Category Archives: Zelda

FRIDAY, hells yeah.

Finally getting around to blogging again. Work hasn’t been too bad, but I’ve had enough side job stuff to keep me busy at home. I’ve been doing better about getting up earlier in the morning, so that gives me a little time to piddle around and do stuff like this.

I’m excited to see Mom this weekend. Her and Duane are coming up to hang out. At first I thought I was going to be caught working all day Saturday, but now it looks like I’ll at least be getting Saturday afternoon/evening off. So good deal there. I don’t think we have a whole lot planned, but we’ll kick back and relax like we always do. I know Andrea is excited because they’re brining up a Futon for the basement! No more canvas lawn chairs. I’m sure when people see our setup and then see that we’re sitting on canvas lawn chairs they figure we have some priority issues, which might be true anyway. But when we moved into the bigger place and decided to have our living room upstairs and our TV and systems downstairs, we were suddenly short on furniture. They’re also bringing us a bed for the spare bedroom. So that just leaves one room that we’re just using for storage.

I washed the Toronado a day or two ago. Every time I do I think about how I want to get some things on it fixed up. But then I think again that I need to just keep driving it and have a “beater” as they say, that I can drive without care or worry, especially during the winter time. So I think I talked myself out of repainting it again and redoing the vinyl on the roof. The paint isn’t so bad, but I’d have to repaint it to fix the hail dents… and one thing leads to another, and another. But I do want to keep it reliable mechanically, and fairly respectible looking. So my goal is to get the exhaust fixed (hopefully this Sunday) and find something to fix my cracked bumper filler up front without shelling out the $150 for a whole set. I’m thinking I can take some thin gauge sheet metal and bend it into the shape I need. Finding a piece big enough is the challenge for that right now.

Played some more Skyward Sword last night. Still very awesome. The only part that I’m finding annoying is that you can pick up different items throught the game you use to upgrade your gear. Kind of like Final Fantasy or Guild Wars. Well every time you turn the game on, it acts like you’ve never seen these items before. I have 22 blobs of goo, and next time I go to play and find another, it’s going to stop the gameplay the first time I find one and explain to me what it is again, like I haven’t heard it before. So far that’s my ONLY gripe with the game.

Welp, better get ready for work. It’s FRIDAY! So I’m looking forward to a fairly straight forward day! Hope yours is as well!

The Podcast Returns!

Well, I’m trying out a new recording method.  I recorded this podcast during my daily commute. We’ll see how it goes.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Today’s topics:

Mario Kart 7
Mundane Ramblings
Podcast Music
Dubstep
SOPA
Animal Crossing 3DS

Starting a Busy Stretch

Wednesday kicked off what is going to be a long busy week and a half.  I suppose I should say late Tuesday night.  It began at about 10:30pm when my phone got a text message from a co-worker saying that a station was off the air.  Of course I was asleep early getting ready for the morning show shift at 5am the next day.  But I rarely sleep for a long period of time at night and happened to wake up about an hour after that and saw the message.  Usually its not too big a deal.  Either log-in remotely to the studio and fire the programming back up, or the transmitter is down and the engineer will take care of it.

This time though the transmitter was on, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the satellite to come back on.  So I had to drive into town and physically “unplug it and plug it back in”.  Which is always at the top of the trouble shooting list no matter what you’re working on!  Haha.  That did the trick.  But by the time it was all said and done it was 12:30am, and rather than drive back home.  Sleep a couple hours, get up and drive back in I just crashed on the couch in the basement.  It was some pretty crappy sleep, but better than none.

If a station goes off the air in the forest, and no one is around...

I woke up at 5am and threw on a hat and got ready prepping for the morning show.  It actually wasn’t too bad of a show.  But as soon as it was over I got the heck out of there and went home at about 8:45 am.

I kicked back and relaxed for a while, but didn’t take long for the tiredness to creep up on me.  I zonked out and slept for about 2 hours.  I should have gotten up then, but I was so comfortable that I decided… “I’ve got some more time… I’ll sleep a couple more hours before going back to work.”  That was a mistake.  I woke up rested, but somehow had an awful headache that bothered me for the rest of the day.  By the time I got off work for the second time at 7:30pm, it was to the point I almost couldn’t think straight.  So I did something I hardly ever do.  Popped a couple pills, and within an hour or so the headache was gone.  Guess my stubborn ass should have done that when I woke up…

Yesterday wasn’t too bad, though I feel like I could have gotten more accomplished.  Some of that was waiting on other people, but I surely could have had better use of my waiting around time.  So we’ll see how today goes.  It shouldn’t be too bad at all.  A lot to do, but there’s not much on my calendar that will keep me from doing it.

I’ve found that I have to keep track of everything, and I mean darn near EVERYTHING in my personal life and my work life organized on Google Calendar.  Otherwise I just plain forget stuff.  So next week’s schedule looks like a friggin mess.  But since I’ve started using Google Calendar to organize it all, it’s a lot less intimidating because I can look at that and answer just about any question from anyone as to whether I’m available to help, or what’s going on with a particular station, or who is working when.

Next week's schedule.

Next week is a big week for High School basketball tournaments.  And that’s what takes up alot of my calendar next week.  It usually doesn’t look that crazy, and not all of that requires my presence at work.  So I guess you could say it’s not as bad at it looks.

I’m hoping to have some free time in there somewhere.  Take some naps with Luke, play some games, and watch Andrea watch football.  She’s pretty excited that the 49ers are in the playoffs this year.  So she’s been pretty fanatical about all things football as her team continues to do well.  My team was in a fierce battle for last since the beginning of the season, so my interest in football really waned this year.  Hopefully the Vikings will make a rebound next year and I can get into it again.  I just didn’t watch much this season, because I didn’t want to sit around pissed off for three hours every Sunday.

In other news, I beat all the 150cc Cups in Mario Kart 7 last night.  Now they have the Mirror Class which I never enjoy the mirror classes.  I usually just hurry to beat them then never play again.  Online play is still fun.  I dunno if I would say it’s challenging, or just hard to win because of the way the game is.  You can’t just ride around in 1st place all race because you’ll just get pounded on.  So the best strategy is try to hang in a close 2nd or 3rd until the very end and jet your way to the front.  Of course everyone else is trying to do the same.  I’ve finished several matches in 7th place after being in 1st going around the last corner.  It’s crazy, but it’s sure as heck fun!

Progress in Zelda is more slow and steady.  It is a game that does take a good chunk of time to make any meaningful progress in, but it’s such an amazing experience so far, and one that I’m trying to savor every moment.  There’s nothing like playing through a Zelda game for the first time and having a brand new experience.  After that, every time you replay it isn’t the same.  I wish I could go back and experience so many of my games for the first time all over again.  After all, it’s that first lasting experience with a game that truly makes it memorable.  So playing through Skyward Sword feels like a privilege every time I turn it on.  And for that reason I am truly in no hurry to finish because the long it will take, the longer it will last.

So that’s that.  I’ll try to keep blogging more through out this busy stretch.  And I’ve been trying to hit Twitter a little more too since that doesn’t take much time out of my day.  But if I go missing, know that I’m okay.

Weekend Concluded

Today was much more laid back than yesterday, and that is always a good thing.  Even when things are laid back… they could always stand to be more laid back.  Part of having a good day is making sure you get a good start.  Pancakes and bacon is a good start all right!

My day was mostly highlighted by playing Skyward Sword in between keeping Luke entertained.  He’s really starting to develop his personality and become inquisitive.  Andrea had a scary moment when we were in the computer room when she looked over at his blanket and he was GONE!  Only took a couple seconds to realize that he had rolled his way over to the door.  Guess he was trying to make a break for it!

The new Zelda game is pretty darn amazing.  I’m about 15 hours in now and I’m still impressed by how well the combat works.  There’s puzzles everywhere.  You almost never just go from point A to point B anywhere in the game without having to untangle some kind of brain buster.  And the story so far is fairly engaging.  This is no Final Fantasy here, but the few cutscenes there are tend to be quite powerful.  I think the part that ties it all together is the amazing soundtrack.  I really think this game has it all.  As good as Ocarina of Time?  I’ll reserve that judgement for later.

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas!  It’s 9:30 Christmas Eve and little Lucas just woke up from another nap.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get one in today too.  Luke’s first Christmas will be exciting as we’ll be in Wichita for Andrea’s family’s Christmas.  I know Santa has some presents waiting for him there!

I’ve played quite a bit of Guild Wars the past couple days.  It’s been exclusively the quest Strength of Snow which is only around during the Winter’s Day Festival going on now.  It’s pretty mindless, but sure has netted me a whole stash of holiday items.  I figure I’ll play some Guild Wars while the festival is around, and once it’s gone, get back to beating Zelda Skyward Sword.

I hope your Christmas is a joyous one.  Thank the Lord for his Son born on this day!  God Bless!

Super Cute Zelda Video

Most Stressful Time of the Year

I like to think I’m pretty versatile and can handle just about anything.  But the last couple weeks have been mentally tough.  I’ve been spending some extra time at work trying to get all my stuff done.  Doesn’t help that I haven’t really worked a full week since Thanksgiving.  But now that basketball season is here, and we’re following four teams instead of two, it’s more than my brain can handle at times.  Plus we had one of our board operators quit, so that’s more stuff that we need to find fill in’s for.

When things are going smoothly, it all goes really well, but lately all it’s taken is one little thing to send my whole world out of whack.

Today was nice though.  I didn’t have anything work related to do.  I slept in until 8:00am and then got up and eased into the day.  Crazy… I remember thinking my 10AM classes at K-State were SO early… and I remember being out and about in the mornings thinking… wow so much goes on while I’m sleeping… haha.  Of course I used to stay up until 3am or 4am in those days.  Now a days my bedtime is a strict 10:30pm.

Went and saw a radio play version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  It was pretty good.  I found myself somewhat confused as it started though since each actor played several characters.  Took me a while to feel out who was who.  But the local Community Theater did a really good job, and it was a fun way to spend part of the afternoon.

Then I got to play some Zelda!  It’s been several days for sure.  And man it is just such a cool game.  I could sit and play the game all night, but I wanted to get a short blog written, and get to bed.

So that’s what I did.  Onward into next week.  I have a new starter coming in for the Toronado tomorrow so I need to get that swapped out.  The starter hasn’t been engaging every time, and it’s starting to get less reliable.  But $50 for a rebuilt starter isn’t too bad.  Should last a few more years.  So that’s my project for tomorrow night.  Shouldn’t be too bad… and I’ve got a garage to do it in!

Skyward Sword Get!

I haven’t anticipated a game like this for quite some time.  In fact the last game I recall going to the store to get on launch day was The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.  That was 7 years ago.

Andrea had actually planned on getting me this for Christmas, and truth be told, I’m fine with this STILL being my only Christmas present.  I had been following the hype online and by most all accounts this is far and away the best game on Wii, and one of the best Zelda games of all time.  Now maybe that’s just one of those things they say to help boost sales and such… but either way, I was stoked to get it.

So we headed into the store this morning.  It was cold, about 25 degrees.  Gamestop opened at 11AM, but unlike the olden days I wasn’t there as they unlocked the doors.  Something about having Luke around and things just take a little longer.  So we had a few errands to run, and made Gamestop our last stop.

The preorder was under Andrea’s name, so I offered to stay in the car with Luke, while she went and picked up the game.  This is the part where it gets really geeky, so watch out.  I kinda wanted to go in there, just for the whole experience, you know.  To see them reach into those boxes that probably haven’t even been stocked yet, because, why bother putting them on the shelf? They’re pre-orders bound to be picked up by those who reserved them.  So the box is like some kind of cauldron that manifests this mythical game that so far has only exsisted through the stories and images you’ve read about, only to be willed into solid reality by months of patient waiting and $70.  That moment when the game finally becomes real.

For some reason… and probably all the wrong ones, I decided I didn’t want to be “that” guy.  So I volunteered to stay with Luke in the car.  Right before Andrea came out, another person, probably my age or a little younger came out with the game in hand.  He got in his car, but as I expected him to leave, he didn’t.  I couldn’t see what he was doing, but I knew.  He was opening the game and pouring over the contents of the limited edition box.  I actually found myself envious, and a bit regretful that I didn’t go in and get it myself.

But moments later, the woman I loved emerged with a big smile on her face holding our copy of the game.  It’s reasons like this I love her so much.  She hopped in the car, and handed me the game… finally there it was, in my hands.

As we drove home I turned the larger than usual game box in my hands.  Gleaning over the box art… game synopsis and multitudes of warnings in multitudes of languages.  The box had a very satisfying weight to it, as it contained not only a copy of the game, but a special 25th Anniversary Symphony CD, and a special gold Wiimote.

Of course I wanted to tear into the box right then and there… but I wanted to wait until we got home, so I could savor it and take the time to appreciate all the brand new items inside the box.

I brought in the house, Luke in my right hand, and the game in my left hand.  I found myself pondering as I walked up the stairs, which would be more appropriate to set down to free a hand to turn the door knob.  For some reason it felt like setting Luke down and holding on to the game to reach for the door implied some kind of messed up priorities… but as I got to the door, I thought… hell, setting the carrier down is just easier, so I did and opened the door.  Haha.

I set the game on the table, and as a good responsible father would do I tended to my son who was ready to get out of the car seat and kick it like babies  do.  Before I know it Andrea has the game and is peeling the sticker seal off the game.  PEELING IT!  (I know, who would do that?)  One of the things I regret is throwing away a bunch of old N64 boxes that I had held onto for a long time.  I’d had them long enough that I really thought… am I ever really going to want these things.  At the time, it seemed fine, but now.. I  kinda wish I had them back.  So keeping the boxes in good shape is something kinda important now.  Not in the grand scheme of things important… but in the way that it’s never going to be new again, so you might as well take care of it.  Because some day it will be 15 years from now, and I’ll look at that box and say… dang… that was a long time ago, but this is just how it looked the day I got it.

So one of my favorite things with getting stuff like this is pulling it all out of the box.  Kinda similar to getting the box itself at the store.  All of a sudden there it is… conjured into reality.  But Andrea was already beating me to it as I was being the good Dad taking care of Luke.  To be honest I was kinda miffed at the time.  But I dunno if she was genuinely excited about it in the same way I was (doubtful) or if she just likes opening shiny new things (more likely).  For whatever reason, she was the first to lay eyes on the beautiful controller, and the game and all its inserts and such.  Not a huge deal to NORMAL people… but this is me we’re talking about.

I didn’t automatically pop the game in right away though.  I for one was hungry… and didn’t want to get barely into the game only to have to stop because my stomach was growling.  So I took some time to relax and enjoy some of Andrea’s famous Mexican Dip and watch the Vikings get their butts stomped by the Raiders.  And THEN… I powered up the Wii… put New Super Mario Bros. Wii on the shelf, and put the game in.

First thing that happened was a System Update.  I’ve known they ship out system updates on the discs themselves from time to time, but more often than not by the time I get the game, I’ve already downloaded the update over the internet.  So this was the first time I’ve seen it happen from a disc.  Of course they warn you that if you’ve modified your Wii in anyway this system update could render your console useless, yada yada.  But man, compared to downloading the updates… this was fast!  Of course to my knowledge this didn’t change anything or add any new features that I could perceive.  Then again my main agenda was getting into the new Zelda game.

Starting it up the first thing I noticed was the music is FANTASTIC… already this could be my favorite video game sound track.  The second thing I noticed, unfortunately, is that the HDTV really highlights the low resolution of the Wii.  The game is still beautiful, no doubt,  but next to something like FFXIII in 1080p or even Guild Wars on the PC… Skyward Sword just seems rough around the edges.

Technical prowess aside, the game really is beautiful.  The colors and art are very painterly.  The music really is very beautiful.  But most of all the thing I like most are the characters.  They really got it right.  Moreso than any other game, right off the bat these people are interesting.  They’re not just yaking at you about how to use the controls… I mean they are… but not JUST that.  You can really feel a connection between Link and Zelda, and the characters around them  while not as impactful still feel like they’ve got they’re own personalities and their own impressions and feelings about each other.

I’m only a few hours into the game so far, but I really like what has taken place so far.  So far the direction has been pretty clear and your motivation to keep going is strong.  I haven’t gotten to any dungeons yet, but so far everything about the game has lived up to its promises!

A look back: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Well it has been quite some time since my last re-review.  Yet somehow the gap is somewhat appropriate considering the drought of good games leading up to this title.  Infact to get to the next truly memorable game you have to go all the way back to Top Gear Rally, or GoldenEye 007 both released over a year earlier!  Doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you’re young, have lots of free time, and have played all your games to death it feels like years!

All that time leaves little else to do but anticipate the next big thing, which in this case was the first ever 3-D Zelda game.  By now the internet was picking up steam and the hype machine was in full force.  N64.com had recently become the new IGN64.com, predecessor to IGN.com as it is today.  There was no shortage of information, screen shots, first hand impressions… you name it.  And the word was this could possibly be the greatest game yet made, perhaps even ever to be made.  Depending on who you ask, it has still yet to be surpassed.

To sum things up, if you own a Nintendo 64 you must own Zelda. It’s that simple. And if you don’t own the system, Zelda is reason enough to make your purchase — right now.
-Matt Casamassina (IGN64.com)

Limited edition gold cartridge.

So here I am.  I’m desperate for a really great game.  I’m hyped.  And I’m broke!  Unfortunately I didn’t have the cash to throw down and reserve a copy and get the gold cartridge by the deadline.  But I saved and saved, and played my hand.  I showed up at Wal-Mart at 6:00 AM on release day to see if I could weasel in and get an extra gold cartridge.  My first attempt was thwarted.   They informed me I could by a regular copy, but the gold ones were folks that pre-ordered.  (I KNEW THAT!)  I asked what I had to do to get my hands on one.  The guy at the counter looked around and said in a more discrete tone, “We’re going to hold all the pre-orders for two weeks…  After that they go on the shelf.  If you come in first thing two weeks from today, and if there’s any left…  you can buy one.”  I gave him a nod of understanding and with a great amount of restraint, walked out of the store without the game.

Two weeks later, I’m up at 4:30 AM.  Get around and ready for the 30 minute trip to Dodge City to hopefully claim my game.  No matter what I’m leaving the store with Ocarina of Time, gold or otherwise.   I could only hope it was with the collector’s edition that I had put my self through an additional two weeks of torture for.  So I arrive around 5:30 AM just incase there was a line…  Yeah right.  I was possibly the ONLY customer in the store.  Night shift was still cleaning up empty stock boxes, so I milled around looking at the electronics section waiting for anybody to show up who might have a clue what was going on.  Right around 6:00 somebody walked up to one of the registers and they were carrying a cardboard box about 2/3 full of N64 games.  Quickly I approach them and ask if those are the Zelda games getting ready to go on the shelf.  “Yes they are.”  Moments later the cash is exchanged and I’m heading out of the store with a plastic bag, a shiny gold box and a big grin on my face.   It is mine!

I remember getting back in the car and actually SHOUTING for joy!  Super geeky I know, but it’s one of those moments you look forward to for so long that when it finally gets there, you feel like you’ve just been dreaming about it the whole time, but now all of a sudden it’s real.  You can hold it in your hands as if it were conjured from your thoughts and pulled into reality.  Re-thinking this experience really reminds me of why I was so into gaming then, and why the N64 holds such a nostalgic appeal for me.  In those days there was nothing better than “release day” of the game you’ve been looking forward to for so long.

Wow, over 700 words and I still haven’t said anything about actually playing the game!

Eleven years later I’m picking the game up again.  Although this time it’s in a somewhat different fashion than the previous games I’ve gone back and played.  I chose to play from the Ocarina of Time/Master Quest Gamecube Disc.  The advantage being I was able to get progressive scan for sharper graphics.  But I also had to use a Gamecube controller, which takes some getting used to compared to the N64 controller for this game.  So I cheated a little bit, but all in all, the experience was almost as fantastic as it was the first time around!

It has been so long since I played this game.  Partly because you have to have a decent chunk of time to devote to it to actually get anything accomplished.  For this reason I probably haven’t played the game in almost 8 years.  I have forgotten so much about this game, the little nuances, puzzles and side stories were all waiting to be re-discovered.  This ends up making this one of the most powerful revisits yet and by and large the reason it has taken so long to write this installment.  Once I picked Ocarina of Time up, I haven’t been able to put it down!

Other than some dated graphics (which have aged surprisingly well) this game could easily pass even today as a true example of great gameplay.  It’d didn’t hit me right away, as much of the beginning of the game is still quite familiar…  but as I progressed past the first hour or so, the whole game really started to open up for me as I found my self back in 1998 all over again, wondering where to go next, and how to beat the current boss.

And oh the boss battles!  I remember the sheer sense of scale that you felt when that door locked behind you and you were faced with some terrifying bohemouth that you appeared to have no hope of beating.  Taking down a giant flame breathing lizard when you’re only 4ft. tall makes the victory that much more sweet.  I was constantly surprised how often these bosses and dungeons had me at my wit’s end wondering how the heck I beat it.  I mean, I KNOW I can do it!  I DID it once already!  Curse my memory for not being able to pull the solution from the depths of my brain.  But even more… relish the ambiguity as it gives me the opportunity to relive the rush of putting the pieces together for the first time.  If only I could be so lucky as to not remember any of my games!

Screwed.

Screwed.

As I played through the game, the story didn’t seem as significant as I remember.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good story, but it’s not the glue that holds the game together.  Rarely is there a cinema sequence that lasts longer than a minute.  But the scenes that are there are powerful and succinct.  Rather than deluge you with information and plot lines (a la Final Fantasy) they primarily serve to point you towards your next destination but also often evoke feelings of duty, courage, and help provide a purpose to powering through what can be some very frustrating quests.

The heart of this game, as it is with all Zelda games is the gameplay, getting new tools and thinking up ingenious ways of using them to accomplish your task.  This is adventure in its purest form.  For instance you find yourself in a room with a locked door…  one torch is lit, one is not.  You’ve been here before, and what you did was pull out a branch and light it on fire using it to carry the flame to the unlit torch which in turn would unlock the door.  Of course that was when you were a kid…  BEFORE you traveled through time.  Now you don’t have any timber so what do you do?  After a few seconds of hard thought you step to the side, pull out your bow and arrow and fire through the flame to the unlit torch and as your arrow strikes, the second torch comes to life…  the door unlocks, and you press ahead to see what challenge could possibly await you on the other side.  Little moments like these bring a smile to your face, and they happen literally ALL THE TIME in this game.

If that all isn’t enough, the game just completely immerses you in the environment.  Wonder what’s over that hill, or behind that building?  Well guess what, you can go find out.  You might need a horse or a hookshot, but odds are if you can see it, you can get close enough to really check it out.  Come to find out there can be whole worlds hidden behind places you’ve walked past dozens of times.  While sometimes sparse by today’s standards, the world still feels very much alive.  Not just in the sense that there’s people living in towns and villages, but that the landscape changes over time.  And with the time travel feature, things you do in the past are reflected in the future… sometimes you find out what you did after you supposedly already did it and realize you’d better go back and do it!  Whoa!  Mind blown!

Ocarina of Time also has one of my all time favorite video game moments of all time.  After you’ve beaten all the temples, awakened every sage and you’re finally ready to battle the great Gannondorf, you arrive at his castle.  You fight your way through one final mini dungeon climaxed by a long winding stair case.  At the base you faintly hear an organ playing.  As you ascend the music grows louder and louder, more maddening with each and every step…  Well just watch.  (Skip to about 1:45  —  Spoilers obviously)

Just a fantastic game from start to finish.  I always enjoyed it, but I think I appreciate it even more after the second time through.  This game just flat delivers where 95% of other games don’t.  Titles like this are why I’m a Nintendo fan.  You don’t need a fancy sound system or TV to enjoy this game.  Just some free time and the love of adventure.  It may not be a perfect game, but it’s about as good as any game will ever get.  And that earns it a 10/10 in my book.

Get it?