Attention Whores @ the Gym

Like how desperate for attention can you be?

Well, great job, you did it. Good for you. Get lost.

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Gamification and Fitness – Game Books

A Little Bit of Background:

So, I have joined Nerd Fitness – a community of nerds, dedicating and integrating all things nerdy with fitness. They have, of course, their website, blog and forums. However, they too have various paid programs – like the Academy where we have the sources for us to learn about fitness and health and also class-based fitness quests that gamifies our fitness journey. And what comes with Academy, is that we have an exclusive Facebook community to share whatever.

And in this community, a person started a zombie text-based RPG/fitness. Where actions, choices and fate of our characters largely depends on our exercise performance. Kind of like a Dungeons&Dragons game but with exercise, where instead of rolling the dice to decide our fate, we do push-ups.

Although, it isn’t finished, the concept had me thinking and also loving it. However, I am a very bad fiction writer (I started re-watching The Walking Dead to “study” imaginative and creative ways to kill a zombie), and so I turned to using GameBook apps as the story where my characters will be set in their world.

Of course, I will not be typing the story (because that will be copyright.). What I will do is that I will record my rolls, choices and the exercises. And then, at the end, I will post a review on this blog along with the summary of my character’s fate.

Maybe one day..someday, I will start doing my own stories! But for now…

Hero Unmasked : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.choiceofgames.herounmasked&hl=en

 

Insecurities: Hating Myself

I understand that this is a deviation from the usual topics present in this blog. But it is an issue I would like to share after reading an article about Glenn Donelly – the man who skydived nude with a violin . In summary, Glenn did what he did not only to celebrate his triumph in life, but to also tell the world that everyone can suffer from body dysmorphic disorder .

By Noelle Campbell, taken from The Huffington Post – It’s Not Just Girls. Boys Struggle With Body Image, Too.

As for myself, I feel as if I did experience such issues as well. Although, as a boy, any feelings conveyed will just be met with skepticism, and a little joke. “Boys don’t cry”or my Jesus obsessed mother would say “Hey be grateful that you are given a functioning body” and then proceed to cook all your favorite food and derail any attempts at changing – and being weak-willed, I proceed to succumb. Or an annoying brother who proceed to spell your major insecurities to your (then)crush, further chipping whatever confidence I had left to face her.

I get frustrated over things that has to do with my appearance, especially with things about my appearance – and an explosive emotional outburst will ensue. I would get frustrated at my mother for cooking for me those unhealthy treat that I oh so love, when I know in my little heart she meant the absolute best intentions for me. I would get frustrated at my brother who I know loves me. At my Father who would take a jab and asked me if I needed new clothes because I am always wearing the same ones that fit me. I absolutely hated going to a clothing store with him. He meant well when he offered to get me clothes from there and I had to get bitch-pissy and waited outside the store, telling him “NO, nothing will fit me, why can’t you understand?”

I am sorry, very sorry. But I felt helpless as these outbursts happen. I know I am being an utter shit but I couldn’t stop what I am saying. It just…comes out. After all that disgusting behavior is over and done, I would sit in my room telling myself that I am a piece of turd. Getting depressed and then proceed to gaming to get my mind over it. I will not bring it up again because when I do, I do not know if it result in another foul outburst or me having to repeat the process of self-loathe,which I find one of the most lonely and painful process to deal with.

I hated expensive clothing because I feel no matter what I wear, it will look utterly bad on me. I hated the idea of me being in a relationship with someone because I do not want to impose this loathing mindset on the person I would call my lover. I feel no one would learn to love me when I myself, don’t love me. I shut everything that leads to feelings being in motion. I will sit in my room, playing my games and inactively stopped looking and shut myself. I told my parents it was better for me to spend less time together because when we do, I hate myself for letting my emotional guard down around them, and I do let the guards down around them which led to an undesirable self-loathing outbursts. I hated my body because it no longer is in the same condition as a healthy person would be. I cried and sat on the stairs the morning I was bound for a city-event run because I felt on that day was my shot to let go of my sickness and run…because my leg is all better…only to have woken up in pain and couldn’t do the run..much less a walk. I hated my body as it is covered with eczema, dark, stretch and scratch marks. I hated myself…for being what I am – emotionally…physically…mentally…every -ly…

My friends would tell me why am I so cold and quiet most of the time…but I am like that because I am close guarding something ugly I do not want you to see. And for those who did see it, I am ashamed- I hope we are still friends, or if the bridge has burned because of my outburst, I am truly, truly sorry. And for those who finds me annoyingly talkative, thank you, because around you I can forget these insecurities.

In the media, it has always been an issue for young girls where they would inadequate from the many unrealistic effects done on model cover shots. But what about the boys who were then shown the flashy abs? Can they feel the same as the young girls, who is comparing themselves to their idols? Absolutely yes. Female celebrities all over the world has taken a stand on body dysmorphic disorder issues on young girls, but are there any who fight for the same cause for the boys? Too little. So, thank you Glenn. You have inspired me to change today. And congratulations for your victory.

 

It’s Not Just Girls. Boys Struggle With Body Image, Too.

 

Suikoden II [PSX]

SUIKODEN II – Was it GREAT sequel?

Continuing on the Suikoden series, I will now be looking at Suikoden 2. As you can guess from the number, it is the second installment of the series. However, through a bit of internet digging, I have found out that actually, Suikoden 2 was written before Suikoden. Suikoden acted as a story that sets up the Suikoden universe.Was it a great successor to the Suikoden lore?

Riou (canon name for MC) and Jowy was youth soldiers of the Highland Army. At the night of their final day of camp, their corrupt officer staged an attack to break the treaties between Highland and Jowston. Cornered, the two youths jumped off the cliff into the river. Separated, Riou was found by the mercenaries – Viktor and Flik (returning characters from S1). And Jowy was saved by Pilika and her family in a neighboring town. Reunited, they journeyed back to their homeland only to be branded as traitors and put on death row. Saved by the mercenaries, they traveled back to the fort and found that Luca has invaded.

After an unsuccessful defense of the fort, the party made their way to city-state city of Muse. On their way, Pilika showed them a shrine that her parents guarded. Soon, both Riou and Jowy became true rune bearer. Riou with the Bright Shield Rune and Jowy with the Black Sword Rune. After the events in Muse, Jowy staged a betrayal against the city-state, an event that separates the two best friends.

At the end, Jowy revealed that his betrayal was for a greater future. He believed that one side had to win, and Highland were far more powerful compared to the scattered city-state – the more likely side to winning the war. He wanted to take the helm of Highland (which he did) and instill his idea of peace from within.

Love it. The betrayal of Jowy was the greatest plot twist. Jowy, after his betrayal, was viewed as an antagonist, only to reveal that he did what he did, was for peace. He picked a side that – at that time- was ideal for him to attain peace. One side had to win for it to end. For once, I connected with the “villain” of the game. Jowy was not all dark. If Highland won, will Jowy put the land under chaos and war or will there be peace that is no different as if the Riou won?

Luca Blight, however, was all dark. But his nickname “Mad Prince” was not without a good backstory. He witnessed his father turn coward and left him and his mother at the hands of the evil. He watched as his mother was raped multiple times and later discovered that they were hired by Muse. Thus, his hatred grew against the city-state and turning him into the “Mad Prince” – an embodiment of cruelty and blood lust.

The game has spinoffs, Genso Suikogaiden Volumes 1 and 2 and also have light novels. These titles may shed some light to my gripe against Windy and Barbarossa’s story and death. However, I am unable to read Japanese. So any references of spinoffs and novels that are not available in English, is purely based on synopsis found on the Suikoden Wikia page. And I found no story to answer my questions on the antagonists’ deaths as both character pages have their deaths go “last seen jumping off Gregminster Palace and no body was found”. They might have teleported away as I suspected or burnt to ashes along with the castle.

As Suikoden 2 was a direct sequel to Suikoden, the game retained its Chinese aesthetics. The MC even had the SunWuKong-like circlet. Also following tradition, the MC arms himself with a stick-like weapon – in this case, the tonfa. The small towns were also designed to be akin to the Chinese buildings. However, bigger cities and the Highland were more medieval.

I am very much in love with the song Reminisce from this game. It has many versions – the one I loved was from the Vocal collection. Even then, the song without the vocals (present in the game) has succesfully carried the emotions of Riou and Jowy, their memories as best friends, and their sadness because they have to fight – to uphold their ideals for the kingdom.

The battle system was similar to its predecessor. The return of 6 man party that can be made with the 108 recruits. The difference was that now each character is able to hold three runes – Head, Left and Right hand. However, the difficulty was not improved. In total, I had a game over once and that was the fight against Luca Blight. However, it was easily solved just by a re-shuffling of the party. During that arc, we got to choose 3 parties, thus using 18 fighters. The mistake I did was to putting too many strong members in the first two and I thought the third was to “finish him off”. However, only at the third fight that he got stronger instead of weaker. But for the subsequent boss fights and even the final boss, was very easy.

My Final Party:

Conclusion

What did I love- Most definitely, the story! It was to me one of the most enjoyable and deep story from a game. It deviates from the cookie-cutter save the “xxxx” formula of other games. The finding and recruiting of the 108 stars was also huge part of my enjoyment. I do enjoy a bit of collecting of characters without mindless grinding.

Did it successfully acted as a foundation for the series? Yes, to an extent. Suikoden 2 had returning (and cameo appearances) of characters from Suikoden. However, the story only go so far. The kingdom that Tir McDohl saved acted as a closed off kingdom. And not willing to be involved in the conflicts in Suikoden II. Therefore, I would say that Suikoden has successfully acted as a foundation, as in it created the environment to the next game. Suikoden served as the basis of the in-game lores, however, has very little effect on the story of Suikoden 2.

Suikoden [PSX]

Based on 1 of the 4 great literature of Chinese culture: How did it do? ‘Water Margin’-ally Great!

I have decided to revisit my love for the Suikoden series. HUGE huge fan of the Suikoden series. Suikoden was the first ever Konami RPG game. In actuality, Suikoden 2 was written before Suikoden. The developers decided to write a prequel as a mean to get experience on in-game development. Thus, it meant that the story of Suikoden sets up the whole Suikoden universe. Did it successfully acted as a foundation for the series?

In this game, you control a silent protagonist, whose canon name is Tir McDohl. His adventure started as he was enlisted into the army, serving under a corrupt commander. His best friend, Ted, bears a true rune, which the evil court magician wants. In order to protect the true rune, Ted passed the true rune unto Tir and acted as a decoy for his best friend to escape.

With the true rune in hand and as a fugitive, Tir was founded by the rebel army. He succeeded Odessa as the leader of the rebel army and went against the kingdom to bring peace and rid corruption to the land. Major portion of the game was Tir going around enlisting help for the rebellion.

The once beloved king was believed to be under the magic of court magician, started making strange decisions. However, at the end, he was merely acting out of affection for the court magician. A love story for the antagonists. His power was the Sovereign rune, granted him the power to transform into the final boss of the game. After being defeated by the rebellion, he grabbed Windy and jumped off the castle – never to be seen again. Windy had the power to transport herself, I am sure she can just teleport away as they sky dive from the castle walls. Did they die? Or survive?

The story was great – the politics, the plotting. It was a fresh take on traditional save the princess RPG that was abound during the era. However, I did not have love for antagonists’ story. King Barbarossa reason to being an antagonist was merely out of love whose feeling came about as the Windy looked like his late wife. Really? The kingdom and its citizens versus feelings for a look-alike who did not reciprocate the same feelings he wished. Bad BAD king, to think he was once a ‘beloved’ hero.

The game has a very oriental vibe incorporated – from the music to the aesthetics. Mostly due to the main characters’ choice of clothes. They even had the Tir redesigned to using a bo staff instead of sword in order to stay to the oriental premises of the game design. This decision to go oriental was due to the game being based on the chinese novel, 水滸傳[Water Margin].

Water Margin is a story of outlaws, 108 to be precise, forming an army against invaders. It is one of the great four classics of Chinese literature. The game borrowed much of its foundation from the book. The game was set to 108 stars of destiny forming an army and fighting against an enemy.

In this game, we can recruit a total of 108 characters to fight with. But at the end of the game, we were forced to take up Viktor and Flik as final members against the final boss. So out of 50(or so) fighters , we only get to pick 3 favorites. Not to mention, we are pretty much stuck with Gremio for majority of the game.

Battles in this game is just a basic 6 man team formation with the usual: Attack, Magic, Item, Run options that you would find in a japanese RPG. Runes allow the modification of a character that essentially any character would work the same (unless they have unique runes). Unique runes are visually different yet none of them really stand out, damage and utility wise (other than the Falcon Rune).

Conclusion

The game was very VERY easy. Bosses drop like flies. Even the final boss. Too easy that there was no challenges ever posed in the game. And no grinding ever required to achieve those boss-smattering status Not even the mini games were hard. Actually the mini game, Chinchirorin, was purely lucked based and the only annoying aspect off the game.

The story. It goes against the cliche “save the princess/world” story that you would hear of countless times in Japanese anime/games of the old era. And being an avid lover of collecting/recruiting type of games (ie Digimon, Pokemon), I really love the recruiting aspect of the game.