Ongoing Investigations: Case #010

I did not do much except play video games this week. Played through Professor Layton and the Curious Village. It was a distinctly enjoyable puzzle game. I had figured out most of the mystery about half way through the game so obviously it was not that difficult. The animated sequences were well done and Layton and Luke are fun characters if not particularly deep. You mostly come to professor Layton for the puzzles but you stay for the amusing characters. This game seems right up Narutaki’s alley with detectives and classic puzzles. I hope they continue to localize these games.

Watched the first four episodes of Toward the Terra. I loved the manga now I get to love the anime! It has this nice combination of old school and modern, the art is this nice meld of the two. The opening song is really great! It is done by UVERworld who I have been sort of neutral about, but this song made me have a little more hope for the upcoming Gundam 00 opening which I have heard only a snippet of. So far the show has been beautiful animated and the story spot on. Soldier Blue you’re the best! There is a nice bonus of an interview with Keiko Takemiya in which she speaks in depth. Makes me want her to be a guest at a convention.

Got around playing Final Fantasy A2. I think I am enjoying it more than Narutaki but mostly because I never played Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced so I don’t know what I’m missing story-wise. I’m mostly here for the real-time strategy which is extremely well done and I am blissfully ignoring the rather generic plot. I am totally playing just to level up jobs and see new missions. I am slightly annoyed that I sometime break the laws when my characters are charmed or confused. It’s a slight gripe but very annoying after following a pain in the butt rule for several rounds of combat just to have the rule broken at the end by a single status effect.

Picked up the first volume of Nightmare Inspector. Hiruko goes into your nightmares to help you dispel them, his payment is the eating of the nightmare. So far every story has had a little twist and isn’t as straight forward as it seems. It is a nice series of vignettes but that isn’t really my favorite thing without an over arching plot to jump at once and a while. However, the last story in the volume is continued in the next and in the preview they mention possibly learning about Hiruko’s past so I am atleast curious. Also had a funny litte extra at the end about the cane he carries.

I tried some Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Wars OG Saga. It’s simple enough that I can play without knowing any Japanese. It’s a turn-based RPG with some action elements to break up the monotony. I was enjoying this game up until I got up to one boss in this playing card themed dungeon. I can’t get pass this little witch and I don’t feel like grinding enough to blast past her with sheer brute force. I wonder if I am missing something because I can’t read Japanese or if the game just kicked the difficulty level up quite a bit rather unexpectedly.

Started watching Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. I know everyone will be shocked, but I’ve never watched this show all the way through. I have seen an episode here and there but what can I say? I just take my own sweet time getting to shows. I liked what I’ve seen so far, the cop drama kind of feel it is great but with cooler weapons. The Laughing Man comes into the story right at the end of the first DVD and I sort of knew what that was. It certainly keeps the world elements of the original but we get a closer focus on character relationships and a fleshing out of personalities. Really don’t like the opening, but the song itself is really a wonderful, haunting melody. Motoko’s normal outfit cracks me up a bit, I know it is fan service but it just seems so out of place. I think they could have used her full body suit outfit which she wears in the second or third episode instead. Oh and I love the Tachicomas. Forever.

Having watched the Laughing Man arc quite a while ago it was fun to go back and see some of it again. I always liked the third episode with the Jeri androids that were malfunctioning. For some reason I feel that who ever wrote that episode totally wrote it for themselves and anyone else that happened to be a big film buff. Knowing enough about what a horrible pervert Masamune Shirow is I have to wonder if he insisted that Motoko’s outfit be horribly fan servicey outfit or is it just an accepted part of the franchise. Oh and I have always been tempted to buy on of those really nice Tachicoma statues but I have never been able to convince myself to splurge on one. Yet.

Was lucky enough to attend the New York Comic-Con ConFab. It was like a focus group type deal and they bought us lunch, plus we get a free weekend pass for the convention in 2009. They have some great ideas coming up, stuff that I feel no other con has done before. That makes it really exciting. They also had tons of questions for us, a lot about lines and tickets and then general what was bad. They were really enthusiastic about our ideas and it felt like someone was really listening. Looking forward to the coming convention.

I started playing some Touch Detective 2 ½ and it seems just a quirky as the last one. I really miss the point and click puzzle games back in their heyday on PC. I am glad to see someone picking up the torch again. I like the bizarrely dry humor and the unique character designs. It is clearly not a game that will win over new fans. It’s essentially more of the same without even an attempt to innovate or add new features. I don’t mind though because I just wanted more Mackenzie.