The Year (So Far) In Games

A bunch of sites have been putting up “Best Games of the Half-Year” posts this week, and I was tempted to follow suit, but after looking at my Games Played spreadsheet I found myself wondering how I could spin Wolfenstein: The New Order and South Park: The Stick of Truth into 800 words; it’s just not happening.  Those are two surprisingly terrific games, and they’ll most likely end up in my year-end list, and you should play them if you haven’t already.  Beyond that, it’s a bit of a reach.

I don’t know if it’s fair to call the first half of 2014 a disappointment; I expected this transition period between last-gen and current-gen to be a little weird and underwhelming.  That being said, a lot of the year’s biggest-hyped games fell relatively flat for me.  I was certainly impressed with the tech in Infamous: Second Son, but I hardly gave it a second thought after easily getting to 100% completion.  Similarly, there are certainly quite a few things to like about Watch Dogs, but if I think about that game for more than 5 seconds I get irrationally angry.  And Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is what it is, I guess, though I haven’t felt compelled to pick it back up since I finished it the first time.

I could continue on in this vein – there’s plenty of bummers on my Games Played spreadsheet (*cough* Thief *cough* Mario Golf World Tour *cough*) – but I’d prefer to keep the rest of this somewhat positive.

Jazzpunk!  That’s a spicy meatball if there ever was one.

I enjoyed playing Tomb Raider again on the PS4 and my HDTV, although I suppose its retail success is partially to blame for the HD double-dips that are in our immediate future as we wait for the real next-gen stuff to appear, i.e.The Last of UsGTA VDiablo III, to name a few off the top of my head.  And I’m planning on at least renting all of those games, too, so I suppose I’m partially to blame as well.

Speaking of Diablo III, I suppose I should heap a little bit of praise on its Reaper of Souls DLC and the additional patching that game’s received in the year since I last turned it on; the DLC managed to suck another dozen hours of my life after I’d sworn I was finished with it forever, and the daily missions and objectives are an intriguing carrot that I still consider chasing after.

I really enjoyed Bravely Default right up until I realized that I was going to have to play the entire game a second time; and then I read some walkthroughs that revealed that I’d actually have to play the whole thing 3-4 times before getting to the final ending.  This will not do.

What else, what else… I’ve not yet had that much time to actually play anything in depth on my PS Vita, and yet I keep downloading free games on it.  I’m very happy to finally own it, though.  The port of Fez is great – I just love having it in portable form – and Luftrausers is excellent and I need to get back to it, and Olli Olli hurts my brain but is also really good.

I was also going to include my favorite bits of gaming journalism and criticism, but it’s a gigantic list so far, and it’s also full of rather depressing stories of how toxic this industry is.  Still, if you’d like to check it out, I’ve made it publicly available as a Google Doc.

This weekend I’ll be away with the family, so I’m not sure what gaming there’ll be.  I’m currently playing A Story About My Uncle, which is both exhilarating and frustrating, sometimes simultaneously; I’d like to try and finish it tonight, since I’m not taking my PC with me.  I picked up Civ Rev 2 for my iPhone this morning; it’s not quite as graphically interesting as the 360 version from a few years back, but it’s leaps and bounds better-looking than the previous iOS version, and the touch controls are a lot more intuitive.  I’m still way over my head most of the time, but such is life.  And I guess I’ll bring the Vita along, too, and maybe keep plugging away at Tearaway and also perhaps one of the 6 Final Fantasy games I’ve got on there.  (The voting was inconclusive.  I might go with 8 or 9, since I’ve never touched those before.)

Have a happy and safe 4th, everyone.

On Political Agendas and Bad Stomachs

[Note:  This post may get a bit rambly.  I’m on some new medications and they make me a little drowsy/loopy.]

From my friend Caro’s Tumblr:

An example of obliviousness: on a recent piece I wrote for work in which I praised a game for the monumental act of simply portraying a relationship between women who aren’t presented as sex objects and who matter as individuals, in and of themselves and because of what they mean to each other and not just in relation to a male figure, one commenter said that games should be something we do to escape from such political agendas.

The subtle irony here is that the act of being willfully ignorant and keeping one’s mind closed is also an agenda, whether that person wants to admit it or not.  I haven’t actually played the Last of Us DLC that Caro is referencing, but my understanding of it is simply what Caro says it is – the player isn’t beaten over the head with this relationship, it simply is, and it’s entirely possible that the commenter might not even have noticed it until it was pointed out to them.  Or, alternately, now that it has been pointed out, the   commenter will refuse to play it on some bizarre “principle”, and thus a new cycle of willful ignorance will begin.

Moreover, the idea that games shouldn’t be about anything beyond shooting things is profoundly sad to me.  Frankly, one of the reasons why I’ve been sour on games lately is precisely because of the amount of virtual murder I have to commit in order to have the story play out.  I like to rag on Uncharted, another of Naughty Dog’s franchises, specifically because of all the murder I have to commit; and yet in Bravely Default, I’ve probably killed at least twice as many monsters as I did in Uncharted 3 and I’m only a third of the way through it.

TANGENT:  Speaking of which, I’ve more or less given up on Bravely Default.  I can’t remember if I mentioned that or not, but whatever.  My worst fear did in fact come to light; after clearing the map and awakening all 4 crystals, an unexplained event “reset” the game world and now I have to do the whole goddamned thing again, and I really don’t care to anymore.  I had fun enough the first time around, but I’ve got better things to do than retrace my footsteps.

TANGENT:  And speaking of giving up on things, I sent back Thief this morning, after finishing the insane asylum mission last night.  Insane asylums are as obvious a trope as anything in videogames, but it’s doubly bizarre here because for the first 90% of the mission, you’re the only person in the building.  The game actually does create a palpable atmosphere of dread, except there’s nothing chasing you, and nobody’s looking for you, and so the tension eventually fades.  But then, at the end, the game pulls a series of left turns that render the narrative – which was already pretty obscure at this point – completely incoherent and dumb.  And then, also, I picked up a series of thirteen (13!) side jobs, literally all at the same time, which says about as much as one can say about the game’s sense of pacing.

Getting back to the topic of agendas:  as a straight white male, most games are written with me as their targeted audience (or someone like me, but much younger).  Except:  I have certain anxieties and physical setbacks that are hardly ever shown in games, or movies, or books.  Remember at the top of this post, where I said I was on some new medications?  Right, well:  I don’t talk about this much, for reasons that will soon become obvious, but I’ve been suffering from IBS for the last 14 years or so.  In recent years I’ve taken great strides at getting better – I’ve made radical changes to my diet, I’m on a custom-designed (and very expensive) vitamin supplement regimen, I’ve started going to therapy, I’ve started taking anti-anxiety medication (and that took a lot of convincing, too).  And now I’m taking new medication specifically for my GI tract, and I’m hoping that’ll help further straighten things out.

The point of all this is that while I’ve certainly gotten better over the last few years, I’m still not yet out of the woods, and this specific ailment has been a source of personal embarrassment for years.  (As well you might imagine; I have not actually had any accidents, but I’ve felt like one is imminent nearly every morning commute for the last dozen years.)  I’ve missed any number of social obligations because of this, and I’ve been reluctant to travel long distances because of this, and I’m mostly just grateful that my wife hasn’t left me because of this.

What does this have to do with videogames and agendas?  Well, how many videogame characters can you think of that have anxiety disorders?  Or bad stomachs?  I can think of only one, and even then I can’t remember in which game – possibly MGS4, possibly Bayonetta – some small side character whose intense gastric distress is used as a point of bizarre comic relief.  It might’ve been funny for most 13-year-old boys (or people who think public diarrhea is hilarious), but for me it felt like a kick in the balls.

Now, I understand perfectly well why videogames and films don’t often feature characters like this – people with this sort of condition have a hard time leaving the house (and, in my case, can further complicate social anxiety issues and eventually lead to mild agoraphobia), and so it is hard to make a game starring someone who can’t go out and save the world.  And on the rare occasion when characters like this do show up in films and games, they are, more often than not, punchlines (or, worse, punching bags).  And this sort of thing does not really help to improve my outlook.  It might inspire me to get healthier, but it’s inspiration borne from shame.

This is a long way of saying that when, in South Park: The Stick of Truth, an enemy casts a spell on you in battle that causes you to shit your pants, well, my heart breaks a little bit.

TANGENT:  I am around 6 and a half hours into South Park (probably about mid-way through Day Two), and I like it quite a lot.  Even though I’m not the world’s most rabid South Park fan, I still appreciate the game’s sense of humor, but I’m just as appreciative of the actual game design.  I love how approachable the systems are; I love how deep the modification systems can go (and that you can re-modify new weapons without losing the old ones).  Hell, I kinda just love wandering around the town and seeing what there is to see, picking up random side quests for no reason other than they’re there, and that there’s usually a decent comedic payoff at the end.  I love that you can use the environment to end a random battle before it even starts.  I love the game’s commentary on the ridiculousness and overuse of audio logs and Nazi zombies.  I especially love that tacos are the game’s version of revive potions.

In other news, it’s true that the big game this week is Titanfall, but as you’ve probably guessed this is not the place for discussion about that game; I don’t own an Xbox One and I don’t care about multiplayer shooters, no matter how good they might be.

TANGENT:  I am kinda surprised at how many of my 360 friends own an Xbox One; I am also a little surprised that they stayed Xbox-centric and didn’t migrate to the PS4.  I’m still not sure what it’s going to take to get me to buy one, to be honest; and I might as well admit that at this point, if I had to buy more game hardware, I’m most likely to get a Vita.

But the other big game this week is Dark Souls II, which is arriving later this week, and which I feel compelled to at least try, if only so that even if I can’t necessarily participate in the larger conversation, I can at least understand the gist of it.  I’ve had brief, 30-minute tastes of the previous 2 games – enough to get the general idea, and enough to know that I’d probably not get very far given my current time constraints – and while I still am intimidated by it (and while I’m still under similar time constraints), I’m also still intensely curious about it, and at least want to give it the ol’ college try.  My understanding is that the game has been made a bit more approachable for people like me, while still being brutally difficult and opaque, and so I’m willing to try to meet it halfway.

On Walkthroughs

It’s been a weird week.  That’s a vague statement, and I’m not really in a position to elaborate, so just trust me when I say it’s been a weird week, and we’ll leave it at that.  And on that note:

Let’s talk about walkthroughs.

I am weird when it comes to walkthroughs.  I mean, I’m weird about a lot of things game-related, as I’m discovering, but I’ve got very weird and specific and deep shame issues when it comes to using them – even if I’m looking at it simply to see how far along I am.

And yet I’m also not shy about using them compulsively, depending on the game.  Like, for example, L.A. Noire.  While I had no problem with the crime scenes or the combat, every interrogation scene was played with a walkthrough.  I was fanatically obsessive about acing every single question; and because the game’s interrogation system was kinda broken, I kinda felt justified in cheating.  Perhaps it ruined the spirit of the game, but I didn’t care.

[TANGENT:  Funny that L.A. Noire comes up, as I’ve been wanting to go back and play it again lately, for some reason, and maybe writing about it.  If I do, I promise to do it without a walkthrough.  (Well, I’ll try, at any rate.  It’s been long enough at this point that I can’t necessarily remember all the right answers.)]

Similarly, I’ve not been shy about using walkthroughs for the Professor Layton games, and I’m very much aware that using a walkthrough for a puzzle game specifically defeats the purpose of playing the game in the first place.  Honestly, though?  Some of the puzzles aren’t clear in their design or their purpose (or, alternately, the graphical fidelity of the DS/3DS screen obscures the illustrations).

Point is, I use them.  I don’t like it when I do (because I’d rather solve the damned thing on my own) but I do (because I’d rather finish the game, if I’m enjoying it).  I’m too old and socially withdrawn at this point to care what the outside world thinks of me, but it doesn’t matter – I beat myself up about it plenty.

(And since I’ve already gone on record about my feelings regarding god mode, this shouldn’t necessarily come as much of a surprise.)

Anyway, I’m bringing this up because over the last 2 days I’ve been very happily grinding along in Bravely Default.

(And can I just say, again, how much I appreciate the game’s willingness to let me “break” it if I want to power-level for an hour or two?  For example: yesterday I decided to go on a sidequest tear.  So I unlocked every available job, and then I went to the highest-level dungeon I could find, set the random encounter rate to 100%, set battle speed to 4x, hit “Auto”, and just went nuts bringing every job up to level 8 or 9 or so.  I’ve got tons of gold, my party is near level 60, and I felt like I actually accomplished something.)

(But on that same note, it also raises one of the game’s weird gameplay peculiarities; the regular battles are over in two turns at the absolute worst, but the boss battles are often 10-15 minute slog fests that require completely different kinds of strategy.  It’s almost like I’m playing two different games.) 

ANYWAY.  I happened to look at a walkthrough for Bravely Default a little while ago – really just to see how far along I was – and then, because I saw how much more was left (I’m apparently at the end of Chapter 3), I was curious, and so I took a peek at what happens next, and I suddenly got really, really bummed out.

****SPOILER ALERT*****

It appears that once you awaken the fourth crystal, which is what I’m about to do, [something] happens, and then you have to re-awaken all 4 crystals again.  And then, after you do that, you have to do it a third time.

*****END SPOILER ALERT****

I’ve spent almost 25 hours playing this game, and I’ve had a good time with it so far, but that. fucking. sucks.  That is lazy game design.  That’s bullshit, and in a weird way I’m kinda glad I know already so that I don’t have to experience being disappointed when it finally happens.

[I have more to say on this topic, but I must cut this post short.]

weekend recap: bones

1.  The newly-announced Titanfall / Xbox One bundle sounds intriguing, it really does.  Except… I still kinda don’t give a shit about Titanfall.  Which is, of course, not Titanfall’s fault; my friends who were in the beta say it’s pretty awesome, and I’d expect nothing less.  It’s just that:  (a) I’m still not all that into multiplayer shooters, and (b) with each new major multi-platform release, comparisons between the PS4 and the XBO make it that much clearer that the PS4 is the better-performing console.  I’d get the XBO if there were a true killer app for it that specifically appeals to my tastes – and, indeed, that day may yet come – but for now, I’d rather keep that $500 in my savings account if I can.

2.  I was curious to try the Final Fantasy 14 beta over the weekend, but the installer kept crashing.  After spending 20 minutes signing up and creating passwords and squinting like mad to read the fine print (is there really no way to expand the internet within an app?), everything seemed like it was OK, but then the installer would conk out once it hit 20%.  It’s just as well, I suppose – I can’t really afford to get sunk into an MMO right now anyway.

3.  I continue to make progress in Bravely Default; my party is level 35 or so, my town is pretty much fully rebuilt, and the difficulty level is now starting to weave all over the place; dungeon mobs are still mostly one-turn kills, but bosses and “asterisk fights” are ludicrously hard.  It is not quite getting tedious, but I think that’s because I’m still only playing in short bursts.

4.  Reviews for the new Thief are all over the place; mostly negative, but some reviewers are willing to cut it some more slack than others.  Here’s the part where I tell you that I’m aware of, but never played, the original, highly regarded trilogy, and so my interest in this game is purely out of wanting something to play on the PS4.  I did play one Thief game a while ago – was it the the one on the original Xbox? – and it suffered from a lot of the same problems that Deus Ex II did, which makes sense since I think they were using the same engine.  And I wasn’t particularly good at it, though I think that’s because my experience with stealth games was largely influenced by Splinter Cell, and you really can’t play Thief like you’re Sam Fisher.  So I’m hoping that I can be a bit more patient with this one, if only so that I can not send it back after 10 minutes.

5.  Speaking of having (or not having) patience, here’s a funny story.  I rented Far Cry 2 when it first came out in 2008; played for 5 minutes, died in the very first shootout, and said “fuck it”; sent it back to Gamefly.  In the intervening years, Far Cry 2 has taken on this mythical “greatest game ever” status among certain critics and people I greatly admire, and there was always a little part of me that wondered if I gave up on it too quickly.  Fast forward to this past weekend, where Ubisoft had a massive Steam sale.  I looked up at one point and saw that Far Cry 2 was being sold for something like $2.49.  Picked it up immediately.  Loaded it up.  Died in the exact same first shootout, screen faded to black.

BUT THEN THE SCREEN FADED BACK UP AGAIN.  And a man was talking to me and the game was teaching me how to heal myself.

All this time, I’d thought I just sucked at Far Cry 2.  I never knew that you’re supposed to get knocked out in that first shootout.  I am an idiot.

*     *     *

Today’s subject title is from the excellent self-titled album by The Forms.

The First Few Hours: Bravely Default

EDITOR’S NOTE:  I’ve said repeatedly I wouldn’t apologize on this blog for extended absences, but I do feel compelled to at least offer an explanation of why I’ve been quiet for the last few days; in short, over the long weekend my wife was sick, and then the baby was feverish, and then, finally, I became afflicted with a horrendous stomach virus that I’m only now finally recovering from.  

And then, of course, yesterday I finally felt OK enough to start putting some words together, and I got about 900 words into this post, but then the office internet collapsed and died.  Which is just as well; I think I needed to rethink what this post was about anyway.

CONTEXT:  I am currently a little over 12 hours into Bravely Default.  My party is all around level 30, with job levels between 7-9.  (And if you’ve already played it, I just finished the ill-fated visit with the Water Vestal.)

*     *     *

I am weird when it comes to JRPGs.

Let me back up.  I’ll be the first to admit that there are some glaring holes in my gamer resume.  I missed out on the early NES systems and the PS1 and PS2, and so there’s quite a lot of classic games that I just never had the opportunity to play.  And as today’s topic concerns the JRPG, I should admit right up front that my very first one was 2000’s Skies of Arcadia on the Dreamcast – which is still one of my favorite games of all time – and then I played nothing until, probably, Blue Dragon on the Xbox 360 (which is most assuredly not one of my favorite games of all time).

I am fascinated by JRPGs, even if they do a lot of things that annoy me.  If a JRPG is announced for a platform that I own, I’ll feel compelled to seek it out; and once I get my hands on one, I’ll do my best to spend 30-60 hours with it; but I won’t necessarily feel compelled to finish it.  Of all the JRPGs I’ve played (and you can maybe count them on your fingers and toes), I think I’ve only ever finished 2 of them: Skies of Arcadia and Lost Odyssey.  [EDIT:  I just remembered that I also finished the first Final Fantasy XIII, though I only got about halfway through the second one, and didn’t bother with this most recent installment.]

At their best, they are incredibly absorbing, even if their narratives generally follow along the same lines – a rag-tag group of children, one of them possibly an amnesiac, all on a world-saving quest that usually involves finding or activating 3 or 4 magic things.  Whatever, it doesn’t matter; the production values are usually top-notch, and after 10 hours or so the turn-based combat system becomes less about survival or urgency and instead becomes a sort of zen puzzle to solve, and then there’s loot and equipment and magic and all sorts of customization rabbit holes to fall into.

But at their worst, they are tedious beyond belief.  Because if the combat system isn’t engaging, then each and every random encounter feels like a slow death; and if the story isn’t at least picking up the slack, then one begins to wonder just what the hell they’re doing with their life.  Hell, even the great JRPGs can get tedious after a while.  I loved the hell out of Lost Odyssey, but by the 70th hour I’d more or less had enough.

In any event, the common element among all JRPGs is that, above all else, they are long.  Say what you will about the value propositions of short games like Gone Home or Brothers:  A Tale of Two Sons – if the “hours played:dollars spent” ratio is meaningful to you, JRPGs give you your money’s worth and then some.  These days, though, this is a bit problematic for me.  The last console JRPG I played was Ni No Kuni on the PS3, but I never had a chance to finish it, even after sinking 20+ hours into it; the game was quite good, it’s just that my son had just been born, and I couldn’t find any time to sit down and play it.

And I suppose, then, that this is partly why I’m enjoying Bravely Default as much as I am. In this modern era, JRPGs feel tailor-made for portable gaming; if I have 20 minutes to kill, I can plow through a dungeon, or mess with some equipment loadouts, or just mindlessly grind away and level up.  And Bravely Default goes out of its way to actively encourage this sort of behavior – I mean, the game rewards you for putting it in sleep mode.

Indeed, even though most JRPGs still have this archaic, old-school quality about them, Bravely Default features a ton of modern conventions and features.  More to the point, the level of customization that the game lets you have over it is quite staggering, and very much appreciated.  You can change the rate of random encounters, you can change the difficulty on the fly, you can change the animation speed during combat (except for special moves and summons…es?), you can change jobs/skills whenever you want – you can even write your own dialogue for your character’s special moves.  

(And I’m also happy that my former addictions to time-based stuff like Farmville are paying off in the “repair your village” meta-game, as most of my shops in the village are already at level 10.  I’ve got dudes toiling in there at all times, and because I have a good idea as to when my next playing opportunity will be, I’m almost always getting rewards right when I open the game back up.)

As far as JRPGs go, it does a lot of things quite well.  While there’s a lot of hubbub about this Brave/Default twist to the combat, it’s actually quite standard as far as turn-based combat goes; the Brave/Default thing basically means you have the additional option of being either really aggressive, or really defensive, depending on the situation.  As my party is generally pretty overpowered, I mostly just have Tiz and Edea go Brave 4X and set the two Mages to Default, and I’d say 90% of the battles I’ve had are over in one turn by being so hyper-aggressive.

I’m wondering why I’m so involved with it, is the thing.  Because as far as narratives go, so far this seems pretty standard.  4 children from wildly different backgrounds – one of whom is an amnesiac! – come together to save the world in a quest that involves repairing 4 crystals, etc.  And my initial concerns about the incredibly over-written, quasi-pretentious dialog have not really changed all that much; I tend to skim through the cutscenes as fast as the button presses will allow, because the writing continues to be absurdly flowery and overwrought, and the voice acting does it no favors.  (Though, to be fair, there are a few moments that have been surprisingly funny, most of which involve Ringabel’s lecherous and lewd behavior.)

I suppose I’m engaged with it because it’s the first game I’ve played on the 3DS in a long time that’s really, genuinely fun to play (all apologies to Link to the Past, which is simply not resonating with me).  And the graphics are quite stunning, which makes exploring the world and every nook and cranny of the dungeons a real pleasure.

Also?  I know this is going to sound weird, but the character Tiz kinda reminds me of my son, a little bit, if my son were older.

Tiz_v_Henry

One of the cooler aspects of the game is that you can import special moves from friends and people you meet via StreetPass.  And it occurs to me that even though I’ve had my 3DS for, what, almost a year now, I don’t have any 3DS friends!  So here’s my Friend Code:

0146-9096-2825

weekend recap: mistakes were made

This was not a gaming-focused weekend, as we had two sets of grandparents drop by to spend time with the lil’ man.  I suppose my biggest accomplishment was digging the car out of 2 weeks’ worth of ice and snow, and then finding parking spaces at both Costco and Whole Foods on a weekend afternoon.  (The odds of finding parking at the local Costco on a weekend are comically, astronomically, impossibly high, and yet we somehow managed to grab a spot almost immediately – with no threats of violence or angry honking of horns, either.)  And when the TV was on, we generally watched the Olympics, because why not.

That being said, I did somehow manage to finish Jazzpunk, get hopelessly addicted to Threes, and get about 20 minutes into Bravely Default.

I’m going to be reviewing Jazzpunk for the NYVCC later this week, so I’ll keep this short:  it’s an experience well worth having.  And while they have almost nothing else in common, it’s also a game in nearly the exact same way that Gone Home is a game, and that’s a game design concept that I’m hoping to explore further in the review.  One last thing, I guess – I didn’t necessarily find it as hilarious as most other reviewers have, but it is very funny, and its humor is effective precisely because it’s not doled out in carefully crafted punchlines, but rather in a non-stop barrage of surreal absurdity.   I expect it will remain funny upon further playthroughs – which is good, because even though I thought I’d been rather complete in my first run, I only got about one third of the achievements, so there’s quite a lot that I apparently missed.

Threes is already my front-runner for Most Addicting Game of 2014, and I’m kinda glad I got into it when I did – if only so that I was able to completely miss out on the Flappy Bird saga.  My high score is 3312, though I generally fare much, much worse.  More to the point, I’ve been playing it almost constantly since its release and yet I don’t feel like I’m improving, although I’m now able to immediately recognize when my game’s crossed that point of no return and is about to fall apart in just a few more moves.  (Which makes the lack of an “undo” button all the more frustrating, even if it wouldn’t necessarily help.)

I have not yet played nearly enough of Bravely Default to offer any definitive opinion, though there are two things that are immediately apparent:  (1) it is absolutely gorgeous, both visually and aurally (and it’s definitely worth playing with good headphones), and (2) the game’s dialog is preposterously over-written, and the voice actors can only do so much with it, which is regretful.  The combat system seems pretty interesting, both conceptually and in actual practice, and I definitely appreciate how much control the game lets you have in terms of, well, pretty much everything – from the rate of random encounters to the actual speed of combat.

If I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t wait for my rental copy to arrive and instead opted to download it directly from the 3DS storefront – it’s a HUGE file, and even after deleting some stuff it’s filled up most of my 3DS’s storage.  (Not only that, but having a digital download deprives me of some of the AR stuff that the hard-copy manual offers – not that that’s a deal-breaker, but it’s something I would’ve liked to check out.)

*     *     *

Tomorrow night is the NYVCC awards ceremony, and I’m already starting to get a little jittery – I’m co-presenting the Best Mobile Game award, which (among other things) means it’ll be the first public speaking I’ve done in over 15 years.  I’m a little surprised at how many butterflies I’ve got already – I was an actor in college, and I’ve been a performing musician up until a few years ago, and while I’d get nervous it wouldn’t necessarily be that big a deal.  But, then again, I didn’t necessarily have the anxiety problems back then that I do now.  Still – I’m very much looking forward to the event, and being able to meet so many of the people that I’m already reading.  Here’s hoping the weather cooperates!