Extra Life 2016

I'm streaming for Extra Life again this year! If you're reading this the day of, hopefully I'm still conscious, as I'm coming back from a business trip. Regardless, some quick linkage, and then on to the game stream details.

Stream Info

November 5th, 11:00 CDT!

First, obviously, is Extra Life itself. It's a charity helping children's hospitals, and this is the big event of the year for them. You should probably donate, that's what cool people do. You can go to my donor page to get all the info and donate. I already put down $50, as is my custom, and I'll match another $100 of others' donations!

You can watch my stream on Twitch! More on why I did that in a moment, but this year I didn't put together my own stream page. Hang out below or at Twitch, I'll be chewing the fat and taking requests in Twitch chat!

This year I'm streaming as part of the Giant Bomb community team. They're a bunch of decent folks, and you can see all of their streams here.

Games

Alright, now that that's taken care of, if you're here and already watching the stream, you probably want to know what I have in store. Well, I don't know! But there's a lot that could be. Some ideas on my mind:

  • Mega Man Legacy Collection (can I fit all the games into one night?)
  • Palate cleansing with Project Diva X
  • Random forays into Caladrius Blaze, Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours, Gradius, and more (part of the ongoing series of me enjoying games I'm bad at)
  • Maybe I'll finally get around to starting Tokyo Mirage Sessions
  • Putzing around in BlazBlue: Central Fiction
  • Hitman follies?
  • Jackbox games if people are physically/virtually around?
  • More retro madness:
    • Akumajou Special - Boku Dracula-kun
    • Castlevania I–IV
    • E.V.O.
    • Holy Diver
    • Makeruna! Makendou
    • Maniac Mansion
    • Monster Party
    • The Ninjawarriors Again
    • Rushing Beat Ran
    • Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti
    • Sweet Home
    • ...and tons more

I'll be taking requests for when I don't have any better idea or start getting burned out, so hang out in Twitch chat and help keep me company. Donate to subject me to your gaming whims!

Join me on November 5th at 11:00 CDT!

Soylent - Day Whatever It Is

Still doing Soylent. Still pretty pleased with it. Eating better and I've lost a fair amount of weight. All I have to say, really.

Soylent - Day 2

Almost through my second day of 100% Soylent 2.0. It's going pretty well so far. Soylent 2.0 is surprisingly kind of tasty; I've seen some people relate it to Cheerios milk, to me it tastes more like liquid graham cracker. Definitely doesn't need any kind of additive to make it tolerable, I'm actually liking it for the most part.

But maaaaaaaaaaan, never been more mindful of how many food commercials there are on TV. It's kind of absurd. I'm not bought into the whole "Americans do food the wrong way" thing, but I see where that argument is coming from.

Soylent - Day 0

I have some Soylent sitting in the fridge next to me. It seems like a good idea.

I have a very boring relationship with food. I love food, but I'm usually too busy/lazy to bother to do anything about it, leading me to the same boring two trips to Panera across from work day in and day out, the same bagel in the morning, sandwich in the afternoon, the same weekend routine of ordering delivery once in the middle of the day and coasting for a day to a day and a half on that.

There are a lot of people who have written about Soylent in the context of what it does to the human interaction with food, which for them is a social experience, but for me, it is absolutely the most uninspired thing imaginable the majority of a time. I like spending time on other things, so I don't spend time preparing food, and get fast food and delivery the majority of the time instead. I live alone and don't have a whole lot of reasons to go out dining, so my schedule is based on getting food when it's accessible to me (at work).

In short, yeah, food kind of is a chore, for me.

After a fair amount of joking on IRC about how much I'd be behind nutrient pills, I figured it was finally time to do this Soylent thing. I've certainly been curious about it for a while, so now seems like as good a time as any. I could use to lose some weight. I could use to eat better even if I didn't need to lose weight. By some back of the envelope math, I could even save some money if I replaced 100% of my meals with Soylent, even the more expensive bottled Soylent 2.0, which is what I've ordered. (Like I established above, I'm lazy --- having to prepare Soylent from powder would probably just kill the experiment for me.)

To be clear, though, I'm not planning on replacing all of my food with Soylent, even if this goes extremely well. I do like food. I love tearing into a good burger, or dining on some godlike pizza. I love going out to a restaurant with friends, when I get the opportunity to. I love a good home-cooked meal. What I am interested in doing, though, is streamlining all the times when I'm eating alone, and eating just to get energy. Those times are kind of boring, I don't really think about what I'm eating (which is bad), I don't put any effort into eating better or even preparing my own meals (also bad), and I don't get an amazing amount of enjoyment out of everyday eating, especially when I'm still preferably thinking about work or playing a game or whatever it is I'm doing. I'm interested to cut those parts of my routine out, and I think Soylent will help with that.

So I'm going to try it. It'll be interesting.

Steins;Gate

I got the true ending and platinum trophy to Steins;Gate this morning. Stayed up until 5:30 and then had to take a nap before I completed it to do it, but it has been done.

I owe this game more words when I have the time and energy to muster them, but in the event I never get to it, Steins;Gate is a brilliant, beautiful game. Right up there with 999 as my favorite visual novel. It's sad — depressing almost, at times — and chilling, quirky and brilliant. Much like 999 and VLR, it mixes plot-y VN stuff with science (hard science, in this case) in a really enjoyable and entertaining way. It's a game that I wish I could pry open and go even deeper into. Maybe that's what the sequel will be.

In any event, in my attempts to write these things down so that I don't forget them, I'm sitting here listening to the soundtrack now (it's now safe to listen to, since I can't have audio-spoilers now that I completed the game) and just feeling kind of melancholy thinking of the in-game scenes where some of these music cues hit. The big thematic plot elements for GATE OF STEINER -Piano-. hesitative consideration's mix of despair and resolve when things go astray. Solitude's heartwrenching pain, but also its core's role in underscoring a lot of the game's pivotal tender moments (a role shared with the pensive, yet sometimes joyful, caution of Believe me). The ending themes. Skyclad Observer's role as the opening theme, but also kind of an ending theme. Select of Sorrow's tension. The day-to-days of so many other tracks. Hell, the meta-quality of how easily the game bounces between themes in the soundtrack.

I wish I could spoil a bunch of things here, just to recall them, and have them recallable at a moment's notice, but I won't. The game's too high on the "must play" list to do that to everyone else.

Game music is such an important element of my enjoyment of games that I savor this part of completing a game almost as much as the game's ending itself — pouring over the memories associated with soundtracks, just sitting and recalling. The soundtrack is beautiful because of how I experienced it in a beautiful game. I hope I play through Steins;Gate again some time. I want to play through Steins;Gate again some time. I want to let the memories of it rest a bit, settle in my mind, and then bring them back to the fore a year from now, or two years from now, or whenever makes sense. I'll revisit it.

But if I don't ever, I'll have the soundtrack and posts like this one to remind me of how much I love that game.

I poured more into this post than I thought I would. I just want to never forget this game. I've been saying that about a number of games lately, but I don't feel shame over it. Maybe a bit embarrassed that I'm worried I'll forget them, but whatever.

Please play Steins;Gate.

The Naoto Stick

Following Evo 2015, I decided I wanted to get more into modding my sticks, just cosmetically to start. I vowed to buy a stick at 2015 and mod it before 2016, but I also wanted to start by modding my existing Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Tournament Edition 2 stick, which is a pretty nice looking stick, really, but I wanted to make it my own.

So, when I got back from Evo, I dove in, getting some art commissioned while shopping around for parts to replace. I eventually settled on some Naoto-themed artwork (considering how important P4A was to my love of fighting games, it seemed fitting), blue LED-backlit buttons, and a clear blue balltop. Definitely a more unified design than the very colorful P4AU stick art.

Everything came together in the course of around three weeks, and I finally put it together this week. I think it looks pretty rad. Please enjoy the images.

Commissioned Artwork: hibachifinal
Artwork and Plexiglas Cutting: Tek-Innovations
Stick: Mad Catz
Stick Parts: Arcade Shock | Mad Catz

The lack of streaming

Alligator clips and superglue
Alligator clips and superglue

While I've certainly been busy with other things, I just thought I'd note that the lack of streaming from me has partially been because my Magewell, a very nice little HDMI capture box that works well in Linux, has been flaky for a while and finally outright broke today while I was trying to determine the nature of its flakiness.

I'm trying to fix it, though. For whatever reason, the damn thing's USB connector seemed to be mostly held to the board by either the pins themselves or by pixies, and has now entirely separated. Holding the connector at just the right point allows it to work — you can see it here with the power and data pins lit up — so I am trying to glue it into place and seeing how well that works.

Worst case, I seem to have found a way to keep the connector making contact with some alligator clips, so I might be able to do some PS4/PS3/Vita TV streaming again once I see how this holds and try putting the adapter back in the full streaming setup.

In the interim, I did a bit of Four Job Fiesta streaming, and enabled a bunch of VODs I hadn't gotten around to yet, so there is some stuff, if you like watching me play video games.

IA/VT Colorful Crystal Box

IA/VT Colorful Crystal Box
Japan Post Best Post every time

The super pretty-looking IA/VT Colorful's Crystal Box comes with a pouch, Vita skin, sticker set, cleaning cloth, strap, charm strap, card case, and fancy collector's box.

I've only had this on preorder for two years or something, looking forward to finally playing it.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax TE2 Fightstick

I'm going to be customizing my Persona 4 Arena Ultimax TE2 fightstick soon, and thought I should probably take a before picture, for posterity's sake.

P4AU stick with new buttons
P4AU stick, (mostly) before modifications

Though, this isn't actually the stick in its original form. Unmodified, it actually looks a bit more like... this. Before Evo 2015, I decided to swap the buttons around a bit to mirror my preferred button layout, so I got some more Sanwas (most of the ones I tried removing snapped, apparently the tabs on the stock buttons in TE2 sticks have some issues for whatever reason) and popped them in. Nothing special.

The next set of changes, though, will be much more substantial. I have a bunch of parts broken out to order once I get the first element done, which is some custom artwork. I randomly found someone who seems like they'll do a really awesome job with some custom illustrations, so it will definitely be a one-of-a-kind stick, and I'm really looking forward to that.

Anyway, there's a lot to get done once I get the piece, I'm going to try to update at least once more with my progress or final stick. Until then, enjoy the (mostly) original P4AU stick.

Evo 2015

Of all the emotions I expected to find at Evo 2015, the last one I thought I'd find among the crowd I was new to was love. Love for games, love for competition, love for the event itself, but most of all love for the community. The people I bumped into — once just personalities to me, now people — were always happy and cordial. Each player who beat me in the tournament was friendly before and after. Each random person, each vendor, each top 8 finalist and champion, just bursting with energy.

I don't quite know what I expected to encounter at my first Evo, but the community outdid whatever it was I thought. It was amazing to just wander the floor and see what people were excited about, to see the crowds gathering (in the purest FGC fashion) around a console station to watch an interesting game or two marquee players go head to head. Beyond the games themselves being amazing, Sunday night's energy among the crowds before and after the games was infectious. I could have chanted "EVO" for hours, but we were all set free.

Frankly, this is the best I've felt after a convention vacation in a long time. It's going to be hard to go back to normal life, and it's going to be hard to wait a year for the next Evo. I want to do better in games, and I want to do better in the community. Thankfully, in all this, new fans are born and new interests sparked. I want next year's Evo to be the best for everyone. Join me!