April 2023 Gaming Report
I did purchase a game, but it was for a present, therefore it doesn't count
For whatever reason, I decided that it was time to get rid of my Wii U and the two physical games I have for it. The console sold the same day I listed it on Kijiji, Xenoblade Chronicles X sold a few days later. I'm still hoping I can find a taker for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. I think the PS Vita and PS TV are next on the chopping block. I haven't touched them in quite some time. I expect to list them on various marketplaces in the coming weeks.
Four months in, and I have not completed a single game from my priority list. I'm... not sure how I feel about that.
The only big game I beat this month was Haven. It was... fine. I really liked the first five or six hours, but by the seventh it was obvious that the game was just going to be a repeat of what I'd already done, with some new story content here and there. The game looks pretty good, the voice acting is OK, and I'm happy the developer added options to play as a same-sex couple (I played as a gay couple). The music was also excellent (and it's available on Apple Music, which is great). Despite the fact that it only took me about 15 hours to get through, I thought the game did overstay its welcome by a few hours. The combat was also very repetitive and, once I figured out a strategy that worked, I never really had to change it significantly (though I'm sure there are better ways to use the combat system).
I recently discovered that there was a decompilation project for all of the five classic Tomb Raider games, with some improvements, so I decided to try the first one. Overall, it's probably the best way to play the game today, and the installer made the whole process pretty painless (provided I had the game installed on Steam). After playing the first game, I decided to play the game's expansion, Unfinished Business. I know I have beaten it in the past (on the Mac), but I remembered exactly none of it. Overall, I liked the levels, but the combat was a pain, with enemies that are bullet sponges, in very inconvenient areas. Looking at the source code, I found the enemy hit points so, next time I want to replay it, I'm going to reduce all those numbers by at least 50%, compile the executable, and then play it. I just need to figure out what dependencies I need, I haven't worked with C compilers in... decades.
I also found a mod for Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness (the only mainline TR game I haven't played) that apparently makes that game playable. I definitely plan to give this one a try, since it's the only mainline TR game I haven't played.
March 2023 Gaming Report
Another very slow month. I feel like my gaming time has shrunk significantly this year. I see this as a good thing. Part of the reason is that I just don't really know what to play. I dropped Titanfall 2 when I realized, as I was playing it, that I'd rather be replaying Tomb Raider III.
Blasphemy, I know.
I started Toem on a whim on a Thursday and, while that was enjoyable, it only took about 6 hours to get the platinum trophy (+2 hours for the DLC), which was the perfect length for that game.
After that, I didn't want to start a long RPG, considering that the voting for the next JRPG game club was right around the corner. I had a bunch of games installed on my PS5, but none of them was catching my eye. And then Tchia showed up, so I picked it up (thanks, Playstation Plus Extra) and played through it.
I don't know if this is a consequence of me ditching the backlog completely about a year ago, but I am seriously considering selling some of my older consoles. The Wii U, PS Vita et PS TV are currently all on the chopping block. Going through my Wii U library, there's nothing I haven't repurchased on the Switch or that I can't emulate in one way or another. As for the Vita... well, poor Vita, outside of Freedom Wars and Soul Sacrifice Delta, you really never managed to keep me interested. I'm hoping I can retrieve my save games for both of those and emulate them later. Would be nice if they could get HD remasters or something, but at this point it looks like they will both end up lost to time. The NES Classic and SNES Classic I could probably sell as well. They were nice, but I'd rather play whatever is on them elsewhere.
One thing of note: For the first time in I don't know how long, I did not buy anything in the Spring Steam sale. Go me! I also managed to avoid going on a shopping spree on the final days of the 3DS eShop (RIP).
Kanji Practice App Reset
For the past few years, I've been using a web app called 'WaniKani' to learn and practice kanji. I've managed to make it to the end of the program, and I am almost done 'burning' all the radicals, kanji, and vocab words. (In WaniKani speak, 'Burning' means you've learned something, and it won't ever come up in your reviews again, unless you reset the item to its first level.)
I recently met a Japanese person with whom I have an occasion to practice speaking. And he (unwittingly) threw me a curve ball recently, by asking 調子はどう? I 'burned' the word 調子 a long time ago. I should have known what he asked. And yet, I didn't. It was only after I looked it up that I figured it out. So, of course, I used the reset button on that word, and it is now back in my review queue, but that brought up the question:
How many more words have I burned but forgotten?
The reason why I have forgotten them is simple: I should be reading and listening to Japanese more often. Pretty much every day, in fact. And I have recently gotten into the habit of doing so. The keyword here is 'recently'. And I do think it has been beneficial. I have seen plenty of kanji and vocabulary words from WaniKani that I had already forgotten.
I can think of a few options moving foward:
I've considered option 2 many times in the past. And I've put my account on vacation mode for months at a time, but I've always gone back eventually.
But, in the end, I went with 3. Mostly because, since I've already been through it, it should be easier the second time around, and hopefully not as time consuming. Adding 10 items a day should give me a good number of reviews, and I should not fail them as often as I did the first time around. At 10 items at days, this should take about 2.5 years. I might try to go a bit faster at first. We shall see.
And, if that doesn't work out, option 2 is still available.
February 2023 Gaming Report
Short month, very little progress for some reason.
I thought I had dropped something this month, but I don't see anything in my spreadsheet.
Pretty slow month. For some reason, outside of Saturday and Sunday mornings, I haven't spent that much time playing games. I did spend a good amount of time on my art, so I'd say that's a good thing.
Again, I have failed to finish Persona 3. I played some in early February, got my ass kicked by a boss, and I have not touched it since. I am so, so close to the end though...
I spent most of the month replaying Tomb Raider III. I liked it, but it is really hard. For some reason I started a replay immediately after finishing it, and I think I might use the cheat to get all the weapons. The Desert Eagle is so good!
Trying out Livetext
I was looking at the very few novels I have on my bookshelves this afternoon, and realized that the only ones I would be sad losing are written by Belgian writer Jean Ray, mostly because his works have been out of print for decades, and they are very hard to find second hand (at least here in Canada, and particularly in areas where French is not the main language, like Ottawa). He's written countless short stories under various names, a few novels, and some stuff he was not credited for. I don't think I've ever seen a complete list of everything he's written.
Jean Ray died in 1964. A quick lookup confirmed that, in Canada at least (but not in Belgium), his books are in the public domain. I searched online to see if they were available digitally. I found a few. Most notably Malpertuis, a short novel, one of his most well-known works. But aside from that, it was pretty disappointing. (Part of that reason, I assume, is because his work is not in the public domain in his native country, where it will not be public domain until 2034).
I thought: "Mmmh, maybe I could put a few short stories in eBook format out and help preserve his works." Probably a stupid thought, but hey. Which made me wonder what the best OCR programs were.
There's a whole bunch of them, but out of the lot, it turns out I already had one installed on my MacBook. Actually, it came with the system. It's called LiveText.
So I went ahead and tested it out with the introduction of one of his novels, La Cité de l'indicible peur (The City of Unspeakable Fear).
I took a photo of each of the 7 pages with my iPhone, AirDropped them on my MacBook Air, opened them in Preview. I was able to select the text (as I would in Word), copy it, and paste it in a Scrivener document. I re-read the whole thing, added/removed italics as needed, added section breaks where they should have been, and voilà! I had the whole thing done in about 20 minutes.
I had never used it before but, I have to admit, LiveText works really well, even on a book printed in 1971 with yellowed pages.
So, yeah, great work Apple!