Backlog: Mayday, May Day! Edition
It's been a busy time for us here at Silicon Sasquatch -- not at the site itself, but rather, for each of our editors. Aaron is working full time and attending graduate school, Nick is trying his hand at independent game development, Doug and Tyler both are securing their futures as expatriates in Japan. And me? Honestly, I'm not sure, but a third of the year is gone already.
Okay, that's not entirely true. I've been working, sure. The day job necessitates a lot of time on the bus, too. There's that graphic novel in the works, but it's yet to come to fruition. A party or two that I've managed to execute -- if not host. And that's when I'm not spending time trying to wrangle stories for my show, or figure out a new name for my show.
But, for as much time has passed, it seems like I haven't gotten very much done. My birthday is coming up -- the big 2-8 -- so now more than ever I should really double down on some of my projects. You know, really put my nose to the grindstone and actually finish something.
Games probably aren't helping with the effort, but that hasn't stopped me or Doug from playing them nevertheless. What have we been playing? Find out below. - Spencer
This time of year is always wonderful in Japan. Spring is truly here: the awful winter is but a small memory though the rainy season is almost ready to torture us instead. It's the perfect weather to enjoy the beauty and nature on hand here, and so it's a happy coincidence that this is also the biggest travel time of the year: Golden Week.
From the very end of April through the first week of May, there is a sprinkling of holidays that constitute one of the busiest vacation periods in the country. I write this after spending a week in Naha, Okinawa, enjoying the sub-tropical islands and wandering around a really touristy place with my girlfriend. But as soon as I got home from the trip, I sprinted to my PlayStation 3 to fire up the store.
This year, Sony's push to bring the Steam-style environment to consoles has included a Golden Week Sale on the U.S. PlayStation Store. It turns out that a Golden Week sale means a whole lot of deals on a mess of Japanese titles new and old. Peruse the list on your own time, but I took a chance on two titles that were on sale: Hot Shots Golf International and Chrono Trigger.
Hot Shots came recommended from Tyler. He's been a proponent of the games for a long time, and though I'm a fan of golf games, I've never taken a chance on the series. I hope to spend time on it soon. But as for now, I've been able to put an hour or so into Crono Trigger for the first time.
This has caused some consternation. In the world of games, to say "I've never played this or that classic game before" is to self-emasculate. To do so with a game as beloved as Crono Trigger -- especially when there are some big fans around here -- seems offensive. But I didn't grow up with a Super Nintendo or a particular love of Japanese RPGs, so I missed the boat. But with the PlayStation re-release on sale for about $3, I thought it'd be criminal to not have this game. I've saved one queen and discovered that time travel is a perilous thing, so I'm looking forward to playing this much more. Between this and Persona 3, it might well become the spring of JRPGs.
The Pacific Northwest, and Seattle in particular, were recently stricken by something of a heat wave, and the 80-degree plus temperatures have my mind hazy, distractible, and scattered. And yes, I know some of you grew up on the surface of the sun and anything less than 120 is laughably chilly. But some of us are from places where the weather has the common decency to be cold more often than hot. I've lived in Seattle for six years -- the summers are still too much for me, and these recent days have been a preview of what's to come. I am full of dread.
Overwhelmed and terrified (still) by the Minecraft server operated by one group of friends, I've been spending a little time on a different server, run by one of the Buslords crew. The setting is almost entirely vanilla (a sharp contrast to the wild brew of mods I was staring down before), and I've been putting around in creative mode, building a bit of a roller coaster and otherwise not worrying about food or creatures or mechanics of any kind. It’s relaxing. It lets me think. Maybe it keeps me from thinking. Honestly, I’m not sure.
Otherwise, my gaming has been fairly odd and intermittent. I installed War Thunderto try out on my non-Silicon Sasquatch stream, and it's fun enough, but reminds me pretty well of why I've steered clear of pay-to-win games. One can only find his biplane obliterated by squadrons of high tier war machines so many times before tiring of the whole exercise and ducking out. There's been some World ofWarcraftin the mix, but that remains shameful as ever (any WoW, as they say, is too much). There's been the occasional rift-running in Diablo III. I even got a Palm OS emulator working on my phone to play Space War, a marvelous little strategy game, but even that hasn't been holding my attention very well.
Despite a master to-do list longer than I care to admit, I find myself wanting after a new project. Something to build, something physical and substantial. An old idea popped back up, and now I'm seriously considering finding a broken first or second-gen iMac G3, perhaps even an eMac, gutting it, and building a little all-in-one mATX rig in the chassis. Dual-booting it as a Hackintosh would be icing on the cake. This desire took me to local old-tech outfit REPC on my day off, and I spent some time browsing the bins and trying hard not to make any major purchases.
Addled by the heat and restrained by finances, I instead settled for some minor tech projects with stuff I have close at hand. By this token, a friend recently asked if I could perform a minor revamp on his wife's 2010-era Macbook Pro, and it proved satisfying enough. I pulled the old drive, put in a new SSD/HDD hybrid, and managed to get a clean install of OSX 10.9 on there without too much hassle. The installer is simple, cleaner than anything from my halcyon days of PC building and scrapping -- but it resembles the arcane blue Windows Installer just enough that I get all misty-eyed and nostalgic.
Really hope this heat goes away soon. I miss being able to think.