Community Post#174 I do feel this might be a little self-indulgent and likely egotistic to heap a lot of this on yourself but when you are in charge of a site, write it's most widely seen bit and vanish for a long ol' while, you can't help but think that leaving for a while has gotten things to where they are. But let's answer this: What have I been doing? Uuuhh, work. I managed to wrap up my University Course with some serious gusto, I was then very, very quickly able to find work that fitted my degree but needed me to move out within a month or so of accepting. From there, I have been learning to adult. And yes, 'adult' as a verb. I find it a succinct and correct term to describe the 'fake-it-till-you-make-it' nature of my existence post university. Like, the stupid stuff you have to Google that is far harder to find than it should be: like who to talk to about council tax and water supply and internet packages. Freedom to make my own home isn't easy. But, I'm writing to you from a pocket of stability. Yes, stability. Relatively speaking. I am sitting currently half-way up the country (I have lived on the south east coast of England for almost all of my life) having clawed out a little place of my own. I'm in a fantastically fortunate position where my job (as a game dev so I can work from home) is not under threat, I am now living with pinkest former admin Foxytail for company and the relatively tiny town I am in isn't likely to be locked down suddenly due to an outbreak. I am fortunate in that respect and sincerely hope you've all been at least OK out there. The world is frankly in an awful state right now in many respects and I hope a break in the sisyphan ordeal 2020 has turned out to be is coming. #relatable But why did I stop posting...anything? The honest answer is burnout. As the site and fandom got quieter, and the demands on my time got ever more acute, something had to give. So, the voluntary work I did here stopped. I would chip in, my last proper article here is back in 2018 when I had something I thought was worth writing. I've tried writing new stuff a few times for the site I've thought about or seen recently but not had the drive to finish them. Stuff on that Dark Crystal TV show and such right? I have tried asking others if they'd help but they've not worked out for one reason or another. So, it began to feel like just me. Which dragged on my time until I dropped everything. I am sorry for just up and leaving without any word. Uni was a massive drain on my mental resources in all ways though it is important. Well, there's this pandemic still looming over us all. In the interests of trying to help spread useful information, I'm going to post that video I did last time: As for lockdown, I do want to know what you guys have been doing to keep yourself busy. Me and Foxy have set each other what we call 'Challenge Games', which has helped keep ourselves relatively sane. The idea is that you set each other a game to play that you think absolutely should be played. Something special and wonderful to you that the other has never experienced. The joy came in watching each other follow the respective stories and gameplay challenges that one knew like the back of their hand, but was now able to enjoy through another's perspective. This worked fantastically for us both, recommending a couple of action J-RPGs for each other to hack our way through. For those familiar with me and my streaming work, I naturally plumbed for Kingdom Hearts, at least the HD Remix version. It is near and dear to my heart despite it, and later games in the series, being increasingly frustrating fan fiction. I do like it but I am also angered by the acts of brain-trust Sora as me and him grow ever increasingly further apart in terms of what we think is a 'reasonable plan'. Yes I did play Kingdom Hearts III. Not the DLC, I haven't removed my controller from the wall yet. Foxytail set me Tales of Vesperia. This is an action RPG set in a world that relies on these magic devices known as 'Blastia' in the same way we'd rely on modern machines. In fact, they're surprisingly computer like, complete with hologram keyboards. My simplest, possibly insulting summation of the 'Tales' series is imagine Final Fantasy but all action-RPGs with a fighting game like system where you use attack combos to perform moves. But each of the games are usually their own distinct thing: with different worlds and unique stories for each title. I hear one or two are in the same setting but follow different characters. Tales of Vesperia follows the forming and adventures of the guild 'Brave Vesperia'; a group of disparate individuals out to foil the plans within plans that first threaten an empire, and then the world. From top to bottom, right to left: Pirate Child, The Healer, Best Boy, Not Elf, The Punisher: Fantasy Edition, Tsundere Sheldon Cooper with Magic Powers, Bestest Boy, Yuri's Totally-Not-Boyfriend, Old Man that Only Looks 40 at the Most. The experience of doing this has honestly been seriously rewarding and I'd encourage any of you to do it if you can. Watching Foxy play through Kingdom Hearts has been pretty fun as I discuss what I know about the game and share in the quirks and foibles of the adventure. The strange bits and the battle to find friends in the cosmos. It's just enjoyable to sit and share something with another you know so well. Foxy has gained the same thing back, having 'no-lifed' Vesperia as many times as I have Kingdom Hearts. The difference is in how so good Vesperia's story is! Uuh! It's so layered and interesting. The aspects of the world are so thoroughly thought out. The world is detailed, coherent and full of interesting guys to meet or fight. The characters you follow are interesting and fun while still having some engaging aspects that will draw you in. They're lovable and intelligent; I was asking questions about the plot, only to have characters ask the exact same questions I just had. They're on the ball and tuned in, just like I was. The combat was clunky and there's lots about the gameplay I have issues with but it does work. But maaan, that story campaign. I will not forget it in the hurry. It did make for an interesting comparison in the end: how two different games attempted to transpose a traditional turn-based RPG into an action RPG while keeping as much of the original genre intact. Might be worth writing about at some point. Neither get it entirely right but it's interesting to think about. Especially comparing the difference between performing combos and the vestigial tail that is the 'Command Menu' down there in the corner. That said, if you do find yourself hovering around the house with not much to do, consider doing this. The rules are simple: Each participant must give the other something they hold near and dear that the other has never experienced. This can be a movie, or a game, or a book or a TV show. It helps if it's equivalent media: so a game for a game. Try to experience the media together. Me and Foxy are now roommates so that is pretty easy but over the internet, there's a few technical hurdles. Discord does allow you to stream your computer's screen over a call and there are sites that allow you to simultaneously watch something in sync (Like this site for example). But, if you can, make sure you are there as much as possible to experience each other's set thing together. If it's a game or a movie, take it in turns to experience one, and then the other, till you are finished. If it's a game, try to ensure that it's completed entirely on their own. No spoilers, no taking the controller and doing bits for them. They have to complete it entirely by themselves as much as they can. Same for movies, no spoilers, you keep schtum. With this, I think we both learned to appreciate the other's game. I am now a fan of Vesperia, it is sooo good. Foxy is currently ploughing through Kingdom Hearts II, partly because it's better and partly because I gave him a 20-hour action game, he gave me an 80-hour J-RPG with multiple distinct arcs and mountains of side contents to do if I want to, and a new game plus mode. He felt he ought to balance it out by playing the next one. After swotting up on the story after the first game. It also kept us going. Which is good when we're stuck in about three or four rooms for the good of our, and others, health. I hope you try this out too and you too find something new like this. See you next time, hopefully a lot sooner than around 2 years. Hey! We just suggested a thing that brings people together and promotes friendship. Maybe this is a brony site after all!