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Soluzar's Journal

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Apr 7, 2010 - 07:42 PM
Kinda like the introduction thread I never made. Only longer.
I still feel like a new guy, here. Even after quite a few years. There are a few people who know me, but it wouldn't hurt to get to know a few more. Here is a ridiculously long entry about me, why not? I broke it down into some arbitrary sized chunks for ease of reading.

I first discovered Gamingforce probably back in 2004 which means I've been on the fringes of the community for about 5 years. I'm not sure if I ever really found my way into the heart of things though. In fact... I'm pretty sure I didn't.

You notice how some new members come along and then a while afterwards nobody can imagine GFF without them? If I were to mention Bernard Black or Temari, I'm sure you'd have to agree.

I didn't do that. I've made the acquaintance of some really good people, but I don't think I've made my mark on the community as a whole. Probably partly because I never seem to know what to not take seriously, and partly because my participation is too sporadic.

So... I'm going to re-introduce myself here and make a renewed effort to make friends. It seems like the journals are where pretty much everything happens, and of late I've got into commenting a fair bit... but I don't make many entries. A while back when I picked up the new consoles I made some entries about them (which are pretty lolworthy reading now) but nothing much else.

I'm Soluzar. I'm in my thirties, and I'm going nowhere fast in life. I'm happy with that though, being largely unambitious. I have enough of what I need and a decent quantity of what I want. I have a long-term relationship of over three-years standing and gaming is practically my religion.

I play pretty much anything and everything except the really popular FPS titles. That's partly due to the prejudice that I don't care for the 'modern warfare' setting. By that I don't mean as in 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare', I mean... anything with a WWII, Vietnam, realistic combat feel to it. I like sci-fi FPS, or ones which aren't all military in style, though. I especially loved Max Payne.

I also love JRPGs, including the ones that most people think are incredibly boring. By that I mean titles developed by Gust, or Nippon Ichi software, and others like them. I'm not going to attempt to justify that taste, because I'm not interested in persuading you to enjoy them as well. If you're not a fan, I don't care.

I have a huge backlog and spend most of my spare time playing in order to keep my head above water as far as new releases are concerned. The last thing I want is for the pile to increase beyond all control so that I'll never play these games. I'm a compulsive buyer, although I do tend to wait for good prices on all but a handful of games.

I'm also a major geek in other ways. I spent my teenage years playing D&D and learning to program in C. I'm not very good at programming, but I get by. I've been learning PHP lately, with a view to maybe doing something with it. I've got a ton of interesting projects in mind, but damned if I'll ever get any of 'em done.

I love sci-fi, both old and new, quality and cheesy. I just went on a major Doctor Who shopping spree, buying up some DVDs of the older stuff. The new stuff leaves me cold. Other than that my last acquisitions in the genre were some movies and such related to B5, and the last couple of seasons of Star Trek Voyager.

I like animu, but I hardly ever buy anything new or even find the time to watch fanshrubs. It's something I sometimes watch with my girlfriend, but I don't really have the time to fit it in without sacrificing game time.

I'm slightly crazy, and I've got the papers to prove it. I suffer from excess anxiety and panic attacks. Or rather I would if I didn't take some sanity pills once a day. I try really hard to not forget the sanity pills, since it makes me feel like crap. Physically, that is. The side effects of missing a dose kick in far sooner than the anxiety.

I like to think I'm a nice person, although I don't have the papers to prove that, unfortunately. I'm probably more pleasant on the internet than in real life sometimes, because I get grouchy and just want to be alone a lot of the time.

I wouldn't go so far as to call myself anti-social, but I'm only sociable when the right mood is upon me. Once it has departed, so will I. It seems like I need my solitude a lot more than when I was younger.

Anyway. That's a very long entry. If you were interested enough to read all that, please leave a comment. You can either be friendly or a total asshat. I won't be too offended, I know it's not possible to be buddies with everyone. Like I'd even want to.

There it is. Far too much stuff about me. Read if you've got the time, and feel the inclination.

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[public entry #16]

Jan 7, 2010 - 12:20 PM
The State of the Backloggery Address.
Is your Backloggery a pristine record of your entire games collection, flawlessly maintained and managed? Is it a bit of a mess, containing the games you care about, but not the ones you forgot you bought? Is it mostly about the games you are currently playing, or have been since you joined the site?

Mine's a bit of a mess. It sort of keeps track of my collection, but there are inaccuracies, and things missing. It runs to over four hundred games, and I'm not sure everything I own is included. After all, I haven't traded in a game (sort of) for about 15 years, and I've been buying them at a steady rate for most of that time. A quick calculation shows that steady rate must be about two games a month, which sounds about right as an average.

There isn't that much missing. Just today, when Meia asked me about my backlog, I updated with most of my XBLA titles and some of my PSN downloads. That leaves Mega Drive (Genesis) cartridges as the only unrepresented category. Honestly I'm not even sure where they are, except in general terms. Probably inside a box in back of my closet is the best I can do.

I need to add the rest of my PSN games, at some point. Then all that will be missing are whatever oddments I've just forgotten about. If you're looking at my PS1 list and thinking "That philistine! Where is his copy of _______!?!?!?" then you should also check the PS1 list, because living here in Europe I often used to just pirate American PS1 titles that weren't available here. I've started to fix that recently, by adding the few must-have PSN releases to my collection.

I've still got a disturbing number of good games on my list I don't really own. That bothers me, I should look to fixing that. When I purchase a remake I tend to remove the pirate SNES/PS1 version from the list and replace it with the new legitimate copy.

So... that's how I run my Backloggery. If you're looking at it and there's something odd about it, hopefully that's explained why. I don't know if many people will be checking out my backlog, but this new GFF Game Club might prompt a few views.

Currently Playing: Far too many games.

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[public entry #15]

Sep 26, 2009 - 03:22 PM
Laptop GET.
My mom decided she needed a new laptop... mostly because this one is smaller and cuter than the last and therefore appeals to what she finds important in any piece of electronics. She got an Acer Aspire ONE, which isn't a bad choice as far as netbooks go. As a result, I got her old Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo laptop.

It's actually very decent, with a Core2Duo p8400, and good specs all around. I've never really needed a laptop so I never splashed out the money for one, but hey... as a gift, I'll be grateful for that.

It comes with Windows Vista. I would have installed Windows 7 Release Candidate, but you can't download it any more which probably means the retail version is out soon. I might upgrade to that when it comes out but for now I'm rolling back to Windows XP with all the fun of finding drivers for a machine where the manufacturer only supports Vista. Windows 7 does away with a lot of the things I find annoying about Vista so it's definitely the way to go for me, both on the desktop and on the move.

I notice as I write this that I'm really not very consistent at making journal entries. It's been well over a year since my last one. I wonder if I'll remember to make another one soon.

Currently Playing: around with drivers.

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[public entry #14]

Apr 14, 2008 - 01:51 PM
360 games, batch #01
After listening to the recommendations of the GFF members who commented in my journal and of various other friends and acquaintances, I decided to splash out on a selection of 360 games.

My usual modus operandi with regards to videogame purchases is to wait for either a price drop or a used copy of the games I'm interested in. I don't generally pay more than £30.00 (currently ~$60.00 American) for any title, no matter how good. My purchasing decisions were partically motivated by this. I can always get other games later on, when their price drops.

With that said, here are my latest acquisitions. With only one exception they are for the 360, and without exception they are used but in excellent condition.

The Orange Box

I've actually played this on the PC, but I prefer to play games on a console. I heard the PS3 version may not be the way to go, and to be honest this is one of the very titles that made me interested in putting a 360 alongside my PS3.

Portal is just too damn awesome. I don't think anyone can disagree with that statement. Even Ben "Yatzhee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation found nothing bad to say about it. What other games can say this? I would have bought Portal as a standalone game.

Lost Odyssey

It's an RPG. Specifically it is a JRGP, which I tend to enjoy. The current generation of consoles has few enough that I'm inclined to buy them all, for now.

Seriously though, it actually looks good, and I'm astounded by the fact that it appears to come on four dual-layered DVDs, which means it requires about 32 GB of space for all the content.

Viva Pinata

It's the strangest game on the 360, therefore I want it. I probably own (or at least pirated) the strangest game you can think of for every console I ever played.

It could be fun, why not? It sounds silly, but it also sounds like it could be a great game to play when I'm just not in the mood for something so serious.

Blue Dragon

I'm not gonna lie, I'm putting faith in GFF here. People recommended these, and even though based on reviews I didn't expect them to be great, I'm inclined to go with recommendations which appear to have been made with a genuine attempt to understand my tastes.

I can't say anything about these. I'm just going with what I was told, with the hope of a pleasant surprise. I'll post in due course regarding my impressions.

They were cheap, at least. Very cheap.


Simply put, I read a review and it seems like the most interesting thing on PS3 right now. I'm just not interested in Gears of Duty 3, or whatever other first person shooter is the current hot item. Some people hate RPGs, they just can't appreciate them. That's how I feel about shooters. There is maybe one exception a year.

This on the other hand sounds like a game of adventure and discovery, with a healthy dose of mystery thown in. I like a good mystery, and I'm hoping to enjoy this game. It seems like a bit of a dungeon-crawler with action/platform elements, which... sounds damn good to me.

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Apr 7, 2008 - 10:11 AM
Suikoden Journal Musing - Part I
I just completed Suikoden for the second time. The first time I played I made some bad choices and didn't get all 108 Stars of Destiny. Since I don't know exactly what carries over when you load Suikoden data into Suikoden II, I figured it was worth having as many characters as possible.

Suikoden I ending:
Little did I know that there was a bonus awaiting for me in that Gremio would be ressurected. I'm assuming that he makes an appearance in the second game based on this. It was nice to see that scene anyway.

So I got all 108 Stars of Destiny, sharpened everyone's weapon to the maximum level and built up each character to at least level 50. It only took me one afternoon to build everyone up after I'd gone through the story gathering characters. I certainly am sick of the sight of Gaspar's damned dice cup though.

I beat the game in 38 hours, which I admit is really pretty slow. If I had wanted to go for speed instead of characters, I think it's probably posssible to get to the final boss in about 22 hours. It is not a long game, although it is crammed with goodness.

I enjoyed it every bit as much the second time as the first. I almost got everything, but I managed to miss the Clone Crystal. My theory is that Odessa was holding it when she died. Oh well, I'm not going to fuss over it. I don't know if Runes can even carry over, anyway.

My recent acquisition of Mana-Khemia and Eternal Sonata means it might be a few weeks before I am ready to start Suikoden II. I probably should finish Persona 3 as well, so I can start Episode Aigis in Fes when that arrives.

It's been a hell of a ride, the game is amazing. Other than a few examples of odd dialogue, and the irritating nature of the "fake choices" the game gives you, I can't think of much that could have been improved.

I'll post my impressions of Suikoden II when I get to it.

Currently Playing: Eternal Sonata

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Apr 4, 2008 - 03:07 PM
Soluzar gets a 360.
Well... I didn't have any immediate plans to get one until the recent price drop, and then I started thinking about it. It's been something I planned to buy eventually for a while now. There are games I would play, on XBLA as well as at retail. There probably is only one game I'm champing at the bit to play though, and that is Eternal Sonata.

So I picked up an Elite. It says "LOT NO: 745" on the label on the box, and the PSU is 175W so I assume I got one of the new Falcon chipset units. I know that's no guarantee of anything, but it probably reduces the odds of a failure. I also got a free 3 year warranty.

I admit it, I'm an RPG player a lot of the time. I like other games well enough, especially platform games, but a good RPG (or SRPG) is my passion. I bought the PS3 as much for Disgaea as anything else... Ratchet and Clank played a part in that choice though.

The only game I have already is Eternal Sonata, so I'm hoping to get a few opinions on what other games will be fun for me. I'm not really into FPS games, although for some reason Half Life 2 is a major exception. I heard the 360 version is better than the version on PS3. Please don't recommend the Tom Clancy games to me, or Gears of War... or whatever other shooter is hot. I might play it if it were free, but I'm not about to drop the cash.

I'm interested in knowing if any multiplatform titles are clearly better on the 360. I'm not a fanboy, I care little which console I play a game on as long as it is a good experience. I'm also interested in the more unusual and quirky titles. Is Viva Pinata actually any fun? It looks like it could go either way. What other unusual games are on the 360?

Last but not least, which XBLA games which I might otherwise miss out on would you recommend as worth the points?

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Mar 13, 2008 - 08:22 AM
Enchanted Arms - first impression.
When I first got my PS3, I was interested in getting as many games as possible, so I pretty much picked up anything that I could find at a cut price, new or used. I've since returned a few of those games, but I found a few that I'm going to keep. I managed to find Genji: Days of the Blade for a tenner, and I'm enjoying that enormously. I also managed to find Enchanted Arms for £24.99 which seemed a good price at the time. It has since dropped in price even further.

I know perfectly well that Enchanted Arms did not get the best of reviews, but since it's pretty much the only JRPG currently out on my console of choice, I figured I'd give it a go. I load it up and everything about the game screams Final Fantasy VIII to me, which doesn't seem like a particularly good thing.

It seems like it's pretty chock-full of anime clichés to me, but then I'm only in the first few hours of the game. There's plenty of time later on for it to be filled with RPG clichés which would at least be more appropriate. The characters don't seem particularly interesting, but they aren't putting me off either. They just seem a little dull, a little cookie-cutter.

I'm willing to keep on playing this game and see if there's anything to discover. I don't mind a poor or clichéd story if the game has an interesting system. I also don't mind a poor system if the game has an interesting story. It goes both ways, I only need one good hook to get me interested in the game.

So far it hasn't hooked me. I'll probably play it until I hit about 8 hours before pronouncing my judgement. That seems like long enough to see some potential.

Other games I picked up are Virtual Fighter 5, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, and Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. As of right now, Ratchet and Clank is tied for the top spot with Genji. I need to pick up Devil May Cry 4 though.

Currently Playing: PS3

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Dec 28, 2007 - 01:24 PM
Update on the "moving in" situation.
I never did move in with my girlfriend this year. We both wanted to, but I've had some family shit to deal with, and she's having a really stressfull time at work, so it never actually happened. Plus there was the thing where we broke up... but only for about two and a half hours. I tend to think she didn't really want to break up, but for whatever reason felt like it wasn't working out.

We're back together, and things seem a lot better now but it's always hard to know what to think after something like that. I guess... things are good, but she's still under an incredible amount of stress. She's a developer, and they cut her department down from fifteen people to only twelve at work, and they have the same amount of work to do. It doesn't help that she's probably one of the more competant people in the department and as such gets a heavier share of the workload than certain others. It really doesn't help that the people who left were some of the best and the brightest.

Somehow it just hasn't seemed like the right time to move it, ya know? We've said that we'll talk about it again once the new year is behind us. I think we both still really want to do this, but it's hard not to be nervous. Neither of us ever did anything like this before.

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Dec 28, 2007 - 08:29 AM
I recently decided that the best choice of new console for me is a PS3. I've had lots of experience playing them all courtesy of my friends, and there are definitely games on all three systems that I'm desperate to play. If it was just about what games are available now, I'd get a 360. Since it's about games which will be available soon, and games which might be available down the line, I feel like I have to have a PS3 for Disgaea 3 if nothing else.

I'm definitely going to get a 360 at some point, and hopefully by then there won't be any lingering questions over the stability of the chipset. I know the failure rate isn't nearly as high as the internet would like me to believe, but still I don't see how I can lose out by waiting in this case. It's not like the supply of good games is going to dry up any time soon.

With the PS3 on the other hand, I could lose out by waiting. I managed to snag one of the very few remaining 60GB models avaiable in the UK, which means I got a PS3 with at least some kind of PS2 backwards compatiblity, with 4 USB ports instead of 2 and with 20GB extra storage space for Playstation Network downloadable content. I don't know if there are other differences, but you can be sure I'm glad to have what I see as the better version.

Before I went out shopping today, I made a list of games that I've taken note of as being potentially worth buying. I already got Oblivion, the GoTY edition, and I was forced to take Beowulf. I guess I'll play it. It's going to be worth the same amount in trade whether I unseal it or not, I assume. It might be good.

Here is the list:

Agarest Senki
Armored Core 4
Burnout Paradise
Disgaea 3
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam
Enchanted Arms
Eternal Sonata
Half Life 2: The Orange Box
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Ninja Gaiden Sigma
Shin Megami Tensei
Tekken 5: Dark Ressurection
Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008

As you can probably guess, I'm not a huge fan of first person or third person perspective shooters. I like some of them, especially when they have more of an 'adventure' feel than just straight up shooting action. I'm not prejudiced against them, but they aren't top of my list to buy.

If there are any games you think I should be adding to that shopping list, or any that you think shouldn't be there at all, please comment to let me know. I don't expect to buy the whole of that list any time soon, but that's the shortlist I'll be working from when I do buy. Underlined titles are the ones which I hear may be coming out within the next year.

I've not exactly kept 100% up to date with the games industry over the last f few months, so there could easily be some good titles I've missed. I know what sucks though, so don't bother recommending Kane and Lynch, plz.

Oh and if you're going to comment about FPS titles, I'm more than likely going to be hugely indifferent. Doesn't mean you're not welcome to do so, though.

Currently Playing: The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion (PS3)

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Jan 22, 2007 - 12:57 PM
Looks like I'll be moving soon...
My girlfriend and I have decided that we should move in together. Neither of us are happy with our current living arrangements, so we'll be getting a new place together. Normally that would be a pretty easy thing to do, but this situation falls outside of my experience.

We hooked up on an internet forum. It's not your normal kind of 'internet relationship' though, because early on in our interaction, I learned that she only lives 40 miles away from me, and in the town where I grew up. We're able to see each other most weekends, and I like that town anyway... so moving back there would be a good thing. We've been together for nearly six months now, which does seem a little soon to be thinking about moving in together... but we both really want to.

I just have no idea how to go about looking for a job in another town. If I were to find one, how would the logistics work out? If the trains aren't as reliable during peak times as they are at other times, it would be a problem. I've never done anything lilke this before, and I don't know how to go about it.

The absent friends I mentioned in this entry are back, which is nice. One of them has now got a permanent case of wanderlust though, which means he won't be staying around for ever. It's going to be strange to move away from the town in which I have lived for 19 years. All my friends are here, and while it's not so far that I can't come back for a visit, it's still going to be a little lonely at first.

I really want to move in with my girlfriend, but it's not going to be an easy thing to adjust to. Not at all.

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[public entry #7]

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Soluzar's Journal

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