Friday, July 29, 2022

Quick Sips 07/29/2022

So not a whole lot to report this week. Travel for some medical stuff (I’m okay) is taking up a lot of my time and otherwise I’m waiting to get a new phone after suffering through going to the Verizon store (twice) and finally picking out a new phone and plan. Not exactly my idea of a good time. That plus non-profit stuff and starting to get ready for the release of We’re Here 2021 (which got a nice review from Publisher’s Weekly) has meant that I’m busy without having a huge amount to show for it (though hopefully soon at least I’ll have that phone).

I did get to spend an otherwise rather nice weekend with my husband. We celebrated Christmas in July, an excuse mostly to have some fun and splurge on some gifts for ourselves. Mostly joint gifts, though I did get a new pack of Marvel Vs cards and spent some nice time watching the Jeremy Brett Holmes and organizing my cards. Watch out, world! We also got a wine decanter, an egg boiler, and a few other hilarious little things that might or might not make our lives better. I mean, we eat a lot of boiled eggs so probably that was a solid choice at least. 

I did also splurge a little and bid on a strategy guide for Final Fantasy Anthology for the PS1, which I have started to play a little for Final Fantasy VI. And here I’ll sort of tangent into some thoughts on the Final Fantasy series, which I’ve always had a weird sort of relationship with. The first FF game I played was VII, shortly after I got a PS1 for Christmas (this was only a year or two before the launch of the PS2, so late in the life cycle of the PS1 and something I had to lobby hard for since, unlike the Nintendos we’d had before this, my siblings weren’t interested in Playstation).

Anyway, I really did like FFVII, and played it as well as I could up until shortly after leaving the city. To my credit, I did this with only a hazy understanding of materia and mostly just relying on physical attacks for everything. Not the way to go, truly. As such, I think I did push forward for a while, but never really even got close to beating the game. I’d make attempts every so often but I really wasn’t into the weird storyline and difficult (for me) magic system. I was more into Lunar at the time, but in general I was also just not quite patient enough for JRPGs. I did get to see FFVII from beginning to end when a friend of mine (hi David!) visited me one summer and went through the entire game, which was rather impressive. Which maybe made me less interested in playing through it myself? I still haven’t tried to go back to that game.

I did get FFVIII but honestly I did even less of that game than VII. FFIX would be one that I did get much more invested in, but even that I gave up on about the time that travel with the airship was unlocked, as in the sandbox setting (and largely without guides) I was just sort of lost. I ended up stepping away from the series as I eventually saved enough money to buy myself a PS2, and shortly after the first game I bought for that was Suikoden 3. Which, I mean, was very transforming for me as a JRPG fan. It taught me patience, the job of level grinding, and a bit more about the particulars of magic and items. 

After that, I admit that was lost to the spiral of tracking down Suikoden 1 & 2 and playing all of those games to unlock the bonus content. I got FFX around this time and played it and dropped it. Then college happened and I didn’t play a lot of video games. It wasn’t until a very dull spring break in a place where I had no friends and no internet that I decided to reach back to Final Fantasy, deciding on the newest one I had, FFX. And this time I did actually get into it. I played the hell out of it, and while I didn’t unlock everyone’s weapons, I did enough of them that I don’t think any of the end bosses got an attack off. 

After that I mostly played other games before coming back to FFIX after I graduated college and had some time to play again. And again, I enjoyed playing the hell out of it, beating all the optional bosses, and generally getting through it all. I’m not sure it’s that I had to mature as a gamer, or that the games require more thought or patience. I think they do require a bit more “I’ll just go with this” with regards to the plots, which are often completely ridiculous. But I think otherwise I just don’t think they were a good intro into JRPGs for me (though Lunar for me hasn’t aged very well, being rather simple with some awful writing). I think Suikoden for me was the better intro, and in many ways a much stronger series (but then, I’m absolutely more of a Suikoden fan).

Anyway, coming back to play FFVI is interesting because I have zero experience with it. Picking up cold has no nostalgia for me, but I do get to appreciate it unspoiled. It should be interesting. 

In other media, I’m now watching the Brett Holmes series and dig the first series with the ginger Watson (the sexual tension between the two is rather intense at times). And I’m happy to report that Marvel Unlimited has added some more issues of early Generation X, which is nice because I was otherwise almost to the end of what they had for the series and was sad that they didn’t even have the end to the first major arc in the book. It’s not what I’d call a good series but the earlier stuff holds up a bit better than the later stuff (regardless of the later stuff being plotted by Warren Ellis). Anyway, that’s about it for me for now. Cheers!


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