Somehow, more than once…
Winter we had our fun. Get out, it’s done. Let it gooooo.
I just started my third practicum placement 3 days ago at a school called Davis. it’s a small building that houses an extraordinary community of really caring and inspiring teachers. With luck on my side, I was placed there under the music teacher there. She is wonderful: she obviously cares about the school and the students, and is hugely passionate and inventive when it comes to music teaching.
In addition, there has been the wonderful experience of meeting the Vice principal there, who has been hugely supportive and is always curious about how I’m doing. She is willing to give me excellent advice on anything I need help with. Good thing, too, since the only thing I can think of is how utterly and completely exhausted I am.
It has nothing to do with my associate teacher, and I honestly think that the school is a fine one; especially considering the patrons to which it caters. No, I’m exhausted because teaching Junior kindergarten all the way up to grade 7, every day, is crazy. And I’ve only been teaching 50% of my AT’s workload. It doesn’t help that things outside my control aggravate the situation, and things I can do are frequently falling by the wayside.
This frightens me. The huge amount of work it needs and the amount of stress I am under are indicative of a bad fit already. Did I mention it was a 50% workload so far? I am overwhelmed and drowning under the riptide of rotary, and I am working with an objectively small amount of work to do.
If anyone has any pointers, I’m all ears.
I’ve talked about Valentines day before. It’s a turbulent time of high emotion, fraught with a decent amount of controversy. I’ve thought about it a lot; I’ve come from the side where I was madly in love, and held meeting with those who were dejected and alone. It’s not hard to find oneself in between either, or to have other kinds of love satisfy the need for closeness and appreciation in one’s life. Usually, I find the latter to be vital for me, and I hope that kind of love is abundant in everyone’s lives, despite that i know that is actually impossible.
Still, another question comes to me this year. How do you celebrate Valentines day?
Everyone has an opinion on this, as in most things; however, this question is heated among people. Lavish dinners, expensive gifts, perfect nights and, as I crudely and entertainingly put it in the past, a potential mattress moving marathon might account for the only way for some to spend a Valentine’s day. Others require only the companionship of those they are celebrating with, be they friends or family. Some don’t even bother, and February the 14th is just another day. Not to mention all the grey area enveloping these extremes, it seems there are various ways people spend their day.
What is great about all these things is that they are all fine, normal ways to go about your waking moments. As per usual, the fuss is about one correct way. Which, I’m sad/happy to report, there is none.
How you celebrate/don’t give a ^@#$ about Valentine’s day is up to you, but on the odd chance you are around loved ones then it becomes a challenge. How do you show your love and appreciation?
And, to toot a particularly worn horn, it’s up to you. Love is a very personal emotion. No other person really experiences it or shows how they feel the same way. On Valentine’s day, of all days to lay bare your care, the choice truly is yours. How do you want to express your love? Only you know how.
With that, I will continue to wig the &$@# our over how to do that myself.
As I turn off the light,
And crawl into bed,
I fall face first to the sheets.
They’re blue, dark and deep;
Like the calm of an ocean at new-moon.
The darkness of the room
Only adds to the gloom
As my eyes struggle against sleep.
I ponder the world,
What’s the point of it all?
It’s so massively tiny
Hurtling at 108k/h?
In the emptiness of space,
A breakneck pace,
Fuck it, sleep awaits.
So with my time away from home, I’ve been able to work on my game backlog for my DS. It’s been a great experience so far, and I’ve gotten the two games done I’ve had on my list the longest.
Here are my thoughts.
Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies
If you’re unfamiliar with the Phoenix Wright games, then there’s going to be a lot of information to absorb before playing this game. Building on the (ludicrous) story from the previous games, Dual Destinies really pushes the crazy envelope. Between one case involving japanese demons, and another where your courtroom explodes, you run the full gamut. As per usual the characters offer most of the craziness available in the game. Honestly, going into any details about the many characters would be futile: after playing, I couldn’t tell the gonzo apart.
But, if you’re a fan of anime, which I’m normally not, then this will be pretty normal for you. The protagonists are still relatable and hilarious, though playing as Phoenix Wright again after so long felt really odd.
When I think about it, playing might be the wrong word though. Fans of the series, myself included, will more likely describe it as an interactive manga. Unlike TellTale Games and their games which feature choices (or the illusion thereof), the game’s story is linear. It’s your job to make the right choices to advance. However, figuring out some of the choices can be difficult. It’s resolving those issues in the court cases that make the game so satisfying, and the music does an excellent job of reinforcing a correct choice. I did feel like the game made it a bit more obvious this time around, but maybe I’m just catching on to how the Phoenix Wright stories work out.
The new look, revamped music, new cases, and bananas characters all pale in comparison to the best change compared to earlier games: the streamlined investigation. The most stale parts of the earlier games involved running around like a headless chicken trying to figure out what in the world you are trying to click on, then showing the right evidence to the right people. Not a single person I know likes those parts, and it was a relief to see them smoothed out the way they did in Dual Destinies. A sticking point for some old fashioned folks might be that the game holds your hand too much during the investigations, but I have two words for that.
Screw investigations. Seriously, the court sections were the best parts, and being able to get the story and evidence you want out of the investigations without all the pointless and frustrating running around is awesome!
As a final bonus, the game brings back some references and older characters from early in the series… and hints at even more of the same in a sequel. For instance (SPOILER?), Pearl makes a return, and there are heavy hints that Maya might come back. In addition, the mechanics unique to each character you play, such as Phoenix’s Magatama, Apollo’s Bracelet, and now Athena’s Widget combine together to make an interesting game dynamic. I wish there were more off all three of the mechanics, and that they weren’t AS scripted.
Which brings me to my biggest downside: the courtroom was really not difficult. I would really have appreciated more complex and interesting evidence: but it was rare that I had to really look thoroughly through the court record to find what I was looking for.
Overall, anyone that liked the previous games would still love it, as I did. If you wanted to get started playing Phoenix Wright games though, do NOT start with this one. Seriously, go back to the first one. It’s still my favourite, and you really do need to know the story so far before you pick up the latest one.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I love this game.
There are no ifs, ands, or buts. I haven’t loved adventuring this much in ever. Let’s go over why.
1. Renting items. In the beginning, you have no items as per the usual. So to get items, you go through dungeons in a listed order and get the items you need to advance… yeah, never mind that crap, just rent them.
Seriously, this was off-putting at first, but in hindsight was one of the best decisions I’ve seen Nintendo make. Instead of having to do Dungeon A first and Dungeon B second, I could rent the gear I wanted to and just… go out. Explore. I had access to EVERYTHING from the start, meaning I could choose to go places and have a blast. So long as I didn’t die (and I only died 2 times throughout the whole game), those items were as good as mine. Eventually you can get to a point where you buy them for good, and it’s not hard to do. Just adventuring around, you get a LOT of rupees in this game, so renting and buying isn’t too hard to do. Heck, I had FUN doing it. That’s the point right?
2. MUSIC SO GOOD IT MAKES MY FACE GO SLACK You think I am kidding. I am not. Everything that you know and love has been re-orchestrated beautifully. I love tLoZ music a TONNE, and this game didn’t disappoint at all.
For reference, try some of these on for size.
It was an eargasm for me. It was the first thing I noticed. It was beautiful.
3. Top Down Zelda at its Finest I am a sucker for Top Down Zelda games. This has smooth gameplay, open world, fun exploration, fun characters, no dead uncles, huge amounts of stuff to do and explore, and even collecting 100 annoying squid babies was fun, not frustrating. I cannot stress enough how fucking solid this game is thanks to the wall mechanic (which forces you to think differently about the world) and renting your equipment early on. Exploration was a JOY. And normally, I HATE IT.
Most games I play that feature “exploration” feature one thing in order to make worlds seem big: waiting. Lots of it. That, or barriers that purposefully hinder your progress unless you get an item from a different dungeon… it’s jumpin’ through hoops. You know what? Watch Egoraptor’s Sequelitis on Ocarina of time, and his thoughts on Link between worlds while you’re at it. He explains everything pretty damn well about an adventuring games that have non-sensical wait times.
Link Between Worlds has none. Because of the “rent-an-item” system and a bunch of extra little things to make the whole process more fun and less tedious (stuff as little as sound hints when getting closer to a certain kind of collectible, for instance), it’s great to just wander around Hyrule and Lorule, slaying monsters, finding loot, and doing hero stuff. Not because you have to, not because “COME SAVE ME” but because it’s legit good times.
Well, there’s one thing… The game’s maps are ripped right out of Link to the Past. Though Beautifully restored and redone for the 3DS, this might be a sticking point for some. If those same people bought the remake for Ocarina of Time for the 3DS, but are unwilling to buy this because “Maps”, then they are stupid. I want to be clear: this game is a NEW game. It is different from Link to the Past in feel and play, while being familiar enough that it feels like putting on your most comfortable boxers. Yes, the ones with all the holes in it.
I loved Link Between Worlds. Seriously, if you like adventure games and have a 3DS, this game is amazing in every way I wanted it to be.
That’s all for now. I still have a backlog (Luigi’s Mansion, you’re next!), but these two titles are now finished. Phoenix Wright is gonna hit the shelf, and will have to wait until I play through the rest of the series before I pick it back up again.
Link Between World’s still has a lot of stuff for me to discover. I have 8 pieces of heart left to collect, another piece of ore for my sword, and a hard mode left to play. I have a feeling I’m going to die a lot more than twice before I’m done with that game.
So long for now. You’re all wonderful.
The day was a rainy one. Tap, tap tap, tap tap tap, went the drops on the pane, the dreary pace of the day elongating with every minute.
A man sat in his study, surrounded by books unread and papers unkempt. He sighed heavily as he looked out the window, his hand swirling a glass of red. It was a stiff vintage, dry. Unfortunately, it wasn’t strong enough to disturb his reverie.
He thought of days long gone by… on second thought, not so long as that, but the time that had passed seemed an eternity. Happy faces on pretty women and handsome men, as he wined and dined them all. Rides on boats, the wind whipping at his face as he shouted and sang for the world. The expidition in the jungle, his feet nearly giving out after a long hike, or his despair as his headlamp went out during a typhoon.
It felt like someone else’s life, he reflected, someone else altogether different. Here he was, sitting in a chair, drinking wine he didn’t even really like. Why didn’t he get out of his chair and do all those things again?
Well, that wouldn’t work for the man. As he thought of it, he remembered that the country whose jungle he once crossed is currently uncrossable, its borders closed. The boat, sold long ago due to fiscal problems. Those handsome men and pretty women he remembered all were in different corners of the world, and long ago had forgotten him or he forgot them. He didn’t think of which was worse.
He sat in his chair, swirling his unlikable wine. He sighed again. What was the point of all this sitting and sipping?
Getting out of his chair, he made his way to the door of the room and opened it, exposing a long darkened corridor. Normally, it was full of vibrant greens and earthy browns, but today, it rained. When it rained, it greyed out all colour.
Walking down the hallway, he turned into his kitchen and grabbed a chocolate bar from the fridge. He liked the chocolate cold, that way it didn’t melt in his hands. Small things like that made him happier but did nothing to repeal the general malaise in his everyday life. Pondering the significance of melted chocolate, if there was any, the man made his way back to the study.
It’s not like I haven’t tried, he thought, to think of something interesting to do. He remembered all the ideas he had before: creating a broadcasting channel, becoming a movie star, attempting to go and travel again… all had met with their end before they could begin. What of his artistic endeavours? He could draw, write, sing, play instruments… he was a talented man, but his taste outstripped his ability by at least ten-fold. Everything he made disgusted him before he could finish it, and was discarded.
To add to all of these first world problems, he had no companion. That was entirely his fault, however, and he knew that. He wasn’t sure of being ready for that level of responsibility, especially not to the people he had met thusfar. He sighed, and sank in his chair much like a bear sitting down on its cave floor.
What on earth had his life come to? Pondering stupid things, and to no end. The rain fell outside, uncaring of his desires.