Brief Update

I would like to apologize for the lack of updates in the last month. In a nutshell, I’ve been away dealing with some real life issues. Some things came up that required my full attention. For the last 30 days or so I’ve been focused solely on dealing with these issues that I’ve not spent a moment thinking about games or other subjects that I frequently cover on this site.  Things are slowly starting to normalize, and I expect that within a month’s time I should be posting regularly again. I appreciate some of the kind words I’ve received and your support.

Spring Cleaning 2017

So, I feel it’s time for a little update.

My game playthroughs are still on track. I actually plan to have the N64/PS1 era finished with the end of this year. Next up in my queue are Planescape Torment for the PC,  Resident Evil 3 and Final Fantasy Tactics for PS1, and Majora’s Mask for N64.  These are my current “Must Plays”. Once these are out of the way, I’ll be taking a look over my library to see if there are any other iconic games from the era before moving on.  Next up will be a handful of portable games (ie: The Zelda Oracle titles, 2nd Generation Pokemon, etc). When this blog first went live, I talked about the history of video games as experienced through my eyes. I discussed coin-op games like Centipede and Asteroids. This carried over to the Atari 2600, then the NES. I’ve covered a lot of ground in the years that I’ve been writing here. At this point, we’ve reached the half-way mark to catching up to the present day of gaming. Once this occurs, I’ll be playing and reviewing games as they are released, with the occasional retro-review thrown in.

Since the inception of this blog, I’ve slowly expanded the content from being just about video games to other forms of Nerdery.  Sometimes I write about comic books, Dungeons and Dragons, and of course Star Wars. Last year saw the introduction of my “Nerd Fuel” coffee reviews. During my New Year’s update, I also teased that I’d be expanding the subject matter even further. RetroSensei has always been a site about things that interest me. Nerd Culture, Video Games, etc. So, in keeping with that tradition, this year will see the introduction of a few other of my passions: Film and Music.

Film has always been a centerpiece of nerd culture. From B-Movies to blockbuster Super Hero flicks, nerds have taken over the world. In the coming weeks, I’m going to start discussing and reviewing some of my favorite nerd-friendly films. Sci Fi, Fantasy, Horror, etc. If you’re reading this site, you likely share my interests in a number of these subjects. So perhaps you’ll enjoy seeing my perspective, or better yet, maybe you’ll be introduced to a movie or show that you never knew about.

The same applies to my love for music. I don’t write about this often, but during my teenage and early adult years, I played in a punk rock band. My love for music knows no bounds. I enjoy everything from jazz to folk, r&b to metal. You name it. – But, rock music in particular is a passion of mine. It’s a passion that many nerds over the years have shared. If you conjure a mental image in your mind of nerdy grognards from the 80’s huddled over a table, rolling dice in a D&D game – what are they wearing? Most people will answer “rock t-shirts”. Grateful Dead, Metallica, Jimi Hendrix, the list goes on and on.  Starting soon, I’m going to begin sharing my passion for rock music. I’m going to be diving into my archive and discussing albums that have inspired and touched me over the years. Again, I hope some of you enjoy revisiting these with me, or better yet, if you’re a young reader – perhaps I can introduce you to a new world that you’ll love as much as I do.

So, there’s a lot of good stuff coming soon. I also have a few other plans for the site that I’m not ready to reveal yet. So stay tuned.

Happy New Year! (2017)

With 2016 behind us, let me take a moment to share my plans for the new year.

In terms of this site, I got a lot done last year. For RetroSensei, 2016 was the year of Final Fantasy.  That being said, 2017 is going to be the year of the backlog. It is my intention to make great headway in playing-through many of the more iconic games of yesteryear. So far on this site, I’ve touched on the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. Currently, I’m mixing things up between the N64, PS1 and late-90’s PC games. This will continue.

On the agenda for the comings months are classics like; Ocarina of Time & Majora’s Mask, Final Fantasy Tactics, Resident Evil 2 &3, Baldur’s Gate 2, etc.

I’ll continue to provide updates for FFXIV as well as occasionally touching on some other modern titles. I plan to play and post reviews for The Last Guardian, for example. Also, this year I plan to post more general articles, something I have not done in a while.

I have a few other ideas for 2017 that I’m not really ready to announce yet… but rest assured – I have some plans that will lay the groundwork for some big changes to the site.

Retrosensei.net has always been a very personal project of mine.  I write here mostly for my own amusement, it is a journal of my own interests. But, since the inception of this site I’ve watched the daily pageviews grow. In the age of YouTube and drive-by content delivery, I’ve been proud to present a site that focuses largely on the written word. I’ll continue to do that, but I may also open myself up to other mediums of content as well.

As always, follow me on Twitter for the most up-to-date gaming news. Twitter is my live playground.

Fall 2016 – Update

It’s been a while since I gave a site update, so here we are!

My main focus is still the same: burning through my backlog and sharing my thoughts and reviews. I am still currently in the PS1/N64 era of gaming, but the end is sight. To give you an idea on what I have planned for the coming months, I have a list of games that include classics like: Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, Resident Evil 2 and 3, and Baldur’s Gate II.

Currently, this campaign is in a bit of a holding pattern. I’m clearing my gaming calendar for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV release. I’ll be picking the game up at midnight tonight and once I do, I’ll be dedicating all of game time to finishing it so that I can provide you with a review as soon as possible.  Once this title has been filed away, I’ll be pursuing my playthrough campaign full steam ahead.

Of course, I’ll still make the occasional exception. For example, in the coming days I have some interesting articles planned to hold everyone over until the XV review is posted. These include an update on the current status of No Man’s Sky and FFXIV, a plethora of Star Wars content, as well as a few other surprises. So stay tuned as I wrap up 2016 and look forward to the future. I have some big plans on the horizon and 2017 is going to be a good year for this blog.

FFXIV: Version 3.3 Update

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Since completing my post on Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Square Enix has released the anticipated 3.3 patch. For many players, 3.3 was expected to be a much needed shot in the arm for a game that has slowly been slipping into a lull. So, what all is included in the 3.3 patch? Let’s take a brief look:

*This patch adds new content that continues the main scenario (Heavensward) story line, and makes a adjustments to previous main scenario quests.

*New misc quests added and adjustments to existing quests (Including a new category of daily Beast Tribe quests)

*New Raid added: The Weeping City

*Two new Dungeons, and new trials added.

*Adds a new tier to the Anima Weapon progression

*A new “treasure hunt dungeon” the Aquapolis.

*More Player Housing zones added, new furniture items added and a new “Flower Pot” system introduced.

*New items and mini-game adjustments, new player hairstyles and emotes.

*New “RaidFinder” system added.

*New PVP System “Shatter”

*Misc fixes, balance adjustments, and UI updates

Wow! That’s quite a lot of content. Sadly, one of the announced features that I was most looking forward to, was not included in this update (The Undead Dungeon), so I supposed I’ll have to wait a little long for 3.35 before I can sink my teeth into that one. But aside from that, this was my experience with the 3.3 update:

I played through all of the new main scenario and misc quests in about three days. This includes the new dungeons and trials. By the 5th day I had completed the new raid. Despite having cleared a majority of the new content already, the rewards provided by these new additions certainly make the very re-playable. It’s easy to see that the Heavensward story is quickly coming to a close. I expect soon that SE will make an announcement regarding the next expansion. Once that occurs, I only expect a couple more major patches for 3.x.

All in all, I give this patch a rating of:   B

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Updates: Looking ahead to 2016

Happy New Year! I hope this new year finds you all in good health and good spirits! As per tradition, I wanted to take a moment to give everyone an update on the status of the blog.  2015 saw this site dominated mostly by two things, my Final Fantasy playthrough initiative and Star Wars. Yes, it has taken me a whole year to play through and discuss Final Fantasy IX-XIII, which doesn’t sound like much progress, but in reality that’s a total of eight games, one of which is an MMO with multiple expansions. Plus…. it’s MY blog so I can do what I want, according to my own timetable   😛

This year will see my big Final Fantasy push come to a close within the first few months. I’m currently playing through Lightning Returns. Once that’s finished, I’ll provide some thoughts on XIV (I game I play nearly every day). The backlog will finish out with Dissidia and Type-0. So once I’m all caught up with the series, it will be about time for XV to drop. I am looking very forward to being able to play and review XV while it’s still fresh.

Gamewise, once the Final Fantasy stuff is out of the way, I’ll resuming my regular schedule by playing through a number of PS1 titles. This will be followed by Gameboy Color, N64, the onward to some of the PC games from the turn of the century, etc. Believe it or not, I really do have a plan… it’s just as twisted an convoluted as my cluttered mind.  Essentially, this site serves and both a trip down memory lane for me (in terms of gaming), as well as a great project to help me plow through the endless backlog that many of us gamers find ourselves with. At the rate I’m going, I can foresee me clearing the out the cobwebs on nearly everything I want to play within the next 3 years.

I hope those of you that read this blog regularly enjoy this journey with me. I do see site analytics and while this site is not a traffic hog, it does see a lot of regular activity. There’s a handful of what seem like steady readers. I don’t know if they are silent friends or strangers interested in what I’m doing, but they are there and I hope they like what they see. The rest of the traffic on this site is often driven from search engine results. People looking for reviews on certain games, etc.

2015 saw both the birth and hiatus of the RetroSensei Podcast. I’d really like to be able to give a return date, but that’s still up in the air. Running a podcast is pricier than you may think. It’s not break-the-bank expensive, but if you want to do it right, there are costs involved. For me, this ended up being close to $20 a month. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but as I mentioned before, due to unforeseen home repairs I found myself in a position to save every dollar I could manage.  For those interested, the repairs are going well. The kitchen floor has been repaired/replaced. This leaves me with some remaining plumbing work, and the installation of a new septic system. This is a several thousand dollar job, but one I hope to complete within the coming months. My biggest obstacle right now is the weather. It has rained here for what seems like two months straight. So at this point we are waiting for the ground to dry out and toughen back up before we start digging. — In a nutshell, once the time is right to relaunch the podcast, I will make sure everyone knows.

Christmas was good in terms of gaming this year. My kids are both full-fledged gamers now. My oldest son has actually discovered the world of Steam. He’s spent the last few weeks enjoying games like Quake and Half-Life. The two of us have even played a few Deathmatch rounds together. My youngest, is still very much a junior gamer. He’s Lego and Mindcraft obsessed.

That’s the status of things currently. As typical for me, I have a weeks vacation that I take every January. During that time, I plan to finish up the last FFXIII game. So I hope to have all my Final Fantasy posts out of the way by the beginning of March. Once this is done, things will begin to be a lot more diverse. So stay tuned and have a happy new year!

 

Updates: Fall 2015

Hello readers. I wanted to take a few moments to provide some updates regarding that status of this little blog of mine.

First, I’m sad to announce a temporary hiatus in regards to the RetroSensei Podcast. Recently, I experienced some plumbing problems in my home that did great damage to a large part of my kitchen floor. As a result, I now face what will likely be a pretty expensive repair bill. Luckily, insurance will cover a big part of it, but I do expect to have some out of pocket expenses. As a result, I’m tightening up the household budget and eliminating any extra expenses. As some of you probably know, to host a podcast there are fees involved. My monthly host currently charges about $17 a month for the plan I needed. While I know that $17 doesn’t sound like a lot of money, every bit counts. So the decision was made to put the podcast on hold until this whole fiasco is sorted out.

That being said, the monthly cost of running this site is considerably less, and that will go untouched. So have no fear, the blog is not going anywhere! Plus, the podcast will return at some point. In the meantime, I’ll be posting an archive of the old episodes in the very near future.

So, what else is going on? Well, as far as game reviews go, I’m continuing with my Final Fantasy playthrough. I plan to be caught up on my reviews just in time for the release of XV. Also, it’s now October… that means it’s also time for some scary games. I don’t intend on a month-long extravaganza like I had last year. But stay tuned, I promise to deliver some spooky game reviews as always.

 

Blog Update & The Final Fantasy Initiative

Today, I’m going to take a moment to declare my intention to temporarily refocus my game playing for the purposes of this blog.

I started this blog to share my love of video games and the nostalgia that I feel when I think about my youth. It didn’t take long for me to learn that there was a lot more to those warm fuzzy memories than retro video games. My childhood was extraordinary. I was born in the late 70s, so my early childhood took place in the 80s – a wonderful time for games, cool movies, cartoons, etc. All the great kid stuff came out in the 80s. During this time, I also was blessed with the fortune of being able to experience life in a foreign country. My time in Japan helped open my eyes to a larger world and even though it was only three short years, it had a large effect on me as I grew into adulthood. After getting married and settling into the routine of the five-day work week, I had my first child.

Unless you’re just a selfish deadbeat, having a child changes you in ways that you cannot expect. Your priorities change, and so does your habits. Sometimes, things even end up coming full-circle. Right before my son came along, my wife and I enjoyed going to clubs, socializing with other couples, attending concerts, things like that. Video games and other “childish” obsessions had really been put on the shelf to large extent. However, once you have an infant in the home, you find yourself AT HOME at lot more often than before. It doesn’t take long for you to go thru that stack of DVDs you never got around to watching. Once they are gone, you’re bored. While I had never fully abandoned my interest in gaming, I now found myself thinking about taking up the hobby with more zeal. When you have baby sleeping in a bassinet for extended periods of time, something like a video game ends up being a perfect way to pass the time. You play it for as long as you need to. You can pause it, save it, whatever.

It was during this time that I once again allowed gaming to become a main hobby of mine. Once my son got a little older, he naturally wanted to play games as well. It was at that time that I knew gaming was something I would be able to use to help form a bond with both of my children in one way or another. I guess that’s a big reason why I’m so passionate about games these days. When I play a video game, it reminds me of the good times of my youth and also rings a chime on the present day as well.

When I started this blog, I decided to replay my entire game library. Starting with the games I played as a kid and progress onward to new games. To date, I’ve pretty much covered the first half of my plan. I’ve reviewed and a talked about a majority of the games that were important to me when I was a child as well as sprinkled in a few new releases from time to time. I’ve deviated on a couple of occasions, like my Castlevania and Mega Man playthroughs, but I’ve done a pretty good job to sticking to my original goal.

Currently, according my own plans, I should be focusing on games for the original PlayStation. But I’m going to announce another temporary deviation:  The Final Fantasy Initiative.

You see, Final Fantasy is one of my favorite video game franchises. I’ve played almost every title to date (with a few exceptions). These exceptions are the most recently released titles in the series. If you’re reading this, you know me by now. I am pretty OCD when it comes to playing things in a particular order and I’m starting to fall behind. There’s a slew of new FF titles on the horizon and I need to catch up quick.

So when it comes to my game entries, I’m going to be catching up on all of the remaining Final Fantasy games I have yet to review. So far on this blog, I’ve managed to playthrough Final Fantasy 1-7 and all of the related spin-off games thus far. Next up, I’m going to proceed onward with 8, then 9, etc. Final Fantasy XV is expected to come out this spring and I would LOVE to be ready to play it on release day. Of course, I admit that I will unlikely be able to meet that goal, I do plan to be there as fast as possible.

Once I am all caught up on the series, I will resume my original plans.

House Cleaning – Looking towards 2014

As the year rapidly comes to a close, I’ve taken a little time to do some major housekeeping on this blog.

First, I’ve eliminated some of the silly review designations (Retro review, catch-up review) – I decided that a game review is a game review regardless of how old or new the specific title is.

Second, I’ve also added a list of related games to bottom of each review. For those games that are part of a series there are now links to other reviews in the franchise. This list will be updated as I complete reviews going forward.

Also, with the start of the new year, I’ll be making more non-game related posts. When I first started this blog I had the intention of creating a place where I could wax nostalgic about the games I loved growing up as well as other things that are near and dear to my heart. My children are now at an age where they both enjoy gaming. My youngest son is only five, but he enjoys playing casual games on the iPad. My older son enjoys playing computer games and is currently a huge fan of WWE games on the Xbox.  I plan on blogging a bit more about what they are playing as well as addressing other topics that are relevant to both Geek Culture and parenting in the digital age.

When it comes to reviews, if you’re a subscriber to the blog (I do have a handful), its probably obvious that I’ve focused a lot of retro gaming. What I’ve actually been doing is playing catch-up to a degree. I wanted this gaming blog to cover games both old and new. I decided to start with the games I grew up with and then gradually catch up to modern releases. this would help show the evolution of gaming during my lifetime, which is something that fascinates me. For the most part I’ve been very successful in this. So far on this blog I’ve replayed and reviewed the majority of games that were really relevant to me growing up. We’ve covered NES, SNES, Gameboy, and even some of the early PC titles from my teenage years. We’re quickly coming to a very important point in my gaming history… the dark years.

The “Dark Years” really began as teen. When I was around 16 years old, my focus shifted from gaming to more important matters for a teenager (ie: girls and Rock n Roll). It was during this time that I turned away from console gaming and picked up PC games instead. (That’s where we are currently in my review cycle). Even though I was no longer interested in the console market, they still existed and the market was growing. While I was spending my late nights blasting away at friends in Quake on the PC, the Sony PlayStation was surging in popularity. The Nintendo 64 was released, and the Game Boy color and Gameboy Advance were on the scene. This means that there were games, in franchises I love, that I overlooked.

I started console gaming again after my marriage, and I did catch up a little on some of these “dark years” titles, mostly Final Fantasy games,but there’s a large majority of games I never played the first time around. That will be next focus of the blog. I hope to start my “Dark Age of Gaming” reviews shortly after the first of the year. Then, my goal will be to catch up with games and franchises that interest me, later in 2014. Hopefully, by the end of next year, I will have knocked out most of my backlog and reached a point where I can focus on new titles as they are released. Of course, this will be easier said than done. But let’s see what happens.

Castlevania Playthrough Update

Well, it’s Halloween. I think now it’s obvious that I’m not going to meet my goal of playing through every legacy Castlevania title before the end of the day. But, I gave it a good shot!

I’m almost finished with Curse of Darkness. After which, I have two more DS titles and a Wii game. At this point the original series is complete. There is of course a remake of Castlevania Adventure on the Wii virtual console, and then a quirky multiplayer mashup. I’m going to continue with the playthrough and hopefully finish up in November.

I have admittedly been distracted by a number of things. The original version of Final Fantasy XIV is about to end. I have been very busy collecting once-in-a-lifetime achievements for the game, as well as playing the new Wizardry Online beta.

I plan to restore some normalcy to the blog in the coming days, so stay tuned.