Archive for April, 2012

Ni No Kuni Status: April 29, 2012

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

For the second week in a row, I played some Ni No Kuni: not a lot, but I’m chipping away at it.

I took on a few errands in the city, but I didn’t actually finish any of them. Then I left the city, heading north to the ghost valley. That was a pretty standard dungeon; I did fine against the monsters, which is good, because I was afraid that my avoiding fights in the overworld might have gotten me a bit underpowered. No problems there, though.

Then, at the end of the valley, there was a house with a girl living there. I fast forwarded through the conversation more than I should have (especially given that the stated goal for this exercise is to learn Japanese!), but I think the gist was that she first lived there to look after the graves of her parents, but now is looking after graves more generally? There was something about the next area that she needed help with, so we volunteered to help fix it, or something.

I remembered that, back in the city, I’d crafted a new gun for Gyro; partly because of that and partly because Maru had been running out of magic, I used him a lot in the dungeon. (Though his gun still isn’t very effective, I should see what his magic is like.) That inspired me to look more in the crafting menu, because clearly it’s not just for disposable items: I found a recipe for a +50 magic point ring that I had the ingredients for, so I crafted one of those and gave it to Maru. (Oliver was already wearing one.) That should help with long fights in the future, I hope.

After that conversation, we went to the next part of the dungeon, which looked like a crypt of some sort; there was a save spot right at the beginning, so I saved there and stopped.

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Rock Band Status: April 29, 2012

Apr 29 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

This weekend, I started on tier 4 Expert Pro Guitar. So far, I’ve managed to three-star every song; coming into this tier, I was not expecting to maintain that streak.

The first song I played was Rush’s Subdivisions. I’ve always enjoyed playing Rush on fake guitar, but this is the first time I’ve tried it out on the real thing. And it was tough but manageable (I was going to say tough but fair, but this is music, fairness is irrelevant), chords that I needed to work on but that I could deal with. And, sure enough, I enjoyed it: I think I’m probably going to put it into the practice rotation, because I suspect I have a lot to learn from it.

Next was Everybody Wants to Rule the World, the easiest of the on-disc tier 4 songs. I didn’t take notes after playing it, so I can’t remember the details: I remember there was picking that was a little too fast to be within my comfort zone, I can’t remember what else was going on. Pretty sure I enjoyed it, but not enough to want to frequently return to it.

Today, I went through the middle third of 2112, namely Discovery and Presentation. I was pretty sure that this was going to be the first song I didn’t manage to three-star: my first run, I wasn’t that far over two stars, there were some very rough bits. The thing is, though, the rough bits are in two parts: it ends with a long solo that’s way too hard for me, so that’s a total loss. But the rest is chord sections; they’re somewhat unusual, but I managed to get the basic approach right for most of them, and when thinking about it more, I was pretty sure I’d be able to do a passable job at the one chord section that I’d totally screwed up. So I went back through the training section for that bit, and played it over and over again, and eventually managed three stars on the song. (And 26th place on the leaderboard, DLC leaderboards are kind of silly.)

So: I’ve managed to survive my first week of tier 4! Wonder how long that will last…

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Rock Band Status: April 22, 2012

Apr 23 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I didn’t put in as much time on guitar as I normally do this weekend, maybe around two hours or so? But I did make it through three pieces (plus the usual assortment of review.)

The first was This Bastard’s Life. It had tons of seventh chords, including what I think are slightly nonstandard variants; educational but very hard, I only managed to get my third star on the final held note. I would probably profit from playing this over and over again, though right now I’m not planning to put in the time; I wish I had other pieces that let me learn some of those seventh chords in a slightly friendlier context.

Next was Killing Moon. I felt that This Bastard’s Life was marked as one tier too easy; Killing Moon, in contrast, seemed to me to be marked as at least one tier too hard. Repeated easy chords over and over again; single notes with room between them and not requiring much hand movement. I guess the difficulty was assigned because of the solo, which was long; but the solo was super easy as well (again, requiring very little hand movement and slow enough that it wasn’t hard to sight read most of it), so I’m not sure why it was marked as tier 3 instead of, say, tier 1. Having said that, I ended up at 49th place on the leaderboard, so I guess it somehow played to my strengths?

Finally, Heart of Glass. A bunch of single notes, with string jumping, and a few two-note chords that were unusual enough to give me trouble. I barely managed the third star, which surprised me, I felt that I should have done better than that.

And, with that, I finished tier 3! I suspect that this is the last tier that I’ll be able to get three stars on all of the songs (at least on this go through)—I expect I’ll be able to play many of the tier 4 songs, and even enjoy several of them, but random variation in difficulty means that a few will hit my weak points enough that I won’t be able to get to three stars without more hours of work than I’m willing to put in. We’ll see, though; just making it to tier 4 on expert feels like a real accomplishment, and I’ll be perfectly happy to start over with the easiest songs, trying to really master the ones I enjoy the most.

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Ni No Kuni Status: April 22, 2012

Apr 22 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I didn’t feel like immersing myself in guitar this weekend, so I ended up playing Ni No Kuni for the first time in almost two months. I’m definitely losing steam here – I’m not devoting as much time to the Japanese as I could, and I’m also not that into the gameplay, so I’m not super motivated to continue. And I suspect that the combination of those will mean that I miss out on gameplay details that will make it very hard for me to progress, so I’d be pretty surprised if I made it too much farther through the game. Having said that, I am getting something from it Japanese-wise, and if I want to put in more time on that side of things, I can, so I’m not stopping yet.

Anyways: spent some time in the pig people city, looking for the next wise person. I’m not sure exactly what happened – we said some passphrase that let us into an alley, we met with somebody with a sick girl (I think a little sister?), then we put on pig disguises and went into the palace. There, we had a big boss battle, I was worried I wouldn’t make it through but we did manage to survive. Then, we met the king, who seemed to be the next wise person, but he didn’t want to help. At some point in this process we got a medicine and gave it to the sick girl; she got better, and we got a heart piece from her which we gave to the king, so he got better.

In this last scene, Gyro revealed himself to be (I think) the king’s older brother. (So the king wasn’t a pig person, which surprised me – are all these pig people humans under the armor?) The king didn’t teach us any new spells, but he told us the next place to go, I think some sort of ghost place.

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Rock Band Status: April 15, 2012

Apr 15 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I was out of town for the last couple of weeks, and I was pretty busy today catching up with stuff, but I did manage to get in a bit of practice. Mostly I went through old favorites; the one new song I tried was One-Arm Scissor. Which was quite tough at the start, hard enough that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get three stars on it, but after a couple of tries I started being able to play the unusual chords in it. Sounded quite odd when plugged in, I think there must be some sort of alternate tuning going on there?

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