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Sekani's articles
Article
The 64 is 20!
Jun 24th 2016
On June 23, 1996, a whopping twenty years ago, the Nintendo 64 officially launched in Japan. It would make its way to American store shelves a few months later, but I'll get to that in a moment.
I was a Nintendo kid growing up. I was too poor to really enjoy the NES much beyond the Super Mario Bros. trilogy, but the SNES was my jam through high school. That system introduced me to my first taste of fighting games, RPGs, action platformers, and even space shooters. Some of my best memories involve renting games from Blockbuster Video and trying to beat them before I had to return them; I marathoned through Super Mario RPG and Donkey Kong Country 2 in just this fashion. The point is that I was hyped beyond hype for the system when I first read about "Project Reality" in GamePro magazine. Nintendo's going up to SIXTY-FOUR bits, take that PlayStation and Saturn! I got even more excited playing Crusin' USA and Killer Instinct in the local arcade, both games proudly blasting that "ULTRA 64" logo in their attract loops.
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I play shitty mobile games... and I like it.
Mar 12th 2016
Oh hey, here's another writing thing since Baroness hasn't deleted me from the site yet
The eventual sad fact that we all face as we grow into responsible adults is gaming time is more precious and far, far less available. Hell, it's usually a small miracle when I can get more than 90 minutes to play Fallout 4 uninterrupted by errands or sleep. So it's little surprise that I spend more time gaming on my smartphone than on anything else. It's always with me, it doesn't demand more than a few minutes of my time on any given occasion, and there's little to no barrier to entry.
The games I choose to play, however, aren't exactly the ones that mobile gamers seem to prefer. I'm not into the high-score endless-runners like Pac-Man 256 or Jetpack Joyride that the gaming press talk about, nor the life-point limited puzzlers like TwoDots or Candy Crush Saga that constantly top the sales charts. Nope, what gets me interested are generally the games where you collect stuff (like cards or heroes) and use them solve puzzles or complete RPG-style quests.
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New Year's Resolution: Play more video games
Jan 9th 2016
2015 was by all accounts a good year to be a PlayStation 4 owner. I wouldn't know it personally though, since my PS4 collected dust most of last year, with the occasional dusting off to stream something on Netflix or WWE Network. I hadn't touched it to actually play any games since last January, when The Last of Us Remastered and Resogun occupied a non-insignificant portion of my gaming awareness. It's not that I didn't want to play more, but the chaos of life that defined my 2015 made it mostly impossible. I vaguely paid attention to the various new releases that everyone else talked about, waiting for a chance when I could be a part of that conversation. Today, I'm still waiting.
The drought finally ended when my wife blessed me with a PS4 copy of Fallout 4, and not a day has gone by since where I haven't gone off on an adventure into the irradiated Commonwealth. Even without the benefit of the PC modding community, Fallout 4 is an enjoyable enough game that I'm itching to get back into another groove. There were so many experiences over the last year that I missed out on that now seems like a perfect time to look back and catch up. Of course, there will be some conflict with the releases of this year, but with some decent time management and recognizing that I don't have to beat every game in existence, I think there's hope for me yet.
Oh yeah, I'm looking to play all of these titles on the PS4. I know I could use my PC for some of these, but at the moment there's something... I dunno, just right about sitting on the couch instead of at my desk these days.
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Hearthstone Chronicles #2: My magic will tear you apart!
Nov 7th 2015

At the end of the October 2015 season, my "secret mage" deck, seen above, managed to drag me up to Rank 18, which the game cheerily told me put me in the Top 50% of Hearthstone's 30-million-plus players. I probably could've done better, but I didn't really play that many games; life and all that still has a tendency to happen. Besides, I was surprised how well the deck did even at low ranks. Unless I got a bad starting hand or was up against one of the popular meta decks (like face hunter or secret paladin), I seemed to handily win most games. The Rank 20 chest reward was forgettable, but who cares. I'm just slowly trying to build up my collection enough to where I can create decks with a bit more firepower.
Speaking of building up a collection, I was seriously wondering whether or not I should bother with the Blackrock Mountain adventure/expansion when the newest one, League of Explorers, was announced this weekend at Blizzcon. I guess it helps that this one is a few bucks cheaper than normal, and it looks like the cards added will be more interesting and more of a meta-changer than The Grand Tournament was. Also, it looks like fun, which let's face it, it's so popular these days to whine about Blizzard games that people a lot of times forget how much fun they can be.
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Pirated booty
Oct 30th 2015
Piracy is a thing on the internet. Whether it be movies, games, music, or the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, most of you reading this have at one time or another grabbed something via an unauthorized download of some sort. Maybe you felt bad about it, maybe you didn't, but at least there was some sort of conscious moral choice involved in that decision.
But, there's one commodity that gets stolen constantly on the internet and that no one really gives a second thought about: pornography.
The porn industry is credited with being the first commercial enterprise to truly monetize the internet, a realm where people today still feel entitled to getting it all for free. Innovations like web rings (remember those?), credit-card processing, streaming video (remember RealPlayer?), and Shockwave (now Adobe) Flash were pushed into prominence to peddle adult wares to a ready and wanting audience. It's estimated that 13 percent of all internet searches are for some sort of erotic content, and that impressive number is probably way down from the pre-millennium era of the internet when it was largely a boys club. Still, that's a LOT of web traffic; the porn industry should be rolling in dough, right?
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Hearthstone Chronicles #1: Feeling Cursed
Oct 15th 2015
I don't really know why I decided that I wanted to get back into Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. I know I stopped playing shortly before the first expansion/adventure, Curse of Naxxramas, released because the meta game had gotten too stale for my tastes. I had actually pre-ordered the expansion even, and I didn't even bother to dick around with it much before shelving the game and moving on to something else (though I can't recall what that something else was).
At this point, almost a year later, I might as well be a brand-new player. Three more expansions have been released (Goblins vs. Gnomes, Blackrock Mountain, and The Grand Tournament), and I lack both the card library and the experience necessary to compete in the current meta game. I could just buy a bunch of everything to catch up, but I'd prefer not to drop a ton of money on a game that I'm honestly not super-invested in at this moment. Is there really any hope of becoming competitive with such a handicap? I guess I'm going to find out. It'll take a while; I've got no aspirations of getting to Legend rank or anything, since I'd never get enough games in to do so, but getting out of the noob levels would be a decent accomplishment, right?
My first step should really be to finish the Naxxramas adventure, since many of the more valuable cards in the current meta game originate from this set. I can't help jumping into the ladder and working off the rust though, so I throw together a half-assed zoo warlock deck and jump right in. Early on the rate at which I'm steamrolling my opponents gives me a false ego boost; false because by the time I've climbed to rank 21, I'm starting to face some of the current popular decks, like mech mage and patron warrior (*shudder*). By rank 19, I'm starting to rack up more losses than wins simply by not being familiar with the way some of the newer cards interact with each other, not to mention getting my own mistakes swiftly punished.  Yeah, I need to learn to play all over again it seems.
Article
Too Old for This Shit
Sep 7th 2015
A lot has been said about how our gaming habits change as we get older. Mostly these changes are due to the lack of free time us responsible adults have in comparison to those younger whipper-snappers. At the ripe old age of 37, I'm no exception to the rule. Still, it's surprising exactly how my habits have changed.For starters, my number one gaming platform this year has been my Android smartphone. By far, I've spent more time on it than any other gaming device in my household (which includes an aging-but-able gaming PC, a PlayStation 4, and a PlayStation 2). People love to hate on how mobile games are not "real" games, but instead just micro-transaction infested time wasters. While true, the reality is more complicated. For one, it's the gaming device that's always with me. When it is with me, I can get my boredom-killing gaming fix in small five-minute chunks. I can clear a level of Angry Birds or make a high-score attempt in Crossy Road in less time than it takes to just boot up a more powerful machine. In a world where time has become my most precious resource, the ability to accomplish something while spending very little of it is quite valuable.
Another casualty of both time and the nature of the internet in general is my lack of interest in multiplayer gaming. Co-op games are hard for me to enjoy due to scheduling conflicts; most of my online friends all live in time zones where they're most likely asleep by the time I get home from work. Competitive gaming is less engaging to me for the same reasons in addition to others. Competition was more fun to me back in the days of the arcades, where you just needed to be the baddest man or woman on the block, not the entire internet-connected world. The toxic nature of online gaming is an unwelcome paradigm shift from the friendly trash talk of the arcade environment, which discourages me even further. Even if I was willing to battle through the hate, there's that whole lack of time thing again. The amount of time needed to play at a decent level on the global stage is exponentially more than what's needed to crush your friends at Street Fighter or Mario Kart, and... well, pretty sure no one wonders why you don't see anyone over the age of a college student in pro gaming unless they've been doing it their entire adult life.
Naturally, the MMO genre would be something that I've had to throw by the wayside as well, but I've done it more reluctantly. MMOs have always been a social game--hell, the acronym stands for Massively Multiplayer--but with the lack of a consistent social circle, the biggest flaw of an MMO becomes easily visible. That flaw is that the mechanics of an MMO don't lend themselves at all to a single-player experience. Oh sure, people will tell you that World of Warcraft achieved its meteoric success largely in part because you didn't need a group holding your hand for basic tasks. That's all well and good, but a game that lacks the staying power of some kind of grouping mechanics just runs out of steam for me too quickly. I mean, if you can solo your way to max level in World of Warcraft, Tera, Wildstar, Guild Wars 2, etc., I don't understand why you'd play that game instead of something better.
Article
Nothing Worth Saying
Jul 12th 2015
At this point, the creepy, mysterious small town could be its own genre on TV. Seems like there's a new series like that coming on every year. Under the Dome, Sleepy Hollow, Between... yeah, I'm over it. So when my wife wanted to watch Wayward Pines, I was tired of the show before it started. Still, this one turned out to be a little different. A nice little twist in the fifth episode got my attention for good, and now I'm actually enjoying the show.
But enough about that, I'm actually here to talk about a different kind of drama.
Specifically, the Reddit kind. I'm sure by now those of you familiar with the site have heard about the resignation of interim CEO Ellen Pao from the company. You can find the details on pretty much any news site, but the basic story is a familiar one: a male-dominated portion of the internet decided to put some uppity woman in her place for daring to change the status quo. Yeah, there were some legitimate gripes, like the sudden firing of the AMA liaison and lack of moderator tools to deal with brigading, but by then Pao was already being buried under a mountain of community-created fecal matter.
Article
Show some love.
Jun 8th 2015
I was recording an episode of RCM On Tap (which will be out in the next couple of weeks, I think) when I went off into a sort of freestyle rant about how stupid people--specifically gamers--on the internet can be. Part of that rant veered off into GamerGate territory, though I have a hard time recalling the specifics of how I ended up there. Such is the beauty of ranting.
After the recording was finished, my wife mentioned that she saw it as "a problem" that I talked about GamerGate and the first thing out of my mouth wasn't about harassment of women. Well, I hadn't planned to talk about GamerGate at all, but if I did... really, what's there to say? Sending death threats to women is bad, mmm'kay? There's no conversation to be had there, and I don't see any point in preaching further on the topic. Seriously, most gaming media outlets have done plenty of preaching on that subject already, to the point where I'm starting to believe that many of them are more concerned with getting hits than anything else.
Later that week, I was listening to an episode of The Angry Chicken where co-host Jocelyn Moffett and guest Karma were talking about how to deal with the vitriol that gets thrown their way while streaming on Twitch.  They were responding to a question about why there aren't many women involved in professional Hearthstone or other games. The answer was apparently that there are more than enough trolls who don't want them there. Hearing Jocelyn talk about being brought to tears by some comments made in Twitch chat was a quite sobering reminder of what gamers are capable of at their worst... or sometimes even at their average.
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Top 10 Boss Battle Themes
Apr 22nd 2015
Earlier today someone on Twitter linked me to a list that Game Informer put out featuring the top ten boss battle themes, and asked me what I thought of it. It's not a bad list, just a very safe one. Most of the picks are either long-time favorites (One-Winged Angel, for example) or recent offerings that have achieved popularity (Serpent Eating the Ground from Bravely Default). Pretty much the only oddball choice is the one from Guitar Hero. I guess my biggest problem is that it's so uninspired; there's nothing on here for me to really argue with or object to, nor is there anything I haven't heard before. What's the point of it, really?
So, I figure I'll do my own list. Obviously this is going to be my own personal preference, and I know my tastes don't necessarily go along with the mainstream when it comes to game music. That said, if it inspires you to check out a soundtrack that you've never thought about or even heard of before, then I feel that I've done a much better service to the internet than Game Informer has.
Before I start, small self-promotion break: I've done two podcast episodes featuring boss music--#71 and #9--if you prefer something that you can listen to with less scrolling and clicking. Be warned though, #9 may be rough to listen to if you're used to the somewhat more polished and conversational style that I'm currently using. Now then, on to the list: