5 Reasons I’m Excited for Final Fantasy Explorers


Job System– So many options! Dark Knight, Beast Master, Samurai… Look at all the Mages! I’ll master them all. Which will you choose?

Multiplayer! I’ve been devoted to the 3DS since launch ( I’ve transferred my little Ambassador Certificate to every new generation of the system because sentimental nerd). The biggest issue I’ve had with the system has always been the lack of multiplayer games in the library. It’s a portable system! It was made for travel, meet ups and kicking real human ass while watching defeat darken the eyes of my opponents.

Old Friends– Costumes let me play as my angsty teen crushes, Cloud and Squall. Terra! Plus Yuna. Tifa and Aerith. No Rikku, but maybe someday? Lightning, who I’m not entirely familiar with since I got bored about an hour into FFXIII, but it’s pretty exciting to see so many of my favorite female characters in one place. Choosing a costume might be harder than sticking with a job class…


New Summons (0r Aeons or Eidolons or Guardian Forces)- Good to see all the classics here. Then there’s Amaterasu and Dryad. The latter seems to be the Aeon version of a Marlboro, inflicting a barrage of status ailments, while the former possesses 7 floating flaming swords and reminds me of the 7 of swords which ironically represents wit and diplomacy over force.

Training monsters– You can round out your party with monsters. Has this ever happened in a Final Fantasy before? I can’t wait to see what kinds of ridiculous and incredible teams we can build!

Are you getting Final Fantasy Explorers? What are you looking forward to?


Games IRL

Lately I’ve had this strange feeling of being watched on my way to pick up a bagel. Always trust your intuition! This little guy, a mosaic installment by an anonymous French street artist who goes by Invader, has been lurking on the corner of 9th and A of late.

Actually, there are a handful of Space Invaders and other colorful pixelated characters popping up around the East Village and LES. It makes for a really fun photo hunt that marries my love of video games and art. Gotta find ’em all!

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Games IRL

During some mindful meandering over the weekend, I stumbled upon The Evolution Store window in Soho. Two-headed taxidermied creatures, fossilized beast bits, glittering geodes and strange sea life jarred in formaldehyde pulled me away from the decadent Yuletide displays. After all, nothing screams “Christmas” to a carney more than a shop full of curiosities.

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How many can you identify?

Upon facing this wall of framed insects behind the counter I immediately felt like I was standing in the Trivoli Museum of Arts, Science and History (TMASH) marveling over my complete collection of creepy crawlies.

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4 Things I Learned from Undertale

UNDERTALE castle in the stars

Hype can ruin a game.
Shocking revelation, I know. But I didn’t realize how much exposure to game hype affected me. I thought I was immune. It was impossible not to hear how amazing the game was before I started playing. My expectations were understandably set very high (as they often are- curse of the dreamer). Disappointment was inevitable.
It was a fine game. I liked it alright. It was charming and challenging in the right ways, but it’s hard to say now how much I would have enjoyed this game blind.

I am predisposed to murder.
I didn’t want to fight Toriel, but after several attempts (thought apparently not enough) to reason with her I didn’t see another way through that door. So I murdered the nicest monster in the game and, aside from the small monsterchild who shadowed me for a while, nearly every subsequent monster encountered. Accidental genocide run?

Actions speak louder than words.
It’s pretty clear in this game that destruction is rewarded where pacifism, though consistently encouraged through dialog, isn’t. I wanted to change these monsters’ perceptions of humans by being a model citizen, but the only way to earn the experience and HP needed to survive later and longer boss fights was to kill.
Complimenting or flirting with a few monsters may have spared a few lives, but it wasn’t going to get me through the game. Unfortunately.

Spiders are terrible bakers.
You would think, with all those legs to sift and knead and dock… nope. I just grossed myself out. And I still have an Orphan Thanksgiving apple pie to bake.

Nintendo Direct Takeaways 11.12.15

Now that I’ve had some time to process yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, here are some quick thoughts:

Twilight Princess HD (3/4)
Confession: I love the Legend of Zelda, but I’m a terrible fan. I never played Twilight Princess. Skyward Sword is still on my shelf. And because I can barely handle time in real life, I’ve yet to complete Majora’s Mask. Backlog is real. However, I’m thrilled about this HD release and preordered it today. This will be my Winter of Zelda.

Triforce Heroes Free Update (12/2)
As we’re watching Nintendo move into mobile and “free-to-start” games, free updates and no-cost DLC feel like a huge gift.The 30-plus stages in the “Den of Trials” update essentially doubles the game content (and maybe helps with lag pls?). We’re also getting two new costumes. Linebeck’s Uniform lets you see inside treasure chests (meh) and the Fierce Deity Armor (aka the Krampus Kostume) shoots beams in four different directions and increases attack power (Yay!).

Star Fox Zero (4/22)
Fun fact: Fox was one of my early crushes.
Another fun fact: I once won (and donated) a 3DS and a bunch of games from Nintendo by doing a barrel roll.
Third fun fact: This game releases on my birthday.
Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe Fox returns my affections. Hard to say.
Anyway. Looks great. It’s going to feel good to fly the arwing again. I’m going to annihilate in that tank. The new vehicles aren’t as exciting to me, but i’ll give them all a try.

Final Fantasy Explorers (1/26)
I played FFE for about 30 minutes at NYCC and it was the highlight of a lacklustre Con. The live battles (as opposed to run-slash-stop mechanics) were a blast and I enjoyed seeing my old buddy Bahamut. I’m thrilled that we’re finally starting to see more multiplayer titles for the 3DS. For a portable system, it can feel really lonely. Can’t wait to put together a team (and even to train some monsters to fight with me) and conquer some quests. And, of course, I’m looking forward to playing as some of my favorite characters across the franchise.
Sidebar: anyone else catch the fact that Cloud was lumped into the “and others” group in this game while headlining the Smash announcement with virtually no introduction needed? #continuity
Oh. That collector’s edition is ridiculously gorgeous too. So. Yeah. Preordered.

Cloud in Smash
Midgar Stage. Music. Limit Break. Yeah, I’m into this. Cloud wasn’t my first choice for Smash. He wasn’t even on my list, honestly. Mostly because his inclusion was so obvious that this wasn’t even a surprise. I’m happy and I’ll play him, but I was really hoping for Shantae or another equally awesome indie female character.

Pokemon Red, Yellow & Blue on 3DS!!!!! (Feb 27)
Ok I’m calm. As a collector, I just love these coming to Virtual Console because it saves a ton of effort, energy, money and space. Now I can play the games without worrying about the batteries in my GameBoy dying. Let’s save those batteries for more important things! This should make catching ’em all a hell of a lot easier.

Bravely Second (Spring)
Not much of an update here, but a good reminder to get this game finished in the next few months. I sort of lost interest after hours of grinding and leveling toward the end. Finish your games!

Games IRL

In this series, I’ll explore where video games meet real fleshbrick and mortarbone life as I wander my weird and wonderful city.

Recently, my company moved offices and installed color changing LEDs in the elevator bank. It’s always a real eye opener when the elevator doors part to reveal a neon flamingo massacre first thing in the morning. VISUAL CAFFEINE! Ending the day with this Mario Kart Rainbow Road scheme gets my engine revved to charge into and maneuver the rush hour chaos.

My office is secretly Rainbow Road
My office is secretly Rainbow Road.

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A Guide to TriForce Heroes Etiquette


Now that we’ve had a couple weeks with the newest Zelda entry from Nintendo, I’ve put together some useful tips to help everyone have a more enjoyable (and fashionable) experience.

1) When selecting a dungeon within an area, go in chronological order. You may be eager to try your newly stitched Cozy Parka in Snowball Ravine, but this area could be totally new to the Unknown Heroes. Go through them in order. You’ll get to your unfinished business and everyone else can complete all the stages. It’s a co-op. So cooperate. As a bonus: you’ll get more materials and rupees.

Speaking of materials and rupees:

2) Share the wealth. I’m guilty of being a rupee snatcher, especially when I know where all the chests are hidden. Totem toss a buddy to that out-of-reach purple rupee from time to time.

3) Don’t mash “NOOOOOO” if you don’t get the rare(r) item at the end.

Speaking of mashing emojis:

4) Don’t. Seriously. The emojis are cute and can be crucial in communicating how to solve a puzzle to your teammates, but smashing “itemitemITEMITEMITEM” will not instruct Red Link how to use it. And during a stressful boss battle, those emojis are distracting and can block a crucial chunk of screen where we might be trying to carefully aim and time a shot.

5) Please, please don’t drop out if there’s lag. And DON’T drop out if there’s no lag. When I see the “Sorry, something urgent came up and I have to leave” speech bubble, I just assume you are a demented Skulltula- dropping in just to fuck shit up. Finish the dungeon and then leave from the lobby like a human being.

6) If you’re not wearing an outfit designed to boost the special items/weapons for each area, let other players choose first. You’ll only benefit from their extra power.

Playing TriForce Heroes? Leave your tips and thoughts!