Rundown (1/12-1/18) Editing Nightmares

Wherein I discuss my novels, another sword boy joining the fray, an extremely enthusiastic electronic upset, another win for the master class, and the cruel captain of the S.S. Gamindustri

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Rundown (1/05-1/11) 1,500 Words A Day

Wherein I discuss rising numbers, the return of two masks, a Chinese solution to never losing your luster, becoming a Mudkip, another brand new world to explore, and why the 9th generation of console gaming will disappoint the children.

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Rundown (12/08-12/14) The Conclusion of Chaos: Part 2

Wherein I discuss the end of a great trial, the crumbling of a retail giant, expanding licenses, surreal stealth releases, and the assorted announcements of two underwhelming live streamed events.

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Rundown (10/27-11/02) The Road to 2020

Wherein I discuss a magical fetus coming to a Windows near you, a dark corporate alliance of perplexing origins, a potential reprise of the Reaper War, a magical journey lost to time, and the blizzard trying to withstand the heat of controversy.
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Rundown (9/15-9/21) Spoil Age

In this age where people are encouraged to constantly do things live, to stream, react, and offer spicy hot takes to the current going-ons lest they be forgotten and falter into designed irrelevance, spoilers have become an interesting topic.  Some think that all major spoilers should be prefaced as spoilers. Others think that an arbitrary amount of time needs to pass before something may be openly spoiled. While a groundswell of people just stopped caring about the prospect of being surprised by works and think it’s perfectly a-okay to spoil anything, citing that there was this or that study done and it showed that one’s enjoyment of a work was not necessarily impacted by spoilers.
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Rundown (9/08-9/14) I Stan My Stand

In my reviews of The World Ends With You Final Remix and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee I mentioned the difficulties I encountered when trying to play both these titles in handheld mode, and how I sought to remedy this through the use of the Nintendo 3DS Stand that came bundled with Kid Icarus Uprising.  It was something I was quite happy with, and cut forward about a year I am still using this stand regularly.  Yet rather than playing oodles of Switch games, I’m instead using it to prop up my smartphone so that I can play games without needing to hold something for extended periods of time.  Part of me feels that this is antithetical to the very idea of handhelds, since I am not holding them with my hands. Another part of me recognizes that I am enjoying games more by playing them my special way, so I’m going to keep doing that.  
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Rundown (9/01-9/07) Natalie Must Remain Enigmatic

Something that might not be obvious from the deluge of personal information and historically hued anecdotes I offer throughout this jolly old website is the fact that ‘in real life’ I tend to be immensely reserved around others.  As in, I like to give as few personal details as possible, and only share said details when prompted. This applies from co-workers to classmates to even my immediate family, and my justification stems from a deep fear of rejection or being misunderstood by others.  I mean, I could tell them that I enjoy writing and video games, but those things could be wildly thrown out of proportions, and saying that I write novels and review games for a small website sounds a trifle bit bizarre to some people. So the way I view it, there is no winning and I ought to keep my mouth shut, lest I accidentally spew something problematic.
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Rundown (8/25-8/31) The Pursuit of Hard Work

While working at my office job I frequently catch my assorted co-workers ceasing whatever task they were in the midst of or simply passing time by socializing with others.  It is an activity that I understand in small instances, but many of their conversations go on for 15 or more minutes, and center around unrelated minutiae rather than anything work-related.  Which I personally find to be… wrong at least to some degree. I approach work with a very regimented and task oriented mindset, and while I do take time to check my email or RSS feeds on occasion, I always go back to whatever needs to be done, and try to finish the task in an efficient manner.  I suppose this is just due to how I have a more serious work ethic, but it regularly surprised me to see people take such a lax approach to their professions, especially when they have families to take care of. Maybe that’s the right approach to take, and I’m just a fool for working so intently, or maybe they’re just a bunch of slackers.  I dunno.
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Rundown (8/18-8/24) Dude Whatever It’s Summer

The mixtapes, remixes, and mashups created by Team Teamwork, also known as Timothy Jacques, are a regular part of my musical rotation, and have been very influential on my personal tastes in music, introducing me to a number of genres and artists I otherwise wouldn’t have given the time of day.  Whether they take the form of endearing tracks to jam out to while doing more mundane daily activities, or, as is the case with this more recent work, surreal auditory odyssey that blend genres, tones, and concepts, resulting in something bizarrely claiming, yet also eerie and abrasive.  I bring this up because Team Teamwork recently released their latest entry in the Dude Whatever It’s Summer series, which is what I imagine nearly overdosing on one’s recreational drug of choice is like, but in the form of a 64 minute long diverse continuous medley.  So, yeah, if that truncated and clunky description sounds appealing to you, maybe give Dude Whatever It’s Summer 2019 a listen.  
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Rundown (8/11-8/17) My Game Collection Fits in a Shoebox

I often stumble onto musings from gaming enthusiasts who boast about their collections or hem and haw about physical clutter being an annoyance.  I’ve been playing primarily on PC since 2013, so I don’t have much of a modern physical library, and I have long since given up any aspirations of keeping a presentable collection and chucked my games in assorted cases and disc binders years ago so they consume less space.  Now everything roughly fits inside a shoebox! I still have the cases mind you, mostly in the event that I choose to sell off parts of my collection, which I would be willing to do, since I’m never going to hook up and play something on any of my older systems, but that would require actual work.  
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Rundown (8/04-8/10) Drop the Crack, Nat!

Seeing as how I now have a smartphone, the idea of playing mobile games suddenly became a very real possibility for me, and I figured what better way to go about things than returning to Fire Emblem Heroes.  After using up the orbs I accumulated on my Android tablet, I tried getting back into the established groove, and quickly remembered why I stopped playing the game in the first place.  This game is bloated with content, time locks just about everything it can, and is designed to fuel obsessive tendencies while being built around a stream of constant grinding. It is suffocating and overwhelming how much time-gated content and rewards there are in this game, and I honestly could not tolerate it after a two days of playing it during my free time rather than doing anything remotely productive.  Like playing Sushi Striker.
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Rundown (7/28-8/03) Forgiveness

There are few things that irk me more than the animosity expressed towards individuals for mistakes they made in the past when they acknowledge whatever bad, awful, or questionable thing they did, and offer an apology.  I am a person of very simple morals, believe that forgiveness should be granted to those who admit their faults and at the very least express a desire to reform their ways and become better people. It upsets me whenever I see people dismiss this notion, claim that an apology was not good enough, that some vague unrealistic action is needed to make amends, or insinuate that these individuals are tainted and deserve to be rejected by society.  Yet it happens regularly and, honestly, it makes me want to sever all ties and connections I have to anyone and anything, and immerse myself in isolation. But I won’t. I’ll still hold ties and biases because those things bring me happiness and a life devoid of happiness is a life hardly worth continuing.
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Rundown (7/21-7/27) Natalie Got a Smartphone

So, I didn’t get a cell phone until about 2012, when I was 17.  I was generally not in a place where I needed a smartphone, plus they were prohibitively expensive, so I more or less stuck with my cheap pay-as-you-go phone for several years.  But then my workplace accounting software started mandating two-factor authentication. So last Sunday my mother plucked me up, went to the cell phone store, and nabbed me an iPhone 6s with a screen protector for $160, because that’s what they had, and my family likes iOS devices.  Then I spent the proceeding day trying to get everything situated, as this is my first smartphone, it’s 2019, and I have some catching up to do. Also, I guess I’m now a real Millennial or something. 
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Rundown (7/14-7/20) Natalie and the Computer-Generated Flowcharts

It has recently come to my attention that TFGamesSite member nexoq developed a computer-generated flowchart maker known as Graphify that can take .rpy files for Student Transfer Scenarios and create a functional flowchart using them.  This is a far cry from needing to dig through the .rpy file oneself and playing the game to test for any and all possible path permutations, and it’s something that I will be using in the future to double check my work.  But I’m still going to make my usual hand-made Draw.io flowcharts since they look a lot nicer, are more space efficient, and have a more unified format. I mean, just compare the header image to this flowchart I made for the same Student Transfer Scenario.  But this is still quite amazing.  Thank you nexoq!
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Rundown (7/07-7/13) The Lattice Method

Back in grade school when I was learning long multiplication, my teacher introduced my class to a method to simplify complex multi-digit multiplication problems into single digit problems known as the Lattice Method.  It involves taking the equation, making a grid or rather a lattice, and then splitting the equation into several single digit multiplication problems, the answers of which are added up at the end to determine the overall answer to the equation.  It was always my preferred method of multiplication, but once I started attending high school, none of my teachers understood what this method was or why I was doing it, and since then I have never heard anybody reference this method, at all. Which is weird because while it is a bit time consuming and requires a sizable amount of space to write out, it is a very easy and reliable way to calculate an equation.  Anyways, that’s all I have to share this week. Time for video games!
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Rundown (6/30-7/06) The Great Eoten Consumption

Over the past few weeks I decided to see what all the hubbub was about with Attack on Titan, and jumped into the manga, having previously watched the first season of the anime 6 years ago.  I found the series to substantially improve following the first few arcs. I enjoyed the way the story routinely shifts from a political thriller to a high octane visceral battle manga.  I was impressed by how the series managed to keep so many questions lingering, but gets to answering all of them eventually, and it answers them quite well. The art is detailed and distinctive the characters have some ingenuity to them, the writer clearly put a lot of forethought into the world building, and it’s overall quite riveting stuff.  So yes, the popular thing is good, I like it, and I’m looking forward to it ending… within the next year or so.
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Rundown (6/23-6/29) Art Is Hard!

For years I have contemplated posting my novels in their entirety on Nigma Box rather than hosting them via Google Docs, but have not done so because I like having a header image associated with each of my posts and, well, I don’t have any visual assets to represent these works.  I thought about commissioning art for each chapter, or just the novel overall, but that could get expensive, and would require me working with an artist, which kinda scares me. So I said screw it, I’ll make my own headers. But I cannot draw, barely know how to use Photoshop, and lack visual artistic sensibilities, so what can I do?  I know! I made crummy sprite edits of 8-bit Danganronpa character sprites for my cover of A Vile Doohickey back in 2014, so I’ll just do that again!  So I tested this idea by making a header for Random #001: Grandpappy Pyra, and… it took me like 3 hours to make in total… Art is hard!
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Rundown (6/16-6/22) Super Graphical Butthurt

Something that routinely baffles me nowadays is the fervor that people get into regarding a game’s graphics.  While I get the obsession over frame rate and resolution, I honestly assumed that the greater dedicated gaming audience has moved beyond voicing dissatisfaction with some games not looking as good as their peers, or looking like a “last gen” game, while posting cherry picked comparisons in order to make themselves feel like they are more… sophisticated?  This recently happened with Pokemon fanatics who are super butthurt about Pokemon Sword and Shield, with its graphics not being as good as people want them to be, and I feel like such a tired old bastard whenever I try to understand why this is important to them.  Sure, I’d like the game to look a bit better, but I’m someone who said they would be fine, if not happy, with graphical fidelity never advancing beyond that of HD renditions of GameCube games, and I goldarn meant it.  
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Rundown (6/12-6/15) The Rubbish That Remains

E3 came, E3 went, and E3 will swing around again next year, where it will hopefully be filled with far more enticing announcements on account of the next generation.  Overall, it was easily one of the weaker years, with Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Square Enix all having some cool things to show, and avoiding a lot of bad or ‘cringey’ moments, but few things to necessarily wow people or with a lot of deeper dives into previously announced games, but also brought with it two new Smash characters, and a Smash character reveal is basically the equivalent to a game reveal on the hyp-o-meter.  Anyways, in my blitz through the news, wherein I mentioned that games existed and could possibly be good, I naturally missed some things, and this post is to remedy that.
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Rundown (6/11) E3 2019: Hyper Bursting!

Woo!  E3 is mostly over, and the hype has undoubtedly causes every audience member to burst with powerhouse excitement, and things may have gotten more than a little messy in the process.  Anyways, the main conferences are done, the actual E3 event, where people try to get work done in a loud, crowded, and smelly convention center, is underway, and the only press conferences of the day was Nintendo’s.  So let’s cut all pretense and jump right into the gooey center of the E3 Claire eclair.
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Rundown (6/10) E3 2019: Work X School X Conferences

You know what the worst past of E3 is?  The fact that I cannot simply drop everything to enjoy spending an entire day in video game wonderment.  As such, since 2013 the Monday kicking off E3 has always been a frustrating affair where I not only want to watch the conferences, do a write-up, which takes time because I am a slow writer, and keep up with the news that falls between the cracks, but I need to attend college classes and do part-time office work that mostly consists of spreadsheets, filing, and processing bodily specimens.  Anyways, enough customary moaning.  The video games are here!
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Rundown (6/09) E3 2019: Get Your News While It’s Hot!

I am very well aware of the fact that it is beyond pointless for me to try and cover an event like E3 or offer my hot takes on any given press conference due to the simple fact that everybody and their baby cousin is doing the same darn thing, and that my posts do not technically go up until hours later, where they offer a text-based summary of a video broadcast.  It is all kind of pointless in a sense, but I have fun making this elongated opinionated summaries, and that’s the important part. …I think.
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Rundown (6/02-6/08) PRE3 2019: Hustle and Bustle

Gather your things, ready your streams, call off of work assuming you can, make a bunch of snacks, and get foked my sweet little chickpeas!  Because it is that marvelous time of the year where all the video games happen at once, meaning that nobody who likes video games is actually playing video games, and they are instead yucking it up on their internets, wallowing in the succulent juices of hype that encapsulate the industry many times in a given year, but never quite this intensely or fervorously!  Or in other words, E3 is starting in a few hours, so I probably should go through the news that came in the past week or so. But not the many leaks, since that’d just be redundant, yo!
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Rundown (5/26-6/01) Everything is Dirty!

I personally am not a germaphobe or neat freak by any means, but there are two things that generally speaking freak me out whenever I see, and I see them frequently.  People eating food with unwashed hands and people lounging around in their home in “outside clothes”. My reasoning for this stems from the fact that the outside world is filthy, everything is dirty, and while people lack the ability to fully control the unclean, they should take care to not ingest vile germs or bring them into their home.  I have not gotten sick in a decade and want to continue that streak, and the idea of bringing germs into the home makes me want to immediately jump into the shower when I get home after work. Sure, I change my clothes and wash my hands, but my hair may as well have been dumped into a garbage bin.
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Rundown (5/19-5/25) The Future Is Random!

This past week I finished up the first iteration of what I hope to be a new segment to go alongside my Reviews, Rundowns, and Rambles, which I’m dubbing Randoms.  Randoms are short stories based on various ideas, concepts, and prompts that I either stumble across or pop into my weird brain. A segment meant to contrast my novels and novellas, which take me forever to write, and require me to commit to an idea and characters and make everything part of one big continuous multiverse.  The first Random will debut on May 31st, but I am not committing to a more specific schedule going forward. Could be monthly, could be quarterly, could be whenever the hell I feel like it.  Remember kids: Die Zukunft ist Zufällig.
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Rundown (5/12-5/18) Writing Woes

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but throughout primary school I was not allowed to take regular English classes for reasons I still don’t fully understand.  I did not really mind it at the time, but I regularly wonder if I would be a better writer if I had been permitted to take regular classes. I bring this up because I recently fell down a rabbit hole of some of my old writing on this site, and found it to be rife with minor mistakes I either did not catch the first time, or did not know any better back then.  It makes me wonder if I am still a garbage writer and will always be, or if this is just a natural creative process, where one grows to dislike the work they did a few years prior, as I have seen that mentality pop up from time to time.
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Rundown (5/05-5/11) Ticking Troublesome Time Bomb

Over the past few years there have been a number of instances where individuals with a strong internet following have effectively ruined their self-made careers.  Through hateful comments, improper conduct, or general misuse of their platform, it is very easy for acclaim accumulated by individuals to be demolished in a matter of days, if not hours, and for their reputation to be effectively tainted by their misactions.  It’s something I am very well aware of, have been for years, and after seeing this process undergo so many iterations, it’s all too easy to view every creator, if not every human being, to be a ticking time bomb of troublesome activities. Or in other words, the longer anybody exists, the more likely it is that they will become racist, sexist, hateful, psychotic, or try to exchange pornographic images of themselves with children.
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Rundown (4/28-5/04) The Reviews Will Never End!

I’m steadily approaching the 7th anniversary of this site’s quaint little existence, and with it over 7 full years of reviewing every game I played for a significant amount of time, amounting to something like 370 reviews in total, only 230 of which are still public.  In that time, I have begun associating the very act of playing a game with the act of collecting my thoughts, writing the review, editing it with varying levels of thoroughness, gathering a sample of the hundreds of screenshots I took, and posting it onto this site where it likely will not garner any real attention, as the only things people come here for are my Press-Switch and Student Transfer reviews.  Or rather my flowcharts.  It has become such a big part of gaming for me that I honestly cannot ever see myself stopping, and even if I did, I would assuredly miss the sense of closure that penning a review provides.  But enough about reviews. This is a rundown, so rundown some gaming news!
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Rundown (4/21-4/27) Resolution Solutions

One of the reasons why I am apprehensive towards the very idea of upgrading beyond my current 1080p monitor is that I play a large number of games with set resolutions that generally look like crap when scaled upwards due their quantity of 2D art assets.  While 3D games are generally safe from this thanks to the magic of polygons and anti-aliasing, and sprite-based games can look great when displayed at 3 times their original resolution, games that rely heavily on 2D art assets are not so lucky, and it makes me worry about their future.  I know there are programs like Waifu2x that can quadruple the size of artwork with minimal quality loss and ReShade can do great things for 3D titles, but I have yet to see anything that allows for, say, Muv-Luv to be boosted up to 1080p as you play it, which would be bonkers and make me utterly ecstatic.
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Rundown (4/14-4/20) Natalie Versus Transit

Sometimes when travelling back between the standbys of home, school, and work, I pontificate about how few placed I typically visit in a given year, and how that number is realistically less than 30 unique locations.  I suppose this is a sign that I should “get out” more, but I truly have little desire in going to places for the mere sake of leaving, especially when the process of getting from one place to another is such a dull affair for people without the ability to work, read, or mess around on their phone while in transit.  Seriously, I went to two new places yesterday but my 6 hours out involved about 4 hours of setting up computers and another 2 of sitting in a hot car in silence. It, combined with how often paratransit is late in picking me up really does make me worry about the future and the transportation related woes it will contain.
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Rundown (4/07-4/13) Natalie Likes Schedules

When I schedule the games that I review, I tend to prioritize two things.  Variety and timeliness, as I do not want to have two similar reviews back to back, but I also need to take into consideration my schedule, which I have ranted about in detail over the past year or so.  This has left me unable to keep my promise of reviewing longer games, as I only get about 15 hours of quality gaming time in a given week, and is largely the reason why I started the whole monthly Ramble segment.  That, and I wanted to try performing deeper dives into subjects that I feel strongly about and do not see discussed by people better and smarter than me.
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Rundown (3/31-4/06) Natalie Got Her Gacha Fix!

Ever since I stopped playing Fire Emblem Heroes a year ago, I’ve been craving a game with some sort of gacha mechanics, as I love the sensations that come with getting rare and powerful characters accompanied with light flavor text and unique artwork.  It is a desire that I have been looking to satiate in a somewhat healthy manner, and wouldn’t you know it, the Student Transfer dev team provided just that with their latest April Fools goof.  A standard no-frills card collector gacha title where the player can earn 160 unique cards with flavor text that were enough to drive me to achieve a 100% completion rate, and then proceed to happily read through the descriptions, taking delight in the information, background, and general absurdity they provided.
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Rundown (3/24-3/30) Japan Vs West: A Statistical Battle!

A topic that I regularly see brought up in the circles I follow is the idea of western game design versus Japanese design, what distinguishes them, and how Japanese game design is better.  While it would be easy for me to say that I tend to prefer Japanese games, I’m the sort of person who likes to have data for things, and as such, I decided to go through every game I played from 2016 to now, and compile whether or not I have a preference towards Japanese games.  What I found is that things are split fairly evenly between both fronts, as in that time I played 156 games, 53% of which were Japanese, and 47% of which were western.
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Rundown (3/17-3/23) Gaming Distribution Cataclysm

If this past week is any indication, I think one of the biggest issues that will permeate throughout gaming this upcoming generation is the matter of games distribution.  This was originally a fairly simple concept, but with digital distribution growing in popularity, many game companies have been looking for ways to have the means of distribution better serve them by creating their own platforms or signing exclusivity deals in order to lessen the risk associated with launching any kind of product.  While this sort of thing typically results in the establishment of a diverse and competitive marketplace that ultimately benefits the consumer in the long run, in the short run it creates a very hectic environment where the consumer is put in a place of uncertainty and inconvenience as they need to choose what platform they’re going to invest their time and money into.
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Rundown (3/10-3/16) Crack the Mind into the Bowl!

This past week I’ve been wrapping up my review of Student Transfer V4.1, and in doing so I noticed just how much of this update deals with mental alterations and the chaotic events such changes can lead to.  This in turn caused me to realize that, despite never really seeking this sort of thing out, I am actually somewhat fascinated by the concept of information being added, removed, or replaced in one’s mind, and seeing the ensuing results.  While I have seen a fair share of media depicting identity death or mind breaks, a lot of ST’s more mental focused content has a tinge of uniqueness to it that honestly gets my creative juices flowing, and is something that I hope to eventually work into some of my future novels… which I really ought to get back to working on.  Oh life, why do you insist on keeping me so gosh danged busy?
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