haven’t finished looking through, even writing an article on good ol’ Jeremy Blaustein, the noted translator of Shadow Hearts and the original Metal Gear Solid.

So go and read!

Oh, god. What kind of searches will find ‘hardcore plug‘?!

It's THAT good.

I stole Stephen Colbert’s line because I am not as great as him. But you know what is? Sam & Fuzzy! They don’t even have to steal Stephen Colbert jokes!

It’s hilarious, it’s got plot twists, action, Ninja Mafiosos and more! Literally everything you could want from a webcomic!

It’s long though, and getting longer every few days. The writer/artist has done two more recent jumping off points for new readers – but don’t go there. Read it from the beginning. Suffer through the rough art of the very early comics and experience all the awesomeness that you shouldn’t miss.

I told you it was that good.

I would say it’s genuinely my favourite webcomic. I’d also say it’s tragically underrated and not popular enough and if you aren’t reading it, you’re part of the problem!

Stop being part of the problem and go READ IT! (From the beginning!)

Big game design post next Friday, but this week I just want to plug a series of articles called the Rise and Fall of Final Fantasy.

(don’t worry about the URL –  I can assure you that is not a fetish site)

It examines and reviews each of the Final Fantasy games. I disagree with the author, Pat, on a few things regarding difficulty, dungeons and battle systems. (OMG YOU GUYS MATERIA > ESPERS) But on the whole, he knows his stuff. It’s pretty informative, entertaining and is just plain right most of the time.

His explanation on how Final Fantasy VII is not overrated but is popular for the wrong reasons – is absolutely top notch.

Although he was far too kind to the intro of Final Fantasy XIII, I mainly wanted to show off this excerpt from his article article talking about ‘The Tube’:

“Here’s how it goes: you watch a cutscene, then take off down The Tube. You run through The Tube and fight monsters until you reach a point marked by an orange circle on your map. Most of the time the marker is superfluous, since The Tube generally follows a straight path. (Any deviation invariably leads to a dead end, a treasure chest sphere, and a group of monsters that must be defeated in order to open the chest sphere.) Then you watch a cutscene. Usually, these cutscenes say very, very little. It often seems as though the developers recorded the voice cast acting out a seven-minute conversation, then broke it up into several parts and and scattered them throughout The Tube. After the cutscene concludes, you continue on your way through The Tube towards the next cutscene marker, fighting inescapable two to five-minute battles against whichever monsters your character bumps into or gets jumped by. And then you watch another cutscene. And then you keep running through The Tube. And then you watch another cutscene. And then you keep running through The Tube.

And you do this for fifty hours.

The best part of The Tube is its wallpaper, which is very pretty. Square Enix spent millions of dollars designing The Tube’s wallpaper. It is very detailed and shiny, but it is only wallpaper. The Tube is a blank and sterile place. Aside from monsters, treasure chests spheres, and Save Points, virtually everything in the Tube might as well be painted on because it doesn’t do anything. There is occasionally a switch to activate an elevator or open a door, but that’s usually the full extent of The Tube’s interactivity. If you happen to pass by a human NPC that isn’t trying to kill you, you are almost always restricted to listening to him/her mumble something as you walk by. There are a handful of sections where you are allowed to press the “interact” button to solicit scraps of dialogue from NPCs and examine certain objects in your surroundings, but these are rare and wondrous things within The Tube. Most of the time, all of The Tube’s contents are beautiful, useless, hi-definition paper mache stage props.”

And you can’t argue with that. So go and read!

Pat said he’s giving up on the franchise after XIII, and I don’t blame him. But I hope he at least goes back and covers Final Fantasy Tactics.

It’s 1913 and World War is approaching.

You are on a train travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

You’re trying to rescue a girl you’ve never met.

Your arm was just cut off by monsters controlled by a sinister man in a top hat.

You’re here because you’re following the instructions of the voice in your head.

This is Shadow Hearts.

Gasp! That's a real place! And a real time!

I have had a frankly obsessive fascination with this game. I heard a lot about and finally one summer with a lot of time to kill – I watched the entire game on YouTube. Since then, I found a much better place to enjoy the game, and did so a second time.

The reason I find Shadow Hearts so interesting is because it is set in our world at an interesting point in our history, with our historical figures and our locales.

Yet, it’s still a madcap JRPG filled with magic, monsters and a lot of the usual tropes and clichés.

Summary – You need to read kethryveris’ Let’s Play Shadow Hearts: Because the Voice In My Head Told Me To

It’s a top quality Let’s Play. No ridiculous in-character prose, just funny and occasionally insightful commentary around well put together and clearly-presented screenshots and text. (it’d be perfect if there was a bit more consideration for referencing continuity – the reader might not remember that one guy from 50 updates ago) Extra credit to kethryveris because I robbed all these screenshots from that LP.

(If you’d like more reasons about why you should bother, or if you just want to look at some pretty pictures take a look below.)

Read More »