Kidneys Safe, Vita Obtained
I have a running joke with my friend Rae, that each time I go off to meet someone to make a purchase from Craigslist that I am more than likely going to end up in a ditch somewhere missing a kidney. What can I say… I have a dark sense of humor. Regardless of this eventual fate, I am extremely cheap by nature, or more so I cannot stand paying more for something than I actually have to. As a result there are a handful of things I search Craigslist for a few times a week, one of them is the Playstation Vita. For a long while I have known that sooner or later I would get one, but seeing as I have a pretty lousy track record for playing handheld games… I most certainly did not want to pay much for it. Essentially handheld gaming is awesome if you travel a lot… whereas I actually actively avoid travel. If I am at home, I am more than likely going to be on my PC or one of my consoles rather than milling about on a handheld. That said I am still very much enthralled by handheld gaming, and the since I have a PS3 and a PS4… the Vita remote play functionality even as limited as it might be… seemed intriguing.
So the other day when I found a Vita that had been posted for a few days for $100 that came with two games… both of them something I would play, I honestly thought it was too good to be true. However over the course of a series of text messages I gleaned two things. Firstly that I suspected the person that was selling the unit was female, and that they did in fact seem legitimate. This is my own personal bias at work, but generally I consider women far more trustworthy than men, and potentially less likely to steal my kidney. I could not meet up that day so we scheduled a meeting for yesterday after work. Basically I did not want to mention it on the blog, because I really didn’t want to jinx it. There was a comedy of errors however when it came to actually meeting up. The person lived in a town roughly thirty minutes away from the southern most point of the Tulsa Metro. Since I prefer to meet at QuikTrip for safety sake, and that town did not have one… we decided to meet at one in Glenpool, thinking I had been there multiple times and it would be in the path she had to travel anyways.
The only problem is that apparently Glenpool is big enough to actually have two QuikTrips… both of which are apparently across the street from a McDonalds. I must have looked insane walking around the QuikTrip parking lot looking for a pink and grey Chevy cruze. Like I was confused enough at one point that I even googled what a Chevy Cruze looked like on my phone, because I thought maybe I was not remembering which model was which. Once we realized we were at two separate locations she came to me because I had zero clue where she was. Everything checked out, the Vita is pretty awesome and only has a few scratches here and there on the case. It came with the vita unit, 4 gb memory card, charge cable, car charger, soft sided case, rubberized skin for the unit, Injustice Ultimate Edition game and The Walking Dead game. The owner had wiped it back to factory settings so all I had to do when I got home was set the unit up and I was streaming Resogun from my PS4 in a matter of moments.
The main reason why I knew sooner or later that I would get a Vita is that I have been a member of Playstation Plus for awhile. One of the awesome things about Playstation Plus is it is blanket subscription and does not care at all if you actually own the piece of hardware it is giving away games for. So since the moment I started subscribing I have been picking up every Vita game offered through the web storefront. As a result I now have a library of 35 good titles ready to download to my Vita. The only thing I need to pick up really is a bigger memory card, because quite frankly 4 gb will not hold much of anything. All in all this makes for another wildly successful Craigslist purchase. One of the things I am going to have to test out soon is the ability to play across the internet from my PS4 sitting at home. I’ve heard mixed reviews about it, but just the fact that something like that could possibly exist seems awesome. Also if you are on PSN and we are not already friends… look up “Belghast Sternblade”.
Three Hours Well Spent
I have seen the Realm Maintenance podcast a few times before, but never actually sat down to listen to it. I tend to listen to podcasts when I can during the day because it makes the work day go a little faster. Yesterday Godmother of Alternative Chat had linked this weeks episode, which is a special 100th episode that included her. The podcast was rather daunting, in that it was a 3 hour retrospective of a bunch of wow podcasters being interviewed and the results knitted together into a narrative. While it took me literally all of the day to get through it, listening in bursts here and there… I have to say it was three hours well spent. Listening to the collective pet peeves, advice and challenges of all of these extremely successful and popular podcasts was rather inspiring. I would not really put myself or the work we do with Aggrochat in the same league as any of these people, but it was awesome to hear that they had struggled with some of the same issues I had.
One of the most interesting takeaways from the whole show is that for the most part, all of the podcasters list radio and more often than not NPR as being an important influence. I guess to some extent that makes sense, because what is a podcast if not an online radio show. If I am in my car I am pretty much always listening to NPR, and I know personally I wanted to do a podcast out of a sense of awe of everything that radio can be. I’m a huge fan of This American Life and have even gone and seen Ira Glass in person, when he did a lecture here in town. One of the tougher questions the various guests were asked… was who their favorite podcast is. Most of them gave extremely diplomatic answers, but I have to say for me at least there are two podcasts that I pretty much drop everything I am doing to listen to when they are posted. The first of these is Alternative Chat, because Godmother somehow takes the production value of This American Life, and condenses it into a fifteen minute bite sized chunk. It is very easy to listen to because I know, no matter what else I have going on, that I will receive this fifteen minute vignette of awesome.
The other podcast that I listen to as soon as it is posted is that of the Battle Bards. There are two things that make this experience awesome. The first is the chemistry that has evolved between Sypster, MMOGC and Syl. Their tastes in music and games have this weird way of fluttering back and forth between complimenting each other and diverging at the same time. So on a specific topic you might get two of the three to agree, but I have never really seen all three agree on something at exactly the same moment. This chemistry aside, I love the focus of the podcast because I too am extremely passionate about video game music. While I might not know the whys and hows like they do… or even know the composers by name… when I am not listening to podcasts at work, I am listening to soundtracks. Video game music has always stirred my imagination in ways that nothing else quite can. It is this warm blanket of nostalgia that I wrap myself in regularly, and it is always awesome to listen to the Bards as they dissect various tracks that I know and love.
Overly Cerebral Morning
As is the case with so many mornings, I sat down to write with a vague idea of some of the things I might talk about. However as a whole this morning shaped up to be far more cerebral than normal. I wish I had pictures to at least accompany some of my giant walls of text, but alas you are going to have to settle for a really cool shot from Divinity II last night. When I got home from my adventure I piddled around with my vita for a bit, logged into Wildstar to claim another boom box and then after our walk settled into Divinity again for the rest of the night. I find it so odd that I have fallen so in love with a game that is over six years old at this point. Everything about the game still feels fresh and new to me, and I am loving exploring this world. All my of my friends are busy and enthralled with Divinity: Original Sin… but at this point I don’t even want to look at that game until I “finish” this one.
I have a feeling that “finishing” Divinity II is going to be a lot like “finishing” Skyrim. That there will always be something left unfinished and begging for me to wander around and finish at a later time. The only thing that makes me question this, is that already the game has made some significant changes that caused me to lose access to a number of quests. The world keeps getting stranger, and I am not really sure how I feel about the chief antagonist. He keeps showing up to taunt me, and then instead of actually attacking me… sends an army of fodder at me claiming it will “finish me off”. While I am sure I cannot take him down yet… I am level 30 and wondering how long this game actually runs. I am only in the second “area” so far, but not sure just how many more there are. I know of at least one more that is connected to the area I am in currently, but at this point I have put almost twenty hours into the game and feel no closer a finish than I did at the very beginning. I love when a game feels like it could go on forever like that.