rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
My housemate Ginger is now playing Until Dawn while Rei and I watch! I robbed myself of the opportunity to play this game unspoiled myself, so this is my vicarious first playthrough. We've only just finished the first chapter, so not much has actually happened yet.

It's been an absurdly warm day, or at least it's been absurdly warm for anyone who grew up in England, so there were a lot of envious noises at all the in-game snow. 'Lucky bastards. I mean, yes, they're probably about to die, but at least they'll die cold.'

The game really can't shut up about the butterfly effect in its first hour or so. We ended up cracking up at every mention of it, which slightly impaired the atmosphere.

Ginger commented that the butterfly shown in the opening ~ooh butterfly effect~ sequence has the same colouring as the butterfly representing Chloe in Life Is Strange. Chloe Price is behind the events of Until Dawn. It all makes sense now.

Ginger doesn't get along with the controls. 'It sort of makes me want to kill all of these characters, just as revenge on the game.' Please don't deliberately kill all the characters, Ginger.


Ginger finds the first totem (showing a glimpse of a possible future event in the game). I explain the concept:

Riona: So, if the totem shows you choking to death on a pie, you turn down the pie when it's offered to you later.
Rei: I'm not sure about that. I do really like pie.
Ginger: Are you willing to die for pie?
Rei: I am willing to chew very carefully.


Mike's intro screen: Intelligent. Driven. Persuasive.
Rei: Dick.

Ginger agrees. I'm not at all surprised that my housemates immediately decided Mike was a dick (I can't even say they're wrong), but I still hope in my heart that they'll warm up to him later on.

Stupid Mike. Of course the arsehole ended up being my favourite character. Not that this game is short of arseholes.
rionaleonhart: the last of us: joel and ellie look out at the ruined horizon. (lot of ground to cover)
Out-of-Context Theatre:

'To be honest, I'm glad that Google considered my search for "nude Crash Bandicoot" and concluded, "I'm sure she meant new Crash Bandicoot."'


Here is a reaction to some E3 game trailers!

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm: I'm more excited than I would have expected myself to be! I love the shot of Chloe beating up the car in the junkyard. She's a ball of rage and bad coping mechanisms, and it's great. My relationship with Chloe had a bit of a rocky start (she pointed at me and blamed me for her weed! I was slightly outraged!), but by this point I think I can appreciate her for the absolute mess of a person that she is.

I'm glad they're sticking with the soft, sort-of painted visual style of the original.

Are we going to see [unpleasant character] in this prequel? Rachel knew him, but we're playing as Chloe, and, when she first meets him in Life Is Strange, they don't seem to know each other. So I suppose he won't be making an appearance. I, er, probably shouldn't be disappointed by that.

Hidden Agenda: something genuinely cool and new from the Until Dawn developers! A multiplayer anyone-can-die decision-based crime thriller, where you all vote on decisions. It seems like a great way to ruin friendships. I'm tempted.

Assassin's Creed: Origins: come on, another male protagonist? Not counting spin-offs and handheld titles, there have been nine main Assassin's Creed games, and the protagonist has been male in eight and a half of them. I was really hoping Ubisoft wouldn't go, 'Okay, you can play as a woman for part of Syndicate, we've eaten our vegetables and now we can get back to dudes.' The setting looks gorgeous, but this game isn't really sparking any excitement in me yet. I'll probably warm up to it, though.

(To be honest, I can't be too grumpy about protagonist gender when all three of the other games in this list focus on two women, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago. I'm so happy. You're improving, videogame industry!)

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy: this looks like so much fun! Action! Adventure! Fraught 'I'll save your life, but that doesn't mean we're friends' partnerships! (Between two women! I don't think I've ever seen that before.) I'll miss Nate and Elena and Sully, but, if you'd said, 'Okay, the central trio are off the table, but we'll make a game about any other two Uncharted characters you choose,' I would have asked for Chloe and Nadine. I can't believe this game is actually happening.
rionaleonhart: legend of korra: korra cocks an eyebrow, looking smug. (we shall see)
I watched some more Elementary a couple of weeks ago, and the end of 'You Do It to Yourself', with Sherlock and Joan waiting quietly together in the clinic, catapulted me straight into 'shipping them. Oh, dear. I think I'm doomed to 'ship Holmes and Watson in every incarnation. The opening of the following episode, with extremely sleep-deprived Sherlock getting into Joan's face and rambling feverishly about the bank's security system, only made things worse.

During 'M':

Sherlock: I have every intention of torturing and murdering him.
Riona: Oh, wow, he just became so much more interesting to me. I mean, not that he bored me before. But now he's much more interesting.

After 'M':

Riona: I thought Watson might be too well-adjusted to let her relationship with Sherlock ruin her life. I'm so glad I was wrong.
Friend: I'm really worried about you, Riona.

Sherlock was punched repeatedly in the gut in the wonderfully titled 'A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs', and it was great. And then he angrily pinned down another guy, and that was also great! This show is appealing to all of my most unsettling tastes.


I got the platinum trophy in Final Fantasy XV! I've never platinumed a game before. And then I just, er. Kept playing. I can't stop. I'm at over a hundred hours on the gameplay clock. My entire party is level 99. Yes, I've done practically everything, but there's still wildlife to menace!

I defeated a horde of Magitek soldiers. 'Glad that's over with,' said Prompto, exhausted, as an airship above us discharged another twelve.

I'm still constantly discovering new small details in this game. I was sparring with my teammates, and when they knocked me into the 'danger' state Ignis instantly stopped attacking me and moved to shield me instead.

I like Ignis so much more than I thought I would when I started playing this game. Like Élise in Assassin's Creed: Unity, I think I took a while to warm to him because his accent sounded like a parody of mine. If I can't believe in a character's voice, I'll have trouble believing in that character. I also took a while to get to grips with his motivations, I think; I couldn't decide until the game's second half whether he was acting out of duty or out of love.

I love his terrible, terrible puns. (They all make terrible puns, but I feel Ignis takes a particular pleasure in them.) And his habit of occasionally muttering dark things, and how much he enjoys cooking. Prompto is still my favourite (by a long way, if I'm honest), but Ignis is pretty great.

I like everyone, really! Although Gladio is the bro I'm least attached to, which surprises me a little, because I was expecting him to be my favourite. He suffers from the omission, in the full game, of CLEARLY THE BEST PIECE OF DIALOGUE in the Episode Duscae demo:

Prompto: If you could be reborn as anything, what would you wanna be?
Gladio: Easy. I'd wanna be me.
Prompto: Wow, what a greeeeat answer.
Gladio: I know.

At the Game Developers Conference this year, Square presented some charts showing how the Final Fantasy XV characters interact with and perceive each other (there are more legible versions if you scroll down). There are some interesting details in there; for example, Noctis thinks of Ignis as the friend who understands him and Prompto as the friend who accepts him. Prompto thinks of Noct as 'buddy from school who I'd do anything for' (awwwww). But I think my favourite is Ignis's perception of Prompto: 'Expendable comic relief whose company I secretly enjoy.'

Something about Final Fantasy XV that's been playing on my mind: the hotel rooms have two double beds. Always two double beds. Maybe they book two rooms, I thought at first, but Ignis occasionally says that 'the tent lets you stretch out a bit more' when you camp. How is it possible that sleeping in a tent with three other people is less cramped than sleeping in a lovely roomy double bed? Answer: you have to share that bed. Canon.

One of the hotel receptionists says, 'The finest room in the house is available for your... immediate comfort,' and I'm convinced he thinks all four of them are banging. I'm not entirely sure he's wrong.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
Somehow, in an idle moment, I found myself running a brief 'text adventure' in a Whatsapp group for the benefit of some friends. The result was a deeply silly mess of references and bad poetry, but I thought I'd reproduce it here in case it entertains someone. My narration is in italics.


You're walking in the woods. There's no one around and your phone is dead. )


I can't believe they didn't check the inventory once. There wouldn't have been anything particularly interesting in the inventory, but come on. It's like you guys have never played a text adventure before.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
I've been waiting for the start of a fresh month to share this story! On the first of August, I was contacted by one of my clients.

'I've got a new book coming in for you to edit,' he said. 'It'll need to be ready by the end of the month.'

'Okay! How long is it?'

'About thirty days.'


Unfortunately, I also have to share a story where I'm the one who ends up looking silly.

'I don't know why I finished Life Is Strange and immediately started writing horrible fanfiction about [unpleasant character],' I said to [livejournal.com profile] reipan yesterday.

'Don't take this the wrong way,' Rei said, 'but I'm really not surprised.'

'I don't know. I've always thought of my writing as reasonably wholesome.'

Rei laughed in my face.

Here's the thing: I was serious. And then I started scrolling through my Archive of Our Own account, trying to find the most recent wholesome thing I'd written. And scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling.

'Let's see... psychological trauma, psychological trauma, two teenagers discuss the horrible murders of their classmates, someone is afflicted with a hallucinogen and nearly kills her brother, someone isn't afflicted with a hallucinogen and nearly kills her friend... does "someone ropes a friend into having sex with her purely so she can use her pregnancy to evade execution" count?'

'No.'

'A guy has the memories of fourteen other people loaded into his head and has a mental breakdown, a photographer deliberately cuts off her fingers so she can't hold a camera... hey, my fic where the Final Fantasy VIII cast become l'Cie is all right!'

'Doesn't that mean they're doomed to become either monsters or crystals?' Housemate C asked.

'IT'S A LOVELY WHOLESOME STORY ABOUT MORTALITY.'

So, yes, it turns out that everything I write is horrible and somehow I never even realised it. So much murder! So much guilt! So many psychological breakdowns!

This is a genuine revelation and I don't understand how I never noticed it before.
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
Videogame morality is an odd thing. In Red Dead Redemption, you can shoot innocent passers-by whenever you feel like it and then cleanse your soul by protecting a ranch from criminals. By performing a minor good deed, you've paid for your murder and you're morally pure again. It's very strange.

It can sometimes be hard to shake off the 'good things undo bad things, right?' brand of videogame morality when you're playing games with actual moral consequences. In the first Bioshock game, you occasionally encounter children who have been genetically altered and brainwashed. You can either cure them of their brainwashing or harvest some sort of power-enhancing substance from them, killing the child in the process. When [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus played, she sometimes rescued and sometimes harvested. She ended up getting the bad ending, which castigated her for her cruelty.

"I barely harvested any of them!" she exclaimed at the screen.

"It's not okay if you only kill some of the children," I said.

And yet I recognised where her reasoning came from; in many videogames, we're trained to think that we can deliberately do something bad and then avoid any consequences by doing something good, even if the bad thing is deeply, deeply awful.

I'm not saying that this is an impression we carry into real life; I'm fairly certain most people who play videogames can tell the difference between real-world morality and videogame morality. But it's a curious difference between real life and many videogames with morality systems. I suppose it's difficult to construct a system more complex than 'good things get you goodness points, bad things get you badness points and they cancel each other out'.

Undertale takes a really interesting approach to moral choice. Unlike Bioshock, where 'more power' is the temptation for immoral actions, Undertale tempts you with something much more valuable: more story, more game. But it deliberately makes the 'murder everything' route as unenjoyable to play as possible. You have to really make an effort to do awful things. You have to consciously want to go down the evil route. You have to be determined. The game judges you intensely for it, and that judgement feels earned; there was no reason you couldn't have done a nice playthrough instead.

I've been thinking about this because I've been playing Virtue's Last Reward. The point of the murder route in Undertale is that you don't have to do it. You can beat the game quite happily without killing a single enemy. Virtue's Last Reward is different; there are a lot of different routes, some of which you can access only by being a huge arsehole, and you have to go down most of them in order to beat the game. Do your actions have no weight because you're ultimately required to take them if you want to reach the ending?

There's another question in Virtue's Last Reward: do your actions have no weight because you can canonically jump to another timeline in which you weren't an arsehole? Or do they have an inescapable weight, because all timelines in the game are canonically real timelines that exist in some capacity? The moment you hit the 'betray' button, that's a thing that happened in some universe. But, in the end, it doesn't really feel like your decision, because the game acts as if that universe exists before you truly bring it into being. It punishes you based on your future actions, which it knows you'll take because the game will eventually corner you into making them.

Wow, Virtue's Last Reward is really difficult to explain.

In any case, if you're cruel in Undertale, it feels like your cruelty. You could have made friends, you could have helped people, and instead you made the conscious choice to kill everyone. The game judges you, and you know you deserve it. If you're cruel in Virtue's Last Reward, it's easy to mentally defend yourself. I betrayed an unconscious child in that game, because I reasoned that, hey, that might be the only way I could deactivate a bomb in another timeline and save everyone. The game judges you, and you go 'hey, you were the one who made me do this!'

This isn't a criticism of Virtue's Last Reward, which I'm enjoying! I like the way it examines the concept of different timelines branching out from different choices, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it's working towards. I suppose I just felt like rambling about videogames for hundreds of words, because I always feel like rambling about videogames for hundreds of words.
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
SOMEONE BROKE INTO THE HOUSE WHILE I WAS IN IT. I was in the sitting room downstairs and they came in through an upstairs window. I heard someone moving around and thought Rei had come home and called up to her and there was a sudden scuffling noise and I went upstairs and SURPRISE, ALL THE BEDROOMS WERE RANSACKED. I don't think they've taken anything important - I think they were specifically looking for cash, so all I've lost is a £5 note that was in my purse - so it's a very mild break-in as break-ins go, but I'm a bit shaken. I was in the house!

It's sort of hilarious because there wasn't really anything of value upstairs, so our thief has gone to a great deal of effort for very little return. 'A jewellery box! Finally! ...containing a pair of cheap Bulbasaur earrings.' Also, one of the bedrooms here contains a lot of sex toys carefully stowed out of sight. I love the idea of the thief going, 'Okay, here's a box hidden behind shoes in the back of the wardrobe, there must be something good in here,' and then... no, just more sex toys. Sorry.

Not looking forward to a full day of work after about four hours of troubled sleep, but we'll see how it goes. Couldn't this person have broken in when I had a less important deadline?

On a lighter note, a conversation between me and Rei this morning:

'Hello?'
'?'
'Did you just make a noise?'
'...I just farted.'
'Oh. It sounded like you were trying to attract my attention.'
'I was. I do that by farting.'

Interesting facts and/or terrible jokes would be a welcome distraction, if you have any to hand!


Here are the latest results from our terrible game of reproducing lyrics in fridge poetry:

'Everyone give it up for America's favourite fighting Frenchman' (Hamilton, 'Guns and Ships'): 'abandon it for the energetic knife man of eastish west the unfree world adores'. ('Unfree world' isn't a political comment on modern America; this song is set during the American Revolution!)

'God bless Mother Nature, she's a single woman too' (The Weather Girls, 'It's Raining Men'): 'sublime king please be gracious to grass mum she's at most one lady'.

Rei gave me the challenge 'love is kinda spooky with a spooky little boy like you', ostensibly from Dusty Springfield's 'Spooky'. I've looked it up now, and it seems this is not the actual lyric! (Love is kinda crazy, apparently.) But it's what I tried to reproduce. I ended up with 'love is discomforting with you the little fear boy'.

'Turn around, bend over, I'll show you where my shoe fits' (Hamilton, 'Cabinet Battle #1'): 'look behind moon me see the landscape my shoe needs to be in'.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
I think I slightly alarmed my neighbours by accosting them as they came out of their door with 'Excuse me! Hello. Sorry, I think there's a mouse on my back. Can you see... is there...? Yes. Don't hurt it, but, er, please could you remove it?'

I was in love with that mouse, guys. It was so small and cute. It let me put it on my arm and stroke it. I wanted to keep it as a pet. Probably not a great idea to adopt a mouse that invades your house, particularly as we're likely to get cats before long, but it was what my soul cried out for.

Just as well it climbed up my arm and onto my back, I suppose. If I hadn't had to ask the bewildered neighbours for help, I might never have been able to bring myself to evict it.


I have been reading George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series! I'm a few chapters into A Storm of Swords. (I haven't seen the Game of Thrones television adaptation, so I have no idea what awaits; please don't allude to future events!)

These books are frustrating because I'll get invested in a character or a storyline, and then that storyline will be abandoned for a hundred pages, and by the time it's picked up again I've completely forgotten what was going on. During A Clash of Kings, in particular, I was far more interested in the Arya and Sansa storylines than I was in anything else, so I was sad when I had to slog through endless war and Wall-guarding to get to the next instalment of 'Arya has crossdressing adventures!' or 'the Hound tries to be nice to Sansa but is terrible at it because he doesn't know how'. But I'm enjoying the series enormously, all the same.

Below the cut are some thoughts on A Song of Ice and Fire. Major spoilers for A Game of Thrones; mentions of minor plot details up to the start of A Storm of Swords.


Notes on 'A Song of Ice and Fire' )


Looking up some of the above notes in my diaries, I've been reminded that I once saw the following sign on the wall of a French villa:

CLOSE ALL DOORS AND SHUTTERS WHEN YOU GO OUT
you engaged your responsibility to avoid a spooky
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
On Saturday I went to the British Museum with [personal profile] wolfy_writing! We'd known each other for almost a decade online, so it was strange and delightful to meet in person at last and realise she wasn't actually a 100x100-pixel LJ icon.

[personal profile] wolfy_writing has swum with sharks and sat on an elephant and stroked a cheetah and been startled by a Komodo dragon and ridden a lion (one of these things may not, strictly speaking, be true). She is fascinating company, and also understandably unimpressed by the UK's lack of deadly animals for her to hang out with. Still, we do have the seagulls of Brighton.

My favourite exhibit in the British Museum is an enormous detached arm from an ancient Egyptian pharaoh statue, its hand in a fist (someone's posted a photo on Flickr here). It is my favourite because you can watch all the visitors internally struggling with the urge to give it a fistbump. Some linger for a moment and then tear themselves away and move on. Some almost give it a fistbump, leaving a little space between their fist and the stone to avoid breaking the 'no touching' rule. Some quickly give it a fistbump and then turn away and try to look innocent. At one point two guys walked past, looked at it, and then gave each other a fistbump to dispel the tension.

I'm also fond of the Tring tiles, a set of cartoonish fourteenth-century English tiles that depict the young Jesus killing his classmates in various situations and then bringing them back to life. One tile has the description 'Parents shut their children in an oven to prevent them from playing with Jesus'.


Important conversations whilst hanging out the washing:

Rei: I haven't washed all of my socks. Why not, you ask?
Riona: Er, because some of your socks are clean? Because two of your socks are on your feet?
Rei: Both of those things are true. Excellently deduced.
Riona: Thanks.
Rei: Thank you, Shersock Holmes.
Riona: REI, GO AWAY.
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
Troubling consequence of writing Slaughterhouse: I now feel really, really bad about using the hallucinogenic darts in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. They're a very useful tool! But they're also a bit horrible.

A delightful bit of apparent miscommunication between people working on this game: in the final murder mystery, you come across a plan of a building on a wall. The clue description, when you inspect it, says that the study has been circled in black. On the plan itself, though, it's very clear that there's no circle; the study has a black X through it instead. Whoever writes the player character's internal observations (which hover in the air next to clues) evidently picked up on this, because, rather than just saying 'study circled', it says 'study ...circled...'


I've now completed Assassin's Creed: Syndicate! My spoilery notes on the game are below the cut. Non-spoilery verdict: this game is great fun and the Frye twins are the best. Maybe my favourite Assassin's Creed?

(I wrote these notes as I went along, so they might be a bit disjointed.)


Spoilers up to the end of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. )


Back in 2014, when I was writing my Naegi sibling reunion fic for Dangan Ronpa, I actually made the mistake of consulting [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus on it:

Riona: This thing I'm writing is literally just 'the Naegi siblings hug'. Where can I go with this fic?
RD: ...
Riona: ...DON'T ANSWER THAT.
RD: You know what my answer will be.
Riona: I know! That's why I'm telling you not to answer!
RD: Then why did you ask?
Riona: It was a momentary lapse in judgement!
RD: Look, they don't have to have sex or anything! They can just cuddle creepily! Just make it creepy!


After that brief and possibly confusing excursion outside the cut tags, we're jumping back in to talk in detail about one of the late-game assassinations. [personal profile] wolfy_writing, if you're reading this entry, you should watch this video of the assassination in question before reading on. Spoilers for the end of Sequence 8.


More spoilers for Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. )


In conclusion: excellent game. I'm sad it's over, but I'm happy with the way it ended. And I love the Frye twins. I really wish they'd had more missions together.

I must write a Pokémon crossover immediately.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Recently, I found myself thinking 'hmm, I've heard good things about How to Get Away with Murder. Maybe I should watch it? I should find out a bit more about what it is first.'

So I opened Google, and then I was struck by the terrible realisation that I was about to type 'how to get away with murder' into the search bar.

I ended up searching for 'how to get away with murder television', just in case the eyes of the government were on me.

I'm now about twelve episodes in!


Thoughts on the first twelve episodes of 'How to Get Away with Murder'. No spoilers for the main plot. )


An exchange with one of my Visitorverse co-writers:

VampireBadger: No! No, Altair and Desmond are not going to make out! Stop it, don't you dare write them together.
Riona: VAMPIREBADGER, YOU KNOW THAT TELLING ME TO STAY AWAY FROM HAYTHAM/AVELINE JUST MADE ME THROW MORE WEIRD HAYTHAM/AVELINE IMPLICATIONS IN.
VampireBadger: YES BUT ENCOURAGING YOU TO WRITE WEIRD PAIRINGS ALSO RESULTS IN WEIRD PAIRINGS. THERE IS NO WAY TO WIN WITH YOU, RIONA.

I think this is the best thing anyone's ever said to me. (I have not, incidentally, written Altaïr and Desmond making out. Although I did write a scene on which multiple people commented to say '...I'm pretty sure you were picturing those two making out when you wrote this,' and they were absolutely right.)


In other news, we are two episodes into the final series of Peep Show and I've realised once more how deeply invested I am in Mark/Jeremy. If Peep Show doesn't end with Mark and Jeremy falling into some sort of awful self-loathing mess of a sexual relationship, I will sob.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xiii: lightning pays intense attention to you. (speak carefully)
My birthday card from my brother and his girlfriend this year contained the finest bit of one-upmanship I've ever seen:

Dear Harriet,
Have a lovely birthday!
Love
Eleanor xx


Dear Harriet,
Have two lovely birthdays!
Lots of love
Joe xxX



Finished Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag! It took me a little while to get into it (my initial attitude was 'why does this pirate game have so much bloody sailing in it?'), but I got very into it when it eventually clicked for me. Which seems to be a bit of a trend with Assassin's Creed games, actually.

The problem with Assassin's Creed games is that they make me really sad about things that happened hundreds of years ago. Don't get me attached to actual historical figures and then show me their tragic historical fates! I broke into sobs during 'The Parting Glass', when we saw the table full of Edward's lost friends.

These games also inspire some really weird historical RPF. Fanfiction that needs to be written right this second: Mary Read bangs Edward Kenway purely to impregnate herself so she won't be hanged if she's caught. (Or is that really the only reason? If you try to ask her, she'll just laugh at you.)

There are two possible ways this could go down. The first: Mary seduces Edward and he only later realises 'fuck, she only wanted me for my sperm'. The second: Mary openly goes 'hey, might need to save my skin soon enough, get me pregnant' and Edward goes 'well, o... okay?' (and then tries very hard not to get emotionally involved and fails miserably).

I am wholly in favour of either scenario, incidentally. Unfortunately I can't write sex scenes, and this doesn't really seem like the sort of concept where it's possible to skirt around the actual sex. Thwarted! Please write this, somebody.

[livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus watched a late-game mission with me and was initially outraged by Mary's made-up state.

RD: Where did she get lipstick in prison?
Riona: Earlier, we saw her cut her finger and dye her lips with her blood.
RD: ...
RD: Yes. I accept this.

I'm rather taken with Mary, I have to say. Perhaps inevitably, though, my favourite part of the entire game was Edward's drunken hallucinatory breakdown. I had no idea what was going on, but it was great.
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
I've now finished Assassin's Creed III! Every moment that Haytham and Connor spent together was the greatest moment of my life. I can't believe 'hey, how great would it be if those two interacted?' didn't even occur to me until we got actual interaction. But I'm glad it didn't, because it was such an excellent surprise!

I've tried to keep my Assassin's Creed entries away from 'better put this under a cut' levels of spoilers, because I'm not sure who would actually read the entries in that case (there aren't many Assassin's Creed players still reading this journal), but I've failed miserably on this one. Big, big spoilers for the entirety of Assassin's Creed III under the cut.


Spoilery thoughts on Assassin's Creed III. )


The Assassin's Creed series frustrates me because there's a lot of fanfiction I'd like to write for it, but I know I'd get all the history horribly wrong. I hope I can find some way around that. I don't know exactly what I want to write about Haytham and Connor, but I know I want to write something.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is an interesting and rather a bleak book. In contrast to Philosopher's Stone or Chamber of Secrets, each of which are year-long buildups to Harry discovering and thwarting Voldemort's plan, Order of the Phoenix is a year-long buildup to Harry screwing up horribly and getting someone he loves killed. I was so upset whenever I noticed a point where everything could have been averted.

A few more thoughts:

- Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Ginny and Luna all go to the Department of Mysteries. A six-person party, three male, three female. A perfect party for a Final Fantasy game, in other words. Get on that, Square. Or someone could write fanfiction in which they're all l'Cie.

- It never really occurred to me before how confused Neville must be during the entire ending sequence. 'We're going to fly to London to save someone named Sirius? Well, this is obviously really important to Harry, so I'll help out, even if I don't really know what's going on.' (Bless you, Neville.) And then Sirius actually shows up. 'Oh. So, um, we came here to rescue Sirius Black? Death Eater Sirius Black? Sirius Black, the guy who broke into our dormitory and tried to kill Harry two years ago?'

- I'm liking Ginny more this time around. I've never disliked her, exactly, but I had trouble believing in her sudden offscreen shift from 'quiet and shy' in the first four books to 'bold, outspoken, spirited' in the fifth onwards, and I suppose that made it hard for me to appreciate her as a character. I still think the shift could have been done better; if it's true that she only came across as quiet and shy at first because of her crush on Harry, perhaps we could have seen her spending a lot of time with Harry and gradually getting more comfortable with him over the course of a book? But I am enjoying her more than I used to.

- The room in the Department of Mysteries where love is studied is always kept locked. They leave open the room with the literal veil of death, but the love room is always kept locked. What the hell is in that room?


On a related subject: I recently loaded up my Pokémon White file from 2011 and went through my PC box to see the nicknames I'd given all my Pokémon. A few of them made me smile (I'd named my Trubbish 'WHAT' in allcaps, which I think accurately captures my reaction when I first saw it), but my absolute favourite was the Litwick I'd named Filius. Filius Litwick. I'm so happy with my past self. (I'm also quite fond of Severus Snake the Seviper.)

In SoulSilver, meanwhile, I have a box containing twenty-five male Eevee (I was breeding for a female). You can see my gradual breakdown if you look through them. I started out giving them individual nicknames, then started giving them all nicknames beginning with E, then eventually named one 'EEEAAARRGH' and gave up; the rest are nameless.

(Oddly enough, one of the Eevee of Suffering is named Ezio, even though I must have named him well over a year before I started playing Assassin's Creed.)


On a less related subject, here is a terrible tale of Sense8 references gone wrong:

Riona: There's a really strong smell of cat urine. It's troubling me.
RD: ?
Riona: ...I'm the only one who can smell it, aren't I? Someone in my cluster is at a cat urine convention, and I'm experiencing the things they can sense.
RD: ...a cat urine convention.
Riona: ...
RD: A cat urine convention.
Riona: (breaks into giggles)
RD: You said 'cluster', and I thought 'okay, I'm following this'. And then you said 'cat urine convention'. That's what came to your mind.
Riona: I don't want to be psychically bonded to someone who goes to cat urine conventions!
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
The text message I sent to [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus early on in my holiday:

The colours in Greece are very bright and warm, like someone's turned up the saturation. On the downside, today I had literal ants in my literal pants.

The message I sent towards the end:

I'M IN ITHACA, FUCK YOU ODYSSEUS


So, yes, I've spent the past week in Greece! On the extremely beautiful island of Kefalonia, specifically. I could swear the shore nearest us was the shore from the opening video of Final Fantasy VIII. The waves breaking on the beach looked exactly the same. I never thought the sea could actually be that colour, but apparently it can!

Here is the traditional write-up of things that amused me during the holiday. Cast: Harriet (me), Mum (my mother), Dad (my father), Joseph and Fred (my two younger brothers), and Eleanor (Joseph's girlfriend).


Family adventures in Greece! )


On our last full day of the holiday, we went to Ithaca by boat. I wanted to go to Ithaca solely to stick it to Odysseus (I think Odysseus is a great character but don't much like him as a person), but I actually got strangely emotional looking at the island from offshore, thinking about him seeing it again at last after all those years.

(And then Poseidon sent a storm to batter us. That guy is really weird about people going to Ithaca.)
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
Somehow I've never told this family story here! A few years ago, my dad was preparing a big lunch for our family and the actors in my mum's play. He came back from the common nearby with a plant.

Dad: I found this on the common. Do you think this is cow parsley or hemlock?
Riona: Er...
Dad: Because I want to put it in the salad. I think it's probably cow parsley. But they do look very similar. What do you think it is?
Riona: I don't know, but I'm not sure you should put it in the salad if you have to ask that question.
Dad: But it probably is cow parsley!

It took a bizarrely long time to persuade him to use something else instead. He really wanted to put that thing in the salad. Here is my free cooking advice to all of you: if you have the choice between something that is probably not hemlock and something that is definitely not hemlock, it's best to go for the latter.


I've now finished Assassin's Creed II!

The problem with the Assassin's Creed games is that I'm perhaps too fascinated by the side-effects of the Animus. I couldn't really get engaged with Ezio's story because I was much more interested in what's happening to Desmond and what previously happened to Subject 16, which ultimately is a very small part of the game. My interest in playing dropped substantially once I'd found and solved the last of Subject 16's creepy little puzzles.

(I keep thinking 'oh, it could be fun to write crossovers involving the Bleeding Effect!' and then remembering that that's only really possible in canons where we know a substantial amount about a character's ancestry, of which there are relatively few. Blast!)

It was still a great game, though, and I like that it enabled me to say 'I'm just going to murder the Pope' to my housemate.

The gorgeous soundtrack may have been my favourite part. It actually kept me from getting too frustrated at multiple points. 'I keep failing this race? Well, at least I get to listen to "The Venice Rooftops" every time I retry!' 'The game's glitched and won't let me escape these guards? Fantastic; that means it won't stop playing "Venice Escape"!' And then, of course, there's the wonderful 'Ezio's Family' over the credits.

So far, I'm not sure anything in a videogame has scared me as much as that terrifying moment when I thought I was going to miss my opportunity to hug Leonardo da Vinci. I'd set the controller down for the cutscene! I wasn't expecting a quick-time event! Fortunately, I caught it just in time. (Why doesn't every game have a 'hug Leonardo da Vinci' button?)
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Recently, I've been working on and off on two works of fanfiction: a Neon Genesis Evangelion AU for Kingdom Hearts, and an Animorphs AU for The Last of Us. I've only just realised that this means I'm crossing over four different canons about fourteen-year-olds being horribly traumatised. Why do so many things I love feature fourteen-year-olds being horribly traumatised?

(I cannot guarantee that either of these ill-advised fics will actually be finished, but we'll see!)


In the absence of a PSP, I've spent the past few days watching the story of Crisis Core, the prequel to Final Fantasy VII. Some kind soul has compiled all the cutscenes into a three-hour film over here. It's well worth watching! (Or playing, I assume, if you have the console.)

I was slightly startled by how quickly everything in Crisis Core became heartbreaking. In retrospect, I feel a little silly. Was I really expecting a Final Fantasy VII prequel about Zack Fair to be relentlessly cheerful?

Although the sheer ridiculousness of the new-to-Crisis-Core plot (which, as far as I can tell, is 'hundreds of Gackt clones are terrorising the world') helps to dull the blade a little.*

Zack himself is awfully endearing. I love his expressions.

There's a strange thrill in seeing familiar locations from Final Fantasy VII rendered in glorious PSP graphics. I'm still thoroughly fed up with the people who comment on every Square-related article to say 'EVERYTHING SQUARE HAS DONE FOR THE LAST EIGHTEEN YEARS IS CRAP, REMAKE FFVII', but a remake would be pretty cool. Although there's no possible way it would appease the complainers. I am absolutely convinced that, if they actually did remake VII, with updated graphics and remastered music and voice-acting and a better translation, ninety per cent of the people baying for an HD version would hate it.

Beneath the cut are some spoilery notes on Crisis Core. They only spoil things that are revealed in Final Fantasy VII's backstory, though, so you may be able to read them safely even if you haven't played Crisis Core itself.


Further notes on Crisis Core. )


I'm so glad I can enjoy the Final Fantasy VII universe now. I've finally managed to look past the worst parts of the fanbase and appreciate the source material, and it feels great.

Watching Crisis Core has actually sort of made me want to replay Final Fantasy VII. But I played it so recently! Well, a year and a bit ago, but that's relatively recent.

I suppose what I need is a remake, so I can re-experience the game in a fresh way.

BYE; I'M OFF TO BECOME ONE OF THE TERRIBLE VII FANS IN THE COMMENTS OF EVERY SQUARE-RELATED ARTICLE.


* My attempt to explain this game to [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus:

Riona: So there's this guy who looks like Gackt, and he's always quoting from a ridiculous play called Loveless, which I think is also the name of some sort of catboy manga, so clearly he should be quoting that instead. And he has a wing - just one wing - and there are a load of clones of him running around. At one point they jump out of the sea, wearing scuba gear, and attack our hero Zack while he's shirtless at the beach on holiday. And he has to grab an umbrella to fight them.
(pause)
Riona: This game is really depressing.
RD: Why does Final Fantasy exist?
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xiii: lightning pays intense attention to you. (speak carefully)
TERRIBLE FIC IDEA: The Last of Us/Pokémon crossover, in which the Paras line are the cause of the outbreak. Runners have little Paras mushrooms on top of their heads; Clickers have the large Parasect mushroom. Possibly there is some sort of glowy Runner-to-Clicker evolution sequence, rather than a gradual transformation. Ellie has a Rattata. NOBODY WRITE THIS.


Adventures in playing Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII:

(I am playing as Lightning, also known as 'the saviour'. It is my task to... save people's souls so they can be reborn in a new world, I think? This game is pretty confusing.)
Riona: Ooh, what are these shiny things on the ground?
(The things on the ground are leaflets.)
Leaflets: The evil saviour will die at the hands of the Shadow Hunter.
Riona: Well, that's not very nice.
RD: Can you even have an 'evil saviour'?
Riona: Why don't these people want their souls to be saved?
(pause)
Riona: Oh, my God, this is how Jehovah's Witnesses feel.

Lightning Returns is a surprisingly addictive Jehovah's Witness simulator, it turns out! The plot is absolute gibberish and most of the gameplay boils down to doing a million fetch quests for weird NPCs, but somehow it manages to be a lot of fun. Possibly because you're playing as Lightning, who has little patience for all the stupid things she's being asked to do.

My favourite Lightning lines so far: 'I'm not one to judge, but the love you have for your cat is more than a little frightening' and, when she asks whether someone's a firework seller and gets a condensed history of his business in return, 'Well, that was a lot more information than I needed to know.'

My other thoughts on this game so far are under the cut. They're not really spoilery, but they do indicate which characters from previous games in the trilogy show up in this one. I've completed the Luxerion, Yusnaan and Dead Dunes main quests.


Thoughts on Lightning Returns. )


I'm entirely too amused by the dressing-up system in Lightning Returns. You can give Lightning a fake moustache! You can put a Chocobo figurine on top of her head! Why is this not an option in every game?
rionaleonhart: friendship is magic: rarity looks horrified. (oh no no no)
I spent today with [livejournal.com profile] reipan and Yuffie, two of my closest friends. We rewatched the first and third High School Musical films.

Oh, a making-fun-of-ridiculous-films session! I thought, when the idea of a High School Musical rewatch was proposed. This should be fun!

I had evidently forgotten that there is not a shred of irony in my love of High School Musical. I love those films in an absolutely sincere, wholehearted way. I love the characters. I love the songs. I love TROY AND GABRIELLA, HOW ARE THEY SO CUTE, IT'S OUTRAGEOUS. I started crying towards the end of the third film. I'm not even ashamed.

(Well, perhaps I'm slightly ashamed.)

We had a bit of a singalong when we knew the words (we knew the words, it turned out, to possibly too many of the songs), and I noticed that I always gravitated towards singing Troy's part when he featured in a song. I think I feel a sort of kinship with him because we both have enormous eyebrows.


Because evidently a High School Musical singalong wasn't ridiculous enough, we also accidentally watched (or rewatched, in my case) all six episodes of Free! to date. Afterwards:

Riona: I'm still trying to work out how I can write about Haru losing his virginity to a swimming pool.
Rei: I think he'd just lose his virginity in a swimming pool, but be thinking about the water the whole time.
Riona: Maybe that's the real reason Rin's so annoyed with him.

This is going into the 'UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WRITE THIS' file, right next to 'the cast of High School Musical are locked down and instructed to kill each other in a Dangan Ronpa situation'. Even though I'm having ideas about the High School Musical/Dangan Ronpa crossover, no matter how hard I try not to. If you're not Sharpay, there's an obvious advantage to committing the first murder: everyone will assume that the murderer is Sharpay, so you've got a good chance of getting away with it. But I'm not going to write this, I swear.


Speaking of Free!: somehow I seem to end up 'shipping a new Haru pairing with every episode. This is an exaggeration, but not a large one. I think I'm now 'shipping Haru/Rin, Haru/Makoto, Haru/Kou and Haru/water. Haru/water beats all the others senseless, of course, but I still seem to be well on my way to 'shipping Haruka Nanase with everyone in the world, possibly including you.

I didn't think Haru/Makoto would ever really catch my interest - it just seemed too nice and functional - but the depth of Haru's concern for Makoto in episode six really touched me. And I'm fairly certain by this point that Makoto is at least slightly in love with Haru. Sorry, Makoto; you're going to have to compete with every body of water in Japan.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
I've now finished The Last of Us! Here is a mile-long entry that spoils absolutely everything in the game.


Thoughts on The Last of Us, up to and including the ending. )


The Last of Us was an incredibly intense, brilliant experience. I recommend it very strongly.