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Don't Let Something As Simple As Life Stop You

Its been quite a rainy season where I live, and a lot of days being forced indoors sometimes gives you a different perspective of the world. Especially when you decide to say “screw it” and go outside and embrace the deluge and go about your day as if it was clear and sunny.

That introduction to this month’s update is kinda of a metaphor for just doing something you wouldn’t normally do; and kinda of the crux of the theme for the following content I’m about to talk about.

First let’s start off with the biggest example of not giving a shit (while staying productive) with a man who has done so most of his life to great success. That man is David Goggins; and if you haven’t heard about his book / audio-book yet - you’re in a for one hell of a story. I’ll link you to official site which will branch you off to whatever platform you find comfortable for digital books or audio-books (which I highly recommend nowadays for any literary material frankly). Just click on the picture and stop overthinking things.

Let’s hop on over to the slightly paranormal world of 2013 and talk about a (in my opinion) fantastic TV series that unfortunately never got a 2nd season. This show is called “I wouldn’t go in there” and its host Robert Joe visits a myriad of places in Asia that have a troubled history that leads to current day urban legends. You can find more of a synopsis on the official site here (although it’s a bit dated) or you can just simply watch it over on Amazon if you have prime membership here. I’ve also decided to link to Robert’s personal homepage cause he’s a cool guy and working on some projects at the moment that might peak your interest if you become a fan of the show.

What monthly update wouldn’t be complete without me trying to shoehorn some type of video game in here? As I said last month and I’ll say it again this month… the fires are really dying with me in terms of getting some interest going with the current video game climate. If it’s not another Battle Royale type game, it’s probably some other overly produced, over budget game with (insert random) politics thrown in somehow to further alienate me from even looking at it.

That being said, I did stumble upon a fairly cute mobile game called “Triple Fantasy” (formerly known as Arcane Straight) that might interest some folks here who came here from my Dungeon Maker tutorials. The lack of waifus and husbandos may be a turn off for some however! If this game had bare pixelated chests (for all its characters - I don’t discriminate) I might of done a YouTube video series on it. As it stands now however, it gets a honorable mention on the o’l website since it’s quite a fun family friendly game that anyone should be able to pick up. As I mentioned earlier, I usually avoid games that look like this simply due to the fact that there are SO MANY OF THEM on the Google Play Store. However, I took a chance (the theme of this update) and it turned out to be a pretty fun game all things considered. It even got editor’s choice - for what’s that worth I guess. Link is in the picture as always.

Since I talked about exercise last month, it’s only fitting I talk about food this month to close out the update. Let’s talk about one particular competitive eater Yuka Kinoshita. If you ever wanted to see someone probably half the size of you be able to put away food that seems fit to feed a NFL professional football team… prepare to be amazed! I’ll also make sure to add her on the list. Her channel is linked via the YouTube video below.

Have a good one folks, and i’ll see you next update!

Looking forward to going back into the past

Another year comes to an end! I just realized that the website will soon reach 2 years old as well as the Youtube channel I made to support it. Naturally I find myself in a strange situation I never intended to be in; and that’s living the idiom of “tail wagging the dog”.

When I began this whole crazy experiment back in January of 2017, I had envisioned that I would update the website with a lot of content followed by support videos on Youtube to help drive traffic over. My previous update in November was a perfect example of what I had originally wanted to do, but the “bug” of views and likes made me skip the middle man and just post directly to Youtube.

I realized that I’ve messed up; and I now need to start focusing on getting the site back on track moving forward with 2019 and beyond. I haven’t figured out the proper way of approaching it yet, but I know for sure I’m going to be adding a lot of stuff not listed on the main channel to the site. It’s a start; and I think I will post “major” videos on Youtube if I feel it needs the exposure, or is talking about something so obscure it’s easier for those who want to spread the word to just see it directly. I need to make BoxInACorner an interesting place to visit, and not supplementary material as it stands now.

This goes onto my next subject; and that is diversifying what the site is all about. I had originally intended to talk about a wide array of interests that I had and go into the more esoteric corners of the internet. For whatever reason I forgot this, and it shows looking back at the all the updates I’ve posted in the previous years. It’s not completely ruled by gaming, but it’s certainly heavy leaning towards. I never did talk about a single interesting technology item I bought, never did talk about a single paranormal experience I had, nor mention anything even remotely personal or “rant” like. Maybe that last one doesn’t need to be there ever; but it’s still confusing (to myself) why those topics never seem to come up when I wanted to post something. That changes with 2019 going forward, and I hope the very few people that actually check out this site, as well as future folks who come here can appreciate the new direction going forward. I’m not abandoning gaming at all, however it’s just not going to be constantly about it as it appears to be now.

Speaking of gaming, I find myself more and more playing games of yesteryear than I do of modern ones. I find myself oddly loading up games that ran on Windows 95 machines and the original PlayStation. I also use my “gaming” PC simply for editing videos and watching documentaries. I find myself “progressively regressing” in that I find interest, comfort, and peace with playing the stuff already out rather than looking forward to things not yet existing. Save for a few ground breaking titles such as CyberPunk 2077 and (in my humble opinion) Stella Maiden on Android - there’s nothing that strikes me as interesting coming out soon. It’s a struggle to find something on a personal level that appeals to me. I think this is what stunted the content I wanted to put out for for the previous 2 years; always hoping to run into the gems and talking about them like Yakuza (series), Planet Master, Dungeon Maker, Fight’nRage and Destiny Child (which is now in English albeit censored to hell and back - play the Korean version!). I’m going to start making an attempt in the future to just play games (no matter how old they are) and sharing my experience with others. I did a video hardly anyone ever watched about Cybernator on the Snes a while back; and that was exactly something I need to load up again alongside older games on other platforms. It’s time to drop the insecurity of “the new” and just embrace what’s good and fun.

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Some of you may have watched in abject terror back in May when I did a play through of Yakuza 6 and you saw my face. This was the last time I was “on screen” and showed myself. It was at the very end of my “cut” phase of leaning down since 2012. A lot physically has happened since then; in that I have done every thing possible in my power to reach a personal goal I set out years ago.

I’ve always been a small guy most of my life - about 5’6” and 140lbs. Back in 2012 I had reached a weight of 160lbs while having (which I can only presume) a body fat % of 20. Things needed to change, and I had sworn to myself that not only was I going to drop the excess weight, but I needed to get physically fit in the process. I had made the grievous mistake back in high school that cardio was king, and that running and dieting right would lead me to be healthy looking and overall fit. What it ended up doing was making me “skinny fat” and barely able to lift a 15lbs dumbbell. So let’s just say I have tried to deprogram myself from the stupidity programmed into me from my old Cross Country coach and have really gotten into strength and conditioning training. Finally at the end of 2018 I can stop loosing weight and start putting it back on.

So what does this have to do with anything related to the site? I’ve been dog tired to the point of sitting down at a keyboard makes my teeth sore. It’s also the reason why content on the site has been slower going and something I need to work on balancing with my fitness goals. If I’m too tired to even enjoy updating the website, that’s something that needs to be addressed. I find Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi work to be the most helpful for everyone in any walk of life to follow in terms of productivity. You can read more about it (abstract) here or clicking the picture below. You can also watch this funny video clip because it’s what I’ve been essentially looking like for the last 6 months (until I fixed my form and stopped being a moron). You should also watch this clip for those serious about getting back in shape.

For those not in the know or have no idea whom I’m speaking of, my wife does stream (intermittently) over at Twitch.tv

Here’s a small clip of her recently (not terribly exciting stuff).

In a nutshell Clover has been going through the same existential crisis (link to a YouTuber perspective) I have been going through in terms of gaming and personal health. For her in particular it’s more related to mental than physical. After taking it easy in the last 2 months after finishing up her 100 days of consecutive streaming - Clover has come to the (tentative) conclusion that moving forward she needs to re-evaluate her time in front of the computer. I won’t say more than that cause it will better if she gave the words directly from her mouth. I will say however that 2019 will see a happier, more dynamic Clover when she actually decides to come onto the stream; cause it will be coming from a place of pure interest rather than obligation as it has been.

Finally let’s close out 2018 with a huge thank you to all of the kind followers over on the YouTube channel as well as the followers / subscribers on Twitch. You guys keep us going, and I can’t stress the important of a simple thank you sent our way once in a while. We promise to finally update the “About us” page in 2019 with full body photos. I need to get SWOLE quick and Clover needs that School Girl Outfit purchased. We’ll see you in 2019!

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It's a Red Dead Horizon Where The Soul Still Burns

One of the biggest gaming launches in recent years is upon the masses in the form of Red Dead Redemption 2. Being released on October 26 2018; fans of open world games like GTA or the previous installment will be in for hours upon hours of a gaming goodness. Oddly enough; RDR2 is being released right before Halloween week and will be a mainstream AAA title that isn’t focused on the “spooby” side of things for once. If you’ve been living under a rock (or just really haven’t been keeping up with gaming news); you can check out the press on RDR2 here or click on the spiffy image below. (It’s an age gated site - just enter something to show you still live with your parents but are attaining higher education!)

Dungeon Maker fans - I am still alive and kicking. As a matter of fact; I’m still answering questions about the game in the YouTube comments section. As a reminder (and a notice) for fans of the game who happen to stumble upon this website; I’m taking a break from it simply because I’m waiting for things to “settle” down. What I mean by this is that I never expected GameCoaster (the developer) to support the game so much post launch in the form of content updates as well as balance patches. It’s the balance patches that are really throwing me off; since making any detailed guide that isn’t overly generic will be “patched out” eventually and essentially a waste of time. If the developers can slow down a bit and give us an official word that they will solely working on additional cosmetic and bug fixes only for a while; I’ll get back on the horse (ha!) and start making detailed guides again. I want to make sure my advice stays around for a long time similar to my initial ones; and I can only do that with a relatively stable meta than what it is now. As always however; if you have questions - just send me a message on YT (or even here if you’re brave enough) and I’ll get back to you on it. However; with the English Reddit / TouchArcade forums and now a Discord server for the game with active communities - I doubt anyone really cares what this old man has to say anymore.

Yet more gaming news; THE SOUL STILL BURNS in Soul Calibur VI. Fans of the series have long awaiting its return after the ill fated (and somewhat imbalanced) Soul Calibur V. So far impressions of the game have been favorable and a lot of people in the SC community are looking toward a well received game that will rejuvenate the franchise and bring in more new blood. As someone who admittedly has never played a SC since SC II and has been a bench watcher - I’ll continue my ultimate scrub status by watching way better people kick in ass in the game in the form of tournaments. If you have a competitive streak about you and like fighting games; I highly suggest you check it out.

Let’s move away from games and walk on the more obscure side of life. I never heard of a “McMansion” before 2 weeks ago. Apparently it’s a thing; and apparently someone who makes fun of such things is really good at it. I mean really, really good at it. Who I’m talking about is Kate Wagner who runs McMansionHell.com and is an absolutely fun afternoon read if you’re as new to it as I am (or was). I would try and describe my fascination with the entire thing, but it’s best to see with your own eyes what I’m talking about by visiting the site directly and giving Kate the praise she deserves for bringing the world attention to this. I won’t look at those overpriced homes driving from the 99 cent store the same way ever again; hopefully you won’t either. Click the link below for a TED talks with Kate.

That’s it for the October update folks. We’ll see you next month when everyone is getting ready to get lbs heavier in the stomach and 2 lbs lighter loosing all their teeth fighting in Black Friday!


Riding The Bowsette Train And Dead Malls

Slow going over here at the website since that pesky thing known as real life has been getting in the way of updates. Even though I’m about a week late with the monthly - there really isn’t that much to talk about. None the less upward and onward with the latest!

First and eye-catching enough - the internet seems to have been flooded with “Bowsette” - a fan creation of Bowser being gender swapped due to him wearing the super crown. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m a fan of the lore; so an obligatory picture is in order. Bonus points to the artists (Hori Shin) for making Bowsette strong and ferocious looking as well as (Torishamaru) for the title / thumbnail art.

Artist Credit: Hori Shin (Taputya)

Artist Credit: Hori Shin (Taputya)

Moving onto what I’ve been playing in the last month - Dragon Quest XI. Talk about an old school JRPG that really stays perhaps too old school for my taste. It’s a decent ride but I’m starting to fade a bit in completing it. Not the enthralling experience Persona 5 was for me personally; but to each their own.

Clover is recovering from her surgery nicely and was even able to start streaming again after a week. If you haven’t done so already and want to see what she’s all about (and sometimes catch me on there in the process) feel free to head on over to twitch.tv/cloverinabox

I’ve been on a little kick lately with “ruin porn” to put it crassly; and I wanted to feature a Youtube Channel I stumbled upon which was very up and coming in the genre. You can view the slowly fading malls of America with Sal over on his channel here. If it’s a rainy afternoon or you’re ready to open your mind to some pretty fascinating (albeit admittedly esoteric stuff) then I highly recommend it. Please give Sal a follow and a kind word on his videos since he puts in a lot of legwork for his content - and even risks endangering himself in the process.

Yakuza, Giant Boobs, And 100 Days of Streaming

It's been a long streak of hot summer days here at the o'l BoxInACorner tree house. Time to get you lovely folks updated with what's been going on with us and some information you may find interesting. Let's get started with my most beloved gaming series that ironically brings in the least amount of attention - Yakuza.

For those very, very few brave souls that followed me on Youtube for my Yakuza play-throughs - let me say from the bottom of my soul; thank you. Yakuza has always been a labor of love due to the sheer lack of popularity it warrants for me and it saddens me to say that I won't be doing a series on the upcoming Yakuza Kiwami 2. As a tremendous fan of this particular genre of game, the play-through I did of Yakuza 6 brought me in an "astounding" 100ish views in its entirety. That was a lot of hours setting up the stream, making sure I don't look like a doughnut on camera and uploading the videos while making sure they processed correctly. I think the populace has spoken and I will gracefully back away from uploading my play-through and focusing more of being a fan and just enjoying the game in private. Yakuza Kiwami 2 will be released world wide at the end of August - specifically the 28th - so if you're remotely curious about the series (and I believe you should be), please check it out. It's available on PS4 only.

Moving onto more private and public information at the same time, Clover will be undergoing additional surgery on her "girls" the 2nd week of September. If you haven't read the first blog on the issue; you can do so for old time's sake clicking here. Recovery time will vary, but the last time she did this she was out for 2 weeks. We're hoping with newly acquired knowledge on how the process goes as well as industrial strength painkillers - she'll be able to make a quicker recovery and be back to streaming.

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Speaking of streaming - Clover has reached her 20th day of continuous streaming on Twitch and will try to keep up the schedule until she reaches 100 days. The reasons she's doing this is purely experimental; as the common advice on growing an audience has been consistency rather than quality on Twitch. So someone streaming themselves taking out the trash would be more popular than someone who streams absolutely fantastic content once a month. At least that's what we've been told - and thus our testing of the theory! If you want us to keep on trucking with our content on all platforms; please stop by and say hi and an encouraging word. Without verbal support we don't know if we're even remotely reaching out to anyone. Subbing to Clover on Twitch will always be a huge bonus, but never necessary.

Finally onto stuff outside the realm of games and streams - I've recently picked up a YouTube series that I personally found fascinating. It's on the history (and failures) of theme parks. It's called "Defunctland" and you can watch it by clicking the logo below.

The amount of passion, effort and content of the series reminds me how long I have to go to make any worthwhile interesting on my YouTube channel. I hope to one day break away from the gaming related stuff and do more topical things; but I'm going to need a subject I'm passionate about to talk on - and a co-host to bounce ideas off of. Both hard things to get, but I can always dream!  In any case, I hope you guys find the content interesting as much as I did.

Dog Days Of Summer Are Here

Not going to lie folks - it's been slow around here. Really slow. So much in fact that I've been desperately going outside my comfort zones to find anything to play to pass the time. Here is what I've gathered so far that's worth a look in the near future however.

Shining Resonance Refrain is getting a release date on multiple platforms on July 10. It's a remaster of the PS3 version with all the DLC added and some other bonus stuff added in.

For the really niche folks out there that like games in the 5% category, there's also a classic dungeon crawler called The Lost Child which is even releasing earlier on PS4 / Nintendo Switch on June 19th 2018.

Moving onto other news; Clover is going back on her own vow never to attend another Anime Expo after last year and is going again to Anime Expo 2018.

For those who don't know the story, Clover attended last year for a single day to go to a concert but had to wait in line for a total of 7 hours (5 for her pass and another 2 waiting to get into her concert). It became a popular meme called "line-con" and you can read about the horror of other folks that were there here.

Because of last year's fiasco, management at Anime Expo this year have decided to upgrade to RFID chips to help accelerate the process of checking people in and out, as well as mailing out most attendee badges. However, this will not address the obvious problem of sheer attendee numbers in the area; as well as people visiting from abroad.

Los Angeles is one crowded ass place. No matter of technology is going to remove the sheer amount of human flesh that will be attending the con. For those of you from different countries or aren't aware of the density of people in the region; let me give you some humbling statistics.

California's Population in 2018 = 39,776,830

Canada's Population in 2018 = 36,927,520

Los Angeles Population in 2018 = 3,976,322

Our state has more human beings that the entire country of Canada; our neighbors to the north. Los Angeles has about 10% of the entire state's population (or if you prefer more than 10% of Canada's population) within a radius of 503 square miles. Keep in mind these statistics that you see above are hopelessly outdated and do not count a lot of non-documented residents that didn't participate in any census (residents for California and Los Angeles).

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Let's just say we all hope Clover the best this year in attending, and hopefully she won't have another waiting in line somewhere story.

Finally I want to say that Okami HD streaming may or may not continue depending on Clover. If it dies, it will be added to the pile of games lost in streaming limbo - but at least it's not as bad as Final Fantasy X. Hopefully next month we'll have more interesting news; see you then! Here's a chicken girl eating corn for no reason. (If anyone knows who the artist is please let me know!)

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Eyes Everywhere

No this isn't a post about the Illuminati; rather it's another large update on what me and Clover have been up to. To start spicing it up around here, I'm going to try and mix a bit of "other" things into the pot that aren't solely related to video games, Twitch or similar. If you haven't read the March update that highlighted what video games that are coming out that I'm specifically looking forward to, it's worth checking out if you're perhaps out of ideas on what to play.

Being an old fart and stubborn in my ways; sometimes it's nice to go back in time (circa early 2000's) and watch a series made in a more "innocent" time. If you like urban legends and generally spooky stuff, I highly recommend anyone with an Amazon Prime account (which seems like most of the world's population at this point) to give Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction a watch. It's pretty old and the quality is what you would expect to see of a series made before 720p was even a thing, but it's been brought back to life and ready to gorge on for those so inclined. For the truly nerdy, this series did actually have Jonathan Frakes as a host for seasons 2-4. Hopefully that will lure in some of the gun shy hipster nerds.

Not enough Star Trek hosts talking about things unrelated to Star Trek for you? How about Captain "Fing" Kirk doing that very thing with yet more urban legends and spooky stuff. We're talking about Weird or What?

This series was made a lot later than Beyond Belief (10 years to be exact) but it's still old considering we're now almost halfway through 2018. Still it's a well done production and available on Amazon Prime (season 3 at least) for you to wet your whistle should you like these type of things.

So I guess if it isn't blatantly obvious by now - I do like reading up on the weird in the world rather than giving a damn about actual news. That's why I've updated The List and added a new section dedicated to paranormal stuff. It's worth heading on over and checking it out if you have absolutely nothing better to do.

Moving onto video games for a bit, Yakuza 6 comes out this month and I will be doing my full commentary play through on YouTube. I'm very excited to get back into the series considering this will be my first time ever laying eyes on any of its content even though it has been out for a while now in Japan.

Finally one last reminder to check out Destiny Child if you haven't done so. I talked about it in my last update, but I will keep talking about it to get more eyes on the game. It's right up the alley of closet perverts and those needing something better to do on their phones than read another stupid Facebook post. Keep in mind it's available in Korean or Japanese only, but an English patch for the game is available. If you do decide to play it and need the English Patch hook up, send me a message via e-mail or join the English Discord and get it there.

Onto Clover's side of the coin, I got a few updates on what she's been watching in anime land. Since she absolutely cares not about adding any spiffy commentary to these posts, you're just going to have to take her word for it and check them out.

Click on the images themselves to link you to the series description.


Hitori no Shita: The Outcast 2nd Season


Overlord II

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san

Fate/Extra: Last Encore

Mahou Shoujo Ore

Gakuen Babysitters

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen

Sanrio Danshi

Sporadic Summer Schedule

This is the best term we could come up with, so cut us some slack. The reality is we're enjoying the summer weather and awaiting for some upcoming things to happen before we go back to providing content on a more predictable schedule.

On the YouTube side, Yakuza Kiwami is going to be a lengthy play through. There are also considerations about recording Divinity II co-op. But we'll cross that road when the game launches.

On the twitch side of things, Clover needs to get her sleep and exercise schedule worked out. If this can be fixed (don't hold your breath), then she can stream more often.

Don't be afraid to message us if you like more detailed answers. Other than that, we hope you're enjoying the heat and sun whereever you are.

Go Play Planet Master. Seriously. Now.

I recently stumbled upon an Android game I found to be quite entertaining and have been trying to get more people to notice it. It's called Planet Master and you can click on the picture link below to head on over to the Google Store to check it out.

I like the game so much I even made a YouTube video on it. You can check it out on our channel (or if you're that lazy) click here

The developer so far has been a sweetheart and has been working very hard on the game. Please show some love to him and for him even if you don't even decide to play it. You can do so on the game's official Facebook page

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Don't let my sadness get bigger than it is already. Play the game! (๑◕︵◕๑)

Can't Stream Persona 5 - Sorry

This is just a quick update to let folks know I was planning on streaming Persona 5, but unfortunately I found out that it is not endorsed nor allowed by AtlusUSA according to their official notice about it. 

You can read the notice here

Although I am utterly disappointed by the announcement, it doesn't really affect me from enjoying the game in private. If you want my thoughts on it or just want someone to talk to about story plots, feel free to leave a comment and I'll be glad to chew the fat as I go through the game.

In the meantime I'll be finding another game to put up on YouTube in the near future.

UPDATE

So apparently the ban on streaming Persona 5 has been lessened, but not done away with completely. AtlusUSA updated their policy on streaming the game up until 11/19 but not the final acts. In other words they increased the "cock tease" date, but still no satisfying finish for anyone wanting a complete play-through.

You can read the updated notice here

Working On A Schedule

Just a small update to let folks know we're both working on a more consistent schedule. With the upcoming months being a little on the slower side, we will have more time to conceptualize what we want to do in the near future and have content not only related to gaming.

For the immediate time being, I (Tree) might being doing a Persona 5 play-through for Youtube and Clover is thinking of consistently doing Wednesday / Friday-Sunday streams for Twitch. Nothing is concrete however but at least it's something. We'll let you guys know in the upcoming month soon.

Let The Shilling Begin! (Not Really)

So we've been getting some messages asking about how to support us. As always we want to remind anyone interested in helping us out to just be kind, say a nice word and have a good time with the content we put out. That's all we ever ask and will value more than anything since we've begun.

That being said some folks take offense to this and rather throw money at us in one way or another. Since we can't establish that type of donation yet, we've temporarily setup gaming related only donations via Amazon wish list. We've made sure to make this list as tactful as possible. Feel free to check it out now on the support us page.

Click here for the support us page if the navigation bar pisses you off for some reason.

PC Specs - For Those Who Were Curious

We use a 2 PC stream setup in an array of 3 computers. The 2 "gaming" computers are identical in specifications, while the dedicated streaming PC is slightly less powerful overall. The gaming computers are directly connected to the streaming PC, as well as any consoles.

Below are the main specs for each computer. Note that the power supply, case, monitor and other random peripheral components are not listed as they are not performance essential to the build.

Gaming PC

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-Z170X Ultra Gaming 

Processor - Intel i7-6700K Processor

Ram G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB

Video Card - Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 Amp Extreme

Hard Drive - Toshiba OCZ Trion 150 480GB 2.5"

Microphone - Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB

Webcam - Logitech C922x Pro


Gaming PC 1 / PS4 Slim (Top) / 2x CyberPower UPS (Bottom) / Streaming PC / Gaming PC 2

Busy Week - We're Still Alive & Kicking

This is more of a quick update rather than a full on blog post so I'll be brief as possible.

For the 4 people out there that actually follow us, I just wanted to let you know that we'll be back in the full swing of things soon. We've just been very busy with obligations in life, as well as Clover recovering from her recent surgery. (You can read the Blog about that here)

Yakuza 0 streams will be coming back very soon and I'll try my best to make up for lost time by doing a marathon of it with at least 6 segments in the following week.

Thanks for the patience and checking in on us!

Darkspore - A Great Game No One Played

Sometimes it takes sitting in your living room at 1 AM in the morning looking over your steam games library to realize something. It's the realization that time stops for no one, and things you might have enjoyed a long time ago can no longer be enjoyed in the present no matter how hard you try.

If this introduction seems overly pessimistic; it is because this particular enjoyment in question is a game called "Darkspore", something I used to play a lot that you can read all about here.

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A brief history lesson, Darkspore was the by-product of the highly criticized game Spore developed by Maxis Software and in my opinion undeservedly ignored at launch due to its association with the previous game.

Even after going silent for 3 years and salvaging what they could with the franchise, Maxis couldn't shake off the huge letdown that Spore ultimately was - a very close parallel to a more recent game No Man's Sky where an overly extended development time lead to a hype train with increasingly unrealistic expectations on the final product. Darkspore was meant to be a spin-off that salvaged the creature editing tool that took so many years to develop, and was one of the main selling points of the original Spore touting "almost endless customization options".

To be frank, those who never actually dove into the Darkspore creature editor don't know what customization can feel like. It's amazing that a game made many years ago can still have a character editor that rivals if not surpasses many modern games in the same area. The complete freedom to modify a body part or piece of armor to your liking and appearance has somehow become a relic of a lost era; hidden and buried by the greed of modern publishers and development teams wishing to piece-meal out customization on a paid micro-transaction platform. 

Customization aside, Darkspore was a squad based ARPG similar to the highly popularized Diablo series, but more dynamic with the ability to swap between 3 characters of your choosing during gameplay. The mechanics were done well, the classes varied, and the game play was exceptionally smooth. What let Darkspore down in terms of being a good ARPG was its overwhelmingly tentative development team - a team that was too afraid of its own creation. Limited maps, repetitive enemies and barely serviceable lobby were the hallmarks of a development team working on a shoestring budget to try to turn water into wine.

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Darkspore became a gamble for Maxis; a gamble that ultimately failed. With a whole generation of fans permanently scarred and bitter with the original Spore, Darkspore was dead on arrival in the public's eye - a cash grab from a development team which had lost all its credibility. For that sin one of the more underrated games released in the last decade died a death undeserving for what it really was; a good game. A game I put a lot of hours in with my wife, and a game we both had fond memories of playing even to this day.

If there's any lasting stain on a game so tarnished by its parent's reputation, it's the fact that Darkspore used a DRM system pushed upon by its cruel masters over at EA. The "always on" requirement meant that once the game's public servers went down, the game would become dead permanently. As of this article's writing the game's servers have been officially offline for about a year - March 1st being the anniversary.

I'm not sure what really drove me to write this piece about the game now looking back at the words on my screen in my somewhat hazy state of mind... but I guess it's a strange nerd eulogy to something that brought me a lot of fun.

For what its worth to Darkspore fans, developers and random internet people who may read this blog one day, let it be known that a couple of people out there really enjoyed the hell out of this game. I miss it a lot, and I remember how great it was even more.

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