IWSG – Still Frustrated (But a Bit Less So)

Published July 4, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

The pinched nerve situation I talked about in last month’s post (also the last post before this one *shame*) is still not completely resolved.  There are probably a lot of reasons for that, but most of them, I fear, stem from the fact that I didn’t want to take an indefinite break from work, and almost everything I do at work exacerbates the situation and prevents it from healing properly.  But at this point I can type for a little while as long as I have the computer directly on my lap; putting it on a desk (like at work *cough*) continues to pinch the nerve and my entire right arm goes all tingly within about 30 seconds.

So, due to the fact that I can kind of write again, I did take the risk of signing up for July CampNaNo, still revising last year’s NaNo novel, just like in April’s Camp.  But this time it’s a bit more…lazy.  I’m counting re-reading time as revising time.  (I’m measuring my goal in minutes, rather than words.)  My goal at first is to go through and try to standardize the characterization of one of my two leads.  That and add any major stuff I can think of that’s still missing.  There’s also a draft with an alpha reader right now, who will hopefully let me know how I can fix up the novel’s structure, though goodness knows it may not be salvageable.  (Since I don’t plan on typical publication, if it’s that bad, I may just release it into the wilds with broken structure.  As long as the characters are solid, the dialog good, and there aren’t any horrific grammatical errors, I figure bad structure is probably okay in the particular context of this novel.)

I’m still frustrated by my lack of physical ability to write, though, because I had all sorts of cool plot ideas during that no-writing down time, and I wasn’t even able to write them down, so now I’ve forgotten a lot of them, or they’ve at least grown cold and fuzzy, which isn’t much better than being forgotten.

I’m hoping to get back to writing short blog posts sometime this month, though.

But unfortunately I’ve hit my limit for now, and have to stop.

*sigh*

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IWSG – Frustration

Published June 6, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Late post, and 1st time trying to compose a post on my phone. (If my tablet wasn’t still broken, this’d be easier!)

I can’t type right now. Pinched nerve in my shoulder; my whole arm goes tingly if I try. (Fortunately, the phone is okay(ish) because of the different poses it allows.)

Haven’t been able to use my computer in a week. I may actually go insane at this rate.

Worst part is, I had just started getting the project from NaNo and April Camp ready to beg on the NaNo forums for a beta (alpha?) reader to help me figure out the structural SNAFUs before July Camp.

That is looking less and less likely now. 😦

Wear Orange Weekend

Published June 1, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Rather than a new post, a reblog. Obviously, the hiatus affects Misding Letter Mondays, as well as my doll blog’s weekly feature.

Crazy Doll Lady

Today and the next two days make up Wear Orange Weekend, where the idea is to wear orange (the color of visibility) for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.  In light of all the recent mass shootings, this is more important than ever this year.  But I have no desire to turn this blog political, so I’m not going any further with that.

Instead, I’m going to explain that my blog is going on a brief hiatus.  Probably not more than a week, but…it’s hard to say for sure.  And the hiatus is going to include Blind Box Mondays.

The reason for the hiatus is that I hurt my shoulder.  It’s just a strained muscle, but in order to let it heal, I need to stop doing…well, pretty much everything I usually do.  (I have no idea how I’m going to survive!)  Not supposed to type or otherwise use computers…

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Book Report: Compendium of North American Cryptids

Published May 23, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

You can already tell two things from the image I started out with.  One, this isn’t for Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge, and two, I took the picture of the cover myself.  Now, technically, that turned out not to be necessary, as (just now) I looked it up on Goodreads and found that it does actually have a listing (though it doesn’t have any reviews) so I could have downloaded the cover image from there.  But since I’d already taken my own photo, I figured I’d just go with it.  (Please ignore the sheet beneath it.  When your preferred method of buying new bedding is “on clearance at Target,” you don’t have as much choice of patterns as you might like.)

The full title of this book had no hope of fitting into the title of the post.  I could say “click on the thumbnail and read the photo for yourself” but then you’d have to wait while it loaded, so I’m just going to transcribe the text on the cover of the book, line by line:

Compendium of
North American Cryptids
& Magical Creatures
The Official Magimundi Guide
*
150th Anniversary Edition
Written by Foxfire Castellaw
Annotated by Wyn Diego

By Mike Young, Maury Brown & Ben Morrow
Illustrated by Ffion Evans

As you can guess from all that, this is roughly the equivalent of buying Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander, but actually by J.K. Rowling.  (My mother, I might add, actually did buy that.  In a three-pack of books that were produced to benefit charity.  I actually used the one on quidditch for my Read Harder book on sports last year, in fact.)  The biggest difference here, though, is that I didn’t realize that was what I was getting.

See, I was backing a Kickstarter called “Cryptid Cuties” that was enamel pins (soft enamel, unfortunately) of various cryptids.  As add-ons, you could get a copy of this book, a plush cactus cat (very cute and cuddly, but mine has a slight factory defect, which is sad) and when I added it on, I thought I was getting a Faeries-like book compiling all the different regional folklore/urban legends of mysterious critters.  So I was pretty surprised when I got it out of the package and read that cover!  (Though I’d already been confused by the return address on the package, which was from Learn Larp, LLC, and I was sitting there going “what the heck is this?  I didn’t order any cosplay supplies, and I don’t even have the social skills to play a tabletop RPG, let alone a LARP!”)

It turns out that this book is a sort of bestiary for a particular LARP (that’s Live Action Role Playing for those of you who aren’t geeky enough to know the term), but rather than being written as a collection of stats and such, it’s written as if it was an actual book for within the fantasy world, so it’s a perfectly entertaining read even for people like me who have no intention of ever playing the associated game.  (It does, however, mean I won’t be using it as fodder for any future April A-to-Z sessions, though!)

The creatures covered in the book fit into four categories:  “actual cryptids,” “general mythic/legendary monsters,” “definitely made up for this,” and “wait, is that a real cryptid or did they make it up?”  With a few outliers that are hard to categorize, like the Fiji Mermaid, which isn’t really any of the above, having been a carnival hoax.

The first category includes old standbys like the Jersey Devil, the Mothman, chupacabra, jackelopes, and sasquatch.  The second category has things like thunderbirds, golems, homunculi, werewolves and vampires.  The third category has things like gobwins (no, that’s not a typo) and humfaeries (both of which were actually designed by Kickstarter backers from a previous campaign, it turns out)  The final category ranges from things that really sound made up, like the cactus cat and the wampus cat (picture a centaur with a puma’s body instead of a horse’s), to things that I could believe are actually folkloric, like duwende, fiddle spider and lightning snake.

Each entry has an illustration, and they’re all quite nice, though of course the artist is no Brian Froud (then again, who is?).  The entries themselves vary in entertainment value, since not all the concepts can be described in a particularly entertaining manner.  That, however, is where the annotations come in:  the annotator is snarky, thinks he knows everything, and has a very low opinion of the author.  In the course of his annotations (which are not, admittedly, on every entry) you get a good sense of what kind of character he is, and his attitude towards the author is almost always entertaining.  I think the annotations are what really sets this apart from other books of the type.

I don’t know if the book is actually available for purchase anywhere, because of the three web addresses printed inside the book, I only actually visited one, http://www.magimundi.wiki, which obviously is not set up to sell merchandise.  The more official-sounding one, http://www.magischola.com, I couldn’t access, because my anti-virus software was adamant that it was a phishing site.  I have no idea why they would think that, but…when it gets that screechy about it, I tend to chicken out.  The third web address was http://www.learnlarp.com, which sounded more like it was about the LARPing aspect than about the magical world that had been created as the setting for the LARP games.


I actually finished this on Monday and haven’t started a new book yet, because I’ve been too glued to my 3DS to figure out what I want to read.  (That’s the problem with MegaTen games:  they really sink their tentacles into me.)  I’m disappointed that they didn’t add any 3D elements, but I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that they didn’t dub it!  (I’m gonna freak if they don’t give us a voice cast in the end credits, though.  The computer’s AI sounds to me so much like a particular seiyuu that it’s driving me crazy wondering if it’s really him, but noplace I’ve looked online, so far, has had a cast list for it.)  What I’ve seen of the new material, so far, has left me a bit uncertain:  the new human character looks like a female Vincent Valentine, and seems to have the same exact motivation as the villain of Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army, which could be good or bad, and they introduced a new “demon” in the form of a lolita Persephone/Kore who for some bizarre reason is calling herself her own mother.  (Seriously, that is not Demeter.  No.  Freaking.  Way.)

I realize no one cares about any of that, but I just had to get it out there.

Also, I found a line really hilarious because they didn’t quite think through the overtones of the way they localized it:

D’you have any idea what you’re saying, Jimenez?

*cough*

Sorry, I meant to talk about what I’m gonna read next.  Probably 16, because I have something picked out that’s been sitting on my “to read” shelf for like three years.

Missing Letter Monday No “N”: (Untitled)

Published May 21, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Why do I always press some key but the key I desire?

Over & over, I pressed “L” though it was supposed to be “:”

HOW?!

They’re — oh, wait, they’re right beside each other.  Well, that’s more…yeah, I guess that’s less odd.

It’d probably help if all my keys still had letters.

(Really, “C”, “V”, “A”, “S”, & “L” are all without letters.  “E”, “M” & this week’s letter are about half obliterated, too.)


 


Meh.

Half-assed is half-assed.

(I was playing with my 3DS all day.  What else is there to say?)

So, what do you think about Kickstarter posts?

Published May 20, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

I’ve at least once posted here to spread the word about a Kickstarter that I was worried wouldn’t make its funding (and a few more times on my other blog), but what do people think about more frequent posts about Kickstarters I’m backing?

I’m not talking about a weekly thing, naturally.  Just a “when it seems appropriate” thing.  When a campaign thematically ties to some of my frequent blogging themes (like this visual novel based on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, for example), or when I’m really worried it won’t fund or won’t reach an important stretch goal.

See, Kickstarter campaigns are always asking their backers to spread the word on social media, but I’m not on any social media other than WordPress, so there’s not a lot I can do about it.  (Frustratingly, some of them have contests and/or special stretch goals that require their link be liked or re-thingied or whatever.  (Hey, I’ve never even used these things, I don’t know how they work!)  And I really can’t do anything about that.)  Posting about the campaigns on my blog(s) is about all I can do, but I don’t want to annoy anyone with unrelated posts that will just come off as asking for money (even though I’m not the one getting the money).

The types of Kickstarter campaigns I might post about on this blog could include games (board and video), books (mostly graphic novels, but also some regular novels), various campaigns working to protect the environment (replanting trees, buying virgin forest to protect it, that kind of thing), short films and documentaries.  Possibly other stuff, too, but these are the only ones I can think of.  Though maybe the games would be a better fit on my other blog.  That might be a case-by-case thing.

I won’t start posting about Kickstarter campaigns (outside of exceptional circumstances) without direct confirmation that people actually want to read those kind of posts.  So please, if you have an opinion one way or the other, voice it.  (Preferably within a week.)

Just one more thing…

Before I close off this post, I want to post links to some Kickstarters that are going to end before the week is up.  And a few that will only have a day or two after that week, thus not having much time left to benefit from a post.

Two documentaries, one about Helen Keller, and one about a student protest a few years ago against their university deciding to permit concealed carry on campus.

A graphic novel that’s calling itself a “visual novel with no choices and in print!”  The campaign page is a bit lacking in a proper summary, but the “demo” is very entertaining, and I think if the book itself maintains that level of quality, then it’s going to be a fun read.  (All I can tell for sure is that it involves a college student, his boyfriend, time travel, and possibly some magical girl parody elements?)  Honestly, even though I’m not 100% sure what’s in it, I know I want to read it.

And one visual novel, that’s very hard to describe, but really amazing.  (There’s a demo posted, which will give you an idea of how amazing this game should be!)  It’s a bit dystopian cyberpunk, a bit urban fantasy, and the final game will have sexual content featuring a body positive, diverse lesbian cast.

Missing Letter Monday No “M”: The Return

Published May 14, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

“The Return”

I have returned!

I, the gru– er — the terrifying specter who forcibly denies the use of a letter — have returned!

You’re frightened now, right?

No?

Ah….would additional bold-face type help?

No?

Well, what about Italics?  This is scary, right?!

You’re still not afraid?  Really?

Then take this, oh unperterbable one!  Bold Italics!  This has to have you quivering in fear!

Yes, I know it’s not spelled that way.  But I can’t use that letter today…

Gaaaaaahhhhh!  Shake in terror at the sight of my UNDERLINED bold Italics!  Know ye the unutterable power I hold!!

Strikethrough?

You’re no fun.

None at all.

I’ll just go, if you’re going to be like that.

*sulk*

 


*sigh*  I really wish I could draw.  I can just see this post as a cartoon strip.  The guy speaking would be all spiky shoulderpads and stuff, all the tough posturing in the world, and he’d deflate like a balloon as soon as he realized he wasn’t the least bit scary.

Book Report: As You Wish

Published May 13, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

I’ve been meaning to read this since the first time I saw it on bookstore shelves, possibly as much as four years ago.  (Not sure if it was the hardback or paperback I first saw.)  This book was selected to meet Challenge #12 “A celebrity memoir.”

The acid test of a memoir like this (that is to say, one narrating only the events during the filming of a particular movie, as opposed to an actor’s whole career, or what-have-you), I think, is if it changes the way you watch the movie afterwards.  So, when I sat down to start my evening’s Internetting (ack), I popped The Princess Bride into the DVD player.  (I thought I had the Blu-ray, but evidently I haven’t upgraded yet.  Or I can’t find the new copy.  Given what this place is like, that’s very possible.)  Thus, I’m only starting to write with a little over an hour to go before midnight, because I can’t multi-task like I used to, and the better the movie, the harder it is to ignore.

So, in short, no, it didn’t change the way I watch the movie; I still love it to pieces.

But let’s back up and try to go about this the way I planned, because I have limited time before I’ll be impinging on the grand(?) return of Missing Letter Mondays.  The 1980s produced a number of live-action fantasy films that are loosely called “family,” in that they’re kid-safe (even kid-friendly), but which have become classics because they’re also entertaining for adults.  In alphabetical order (because I no longer have time enough to look up order of release, though I think I know which ones came out when, but I’d hate to get it wrong), there are The Dark CrystalLabyrinthThe Neverending Story, and The Princess Bride.  And I’m pretty sure there are actually more; those are just the ones that I’ve watched so many times that I pretty much know them by heart.  I mean, I couldn’t recite their whole script to you on demand, but if you’ve read the book of Ready Player One, I could do with all four of those movies what Wade was able to do with War Games.  (I get why they changed that, but it’s also kind of a shame; the one in the book was a much harder challenge to complete, even if it wasn’t as hard to get what you were supposed to do.)  Easily.

Naturally, therefore, the idea of reading what it was like to film The Princess Bride, as it was experienced by the leading man himself, sounded like the perfect experience.  And while it maybe wasn’t “perfect” (that’s actually a pretty tall order!), it was definitely entertaining.

It could have gone terribly wrong, though.  There are movies out there where the behind-the-scenes story is that everyone on set hated each other, and every moment they weren’t filming, the leads were an inch away from killing each other.  (Though I suspect in most of those cases that animosity bleeds through onto the screen…)

Thankfully, however, The Princess Bride was one of those blessed films where everyone got along fantastically (even if some of the actors were convinced that they were about to be fired at any second), and he has nothing bad to say about anyone involved:  even the off-camera people who often go unmentioned are praised for their hard work, skill and dedication.  (Okay, that’s not entirely true.  There was one catering company that was decidedly not praised.)

Don’t let that make you think it’s boring, or some kind of kiss-up situation, though.  It’s very entertaining, because a lot of funny people worked on the movie, and he relates a lot of anecdotes about things they did on and off camera (or the hybrid of on and off camera that is outtakes, which were obviously extensive for Billy Crystal’s 3 minute scene, which took a whopping three days to film, in part because of cast and crew laughing at his ad libs and wrecking the take), and it all feels decidedly genuine.

He also talks about the work that went into creating the fantastic duel between Inigo and the Man in Black, as well as how various stunts and effects were achieved.  Which isn’t the disillusioning thing that it would be in some other movies (for example, do we really want to think about the (actually pretty obvious) way Hoggle gets around the set?) because the effects are minimal (mostly just the R.O.U.S.) and it’s pretty easy to tell in the final film when it’s a stunt person and when it’s one of the cast.  But you can’t tell by watching just how many times a stunt had to be performed, or what the name of the stunt person was (yeah, it’s in the end credits, but there’s that awful song over them) and so on.

In the early part of the book, he talks about how difficult it was to get the movie made, how many other directors had tried and failed to get it going before Rob Reiner got his hands on the script.  And there are some mind-boggling prospective actors mentioned (either attached to failed earlier films, or people talked to but never seriously considered) that are really, well, inconceivable!

Oh, speaking of which, at the beginning, he mentions how many of the lines from The Princess Bride are frequently quoted by fans, and while “Inconceivable!” was of course one of them, he didn’t mention “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  Which I always thought was just as popular a quote.  (If it isn’t, it certainly should be!)

The book isn’t a one-man show, though.  In addition to the introduction listed on the front, there are also frequent quotes throughout the book, presented at the side of the page in boxes, from the rest of the surviving cast, as well as Reiner, William Goldman, and the producer.  Their additional perspectives definitely add a lot to the experience.

So, all in all, I obviously enjoyed reading this.  Probably most fans would.  (I expect it would be largely uninteresting to those who have never seen the movie, though.  Unless they’re great fans of Andre the Giant, in which case they would surely have seen it, so…yeah, I’m not sure where I was going with that.  It’s getting late; I’m losing coherence.)

One more thing:  there are a few photos throughout the book, but most of the pictures are in a photo section in the center.  In that section is included a shot of the gathered cast (along with the director and the writer) who were in attendance at a 25th anniversary screening at a film festival, which was directly why he decided to write this memoir, as he had wanted to share even more of his memories than there had been time for in the question and answer session.  Looking at that picture (from 2012), I was really stunned at just how long it had been since I had seen any photos of any of the male cast.  I mean, the last picture I’d seen of most of them has to have been at least ten years old.  (And then there’s Robin Wright, who I’ve seen much more recent pictures of, because she was in Wonder Woman.  Which, jarringly enough, I’m planning on watching tomorrow night, because I need to revisit it before I write my fix-it fic for it.)  Random, yes, but there you have it.

Okay, so once again, I have failed to write anything like a coherent review.  (*sigh*)

I’m not sure which challenge I want to try next, so the next book I’m going to read isn’t actually going to be part of the challenge.  Because I’m feeling ambivalent, and it’s newly arrived and I wanna read it.

April A-to-Z Reflections

Published May 7, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

I think the big take-away from this turn through April A-to-Z is that I need to stop setting such ambitious themes.  It’s really hard to keep up with something like this, especially when I’m trying to draw from so many different cultures, most of which I don’t know all that much about.  My first A-to-Z was really easy for me, because it was purely Greek myth, but the second year’s was horribly stressful, and this one started getting pretty rough by the end, too.  So next year, I’m going to do something where I have a book on hand to consult.  I came across three books in the course of the online research for this year’s (one on goddesses from across the world, one a bestiary of ancient Chinese lore, and one on a handful of French dragon tales) that I plan to buy, so I’ll probably base it around one of those.  (Well, not the third one; as it only features a handful, it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough!)

Next year, I hope I will also remember to fill in the daily link lists after April actually starts:  I did links for the ones I had written before April started, and then didn’t remember to put the rest in until “W” had gone up, but it doesn’t let you add to the list after the fact, so anyone using the daily link lists later on to go through the posts will think I stopped after “F”!

I also realized that I left out some important information from the posts themselves.  Since all my posts featured art from games of the Megami Tensei series, I should have credited the artist responsible for all those wonderful monster designs, Kazuma Kaneko, whose work I usually love.  (There are the occasional exceptions…)  A few character portraits showed up, too, and those are by other artists, but…the bulk of the game art I showed is Kaneko’s work.

I also never gave anyone any good glimpses into the world of MegaTen as a whole.  (Which, admittedly, was not the point.)  I probably wouldn’t mention that if I hadn’t come across a YouTube video that would have been the perfect thing to post a link to from my theme reveal.  (Too bad I only found it half-way through the month!)  It’s a video compiling video footage from the first 30 years of the MegaTen series, from its start on the NES with the original Megami Tensei in 1987 through to 2017’s (Japenese) releases/announced releases:  a cell phone game (unclear if it’ll come over, but it looks awesome), next month’s remake of Shin Megami Tensei:  Strange Journey, and Shin Megami Tensei V on the Nintendo Switch (I already wanted to get a Switch, but now it’s a necessity!), which has been announced for Western release, but without a release date (as of the last time I checked, about two weeks ago).  The video can be found here, but of course keep in mind that it’s entirely in Japanese, and a lot of the games covered in it have never been made (officially) available in English.  The ones in the video that are available in English include: SNES Shin Megami Tensei (which got a now-defunct-until-it’s-updated-for-iOS10 iOS port) from 1992 is at about 1:20, the original Persona from 1996 at 6:50, and at 7:50 we get to the original version of Devil Summoner:  Soul Hackers (which got a 3DS port a few years ago that was translated), and from that point on, a lot of them (though not all) are available in English.  (And it would be rather tedious to go through and list them all…plus watching that footage makes me want to replay them all, and I don’t have that kind of time on my hands!  (Especially not with how many games I’ve bought that I haven’t played at all yet.)  If there’s one post-Soul Hackers that you’re curious about, you can ask me what it is, as I can probably identify it, even if it’s not available in English.)

Okay, so all that being said, let’s recap the month!  Especially looking at how well (or poorly) I did in mixing it up in terms of the cultural origins of the beings each post covered:

  1. Abraxas:  Gnosticism (Europe 1)
  2. Baldr:  Norse (Europe 2)
  3. Chernobog:  Slavic (Europe 3)
  4. Dzelarhons:  Haida (Native American 1)
  5. Erlkonig:  German (Europe 4)
  6. Fuxi:  China (Asia 1)
  7. Girimehkala:  Sri Lanka (Hindu 1)
  8. Hanuman:  India (Hindu 2)
  9. Inti:  Inca (Native American 2)
  10. Jahi:  Zoroastrian (Middle East 1)
  11. Kijimuna/Koropokkuru:  Okinawa/Ainu (Asia 2)
  12. Lugh:  Irish (Europe 5)
  13. Mothman:  American (um…American 1?)
  14. Nyarlahotep:  Cthulu mythos (um…fictional 1?)
  15. Ogoun:  Vodoun (uh…African-fusion 1?)
  16. Python:  Greek (Europe 6)
  17. Quetzalcoatl:  Aztec (Native American 3)
  18. Rangda:  Bali (Hindu 3)
  19. Shiisaa:  Okinawa/Japan/China (Asia 3)
  20. Tzitzimitl:  Aztec (Native American 4)
  21. Ukobach:  Enlightenment-era demonology texts (Europe 7)
  22. Vouivre:  France  (Europe 8)
  23. Wendigo:  Ojibwe/Algonquin/Cree (Native American 5)
  24. Xi Wangmu:  China (Asia 4)
  25. Yurlungur:  Aborigine (Australia 1)
  26. Zaccoum:  Islamic (Middle East 2)

And the big thing I see here is that Europe got waaaay too much representation.  Other things I see can’t really be helped.  For example, Africa was pretty much absent, aside from the vodoun god who is a version of an African god, but there are very few African figures in the MegaTen games, except for Egyptian gods.  (Speaking of which, I’m somewhat astonished that I didn’t use any of them!  I guess they felt boring to me because they’re much more common than some of these…?)  If I’d been actively trying to cover everywhere as evenly as I could, it would be a badly skewed list, but for mainly just picking by whatever I fancied in the letters, I think I managed to spread things out pretty well.

So…let’s see…anything else I should say here?

I guess I should probably answer the (unasked) question of what MegaTen games the uninitiated might want to play, and/or what’s the best introductory game.  The one problem with MegaTen games is that (like most Atlus RPGs, really), they’re produced in very small quantities.  So if a game isn’t really new, and you want a physical copy, you’re probably out of luck.  However, these days games are made available digitally pretty much as long as the console is still supported online by the manufacturer, so most of the ones that were officially translated into English are probably available for digital purchase.  (As to unofficial translations, those are both free and illegal, so I won’t go into that.)  Some of the PS2 titles may not have been added to the Playstation Store, though.  (I know the Persona and Digital Devil Saga games are available, but I’m not sure about the others.  I’ve never really looked into the PS2 titles available on the Playstation Store, because I already had physical copies of pretty much everything on the platform that I wanted.)

The main thing to consider in looking at the MegaTen games is whether they’re main line or sub-series games.  The main games tend to be lighter in plot (though not always), lacking well-defined player characters, more heavy-handed in theme, and to have multiple endings.  My general rule is to try to enter a series as early as possible (which is why my first Final Fantasy was V, because that was the oldest one available to me at the time), so unless you happen to have an iPad/iPhone still running iOS9 (or you want a fan translation), that would be Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne (which is a slight revamping of Shin Megami Tensei III, with an extra dungeon, and the extra character of Dante in his Devil May Cry 2 outfit) which is an absolutely awesome game and made me completely fall in love with the series.  However, if you want something a little lighter, you should probably look to the Persona series, which is really two series if you ask me:  the three games on the original Playstation, and the new ones starting with Persona 3.  The PS1 games are very dated to their era (even in the PSP remakes), but still good, solid games.  Persona 3 was very popular (and is quite good), Persona 4 was even more popular (and is way better), and Persona 5 is apparently one of the greatest things since sliced bread, from how everyone else is reacting to it.  (It’s killing me that I still can’t play it!)  The Digital Devil Saga duology is…uh…the first game was brilliant, and the second game was…not.  The same thing can exactly be said for the two Devil Summoner Raido Kuzunoha games.  The Devil Survivor games are a surprising mix:  they’re as full of characters and plot as any of the other non-main games, but they’re just as heavy-handed as the main games (especially the first Devil Survivor), and they have even more endings than the main games.  They’re good games, but the first one is not recommended for those who are deeply religious and take offense easily where religion is concerned.  (The same must be said for the main series, I should add!)  I do not recommend starting with Strange Journey Redux.  Not unless it’s way better than the original one was.  (Highly unlikely.)  I’m excited to see its release next month, but I didn’t actually love the original (or even really like it all that much).  Except for its soundtrack.  That was amazingly cool, and very different from the soundtracks of the other games in the series.

Hmm.

I feel like I’m still not saying something I should be.

Oh!  This is probably not what I was forgetting, but I should mention this, since I’m doing all this talking about MegaTen.  One of the creators of the Megami Tensei franchise, and one of the composers, are working on a visual novel that’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.  (As of the first of the month, they were almost at 70% funded.)  It seems to be a dark, fairy tale-inspired game, with a very different visual style than the MegaTen games.  If that sounds like it might be interesting to you, please check it out.

MatthewMeyer.net

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