Cat Context 68: AGDQ, Raspberry Pi Emulator, Destiny, Final Fantasy XIV
Jan14

Cat Context 68: AGDQ, Raspberry Pi Emulator, Destiny, Final Fantasy XIV

cat context vertical Cat Context 68: AGDQ, Raspberry Pi Emulator, Destiny, Final Fantasy XIV

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This week Liore, Ellyndrial, and Arolaide talk about retro games through the Awesome Games Done Quick event, Aro’s new Raspberry Pi emulator, and the Internet Archive stash of DOS games. Also, MMOs are back on our playlist with Destiny and Final Fantasy XIV making a return.

Liore watched a lot of AGDQ last week, and she’s all excited about retro games. We talk about our favorite moments from the event, and how difficult it would really be to play something blindfolded. Meanwhile Aro has been playing a ton of old SNES games — including some you’ve probably never heard of — on her new Raspberry Pi emulator and boy are her thumbs tired. Elly is excited to get his hands on the new DOS game collection at the Internet Archive because Lemmings is still great.

Meanwhile in more modern news, Aro updates us on her mission to romance everyone in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Elly has returned to Destiny for a bit, but seems somewhat subdued about the game’s future. Liore finally got back to playing MMOs, in this case Final Fantasy XIV, and she wants everyone to know about the hats.

Also, Aro dreams of seeing Adult Simba one day! Elly is still totally dazed by sudden parenthood! Liore played something called.. Corpse Party? Huh.

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* The Tetris Showcase at AGDQ
* Blindfolded Ocarina of Time at AGDQ
* The Internet Archive collection of DOS games
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years

Tips for Looking Great in FFXIV
Jan13

Tips for Looking Great in FFXIV

Things are continuing apace in FFXIV! My highest class is a 23 Conjurer, with a level 7 Arcanist coming up the ranks. The goal is to eventually get both classes to 30 at which point I can combine them in various ways to form a White Mage and a Scholar, the two healing specializations. I think. It’s all a little confusing.

Next week patch 2.5 hits, and there’s a fancy trailer for it on YouTube as of today. While I’m way too low level to worry about any of the end-game or max level content updates, this patch is also introducing a casino-like place with lots of carnival games including chocobo racing and the Triple Triad card game from Final Fantasy 8. Sounds good to me!

smile 294x500 Tips for Looking Great in FFXIV

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before this game is really all about cute outfits and pets and mounts. (You can get costume gear for your chocobo, people. CHOCOBO HATS.) So here are some tips on being fabulous in Final Fantasy 14 using a few tools that I didn’t find terribly clear for new players.

1. The little color swatches on gear tiles represent the color of the item. That might seem obvious in retrospect, but it actually took me ages to figure out. My first instinct was that the swatch indicated quality of gear (like blue and purple in WoW) but then I was sort of boggled trying to figure out where things like “light green” and “kind of pinkish” would fit on a quality continuum.

swatches Tips for Looking Great in FFXIV

2. The game has an Aesthetician that you can unlock who will change your appearance, but you can also change your race by buying a $10 bottle of Fantasia from the Mog Station. This is important (and cool) in a game like FFXIV where you’re encouraged to just have one character forever. After dealing with WoW, $10 for a race change seems pretty reasonable!

3. You can change how your character stands while idle! Type /cpose repeatedly to rotate through the handful of options, including crossed arms and a variety of slouches. Your character will remember what you picked and use that pose while idle until you change it again.

4. For PC players, the “Pause” key is bound by default to “look at camera”. This little command is super useful for taking all kinds of cool screenshots of your character, like the one at the start of this post. Just pick a nice backdrop, move your camera, and hit Pause. Combine this with one of the many available facial expressions found under “Emotes” in the social menu. Pow, perfect screenshot!

Awesome Games Done Quick is Awesome

As mentioned in previous posts I’ve been feeling a little blue about the “gaming community” as of late for various reasons. Gamers, man. This week though I started watching the Awesome Games Done Quick event and if like me you’ve been feeling down about gaming I absolutely recommend that you check it out.

Awesome Games Done Quick is a fundraiser for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, held twice a year by the speedrunning community. It’s streamed live, 24-hours a day, and at any point you can go to Twitch or their website and check out folks blasting through games both old and new. As of this post the event has raised over $500,000 for their charity! AGDQ has been going on for a number of years previously, but this is the first time I’ve tuned in. And man, it’s been a treat.

First of all, it’s a joy to see people who reeeeeeally love games. Speedrunning can be through just plain skill and muscle memory or also involve an element of glitching the game to skip segments, but either way these folks have clearly spent hours devoted to their current game of choice and they are often a font of wisdom about it. I may not be a speedrunner in any way but seeing nerds (and oh man these are nerds) talk about analyzing algorithms to discern the most optimal paths in a game… well, even if we don’t have the specific type of gameplay in common I can’t help but feel that these are my people.

Additionally AGDQ and speedrunning in general seems to be a robust community, and each game also has its own dedicated group. The player gets to bring fellow speedrunners up “on the couch” behind them while they play, and often donations come in from their friends while they’re doing their thing. There’s discussion about “building on Y’s strategy” or a moment of giving props to the folks who helped the speedrunner while they were getting started, and I find it really heartwarming to see people being supportive and friendly.

But aside from the love for games and for their fellow speedrunners, some of the stuff you see on the stream is seriously amazing. There’s the gobsmacking invisible Tetris, a highly entertaining run of I Wanna Be the Boshy (with a mystery $20,000 donation near the end!), and today’s Ninja Gaiden Relay Race which sees 6 players battle over three games and end up a lot closer than you’d expect. Yesterday even had the first even AGDQ marriage proposal!

This round of Awesome Games Done Quick goes through January 10th, and if you find yourself idling in front of your computer you should definitely pop by to see what’s happening. It’s people who love games doing cool things with games, all for a good cause, and it might even make you feel better about the idea of a gaming community.

Cat Context 67: Favorite Games of 2014 and a Look at 2015
Jan07

Cat Context 67: Favorite Games of 2014 and a Look at 2015

cat context vertical Cat Context 67: Favorite Games of 2014 and a Look at 2015

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This week Liore, Ellyndrial, and Arolaide look back at their favorite games of 2014 and then beyond to what we’re excited to get our hands on in 2015.

Without giving away anyone’s list, 2014 seems to have been a year where we played games differently. Elly has more than one mobile game on his list, while Liore discovered visual novels this year and totally fell in love with them. Aro’s list features a number of successful Kickstarter projects, which sent us on a bit of a tangent: is the era of runaway Kickstarter funding over? Now that we’re starting to see the results of 2012’s crowdfunding madness, are people pleased with what they got?

After looking back at 2014, it’s clearly time to look forward to 2015! We talk about what games we’re excited to try for ourselves, and what games we’re interested to just … see how they work in practice. (No Man’s Sky, we’re talking to you.)

Also, Aro tries out her old lady thumbs on a Raspberry Pie emulator! Liore gets excited for her new hipster holiday gadget! Elly schemes to get a Playstation 4!

Like to watch? This podcast has a livestreamed video version:

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* Wikipedia on games released in 2014
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years

MMO Update: Wait, I played an MMO?!
Jan06

MMO Update: Wait, I played an MMO?!

Thanks to the holidays I finally finished Dragon Age: Inquisition (~110 hours) and Danganronpa 2 (~35 hours) — more posts on both of those later — which left me with a rather large hole in my relaxation schedule. I bought a few things during the Steam Holiday sale, but they were mostly puzzle games and didn’t feel like suitably dense follow-ups. After Dragon Age and DR I wanted something with a little more narrative. I wanted something I could optionally play with my partner, and didn’t require too much time or mental effort. I wanted something with silly hats. I wanted…

I wanted an MMO!

A few months back I had dabbled a bit in Final Fantasy XIV, and it seemed like the best candidate for a return. The mechanics of the game are very much in the tradition of WoW-likes (hotbar combat and such), but pleasantly different enough thanks to the Asian design style and huge legacy of Final Fantasy lore. I’ve been actively avoiding any reading or research on the game because it’s more fun right now to just bumble around and figure stuff out.

In fact, FFXIV hits a nice sweet spot for me as far as “casual” MMO playing goes. There are many, many optional grinds what with the multi-class system and separate crafting classes, as well as the hunting and sightseeing logs. I can focus on leveling my main class (Conjurer, obvs) if I feel like being productive, or just run around killing things or hitting trees if I want to put a movie up on the other monitor and chill out. Later in the game there’s chocobo breeding and guild houses to investigate, and each step of the main questline provides a lot of story and character.

Also the hats. Just look at this hat I got last night as part of the New Year holiday event:

ffhat2 500x440 MMO Update: Wait, I played an MMO?!

It’s.. a samurai sheep hat. With a mustache. And the “wool” jiggles as you move. It’s totally ludicrous, and I love it.

So anyway, after a break of many months I seem to be playing an MMO on a regular basis again. I’m not sure why it clicked now, or why exactly FFXIV, but it did and suddenly I’m having a lot of fun. 2015 is off to a good start!

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