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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saturday Morning Update #88


Saturday Morning Update is a weekly series where I talk about my adventures in geek life from the previous week. Read on to find out a little bit more about what I did this past week, including what I watched, read, and played.

Hey look I'm returning to this format for updates. Why? I don't know. I had this crazy idea to switch updates to video format but I stopped doing videos because no one watched them so reviving them with a weekly blog series that no one reads isn't just crazy - it's stupid. But I have all these mental scripts for a full update, so here we go.

WHAT I WATCHED
I'm going to talk about a couple series on YouTube for a change. The first is Zack Morris is Trash from Funny or Die.  They're summaries of episodes of Saved by the Bell that focus on the character of Zack Morris and how everything he does is out of selfish greed and often leads to the physical, social, and emotional trauma of his friends and everyone around him. They're hilarious for pointing out exactly how terrible of a friend he is for ignoring everyone's feelings and just trying to abuse his friends to make money. Saved by the Bell might be some people's nostalgia but it is a garbage sit com and I love seeing this breakdown of its most garbage character. Two seasons have completed and a third series is ongoing. You can watch the first episode here.

I also watched a series called Defunctland which goes into the history of theme park attractions that have closed over the years. I have some friends from the Orlando area and I always found it weird how obsessive they are with theme parks like it's their #1 fandom, which is why I've never watched a video like this before. But it autoplayed while I was doing dishes and my hands were wet so what was I to do?

I love Defunctland probably for the same reason I like videos about retrogaming rather than new games. If I wanted to know what the new Spider-Man game was like, I could go play it. If I wanted to experiance a new Disney ride, I'd just go ride it (albiet the price difference between those two is astronomical you get the idea.) But Defunctland highlights rids and attractions that are closed and those no one can ever experiance them again. The host of these videos is also hilarious so that helps. You can watch the first episode here. There are also other videos on similar topics and a podcast on the channel.

WHAT I READ
Disney sent me an ARC of The Last Life of Prince Alastor, which is the sequel to last year's The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding. Since I'd never read the first one, I borrowed it on Hoopla. It's about a boy, Prosper Redding, from a creepy, affluential family in a small, creepy town who discovers he has inherited the demon spirit that possessed the founder of their family back in colonial times. To battle the spirit within, Prosper must travel to Salem and face witches, faeries, and other dark secrets.

Yes, I should've waited until October to read it. It even takes place around Halloween. It's a really good book with a twist ending that I did not see coming a mile away. Alastor, the demon spirit inside of Prosper, is able to take control of Prosper at night. This only happens a few times but the first time it does is in a chapter that runs almost four times as long as any other chapter and is filled with hilarious culture shock as Alastor is so confused at the sight of modern day Salem decorated for Halloween. You can get the book here and pre-order it's sequel here. I'll have a review of the sequel up soon - I just plan to wait until October this time so I'm in the right mood.

WHAT I PLAYED
While everyone else is swinging around New York in Spider-Man on the PS4, I dropped into one of my old favorites again: the .hack series. It's a JRPG series set in a futuristic MMORPG where players have been mysteriously falling into comas during play. The first series is spread across four games with your character's stats, equipment, and adventure carrying over from one game to the next.

I hate these games. They did not need to be spread across 4 games, that was purely marketing. About 80% of the game is repetitively going through dungeons to either get a dead end cutscene or grind for virus cores needed to unlock more pointless dungeons. The anime DVDs that they came with are slow and boring and don't make a lick of sense unless you have a PhD in .hackology.

And a lot - a lot - of the gameplay mechanics are dumb. You basically have to load up on every buff to survive any hard battle. you can only hold 40 kinds of items at a time but general supplies add up to about 30 all the time. Your party members are the WORST. They level up on the side but otherwise, they never upgrade their equipment on their own and they never do ANYTHING in battle unless you tell them too. If they use a physical attack on an enemy that is immune to physical attacks you have to tell them to use magic. After they use a magic attack they will always go back to using physical like a god damned moron. The .hack series of video games are terrible.

Still one of my Top 5 favorite games of all time though! If you're interested there is an HD remaster of the sequel series available here. This series is a bit more spruced up than the original, but it's kinda two steps forward, one step back. It fixes a lot of my issues from the first games but is not without its own problems. Namely, instead of dungeons ending with a one-minue dead end cutscene, the game is lousy with overdramatic story at every possible second that will sometimes make you forget that these are people playing inside of a video game - a game they take very, very seriously. There's also a bike in the sequel.

What have you been up to this week? What are you doing next week? Let me know in the comments below!

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