Saber Rider and the Star Knights

hisui_icon_4040 As I mentioned previously mentioned I got some rather nifty birthday gifts this year. One of them was the Nendoroid Petite x Mini 4WD Saber drives Super Saber Special. Yes, that mouthful is the official name for that figure. What is important is it is Saber in a race car. A working race car. An awesome working race car. So lets look at this baby.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #216

narutaki If you haven’t heard the fabulous news, UNIQLO currently has Fist of the North Star t-shirts! There is a great variety to choose from (of course Raoh is the best) printed on a multitude of colors. They all pretty much fulfill the in-your-face-ness of the series. One feature that all the shirts have is a tag on the right-side, you can see it above, which has the Big Dipper constellation on it.

The best things about the Raoh t-shirt: Raoh, the lettering, Raoh, the panel layout of this iconic scene, Raoh, the words “There is no regret in my whole life!” on the back, Raoh.

sep-videogames

I finished out my trio of free games with a copy of Psychonauts. It was actually me discussing buying the bundle just to get Psychonauts that made my roommate mention that he had extra copies of the games in the first place. Several years ago I had played Psychonauts up to the start of the asylum and then for some reason I stopped playing. For the life of me I can’t remember why I stopped playing. But I remember that I really wanted to finish the game but I never did.

It is interesting how much I remembered of the game once I sat down and started playing it again. I remember really struggling to get a lot of the collectible items in the game the first time but getting most of them effortlessly this time around. Also remember the power ups I got from collecting psi-cards being much more alluring the first time I played whereas they just seem like minor gimmicks and slight almost ignorable boosts in retrospect.

That said collecting all the figments in any levels is AMAZINGLY annoying. You clearly don’t have to do it to progress. But games like this give me a strange OCD wherever I play them. The problem is with the really complex backgrounds it is really easy to miss one or two random figments because they seamlessly blend into the background. Milla Vodello’s stage is super guilty of this with its crazy 60s psychedelic palette. But the Waterloo stage was also REALLY a pain especially with that one sneaky figment hiding out where you would normally never look. Collecting things like the vaults and bags is far easier and far more valuable as they give you nice bits of background information for all the characters.

But I still wound up trying to get them all this time. Although I was willing to use a fragment guide this time because I know how frustrating it can be without one.

Still the game is very inventive and engaging like I remembered. While the main game takes place around the psychic summer camp the various mindscapes let them play with a whole bunch of different genres and their toolboxes. The fact that you go around like a kaiju in the Lungfish world or play in a paranoid conspiracy world all in the same game in quite invigorating. Although the basic mechanics are the same in each world are very varied themes to each mindscape keeping the game fresh.

Also Psychonauts has a strong sense of humor. It is just one of those games where it is fun to go around and explore to see the random conversations and nice little bits of artistic flourish that show a nice amount of care was put into the game. And when they go for parodies they are usually well done.

But then my roommate reminded me of the MAJOR criticism with the game just before I hit it. The last stage is unexpectedly and annoyingly difficult out of nowhere. And at times unfairly hard just to be unfairly hard. For crying out loud there is an escort mission in a game where they had never been one before that point. Apparently this is even the kinder and gentler PC version. The original console version was even worse. I don’t want to even imagine that controller smashing level of persistent aggravation.

Still I preserved at got a 100% completion rate. I was glad to go back and finally cross that game off my do to list. Not to make it seem like a chore. I had a good time replaying what I did play before. It was still as fun as the last time. I’m just glad that I could correct my mistake of not finishing what I started long ago.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #201

Narutaki, my roommate, and I ventured to downtown Brooklyn to see the unboxing of a new table top roleplaying game magazine called Gygax Magazine (named after Gary Gygax who was one of the co-founders of Dungeons and Dragons). We trekked on down to the Brooklyn Strategist to see the event. I had never been to the store before so it was nice to see another gaming store in the area.

If nothing else Narutaki learned that not all stereotypes are baseless slander. The Brooklyn Strategist was hardly a huge shop so when the place was packed with people you had to get pretty close to most of the attendees. So we got very clear proof that the archetypical unwashed slightly balding guy was out in full force. Not everyone was like that but the gamer smell was strong. I want to go back to that store when it is not as crowed to get a better impression of what the place is like normally.

But during the event we were able to pick up the first issue of the Gygax Magazine which is a pen and paper roleplaying game magazine. While the name would imply a wholly Dungeons and Dragons themed magazine it is a general pen and paper roleplaying game magazine with a D&D slant. Some of the content was purposely generic swamp town write-up to the very specific like modified Pathfinder feats.

I really liked the Cosmology of Role-Playing Games article. It tried to create a galactic map of American pen and paper roleplaying games from 1974 until today. It states up front that it is clearly incomplete. Any complete guide would be a monumental undertaking but overall it seems fairly comprehensive and at least touches up some of the smaller independent titles. I think they could have broken down the groupings a little better as opposed to sort of throwing very disparate games of the same wave in with each other. But at the same time creating very distinct blood lines might have overcomplicated an already pretty monumental article. So I liked what I saw. I just wanted more. That said I think anyone other than hardcore tabletop players will find one or two titles on the list they would probably want to look into on name alone. Stars Without Number and Gumshoe seemed interesting to me.

Random thought: A modified Traveler could be used to run an awesome Legend of the Galactic Heroes game.

Leomund’s Secure Shelter is pretty much the rules lawyer section of the magazine. I will also say that the Keeping Magic Magical is pretty much my philosophy to a tee. The Banshee section was quite good at laying out different ways of playing a classic monster that would work in almost any fantasy setting.

I would have liked a few more sci-fi, horror, historical, or other style of RPG articles but it is the first issue. They did have a Godlike article which is a historical superheroes so it was hardly all fantasy all the time.

As always What’s New with Phil & Dixie is a classic strip and always enjoyable.

I liked the magazine a lot and I hope they can continue creating compelling content in the future.

As I have just started playing Dungeons & Dragons, this new quarterly Gygax Magazine promising insights into the game and others got me curious. It is also available digitally which might be how I’d read it in the future.

The first issue is a mix of history delving, anecdotes, and ways to add new experiences to your current games.

Some of the shorter articles felt as though they had a lot more to say but get cut off before they could. I understand space restrictions of course, but in the future it might be better to structure the article to be short as opposed to just cutting it off at its limit.

It was fun reading about other DM experiences in “Still Playing After All These Years” as well as the piece about the storytelling of Gary Gyax from his son’s perspective “The Gygax Family Storyteller.”

I found the piece about running a campaign for your toddler rather fascinating! Before reading it I didn’t imagine it really possible for that age group but it sounds pretty fun from the writer’s experience.

The comics in the back are a fun extra. I really loved the one from Girl Genius creators What’s New with Phil & Dixie.

I liked this magazine even though I’m a newbie player.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

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