Friday, February 22, 2013

Week in Review - 2/22/2013


Dragons make the best photo ops.
I spent almost an entire day last weekend playing Skyrim in order to queue up the Tumblr for the week. As I predicted, I didn't have much time to play during the week. Toki has fought his 3rd dragon! He's joined up with the Stormcloaks and is working to unify the province under the banner of High King Ulfric. I'm about to hand over the Jagged Crown to Ulfric the next time I log into the game. 

Pyro Oliver seen on the far right!
The desire to play The Sims 3 is almost always some app running in the background of my brain. Everytime I have a free moment during which I may squeeze out a drop of game time, The Sims 3 is always the game that pops up but gets shut down for other games. It's such a great go-to time sink, too. So much to do and always new ways of doing it. I did load it up this week, though. I spent a night with my Death-by-Fire Ghost of myself Pyro Oliver and turned him into a heroic Firefighter. Once he reached the top of his career, I got bored and shut it down. I have to think of new ways to challenge myself. 

I don't usually mention the silly little programs I download and amuse myself with while waiting for classes to start, or appointments to begin. I play them so infrequently and they are more like "mindlessly tap your finger" than any real semblance of a true game. This one isn't too much different, but it endears itself to me with little Final Fantasy characters, summons, and themes. I've turned it on twice, and decided it's cute. I won't uninstall it just yet. It's simple, mindless and features Cloud as a summon. That's all a mobile game needs, I guess. 


Deez finally got settled in his new place with a better internet connection! We had our first real jam session in quite some time and it was a blast. Here are some thoughts on our adventures in the Three Kingdoms!

My Harp was feared in all of China.
We push forward on our journey to unify China in Conquest Mode. I wasn't sure how our maps differed due to some loss of save data on my end earlier last year, so I let Deez forge his path to a new Curved Sword for Zhou Tai and I hung on for the ride. After the weapon was acquired, we did Battle for Supremacy as our finale for the first time. It was ridiculous, fun and ridiculously fun. Two brothers against four entire Chinese armies? That's what Bunker Hill Bros are all about.


These peons are being a bit dramatic.
We finally took up arms in Conquest Mode again. After unlocking what I thought to be the ultimate Curved Sword, we joined the Battle for Supremacy and made short work of the Three Kingdoms. It was an epic battle to be sure, but our characters are strong enough that we should probably bump up the difficulty level. Watch yourself, China!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Picture Blogs

I won't be writing an article today due to my first college exam. I'm quite a bit anxious about it, so studying has taken up a considerable chunk of my free-time. I also need to start work on a paper about The Great Gatsby, so I'm not sure I'll have time to get anything up at all this week. Since TOP Gaming Blog will be quiet, I'd like to promote my two Tumblr projects which hopefully can fill that void for you.

Toki the Dragonborn - This is my picture blog of a new character in Skyrim. I recently learned how to take some pretty scenic screenshots, so I loaded up a bunch of graphics and game play mods to liven it up and enhance the shots. Then I decided to put them up in a short picture-journal format on Tumblr. You can browse through the pictures or read about Toki's adventures in his own words. It auto-publishes about 4/day this week so there should be new pictures every few hours.

Bunker Hill Bros. - This is a Tumblr account I share with my brother. It publishes much more frequently, mostly pictures (and a few mixed in articles) we find around the internet that really peak our interest. If you're curious about learning more about the Bros. then I suggest you check out our Tumblr. There we have a bit more freedom and flexibility to post not only about games, but also anime, manga, and comics.

Have a great week!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Week in Review - 2/16/2013


Dragons make the best pictures.
The saga of Toki continues for another week. Check out all the great pictures I've been taking in the picture blog at Toki the Dragonborn! Toki's fought a second dragon, cleared Shroud Hearth Barrows and is currently in Windhelm seeking to join the Stormcloaks in their rebellion. He has a good heart and is constantly delayed by people in need, but he has no sympathy for Imperials or their supporters. He slays them on sight if he isn't vastly outnumbered.

Playstation 3
For the Kingdom of Shu!
Last week in Bunker Hill Bros. I talked about our long nights tearing through the battlefields of China. It really got me pumped up to play a "Warriors" game, so I fired up DW7 for some solo action. I looked through my trophies to see what I could work on and realize I never beat the game with my favorite faction: Shu. So I took my fight to the Story Mode and spent an evening clearing it. DW7 really has a great Story Mode, even though it is lacking in several other modes.

My name is Splash
I have metal joints.
Defeat my fish friends
Earn Laser Trident points!
I've been avoiding this game because I got stuck (again) on Splash Woman's stage. After not being able to beat Jewel Man's stage for several years, it was discouraging to get stuck so soon on a different Robot Master's level setup. There is a part of her level just before you get to the boss room that's literally moving platforms over walls and floors of spikes. Timing is everything and no matter what I tried it was not happening. Then one night I only had 30 minutes to play a game so I opted to try one quick time and finally made it through to the end. Concrete Man is all that stands between me and Dr. Wily. 

Bad kitty!
I really hit a roadblock in this game. I believe I'm very, very close to the end, but I'm stuck in a tough boss fight with very limited consumables. If I had enough coffee to fuel Oliver's magical attacks through these two fights it wouldn't be a problem, but I only have one or two. There's no way to leave and resupply (that I know of) so I either have to tough it out somehow or start over near the beginning. I'd rather win than admit defeat.

- TOP 

Visit the Bunker Hill Bros on Tumblr:

My Mighty Egyptian Empire!
Due to insufferable internet connection problems, Deez and I have never successfully completed a Civilization V match, but we certainly enjoy throwing ourselves at it. I really enjoy the early parts of the game, so it isn't too troublesome to always focus on ancient units.


Civilization was one of the earliest computer games I was ever exposed to. I watched enviously as my father and brother conquered the world. My first introduction to the series was Civilization II, which remains my favorite computer game of all time. Fifteen years after its launch, I was making friends in college with other Civ II players. It was a no-brainer that TOP and I would get into Civ V in order to play over the internet. It's also a no-brainer that my brother always kicks my ass even to this day.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Game Together

Happy Valentine's Day!

There is often friction in a relationship when a gamer and a non-gamer get together. As video games become a more common past-time across the board, I should refine this statement to include that there is also a potential for conflict between a hardcore gamer and a casual gamer. I recently mentioned a few games that got my wife gaming with me, and had a few conversations with my brother on the subject. I decided to write this article explaining some of the strategies I've employed to get my wife on board with my gaming hobby. Hopefully readers can take from it what they deem useful or applicable and turn their personal hobby into a fun (maybe romantic) past-time.

Valentine 2013 by T Oliver Prescott on Grooveshark I'd like to make a brief disclaimer that is hopefully evident: I am a man and my experiences are with women. I dated women jealous of video games; ones who felt I played games more than I paid attention to them. I've dated women who played more video games than me. I've been in a wide variety of combinations of gamers and non-gamers. So this is all based on my personal trials and ordeals. I don't want to imply that women are the exclusive target of this article, and subsequently I don't want to imply that women can't love video games more than their men. I know that isn't the case in many circumstances, but again all of this is based on my own collected experiences and written for people hoping to get their reluctant partners into the wide world of gaming.

When my wife and I first started dating, I wasn't playing video games too much. It was a time of my life that I was more interested in going out with friends, drinking and attending social events. Suffice it to say that it was an odd time for me when I was focused on a part of my personality that usually lies dormant. I'm typically much more introverted. I never hid from anyone that I was a gamer and that gaming was my hobby, but it wasn't until a few months later that I started going out less and less and gaming more and more. There was a true adjustment period over the first year or so while we were getting to know each other and it hit a variety of bumps and misunderstandings as all (long-term) relationships must do, particularly in their infancy.

Some moments in gaming are worth waiting for.
I would say things started to change primarily with the North American release of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. My wife (girlfriend at the time) was an admitted casual gamer most of her life, so I thought what a perfect way to get her back into gaming! The Pokémon franchise has a lot to offer the hardcore gamer and casual gamer alike; it has a lot to offer people who enjoy fierce creatures like Charizard and cutesy critters like Eevee. I feel there is something to like for everyone in Pokémon and if you don't like the series it's possible you don't have a soul. Little did she know at the time that if she didn't like playing Pokémon with me, it was a potential deal-breaker! Crisis averted, though. I would say my wife likes playing Pokémon more than I do these days. The Pokémon Gambit was a success.

Some of our biggest clashes came from my on-off addiction to the MMORPG, Final Fantasy XI, so when I decided that I would ultimately leave FFXI in order to play Final Fantasy XIV at its launch, I embarked on an epic quest in real life. I unofficially call the year leading up to Final Fantasy XIV as the "Get My Wife Addicted to Final Fantasy XIV" Campaign so that when I was addicted to it, we would be spending time together rather than spending time apart. When you play games together, playing games is no longer time you aren't paying attention to your partner, but time you're spending together. You're bonding while enjoying your hobby! It's brilliant, really. So here are some pointers I wish to share with you.

Relationships forged in battle!
Though results will vary based on the interests and needs of the individual, I think it's safe to assume in many cases this is going to be a long-term strategy. It's not something that will happen over night and it is something that you will have to nurture until it blooms. I've broken the process up into three phases, but individual needs will vary and the phases can overlap quite a bit based on your results and findings. So don't think of these proposed phases as set in stone, but something fluid that will be a give and take as you test the waters of your partner's interests and attitudes.

Phase 1:  Know Your Audience

You must know what your partner enjoys in order to appeal to their sensibilities. If they have played games, what games did they play and of those what games did they enjoy the most? If they didn't game, explore what types of books they read or movies they watch. Video games are a form of entertainment, so figure out what entertains your partner in other sources and then start tracking down games that are similar. Do they like Comedies? Dramas? War stories? Fantasy? Romance? Do they like long, twisting and turning stories, or do they enjoy action? These are the types of things you must know or find out before you can start pitching games for them to play. There are so many types of games these days, that it shouldn't be too difficult to start matching up some games with their other interests.

Phase 2: Getting Them to Sit Down and Play

This might be the most frustrating and financially draining part of the process. Consider renting or borrowing games you think might interest your partner, because if you end up choosing incorrectly you're stuck with a game that no one wants to play. However, once you have a general idea of what types of entertainment grab your partner's fancy, start grabbing some games that re-create that experience in video game format. Possibilities here are too many to list and it's all catered to the needs of your partner. Make sure to note every success and failure. Inquire what it is that bothers them, or draws them to a game and try to find more games of that nature. Try a wide variety of game types in this stage! If your partner enjoys reading fantasy novels, you might naturally consider a fantasy RPG, but ultimately that may prove too boring. You can shift to an action RPG with more action and less story, or drop RPG all together and try to find a straightforward action game set in a fantasy world. It all depends on the individual and in this stage I can't really set forth any concrete instructions. This is the trial and error stage and you have to remain vigilant and not get too frustrated.

If you dabble in multiplayer games this is a great opportunity to mix in some of Phase 3, because often just playing together can make a game that is boring alone into something that is extremely fun, or fun to make fun of, once you start playing together.

Phase 3: Game Together

FFXIV may not have been the best game
to focus my strategy on, but we had fun!
This is the ultimate goal. Once you figure out what kind of games your partner enjoys playing, then you need to start finding common ground, or if all else fails compromise. Perhaps your partner enjoys racing games like Mario Kart, or Gran Turismo, but they aren't your thing. This is the transition phase to get them from "racing" to something like Grand Theft Auto. It has racing! Once they get used to shooting up everyone in sight, maybe come to enjoy that sort of thing (in a non-sociopath sort of way) Then you slyly transition that to Halo, or Call of Duty, or where ever you're intending to end up in this long-term campaign. It's all about transitioning and conditioning. One of the things non-gamers or casual gamers have issue with is being intimidated or frustrated with their lack of skill (or interest). So you gradually build them up to the point where they're comfortable playing your favorite games along-side you, and enjoying themselves!

Keep in mind, the ultimate goal isn't to brainwash or convert your partner into your Halo wing-man. You may find your partner will simply never like FPS, just like you don't like racing games (in this hypothetical scenario). This is where you must stick to a common interest, or perhaps on Mondays you hit the tracks of their favorite racing game and Fridays you guys shoot your way through the demon infested Phobos base. I can't tell you what will work best for your relationship, but understand that you might hit impasses that you must work around. You might find games you wouldn't naturally buy or play or enjoy by yourself suddenly become extremely fun and enjoyable - Lego Star Wars (and subsequent Lego games) were that way for me. It's a series we can always turn to for a ton of cooperative fun and laughs.

The ultimate goal is to find games that you enjoy playing together, so that you both have fun and your relationship grows stronger. You certainly don't want your partner to resent all the time you game without them, or to feel left out, or unwelcome. Trust me, gaming with your partner is so much better than gaming against them.

He wishes he could play Halo right now,
but nooo she wants to watch a romantic comedy!

Here's some General Tips to keep in mind while working your way through this process:

When you start this process I'd lean towards cooperative games rather than competitive games. It's certainly open to individual tastes, but I'd say that for relationship building (especially the initial groundwork) it will feel better to accomplish something together (beating a difficult boss with teamwork) than to constantly be trying to out-do the other. Certainly there are competitive games like Mario Party and "Mario" sports games in general that are more about "good fun" than do-or-die "must win" gaming, but I'd advise to explore more co-op unless you notice your partner takes particular ecstasy in kicking your ass at Mario Tennis (in which case you might be worried about your future together). It's certainly something you will have to figure out together.

In the same vein, don't take the games too seriously. When playing co-op nothing kills the spirit of teamwork like getting frustrated if your less experienced partner is slowing things down or holding you back. Remember that you're trying to find what's fun for them, and eventually what's fun for both of you. Remember that it's a long process and not going to be instant gratification (the basis of gaming addiction). You need to go at their pace, and cater to their learning curve. You need to offer help and guidance without being overly critical. If you do play competitively, I'm not saying let them win (yes, I am) but you don't need to bring your A-game to each match. This is all for fun, and to spend time together. No one enjoys losing all the time.

Especially me.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Expect Delays

Due to taking on a project for my history class today's blog will be postponed. My project is due tomorrow and I'm hoping to have the blog up on Thursday since it is Valentine's Day themed. Have a great week, faithful readers!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Week in Review - 2/8/2013


Yes, my sails are pink.
Deal with it.
Paradox Interactive (Crusader Kings II) was having a sale to celebrate their new online store so I poked around and find something new and affordable. This game reminds me vaguely of Sid Meier's Pirates! which is an outstanding game. I only spent a single night with Black Cove so far because my time is much more limited, but I had a good time. I think ultimately Pirates! is a lot better balanced, because getting around in Black Cove feels a bit tedious. Exploring and battles on the open sea are key to any good pirate game, but in this game it feels unnecessarily slow. 

This dragon is about to eat steel.
Toki is off to a slow start. He has conquered Bleak Falls Barrow and the first scripted dragon in the game. He's currently off on a pilgrimage to High Hrothgar to speak with the Greybeards who have summoned him. He really wants to fight in the Civil War for the Stormcloaks, but he can't ignore something as sacred as a summoning to High Hrothgar. Before I started Toki, I spent two hours adding graphical and gameplay improvements (mods) to the game. I'm now featuring the screen shots on a Tumblr account that I will link below. 

Playstation 3
Well met, Dark Djinn!
Until yesterday I didn't have the time to play Ni no Kuni, but with an upset stomach I spent most of my time on the couch. I had a really restful day as I gathered up the stones for Mornstar and am now face to face with the Dark Djinn, Shadar. I didn't have the courage (or the fortitude) to face him in battle. I want to steel my team against the coming fight. The last few boss battles have kept me on my toes and I haven't stopped to resupply my consumables or buy any new armor or weapons in a long, long time.


Related Links
Toki the Dragonborn -

Deez has been in the process of moving. I've started school. We were both too busy this week to squeeze in a couple hours of gaming, but we're both very hopeful for next week. Again, I'm going to pick a game we recently played on one of our game nights. We actually hope to get back into Dynasty Warriors 7 again in the near future if time and internet allows for it.

Zhao Yun is my go to character.
He mixes the right amounts of girly-looking
pretty boy with goddamn badass.
The "Dynasty Warriors" series seems to get a lot of negative feedback from western reviews, but like I said about the "Pokémon" series, sometimes a lack of innovation can be a good thing. Some "Dynasty Warrior" titles are better than others, but one thing is always guaranteed. I will have fun. For some reason, I do not get bored of this hack and slash, historical fiction. I can always be sure that picking a legendary character of the Three Kingdoms era of China and tearing through hundreds upon hundreds of peon warriors will always entertain me - especially along-side my brother! I don't care what other people say, I still believe in you, "Dynasty Warriors" series.


Don't bring a spear to a fire fight.
Playing Dynasty Warriors 7 online was one of the best online experiences I've had on a console. I've played several "Call of Duty" titles with my old college friends, but I'm not a big fan of the FPS genre. Dynasty Warriors gave me the same amount of camaraderie, but while hacking and slashing my way through the Three Kingdoms. Although some of the online mechanics were odd, like disappearing bosses and quirky maps, playing Conquest mode with my brother still stands out. If it weren't for my shoddy internet connection (hopefully fixed soon) I'm confident we'd still be playing this game, or another in this series.


The Bunker Hill Bros. have started a Tumblr as well where we share random thoughts and pictures we enjoy around the internet! We don't quite have a direction for it just yet, but check it out and keep looking for updates.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Educational Value of Gaming - Sengoku

Sengoku Jidai by T Oliver Prescott on Grooveshark
It was one week ago, January 28th, that I attended my first, official college course since 2001. I am reluctant to admit that I was unprepared. The entire experience completely overwhelmed me physically and mentally. My first day of school greeted me with well over 200 pages of assigned reading to be finished by Wednesday. My classes didn't exactly ease me into this transition of being a full time student. I was thrust into it head first. I spent every free moment of my day reading (and taking notes) on this mountain of homework that I was given. Mixed in with that was the responsibility to find suitable daycare for my children and celebrating my daughter's fourth birthday (twice). I had every intention going into last week to put up a blog, but my hopes were dashed upon the rocks.

Darth Oda, Lord of the Sith
Unifier of Sengoku Period Japan
So here I am, now. I'm no longer a stay-at-home father with free time to burn on video games and blogging. I am a college student once more. My children started full-time daycare just yesterday and I miss them terribly while we are apart. The recent life-changing, tragic events of last fall give me no shortness of anxiety at handing over my remaining children to someone else's care and responsibility, but they themselves seem to enjoy it a great deal. It has been a complete upheaval of our life at home. It will be some time before we all adjust to the new routines of work, class and daycare. The good news, however, is that after the hectic week I had last week, my homework is going a lot smoother. It's easier to tackle in small chunks spread out over the course of the week than all at once within two days. With proper management, I even find time to play a few hours of games and write up my weekly blog. TOP Gaming can continue!

The most demanding class I'm taking is also the most exciting to me. It is a look at Japanese history starting at 1800 up to present day. The bulk of all the reading assignments come from this course, but the content is extremely fascinating to me. When I was a student back in 1999-2001, I was a Japanese language and culture major, but I never got around to taking any history classes in the short time I attended. That means I have a basic level knowledge of much of this history, but I've never actually read about most of it in depth. I find that I still have a sincere interest in the Japanese people and their history. Although the class is focused on the year 1800 and beyond, I decided to do a bit of extra reading about the events leading up to the Tokugawa Shogunate which was in place in 1800. I wanted to read what the history text had to say about Sengoku jidai - the Warring States period of Japan.

During this time there is over a hundred years of civil war until the eventual unification of Japan by Tokugawa Ieyasu (building off of his predecessors' and allies' efforts) which ushered in 200 years of peace and prosperity for the country. As I was reading through all the information about Japan's most turbulent time, fraught with constant military campaigns between rival warlords, I realized that I was pretty familiar with most of the major players and events, despite never having touched a history textbook on the subject. The Sengoku jidai is arguably one of the most popular events in Japanese history and it is retold over and over in film, anime and video games. It's through these literary mediums that I learned so much about this time period.

In Sengoku Japan, Pokémon catch you.
It was odd for me to be reading about historical figures such as Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi with images of a recent Pokémon game I was addicted to flashing into my head. I'm speaking of the game known as Pokémon Conquest in North America, but Pokémon + Nobunaga's Ambition in Japan. It's a cross over that takes the Sengoku jidai and slaps it into the Pokémon world. Samurai warlords staging epic battles with Pokémon companions - could there be a better game? Probably, but it's pretty good. At any rate, it's a strange world where you are reading a history text, but associate the names to characters in a game. I thought about how odd all of this was and began to trace back my personal history with video games and the Sengoku jidai.

This is how I like to picture Myamoto Musashi in 1612.
I believe it was the great company Squaresoft who introduced me to concepts of bushido (the samurai code of honor) with their game Bushido Blade in 1997. This game is about samurai in a modern setting and has nothing to do with any historical samurai conflicts that I'm aware of, but I learned a great deal about samurai, their code of honor, and various weapons from this game. In 1998, another game about samurai was released called Brave Fencer Musashi which also had almost nothing to do with the Warring States period of Japanese history, but it did borrow some of the legends of that time period. This game introduced me to Miyamoto Musashi (and his rivalry with Sasaki Kojiro) even though the game was cast in a completely fictional world. I knew somehow that it was drawing on real historical-mythology. Although Musashi was not a warlord, he was perphaps the most famous ronin samurai (akin to "freelancer" for our purposes) of all time and author of The Book of Five Rings which is still significant to this day.

This all began to snowball in conjunction with my growing love for anime into an increasing awareness of samurai history and culture. The interest in Musashi drew me in to a deeper understanding of a comic series I had loved since I was a boy, Usagi Yojimbo. In turn, this led me to various works of Kurosawa Akira, legendary Japanese film director responsible for Seven Samurai among other great works. Kurosawa's films about samurai cultured a deep love for the video game Way of the Samurai and its sequels which are told in styles very similar to a Kurosawa film - with multiple endings and various perspectives on your enemies depending on how you play through it. Way of the Samurai led to an introduction to the Meiji period, which is the end of the samurai as a ruling class (something we'll be discussing in class in the coming week or two) and the anime Rurouni Kenshin.

Shogun: Total War was given to me as a gift from my father in 2000 when I was a student of Japanese in college originally. The gift was important because it marked the end of a long-standing grudge my father was holding against me regarding giving me computer software and hardware. It was also touching because it was an unspoken support and acknowledgement of my interest in Japan, and given to me on a medium I'm sure he knew I would enjoy - video games. I've said before that I'm a complete "noob" when it comes to the real-time simulated battles of the "Total War" series, but despite that this game was my first foray into real historical simulation in Japanese history, incidentally simulating the Sengoku jidai. I soon learned that if I pushed "Auto-Resolve" through the actual battles (which almost defeats the purpose of the meat and potatoes portion of the game) I could focus on what I was much better at - the strategic overlay of troops and logistics. Not unlike the "Civilization" series, Shogun: Total War allowed me to build up my infrastructures, train troops and march them into my rivals' domains to unify Japan under my banner.

Did I mention my favorite board game is Risk?
I'm trying to illustrate how a simple interest can explode into your major field of study in college, as well as how much you can learn from video games if you pursue you interests within them. It's amazing how much I learned even based on fictional pieces of work set in the background of Japanese history. I learn that Oda Nobunaga was ruthless in his quest for dominance over the landscape of Japan, but ultimately left his conquest to one of his primary vassals, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was practically usurped from his heir, Hideyori, by Ieyasu Tokugawa (another right-hand man of Nobunaga) who managed to solidify control and usher in an era of peace for hundreds of years. These basic concepts are familiar to me because of what I learned from playing video games and I'm surprised just how much so.


Here's a few other games that got me swept up in Japanese (samurai) history:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Week in Review - 2/1/2013

I wasn't able to post on Tuesday due to an incredibly busy schedule. That's going to be the new normal, so I'm trying to investigate ways to re-organize my time so that a TOP Gaming post comes up every week. I don't want to break any promises, again, but there should be one going up on Tuesday of next week. In it I will explain more about the changes to my schedule and their impact on gaming and blogging.


Meet Toki - Skyrim's new hero!
The new "Dragonborn" DLC is going to be released next week. I'm really excited for it, but I have barely scratched the surface of the previous DLC. I decided to make a new character - the ultimate Nord champion - inspired by my first character that I lost when my old computer crashed. He's heavy armor and two-handed weapons kind of guy. He has a distrust of magic and a belief in Talos. He attacks Imperial soldiers and agents of Thalmor on sight (if he can get away with it). He hasn't even brought the Dragonstone back to Whiterun. 

Notice the Tombstones?
Good thing our spawns are built in!
My wife and I upgraded to Mythril Armor in order to spawn the Destroyer. He disappeared before we could defeat him and so we built a rather impressive arena in which we defeated him twice. There is a bedroom on each side of the arena to respawn, and treasure chests with potions suitable for each of us (Ranger/Mage). I've built the arena on Dart Trap foundations, and may extend them up into the sky at a later date. We then moved on to Skeletron Prime who promptly defeated us twice in a row. We since upgraded to Adamantite Armor after much laborious mining efforts done by both my wife (for the first time!) and I. 

Playstation 3
My Bighorn's name is Garuda
This is the only game I've had a chance to play since last weekend and I really haven't done that much. Over the weekend I spent a few hours tracking down the elusive Toko familiar. This also had the side-effect of over-leveling my characters and their pets. I've switched from using the starter Mite to a Bighorn that I've trained since he was a wee Little Bighorn. I haven't decided which evolution path I will take once I max out his current levels. Without too many spoilers, I'm currently trekking up Tombstone Trail with the Princes of Hamelin in tow. 


Despite my insanely busy week, we were able to set aside a couple hours on Monday night to make some progress in our current game of choice: Wanderlust: Rebirth. 

We particularly hate bears.
They are our arch-enemies.
The last time we played this we didn't get much in the way of Character Points (CP) so I insisted this time that my wife join us with her wizard-y fireball shooting girl. I'm just a fighter. I swing a sword. I don't have much knowledge of these fancy explosions and projectiles that everyone else seems to have. Nevertheless, I held my own in battle and came up on par with my wife. Deez's score blew us away, though. As a result we raked in a lot of CP and saw significant growth in our abilities. I still need some armor upgrades, though.


The Valandria version of Shock & Awe
Since learning how to utilize the bomb techniques, my Alchemist has been growing in leaps and bounds. In a game that doesn't seem to offer an easy way to grind, it can be difficult to effectively grow your character in a consistent and strategic manner. I find myself upgrading stats based on my most recent performances, as opposed to trying to build the ideal Thief - oops, I meant to say Alchemist.