Mini-update: Rune Factory Frontier, Black Sigil, Reading

My recent game-playing has been prone to brief enjoyment followed by hours of disappointment.

Rune Factory Frontier is paradise for anyone with ADD.  You will do a dozen different things a day and make no significant progress in any of them.  For me, this was really fun for about a week and a half.  Then sort of boring but enjoyable enough for another week.  And then a few weeks of drudgery akin to World of Warcraft culminating in my farmer committing suicide to escape his hellish existence.

I have since started playing Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon on my shiny new PSP.  So far it has the benefits of Rune Factory (spiffy new system, more interesting plot than Harvest Moon) without the disadvantages (requiring ingredients to cook, assembling a dozen different things, raising monsters, managing runeys).  Plus I’m a robot!  But don’t tell anyone.

Black Sigil, on the other hand, is a quite progress-y DS RPG in the vein of the SNES classics.  Except it forgets that the classics were classic because they were accessible, ran quickly, and had just enough combat to be interesting without the player losing grip of the story.  The result is a game that’s alternatingly difficult and frustrating, and ultimately more disappointing than Suikoden Tierkreis, which had incredibly bland (though easy) random battles.

Next I will be tackling Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, which has gotten rave reviews from a lot of places.  I’m not sure I’ll be so impressed; the only tactical RPG that really amazed me was Final Fantasy Tactics, and there are only a couple others I’d consider replaying (Saiyuki and Vandal-Hearts).  Nearly every other game in the genre has crushed my soul in one way or another and to be honest I’ve been tired of them for a while.  Perhaps some hee-hoo Jack Frosty goodness will manage to rekindle my interest in the genre.

On a completely different note, videolamer’s editor Jay and I have been talking about an entirely-too-serious topic: the rebuilding/recovery of Japan after World War II and its impact on modern war-crime denialism (one of my Japanese culture profs brought in her highschool history textbook; three paragraphs on WW2, which showed Japan in an entirely defensive and reactionary position in the war).  Some estimates of the civilian casualties in East Asia due to Japanese occupation are as high as 30 million, but very little is said about it.  To further my knowledge of this area, I have begun reading John Dower’s Embracing Defeat which discusses the reconstruction in general (which I read some about before) and goes into detail about the cover-up that ensured Emperor Hirohito would never be forced to take responsibility for actions taken during the war.  Interesting stuff.

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