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Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

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Celebrating What, Exactly?

Look, between the annoying people with annoying over-loud explosives and the general atmosphere of feeling like we are bound & determined as a nation to make things worse for literally everyone (other than rich people, they’re better than us after all) and the absolute uncaring incompetence of our collective response to an ongoing pandemic (no, we’re not “post-COVID”)…

… why am I supposed to be happily excited about anything today?

Sunset – 16 June 2022

I haven’t been doing much, not really, but I keep a camera or two handy for the occasional scenic moments that come along. Like, this one:

Say what you will about living in Hillsboro Oregon, but you can’t deny it gives really good sky sometimes.

More news once there’s news of some sort. Hopefully of the good variety.

Two Hopes Isn’t Enough Hopes

I know, I know. It’s been a couple of weeks.

To clarify a bit: It’s been a rough couple of weeks, improved mainly by the fact that summer seems to have decided to hold back a bit longer. Too many people near (virtually speaking) (and in one case actually literally speaking) to me coming down with COVID sure isn’t helping my state of mind, and the less said about the state of… nearly everything else in the world… the better.

On the upside, the demo for the new Fire Emblem game arrived. If you know about our household love affair with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, well, you can imagine how ecstatic we were to try out its semi-sequel, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

I described it to someone recently as sort of a Three Houses self-insert AU (and if that term doesn’t ring any bells, don’t worry about it) where someone’s going, “What if this was different and that was different and my character was even cooler than Byleth (the protagonist & POV character of the previous game)?” Basically it’s a “what if” version where the three young future heads-of-state (the leaders of the titular Three Houses) don’t run into Byleth outside of Remire Village but instead meet some other mercenary entirely, and this changes… lots of things.

Oh, and instead of turn-based strategy combat, it’s a fast-paced hack-and-slash button-mashing experience where you routinely juggle dozens of opponents in the air as you rack up incredible damage numbers. We were apprehensive about the playstyle change. I don’t think we’re ever going to love it, but at least on the lowest difficulty setting we think we’ll be able to get through the story and support conversations and all that, which is what we’re really here for anyway.

Speaking of the story, it seems like Three Hopes is going to both flesh out bits of the lore we’ve all wanted to see and subvert a lot of expectations that fans of the game might be carrying into this follow-up effort. One of the very first missions involves rescuing [spoiler] and you also run into [another spoiler], which is jawdropping because those two characters, ah, don’t exactly coexist the same way in the previous game. It’s a great way for the writers to let us know early on that we shouldn’t count on what we remember from Three Houses to prepare us adequately for Three Hopes.

What’s interesting is that the developers behind Three Hopes were actually responsible for Three Houses as well, which means they have a lot more experience with this game engine and can make it jump through hoops even better than before. They took feedback from fans of the previous game seriously, resulting in potentially interesting gameplay changes. They also reverted to some older-style Fire Emblem tropes, like “tomes” (equipment for magic users) having durability instead of casters simply having a limited number of casts for each spell like in Three Houses.

So far we’re enjoying the demo a lot and look forward to the release of the full game even more than we already were, which is saying something. If you have a Nintendo Switch, I recommend trying the demo out for yourself.

Duckies Go Splash

I promised (repeatedly, ahem) that “next time” there’d be more ducks. Welp.

I almost left out the giant racing duck that my daughter gave me a few years ago. That would’ve been such a mistake.

I need to replace Hitfilm Express as my video editing software since it’s incapable of handling the codecs I normally use or the frame rates that the slo-mo work involves. Also, its “speed ramp” capability is the opposite of functional. Everything else about this shoot was a delight, at least.

Okay, maybe not the bees, but they weren’t that much of a bother either.

Anyway: Isn’t it a shame that the Bed Bath & Beyond ducks and the Bud ducks both can’t “right” themselves reliably after a splashdown? Bob, Dot, Skelly and the racing ducks had no problems. Good on them.

Next time… I’m not sure! We’ll see what tickles my fancy when the time comes.

To The Moderately Well-Known Man

Vangelis passed away earlier this week.

He was in his late 70s and the heyday of his widespread musical relevance is long past, so you’d be forgiven for asking, “Who?” If you did already know of him, it might probably be as “The Chariots Of Fire song guy” or maybe as “the Blade Runner soundtrack guy.” PBS viewers of a certain age might think of him as “the Cosmos theme song guy.” (Someone might possibly file him in their mental databank as “that wine commercial song guy” but I figure by the time someone knows that “Hymne” was used for a series of Gallo Wines commercials in the mid-1980s, that someone is probably moderately aware of Vangelis in general anyway.)

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