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onmode-ky last won the day on February 26 2010

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  1. After I finished my replaying of BRS with alternate costumes equipped, I tried out one of my few 2021 game purchases, Generation of Chaos: Pandora's Reflection (shortly before the PSP's PS Store closed for real, I bought Pandora's Reflection and inviZimals: The Lost Tribes as my final on-the-handheld-itself purchases). I took a loooong time to play less than 2 hours of saved game time (a bunch of game time was discarded, spent searching for hidden event points) to reach the end of Chapter 1. It's been pretty fun, kind of like a mini RTS, but even though it looks like a major game mechanic, summons, only got introduced in Chapter 1's final stage, I'm putting the game aside now to go to some other titles. Probably some more Breath of Fire III and Hyperdimension Neptunia U. After BRS, I also played around with The Lost Tribes, using the PSV and its built-in camera in place of pulling my PSP camera (which came with my purchase of the original inviZimals in 2010) out of mothballs. Again, I didn't get far in the game's actual campaign, but I still had fun with the innovative AR interactivity. Though it didn't catch on in the US, the inviZimals series really was a standout expansion of the PSP's capabilities. onmode-ky P.S. If I remember right, one of the several PSN avatars that come from Pandora's Reflection's character portraits is of a frog character. Well, now that I've played some of the game, I can say that his presence as a PSN avatar is very, very odd, because he dies at his debut in the game. Okay, I don't know--maybe he somehow comes back to life later, but where I am in the game, he's *ahem* croaked by suicide.
  2. Yet another month-plus gone by without a post from me. :( I'm terribly sorry. But anyway, at the time of this post, I am still alive (not terribly sorry about that). I asked about the TG16/PCE/CGfx Mini earlier not so much to ask about internals or contents but because the price of the PC Engine Mini at Amazon Japan was/is currently well below MSRP--and these are ones sold from/shipped by Amazon Japan itself, not some random Marketplace seller, so they're definitely not bootlegs or scams. In addition, the "well below MSRP" even applies after the international express shipping (DHL) charge, which was 2380 yen (at current exchange rates, under US$22). If you bought one from Amazon Japan, shipped by itself, right now, I think a PC Engine Mini would come to somewhere between $90 and $95, slightly less than the system's 10,500-yen MSRP. So, if you've been thinking about getting a PC Engine Mini, now seems like a pretty good time. At American and European Amazons, I only know (thanks to our resident Italian PSPMinis member, AxelMill) of Amazon Italy still carrying original stock at a near-original price, in this case 110 euros, slightly above the 100-euro MSRP--but this is before shipping cost and is well above the Amazon Japan price. Anyway, I bought a PC Engine Mini a few weeks ago from Amazon Japan, and thanks to amortization of the shipping charge across a two-item order, the amount I paid for the Mini came out to just over $82, a few bucks less than I paid for my SNES Classic Edition back in 2017. Not bad at all for a system with way more games than Nintendo's second plug-n-play. The other item in the order was Vol. 01 Special Edition of Macross Delta, the 2016 Macross TV series; I've never seen it before despite being a Macross fan, and I know it's unlikely to get licensed for North America anytime soon, given that neither of the two Macross TV series before it (1994's Macross 7 and 2008's Macross Frontier) have ever come west. Similarly, I got a few Blu-rays of Macross Frontier back about a decade ago, among my first Blu-rays ever, taking advantage of Japan's Blu-ray region being the same as the US's. But going back to the PC Engine Mini, I have predictably not yet opened mine yet--which indeed also means I don't know for sure if I have a compatible USB power adapter yet. I'm still not really back when it comes to plug-n-play research, but I did discover that in mid-August, an Amiga plug-n-play was announced, the TheA500 Mini (which the maker, Retro Games Ltd. of THEC64 fame, prefers to write as "THEA500 Mini"), for intended release early next year. It's planned to come with 25 games built in (at least some of which appeared in the Minis program, namely Pinball Dreams and Speedball 2 of the titles announced so far), plus the ability to add more. Some of you may recall that I've used my mother's Apple account to play some iOS games before, since she had an iDevice long before I did (the phone I use now was, in fact, handed down from her). My own account only has two games, both gotten and played in 2018. I counted up the amount of games I've played on her account in the last ten years, and at twelve, it's kind of laughable that it's a higher number than the count of games I own for each of several game systems I own myself (or don't own but for which I have games). Then again, only one of those iOS games, plus an expansion for another game, actually cost money, and even then, the expenditures only totaled about $5. I paid more than that for my cheapest GBA game, Tales of Phantasia (new; $8 in late 2006). Has anyone had to handle a PSP screen in which a vertical section is duplicating the graphics of the same width of space right next to it? My PSP-2000 started doing that a few months ago, at the left edge. With my PSP being my all-time favorite game system, I'm a bit sad about it. onmode-ky P.S. I just discovered that I'm apparently blocked on Twitter by CheapAssGamer. It looks like I only ever interacted with them twice there, once in 2012 and once in 2016, so if it's the latter that resulted in the blocking, they must really not like it when people correct their English grammar. Hmm. P.P.S. Forgot to mention: the North American PS Store for PSV did indeed drop video content commerce operations after August ended. Specifically, the whole Video side of the Store disappeared. I was still in it when it went bye-bye, so I could still see that certain product entries were suddenly lacking Buy and Rent buttons, and also some product metadata, but eventually, the search engine stopped giving me results to check on. Previously cached search results even auto-reloaded themselves into zero results. The march of progress.
  3. Damn it, I really did not intend to be AWOL for so long. Life just keeps finding things to get in the way. I checked a few days ago, and the PSP's NA PS Store is still in the same state as it was in my last report; i.e., you can successfully enter the Store, but there are no browsing tiles in either the Game or Video sides, and any attempt at a search, in either side, returns nothing but that 80551001 error code (of course, both sides' download lists still work). I did, however, find something had changed in the PSV's NA PS Store, specifically in the Video side of it. Now, I should first note that https://www.playstation.com/en-us/support/important-notice has shown for some time (since early July at the latest) that the PS Stores will be discontinuing movie and TV rentals and purchases "after August 31st." In the early morning hours of August 25th, I happened to go into the Video side of the PSV's NA PS Store, and I was met with error NP-2244-2, "The connection to the server or device has been lost." The screen was mostly blank, missing the browsing tiles that would normally be there. However, the search engine still worked, and you could still open a search result and be met with rent and/or buy buttons for any non-free content. Thus, its state mirrors that of the PSP's NA PS Store back in mid-July: error code when you go to the Video side and find it without browsing tiles (80551002 in the case of the PSP, as I noted in my last post), but search engine still allows you to make rentals and purchases. However, based on that Important Notice message, I guess the ability to rent and buy things will go poof at the end of the month. I've been trying to gear up to getting back up to date with plug-n-play data, and I came across the PasocomMini, a Japanese product line (currently with just one product, though a second is also listed on the line's website) developed by HAL Laboratory consisting of functional mini replicas of old Japanese computers, namely the PC-8001 and MZ-80C (both of which were Z80-compatible machines; the former mini is the currently available one). You spend over 27,000 yen, plug the system into power and an HDMI display, and you can play the handful of included games, right? . . . No, because you also need to plug in a self-supplied keyboard and/or gamepad, not to mention the connector adapters you'll probably need. Just check out this page: https://www.pcmini.jp/product_pc-8001/peripherals/ . If it doesn't come with its own controller, then I don't think it can rightfully be called "plug-n-play." So, I won't be including it in my data after all. I've also been monitoring the number of games in the PS3's North American PS Store, and I've seen the total count (as shown when you first enter the Games category, which supposedly includes all games for all platforms in the Store) drop from 226x back a couple of months ago to 2228 as of the beginning of this weekend. Mind you, though, I have to say "supposedly" because that "complete" listing definitely omits some games that you can nonetheless still find from the search engine. Still, whatever it actually includes, the number has dropped by no small amount, and I have no idea (besides the Namco Museum PS1 Classics) what has recently been eliminated. I should note, incidentally, that the Namco Museum PS1 Classics are at least still in the Japanese and Asian PS3 PS Stores. Have any of you gotten a TG16/PCE/CGfx Mini, which Konami produced last year? A squirrel got into my family's apartment back when I was a kid, maybe 6 years old. The incident included my mom (or me?) standing on a table to get away from it, because it was hyper and just about ransacking the place. I remember trying to get it out from behind the refrigerator, and I think we finally managed to get it out through a window. As for your mystery animal, do you happen to have a sematary nearby? Atariboy, if you really want to get rid of your peanuts, you don't need an animal to take them from you. ;P onmode-ky P.S. Hey, hey, this is my 888th post!
  4. Sadly, the closure of the shopping cart on July 6th/7th was not the end of Sony's changes to the PSP's PS Store. I continued to check the [North American] Store's status periodically since then, and the first major change occurred sometime between my checks during the afternoons (EDT) of July 14th and July 15th: the Video side of the Store lost its main menu browsing categories, so that it ended up looking like the Game side, just a column of blank rectangles. However, as with the Game side, you could still run searches and open up search results' item descriptions, and you could still download free things but not put anything into the shopping cart. Also, going to the Video side for the first time in a PS Store session would pop up an 80551002 error, just like when you start the Store session and get the error with the initialization of the Game side; I'm guessing that error may be tied to having no browsing categories to display in the main menu. I continued checking the PSP PS Store every day or two, and when I checked it sometime in the middle of this past week (i.e., maybe July 21st, plus or minus a day), there had been no further changes. I didn't try visiting again until a bit after midnight today (July 25th), and whaddaya know, big, major change. Sometime between the ~21st and the 25th of July, 2021, the search engine stopped working. You can still enter the Store, go to the Video side, go back to the Game side, and look at your download lists for both sides . . . but if you try to run a search in either side, using any type of search (like "all," "title," "cast," etc.), error code 80551001 pops up, and there are no search results. So, you can't see anything anymore in the PSP PS Store. Even the Pulse videos, music tracks, and wallpapers that you could still download for free previously, and which you can't get in the PSV and PS3 PS Stores, all of that stuff is no longer available. The PSP PS Store is, effectively, now empty. D-: I was afraid that the shopping cart's closure wasn't the end of Sony's changes, and unfortunately, those fears were justified. Let it be recorded that the PSP PS Store truly went silent in the fourth week of July 2021. onmode-ky
  5. Here is my enormous overview/review of TV I've been watching lately. Season 3 of Thunderbolt Fantasy has wrapped up, and while there has not been any official announcement of a season 4 (that I've heard of), it's got to be intended. Season 3 ended with a pair of critical surprise revelations that veritably scream, "To Be Continued!" At any rate, overall, I was quite satisfied with season 3. The world of Thunderbolt Fantasy opened up so much more in this season than in any previous entry in the series--really, the nation of Dong Li (AKA Touri in Japanese, it's the land where season 1 took place, east of the mountains) seems a whole lot less interesting (read: less messed up) than the nation of Hsi Yuu, where we spent season 3 (AKA Xi You when written in pinyin (blech), Seiyuu in Japanese, it's the land west of the mountains). Hsi Yuu's got a corrupt government, an even more sinister "rebel" force, a history marred by demonic influences. And then there's the fact that season 3, for the first time in the series, actually showed and featured characters from the demon world. I also have to say, the big turning of the tables that happened at the end of the season truly took me by surprise. Obviously, there would have to be some way for the good guys to gain an advantage, but the manner and extent of how they did so was just outstanding. There was honestly a moment in, I think, the second-to-last episode of the season (episode 12), when I thought, "Wait, a vanilla rallying of the troops by this new character? Is this being played straight? So we're losing a major series protagonist for good?" . . . They got me good. I didn't see the flip coming. Other TV I've watched these past few months include, as usual, the Arrowverse offerings on CW. Black Lightning concluded, coming in at four seasons, 58 episodes. I was satisfied with how it wrapped up, though the final battle did come and go a bit suddenly. One detail I found interesting was that, of all the Arrowverse shows, BL was the only one who had a single enemy appear throughout the series, across seasons; typically, each of the shows builds a season around one enemy (or two, in the case of recent The Flash seasons), who is finally defeated at the end of the season. Sure, sometimes defeat doesn't mean an enemy doesn't have later appearances, but BL was unusual in that a major enemy in season 1 continued to be a major enemy throughout the series--it was always a different major enemy defeated at the ends of BL seasons 1-3. Whale got to be the only major enemy, finally, in season 4. I'm somewhat sad that the show concluded, since it was always strong in its superhero family dynamics (meanwhile, in terms of actual superhero combat, I generally felt BL didn't do it as well as its Arrowverse peers), but it had a good run. Speaking of superhero family dynamics, the new Superman & Lois has been very impressive so far. It honestly does feel simultaneously more cinematic and more intimate than other Arrowverse shows, because it's all about the earth-shattering (literally) events surrounding one family and their small town life. I have quite enjoyed the show's depiction of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, and the mysteries of who the antagonists are and what they want have been developed and eventually revealed with superb pacing. I'm looking forward to the climax of the season. On the other side of the World's Finest coin, Batwoman's second season was surprisingly good. The show had an uphill battle to climb after actress Ruby Rose quit the lead role after one season, but they managed to build a compelling story around a new Batwoman--and around the first Batwoman, who was ingeniously easily recast because face replacement was already an important element from the first season. : D The new Batwoman grew into the role well, and on occasion really does seem like a better fit for the show (to be honest, though, I would be totally okay with having two Batwomen, because I just like both characters). Also of note, I finally, finally came to like the character of Alice. In season 1, where she was the lead villain, I was always struck by how, well, sane she was so much of the time, which didn't seem to fit the narrative's claim that she was a homicidal monster. Season 2 reveals that the abuse we saw from her childhood in season 1 did not in itself make her the way she is, but rather a selective brainwashing afterward that amplified her rage. Thus, she's not "crazy," per se, but rather abnormally volatile and vindictive. It took season 2 for Alice to at last "make sense" to me. Supergirl's last season (season 6) is in progress but on hiatus right now. So far, I've liked the early episodes' complete separation of Supergirl from the rest of her team and family. We've ended up with desperation on both sides to find each other, and it seems like the season's villain is, for the first time, developing from someone who was an ally. DC's Legends of Tomorrow is, er, still going. My least favorite Arrowverse show, it sometimes has moments. The last few minutes of a recent episode had the show turn into an animated Disney musical, somewhat reminiscent of the episode a few seasons ago where the cast was turned into puppets. Still, the series plays even looser than the other series when it comes to the science part of science fiction. Another recent episode had the captain saying the galaxy is millions of light years across, which is a massive overstatement. Outside of Arrowverse series, I've been watching the reboot of Kung Fu. It's not bad, with some enjoyable mythology about eight ancient mystical weapons, but some of the fight choreography is not, um, Hong Kong-style enough for me. Probably still well beyond what the previous incarnations of Kung Fu did, though (I don't remember). Of some note, there was an episode in which a bad guy was played by the guy who had played Kenshiro in the Fist of the North Star live-action movie from the 90s. How was that for a wall of text? onmode-ky P.S. Two highlights from Batwoman season 2: 1. the Batmobile returns! 2. in possibly the goriest scene in all of the Arrowverse, a giant rotary saw sawed a man in half, partly on-screen.
  6. So, at the time of my previous post, a little before 9 PM EDT on July 6th, the PSP PS Store was in the same state in had been in for the past 5 years. No areas to browse, but you could still search for things and put them into the shopping cart (and as shown above, the Video side even had areas to browse). However, I checked again at about 1 AM EDT of July 7th (i.e., a few hours later, and still July 6th in a non-trivial chunk of the world), and a single, significant thing had changed: you could no longer put anything into the shopping cart. You could try either the Buy Now or Add to Cart buttons, but a second or so later, error 80551023 would pop up, and your cart would be empty (interestingly, Google reveals no occurrences of people complaining about this error before, ever, so it must be a rare animal). At last check a few hours ago, meaning roughly 36 hours after I first saw the Store like this, it was still in the same state. Obviously, it's possible that Sony is not done with however far they're going to close things down, but if the breaking of the shopping cart functionality is all that will be done to the PSP PS Store, that's relatively great. We'll still be able to search the Store and read game descriptions and size requirements, and we'll still be able to download all the freebies--including the stuff that can't be found in the PSV and PS3 PS Stores. I'll keep monitoring periodically for further changes to the PSP PS Store, but hopefully this state remains for a while. Maybe a chupacabra? Chocolate. No, Potato. Micro? Oooh, Sahoy! Endale would be too obvious. I too am impressed that you've managed to get a chipmunk, of all possible hyper-paranoid creatures, to allow you to touch it. Did you lace that food with marijuana or opium, to mellow it out? ;) Maybe you're pulling a fast one on us, and it's just a stuffed chipmunk! Also possible that you're not a real human. JeremyR, that 20-year turtle visitor of yours, you're certain it's always the same turtle? I realize turtles can live a long time, but er, personally, I wouldn't trust my own ability to differentiate between two turtles of the same species. And 20 years! How could it like you enough to stick around so long? ;) Then again, you've got a woodpecker conversation partner. Oh, and a belated Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans. There was fairly cool weather in my area on the holiday, for once. I know it was the opposite for some other areas of the US. onmode-ky
  7. The last day for commerce operations in the PlayStation Store for the PSP's store client was originally announced to be July 2nd, at the end of March when the original plan was to shutter the PS Stores for PSP, PS3, and PSV. That date stood even when the closing plans for PS3 and PSV Stores were canceled. Then, on or just before July 2nd, an announcement at https://www.playstation.com/en-us/support/important-notice updated the PSP PS Store's final date to July 6th (not a typo, as the Japan-region edition of that page specifically stated that this was an update to the previously announced July 2nd date). As it is now that day, I thought I'd post some bits about the closure. First, some photos of my final on-PSP purchases from the Store, on July 1st (before I knew about the extension). I put Generation of Chaos: Pandora's Reflection (Generation of Chaos 6 in Japan, the most recent game in the series and the only one developed by Sting) and inviZimals: The Lost Tribe (the third of the PSP's trilogy originating Sony/Novarama's inviZimals augmented reality IP) in my shopping cart: The PSP's PS Store was "closed" in 2016, but in reality, it was just the user-friendly browsing functionality that was eliminated; you could still use the search engine to find games (or DLC add-ons, demos, game videos, PSP themes, etc.) and either download free things directly or put paid items into your shopping cart. I had known about this hidden-ish capability for years, but I'm not sure I had actually bought anything, i.e., gone through the actual checkout process, until this exercise a few days ago. Anyway, after funding my PSN wallet via PC (no PayPal option on PSP), I tried to check out, but for some reason, it kept insisting the password I was typing was wrong--this was clearly not true (the PSP's text entry screen--quick kudos to the full QWERTY on-screen keyboard that was implemented in a late 2008 firmware update--doesn't obscure whatever you're typing as a password, so I knew it was typed correctly), so I worked around it by disabling my standard "re-enter password at checkout" setting for the time being. I still don't know what was going on with that error message, but after making that change in my settings, checkout was successful. Proof positive that Sony's 2004 hardware (2007 in my case, since it's a PSP-2000) could still make an online game purchase in mid-2021! I downloaded Generation of Chaos: Pandora's Reflection (note the curious "Generation of Chaos 3" in the photo, which I suppose comes from the fact that it's only the third GoC game released in North America--echoes of ye olde Final Fantasy VI -> Final Fantasy III renumbering) directly to my PSP, but for the much larger inviZimals installation, I opted to avoid unnecessary battery usage and go the PS3-to-PSP transfer route later. It's worth noting that while the Game side of the PSP's PS Store is deceptively blank, the Video side is not. Check out the difference (I should note that the inversion of the Store's background gradient is there for real, not as a trick of inconsistent photography): Game side - Video side - Those menu selections on the Video side aren't empty, either. They are entirely populated . . . with items as recent as late 2016, maybe early 2017. Here's what's in New Releases: Top TV Episodes has a bunch of The Flash episodes from its third season (2016-2017). I should note that the same Video-side categories and the same outdated selection of items are also in the Video side of the PSV's PS Store. Meanwhile, the PS3's PS Store totally lost its Video content a few years ago (outside of the ability to stream anything already in your account, from the My Videos selection next to the Download List). This will all be moot soon, since the overall Store will be dropping commerce of movie and TV content at the end of August. Another side note: I either never knew this or forgot, but the Download List within the PSP's PS Store (the icon that's second from the right in the top right corner) is actually isolated to the side of the Store you're on. That is, if you're in the Game side, the Download List only shows your games, demos, DLC, etc., while if you're on the Video side, the List only shows your movies, TV episodes, etc. It makes for less scrolling, and the PSV splits the List nicely like that as well in its Store (though you don't need to switch Store sides to do it there). The PS3's Store, however, just gives you the whole List to scroll through. Lastly, I'd like to mention that even though PSP content generally will still remain available to buy, through the PS3 and PSV's PS Stores, there are some things that are in the PSP's Store but not in the other two platforms' Stores. I identified and downloaded around 150 free PSP wallpapers and 19 free music tracks (18 MP3s and 1 WAV, all from Sony games, while the wallpapers included third-party ones). The Japan- and Asia-region PS3 PS Stores do have sections for wallpapers, but the North American PS3 PS Store does not (FYI, system themes can be found in the PS3 Store). So, on this side of the planet, at least, the closure of the PSP PS Store really will completely eliminate availability of a few things. Of course, some things were already gone--there was a wallpaper for Hoard, sure, but the actual Hoard game was not in the Store, apparently delisted at some point, just like the Tetris, Top Gun, and Days of Thunder Minis. Also, the PSP's PS Store has the most complete collection of the old Pulse periodic promotional videos that PSN used to produce, hosted by Christina Lee. The PSV's Store only has the last few, from 2012, while the PS3's Store . . . well, I can't find them there at all. BUT, the PlayStation account on YouTube has virtually the same amount of Pulse content as the PSP's Store does (though it seems like each has something the other doesn't). At the time of my posting this, the PSP's PS Store (North American) is still open, and you can still search for and put things in your shopping cart. Really not sure when the shutdown is going to happen. I'm kind of saddened, though, that my backup PSP, a PSP-3000 that's still sealed, will never be able to poke around in the PS Store and buy things--yeah, yeah, I pondered opening it up just to have it do something now, but that would be missing the point of it being my backup PSP. My workhorse PSP, though, at least it got to connect to the Store for the last ~13 years. Alas, the era is coming to an end. I'll miss it! Oh, the humanity! Oh, the technology! onmode-ky
  8. Heh, I always enjoyed the Brigadier's interactions with the various Doctors he encountered over the years. At any rate, cool to discover Jon Pertwee was in The Avengers. I don't recall seeing him in any episodes of the show I've ever seen (rented some DVDs of it back around 20 years ago, around when the Ralph Fiennes/Uma Thurman/Sean Connery The Avengers was in theaters--which I did see, and kind of enjoyed, despite its critical drubbing). Something incredible recently happened in the ongoing third season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, and I'm not sure whether the average watcher of the show would be aware of the significance of what they saw (minor spoiler alert for the rest of this paragraph, if you're more than a couple of weeks behind in the show). First of all, the season has done an incredible amount of elaboration on the backstory of the world setting, and most recently (for those of us seeing episodes a week late because we're not premium members), the origin of the divine weapons (the Shin Kai Ma Kai (Japanese)/Shen Hui Mo Hsieh (Mandarin)) has been revealed. They apparently all come from a guy from another universe. When he first appeared, I didn't see the significance myself, but then I noticed, in the Crunchyroll comments for that episode, speculation that this guy might be the legendary protagonist of Pili's main (i.e., domestic Taiwan) puppetry shows, Su Huan-Jen. And then it suddenly hit me--he probably is! He's dressed in all white, his name means "white lotus" (Su Huan-Jen's nickname, so to speak), and I noticed from the episode's credits (before I saw the speculation) that he's voiced by venerable voice actor Koyasu Takehito . . . who, as I remembered from my research in 2016 into the history of Pili Multimedia's international efforts, voiced Su Huan-Jen in Japan's localization of the Pili movie from 2000! Thus, this is a thinly veiled crossover of traditional Pili into Thunderbolt Fantasy! I was--well, not blown away, perhaps, but excited to see a line being semi-explicitly drawn between the two universes. Almost as good as when the DCEU's Flash suddenly appeared in the Arrowverse and met its Flash. Probably a little bit better than when Stan Lee appeared in the Teen Titans theatrical movie. ; P Anyway, I've really been enjoying the season for all its revelations. I was surprised at first that it seemed to be a direct continuation of the season two story, but then I realized that season two itself was basically the cracking open of the door leading to a wider exploration of the Thunderbolt Fantasy world. onmode-ky
  9. I wrapped up all of Black Rock Shooter: The Game's post-game content in early May--well, actually, it was the end of April when I first did it as a test run, but the run where I actually saved, and then also refilled my inventory to full, was a few days later. The final mission, in which you first fight every previous boss (but each with only one of their normally two life bars), was almost easy, thanks to having finally acquired the most powerful attack skills in the game; if I were quick and lucky, I could actually take them out before they even had a chance to do anything. The last part of the mission, defeating a souped-up White Rock Shooter (the final boss of the main game), still with two life bars, wasn't that bad, either . . . because I allowed myself to use two of the Max Charge rare-drop items that immediately recharge all your skills--hey, it's the final battle of the entire game, so where else am I going to use them? However, getting those two items again, to fully stock my inventory for my final game save, took a while, so that was the trade-off. I replayed Stage 2's final mission over and over again, trying to get that stage boss to drop a Max Charge, reloading whenever he dropped something else (a health pack) instead. The nonstop reloading eventually got so tedious that I came to think, "Hmm, maybe the item to be dropped at the end of the next mission played is already predetermined as part of the save data, so that the first time playing after a reload is always going to be the health pack and not the Max Charge," so I began reloading after two failed attempts instead of one. I have no idea if that hypothesis was true, but hey, I did get the Max Charges fully refilled in my inventory on a second run of the mission after a reload. In the end, my final save file for BRS has 35:44:39 time taken. I believe this is far longer than the typical player's playthrough of the entire game (as is normal with me playing any game, of course), but I'm not entirely sure why. I was actively trying to minimize time recorded into save data, hurrying through areas and not doing as much of my usual leisurely exploration, but even just beating the main game for the first ending took me 22:33:12--still much longer than most people would take. Perhaps, though, it all comes down to how I played the battles, rather than how I spent time outside battles, because I always tried to finish battles with full life and no items used (i.e., I wouldn't kill the last enemy until the health regeneration skill had fully replenished my life). On any single battle, that might add a small bit of time, and maybe all those small bits together tacked hours upon hours onto the overall time. At any rate, I enjoyed all that time spent with BRS enough that I'm actually replaying all the story missions right now, but with the alternate costumes equipped (and with stealth mode activated, so no enemies chase me). Currently about halfway through the story. I should also note that, while I was wrapping up BRS on my PSP, I also played a little bit of Breath of Fire III (for PSP, the download from the North American PS Store) on my PSV. I got hung up when I discovered that having one of the party characters kick NPCs might yield items or money . . . which led me to start backtracking in order to kick people I'd already passed. That never ends well. onmode-ky P.S. Something I'm not playing now, despite having received it about a month ago: my Kickstarter backer copy of R-Type Final 2, with soundtrack CD, art book, Kickstarter slipcase, and keychain. After all, I can't play it until I have a PS4 or PS5.
  10. Sorry for the long absence. I'd love to blame it on the deluge of Brood X cicadas where I live, but it's just a case of not properly making time to post at AtariAge. : ( Why does he do his eating on a roof? I mean, he's a groundhog. Did you set up a cafe up there? While I do have both the Vanguard and The Next Space Minis, and I do own a PS TV, I do not have a PS TV that can connect to either PSN or the game backup libraries on my PS3 and PC Media Go (the PS TV is on an old firmware, as its intended purpose is to be a purely offline PS Mobile machine--though, certainly, it only includes the PS Mobile games of my library that are actually PS TV-compatible). What I can tell you is that my download list includes multiple SNK Minis that cannot be downloaded to my PSV: Vanguard, Sasuke vs. Commander, Chopper I, and The Next Space. As for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, I don't have easy access to my PS3 disc right now, but I think that the way it worked (don't quote me on this, as I last ran the PS3 disc many years ago) was that, in the XrossMediaBar after you put the disc in, there's an icon for obtaining the PSV version, possibly beneath the icon for starting the PS3 game. So, you select that, and some stuff happens that gets you the Cross-Buy download. However . . . maybe this memory simply came from some crazy fever dream. ; ) I haven't made any of the game purchases I noted above yet (in no small part because of Sony relenting on their Store shutdown plans). Two new maybes are in my PS3 shopping cart right now, though, a pair of visual novels published by Sometimes You, who dropped several (all?) of their PSV games' prices to $0.99 recently. Super Life of Pixel nearly dropped off the list when I discovered a humongous storage footprint listed for it in its entry in the PS3 Store; however, I'm guessing that was either its Cross-Buy total storage footprint or the PS4 version's footprint, because a number of online sources say that the PSV version is roughly 700 MB, not GBs in size. I'm also still undecided on whether to get even one of the Invizimals PSP games, because none of them are under 1 GB in size. Space isn't much of an issue on my PSP, where swapping MSPDs is easy, but swapping PSV memory cards is risky (particularly for PS Mobile games; I'm still paranoid that a card swap may kill their activation status) and tedious (at last check, game icons get shifted all over when you switch to another memory card and then put the first one back in). With Invizimals games being well suited to the PSV's built-in camera, rather than my needing to break out my PSP camera, the PSV's available storage amount becomes a concern. Here's one of the photos I took recently of the cicadas occupying my neck of the woods (just three of the millions (?) flocking around): I like how my 2007 Nikon point-and-shoot can still take some crystal clear shots. onmode-ky
  11. I didn't watch Bristol, but after the fact, I did notice it on the TV schedule and thought it odd that network television would have live broadcasted a dirt race . . . because I thought they were talking about dirt buggies (or whatever they're called) and not full-on NASCAR stock cars. I don't think I knew there had ever been dirt races using them before. Thanks for the update on plug-n-play. I was in the middle of collecting data on the games in the TG16 Mini when things got back-burnered. The Astro City Mini is something I've been aware of, as well. I've made no decision to get either one myself, incidentally, though in the unlikely event that I do go for the former sometime soon, I think it would be the PC Engine variant, since that's still available at MSRP from Amazon Japan, rather than the pumped up third-party prices for the TG16 Mini. From your list, I already have HAL 21, The Next Space, and Marvin's Maze (and have had the first two since they released), and I consider them worthwhile buys. If I remember correctly, The Next Space is a little cryptic, though, with its weird upgrade system. I never did get any sort of light gun game for my PS3, even though I have a PS Move setup. I do enjoy those types of games (consider that I do own Star Wars: Blaster Strike, the 2015 standalone light gun system made by Jakks Pacific and HotGen), but none of what we got released on the PS3 ever really caught my eye. I haven't sat down and compiled a list of what I'll get from the PS Store before the PS3/PSP/PSV Store closures yet, but here's a list of maybes that I've had for a while: - The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (PSP/PSV; still not sure if I should instead get the PC edition at GOG) - Generation of Chaos: Pandora's Reflection (PSP/PSV; not actually a maybe, as I'll definitely get this at some point) - the three Invizimals PSP games (PSP/PSV; cheap and unique, but huge footprints) - Secret of Mana (PSV) - Super Hydorah (PSV) - Vasara Collection (PSV) - Super Life of Pixel (PSV; from Super Icon, once a frequent Minis and PSM developer) - Emerald Shores (PSV; from Fordesoft, who started on PSM with Super Blackout, the native PSV version of which I already have) - Scram Kitty DX (PSV; from Dakko Dakko, who developed a couple of Minis) I've also wondered if I ought to finally buy some Japanese PSN voucher codes (always at a disappointing exchange rate) so I can get some games from the Japanese PS Store, like maybe the following: - Thunder Force V: Perfect System (PS1 Game Archives) - Starblade alpha (PS1 Game Archives) - Galaxian3 (PS1 Game Archives) - Star Soldier (PSP) I never fully explored the 800+ titles of the Japanese PS Store's Game Archives (Classics, in North America) catalog, but the PS1 games above are some that have caught my eye. Star Soldier, one of the PSP's first scrolling shooter releases, is a game whose UMD edition I wanted a long time ago, but it never got cheap enough for me . . . and now it's really expensive, so no-go there, but in the Store, it's fairly cheap. Anyone have any thoughts on the titles I've listed? onmode-ky
  12. I'll try to find time to watch those WKRP episodes. Thanks for the recommendations. As for Daktari, I've never heard of that. It sounds like some sort of bootleg Atari . . . or maybe a new enemy in Wing Commander. I'm excited that season 3 of Thunderbolt Fantasy is finally airing (available, for Americans anyway, with English subtitles at Crunchyroll; free (ad-supported) viewers like me will have to wait a week after each episode's premiere to see it). : D After a delay from autumn 2020 to spring 2021 due to COVID, it's here at last! Also amazing, on April Fools' Day, there was a 5.5-minute crossover collaboration video posted to YouTube featuring Saber from the world of Fate (the collaboration specifically cites Fate/Grand Order, the mobile game, but the Altria/Arturia Pendragon Saber is one of the original characters from Fate/stay night) appearing in the world of Thunderbolt Fantasy. The video is labeled as being viewable for only a limited time, so check it out ASAP: - the version posted by the Taiwanese side of Thunderbolt Fantasy's production, PILI Multimedia (has Chinese subtitles, with Japanese audio) - the version posted by the Japanese side of Thunderbolt Fantasy's production, Good Smile Company (no subtitles, with Japanese audio) - a behind-the-scenes making-of clip for the video, posted by NOW 電玩 (officially romanized as "DianWan," but I'll provide "DyenWan" as more accurately representing the phonetics; means "Electronic Gaming"), which seems to be a Taiwanese gaming channel (no language barriers--watch for the second guy throwing the Saber puppet, as he nearly falls over when throwing) I don't believe there is any official English-subtitled version of the crossover video, but the gist of what's going on isn't too hard to catch. Nonetheless, here's a brief summary. Series protagonist ShangBuHuan/ShouFuKan (name in Mandarin/Japanese) is in the midst of fighting a group of baddies, when the last one standing removes his mask and takes control of Shang's body using some sort of glowing-eyes magic. As he's about to force our hero to commit suicide, Shang's comrade/bane LinXueYa/RinSetsuA appears, and the baddie tries to make Shang kill him. Shang tells Lin to escape, but Lin points out that if he leaves, the baddie will get his hands on the Sorcerous Sword Index that Shang's been carrying with him since Season 1 (it's a scroll within which is sealed a large collection of ultimate-weapon type swords). During Shang's forced attack, Lin manages to get the Index out of Shang's clutches, and as it falls to the ground, it unrolls a bit. One of the swords visible is labeled (in Japanese, as opposed to all the others' Chinese) as "Promised Sword of Victory," though it's a sword Shang has never seen before (all the Index's swords were sealed into it by him, so this is an anomaly); the sword is immediately recognizable to those of us in the know, though, as Saber's Excalibur. The sword materializes out of the index, and shortly afterward, in dramatic fashion, Saber herself appears as well, in her iconic arrival stance. Her puppet is really quite remarkable, incidentally, with absolutely amazing eyes. She (voiced, as always, by Kawasumi Ayako) does her typical "Are you my master?" line, yadda yadda yadda, she gets into an intense battle with Shang, which ends with her invoking Excalibur's Noble Phantasm and killing the baddie who was controlling him. Shang apologizes for getting her embroiled in their mess, and then just as Saber is about to leave, Lin offers to have her enjoy some of the Dongli/Touri region's food--at Shang's expense. The ever-hungry Saber immediately accepts the offer, and they saunter off to culinary delights unknown. Here's where I'm not sure what's going on anymore: what we've been watching ends up on a screen in a sci-fi-styled room, where Saber is watching while eating crackers. Saber says, "I see. As in this story, there have been occasions of being summoned to other worlds." She gets up and leaves. This must relate to some aspect of the Fate series I'm not familiar with. At any rate, that scene switch concludes the crossover video. Fun stuff! Make sure to see the making-of, too! onmode-ky
  13. Continuing with Black Rock Shooter: The Game, I had some trouble with the end of the third EX mission for boss 5, disturbingly titled "Suicide TV," before I managed to get through it. Since there doesn't seem to be much helpful info online about that mission's finale, I thought I'd write up something here, for any future players in need. The ending is a tumultuous barrage consisting of nineteen Nafe Toys ("Nafe"--which is pronounced with two syllables, kind of like "cafe"--is boss 5, a loudmouthed spoiled-brat type) coming at you in waves of three at a time (the final wave is just one Nafe Toy). A Nafe Toy attacks by launching itself into the air, landing in front of you, and self-destructing; at the level cap, BRS-chan will still die from a single Nafe Toy attack if not blocking, and with blocking will still lose more than half her full HP. The sole discussion of this mission that I found online, a GameFAQs forum thread, focused on using the most powerful multi-target attack skills in the game to take out some of the Nafe Toys, then using the temporary invincibility skill Absolute 0 (or its 00 upgrade) to survive when your attack skills are depleted, along with using the Ignition skill to replenish the other equipped skills. However, if you're playing like me, you don't have the most powerful attack skills in the game yet, because those come from Challenges for one of the EX missions for boss 6 (which are available to play already, yes, but I decided to do the EX missions grouped per boss, in their order). And, given that the Nafe Toys are suicide bombs, you don't particularly need to attack them to get rid of them. The real key to efficiently dealing with the Nafe Toy waves is recognizing that you don't take damage from them when they impact. There is a half second or so before they detonate, which is when you actually get hurt (killed). Being able to stay where you are while a Toy is landing smack in front of you helps in two ways: 1) you won't dodge too early to your other battle position, which might mean dodging right into a previously landed Toy who isn't done blowing up all the way yet, and 2) Nafe Toys newly arrived to the battle will target where you currently are when they jump, meaning you can lure them to the position you're preparing to leave rather than the position to which you're dodging. Indeed, it may be that with proper dodge timing, the entire battle can be survived with no use of any skills or blocking; however, I did try entirely using last-second dodges once, after having already beaten the mission, but one dodge still had me scooting into an explosion--fortunately, I did already have Absolute 00 active, so while there was an audible hit sound, no damage was taken. At any rate, my survival plan for my first successful go was this: - equip Defender+, Skill Boost+, Ignition, and Absolute 00 for the battle, and enter it - dodge the first two waves (Toys #1-6), without using any skills; both can be timed so that all three Toys in each wave target your current position before anyone detonates, and then you dodge to the other battle position - waves 3 through 6 complicate things by staggering the Toys' intra-wave arrival and launch times; activate Skill Boost+, then Absolute 00 (the boost lengthens the invincibility period to something like 9 to 10 seconds--then again, I think I counted kind of fast, so maybe it's more like 7 to 8 seconds); count to 9 (or 7?) as the Toys rain down, then dodge to the other position, activate Defender+ (temporary DEF increase, which will at least help you hold onto more HP if you're hit while blocking), activate Ignition (reenables the other three skills immediately), activate Skill Boost+ again, then Absolute 00 again, and count to 9 or 7 before dodging to the other position again - keep an eye on the display in the bottom left corner of the screen that shows how many enemies remain, and try to dodge what's left now that both your activations of Absolute 00 have ended (Ignition doesn't become available again for 2 minutes after it's used, though you could get the same effect again if you're willing to use any rare-drop Max Charge items you may have), but if anything can't be dodged--i.e., you'd be dodging into an explosion--hold position and block for your one survivable hit (I guess you could survive more than one if you feel like using health packs) In my first successful run of the mission, I still had a few Toys to deal with when my second Absolute 00 ran out, but I managed to dodge everything afterward. So, even without any attempt at attacking, allowing Nafe Toys #1-19 to all successfully land and detonate, it should be possible to survive the rain without too much trouble. Heck, even if you don't have Absolute 0 or 00 and haven't reached Level 50 yet (but are at least at a high enough level to survive a single hit while blocking), as long as you have plenty of health packs and a keen eye for when it's safe (and unsafe) to dodge, you might be able to survive. Mind you, I described this as having given me "some trouble," but it really only amounted to one failure at the finale (dodged into a Toy's death throes) followed by a bunch of experimenting at early parts of the mission, to see when it was safe to dodge, how long boosted Absolute 00 lasted, how effective Defender+ was when blocking, etc. What was really "some trouble" was the following mission, the rematch with Nafe. I died or used up an unacceptable number of health packs three or four times before I finally passed that with a net gain/loss of 0 items (i.e., I used a 100%-health item, which was then replenished by a drop from defeating Nafe). Nafe's stupid floating things (kind of like Gradius options, come to think of it) take off a surprising amount of health, even with BRS-chan at Level 50. onmode-ky
  14. Back in the old PSPMinis forum, I posted about changes that happened to the timeline in Black Rock Shooter: The Game when you had BRS-chan defend two guys early on (when revisiting the now-question-marked Stage 1 Mission 2 after the initial game clear). I didn't do a real, complete list of everything that changes later on as a result, though, so here it is now (note: "SxMy" means "Stage x Mission y"; oh, and MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT throughout): ### Mission effects of Dully and Lars' S1M2 survival leading up to Better End (* denotes required missions for Better End) ### S1M3: opening dialogue by Rothcall and Phobos differs (Phobos much less angry); Dully and Lars are visible in Phobos' group when he talks S1M5: Dully and Lars are visible in Phobos' group post-boss, and each has a newly added line; both are visible in closing long shot of mission S2M1*: Dully and Lars are introduced to BRS along with rest of PSS; Marion refers to twelve humans left instead of ten; Dully and Lars must both be spoken to as part of mission (like everyone else, two responses each; Lars' first gives polar bear mascot to BRS (new scene)) S2M2: Dully and Lars can both be talked to (a single, one-line response each) while at base; during bike mission, Dully has a line replacing a line by Phobos that wished Dully were there S2M3: during bike mission, Dully and Lars have two newly added lines each (both speak once in the same two intermission conversations); at end of mission, Marion assigns them as escorts for Alexei/Chris/Xiaomin prepping Draco (Albert alone remains unassigned in both mission versions) S2M4: during bike mission, Dully has a line replacing a similar line by Bob S2M5: post-boss, BRS and Rothcall refer to and name the twelve remaining humans, no longer ten S3M1: during mission, Dully has a newly added line S3M4*: (new scene) pre-boss, Marion sees BRS' polar bear mascot and tells her about the passcode-protected message in it S3M5*: while wandering, BRS includes Dully and Lars when calling out to all PSS members; (new scene) before departure on the bike, Nana retrieves her own polar bear mascot from the house and asks BRS what the passcode is S4M2*: (new scene) at end of mission, Nana tells BRS that every Gray got a polar bear mascot from Dr. Gibson, and that pressing on its nose invokes the prompt to give the passcode, none of which are known by any Grays--maybe because they, being Grays, forgot, or Dr. Gibson forgot to tell them, or maybe there are simply no messages S4M5*: (new scene) post-boss, after Nana runs away, BRS accesses Noah Project personnel files on the hidden base's computer and tries using Dr. Gibson's birth year, 1999, as the polar bear mascot's passcode; the code works, and the message says that he forgot to tell the Grays the bear codes, which are all the same, and that BRS may be a White, not a Gray, with much better memory; he asks BRS to pass on a message to her sisters: survive, no matter the hardships S5M1: pre-mission, after remembering Dr. Gibson's request that she tell her sisters, BRS now says she will, instead of asking what he wants her to tell them S5M3*: (new scene) BRS finds Nana's polar bear mascot on the floor after the boss rush, listens to its message (contents not revealed to viewers), and says, "Nana, yokatta ne" ("Nana, good for you") S6M1*: (new scene) post-mission, after Nana says BRS is not the only one who can fight, BRS tells her to forget about amends and betrayal, that they need to survive together, and asks if she wants to hear a message from Dr. Gibson; after the John Doe attacks BRS, Nana shoots it, causing it to drop her and allowing BRS to engage it; after beating it, BRS plays the polar bear mascot message for Nana and viewers (reveals that Dr. Gibson gave her her name (which is one way to say 7 in Japanese), due to the number 7 having serendipitous occurrences in both his and her lives), and asks the weakened Nana to wait there for her S6M2*: pre-boss, no polar bear mascot anymore among Nana's clothes (which are no longer her clothes anymore, but rather another sister's); (new scene) post-boss, BRS runs toward Nana, calling out her name; during credits roll, scene excerpts from S6M1'S new scene no longer have obstructing interlacing effects; post-credits scenes in hidden base and in arctic now show Nana beside BRS [no changes in the three PSS missions unlocked by initial game clear] That's everything changed or new on the way to Better End. Really strange how so many little things get changed in missions that aren't required by the game to achieve Better End--maybe the result of the game director deciding late in development to unmark certain missions from the required list, to lessen repetitiveness. What I meant was that the Defiant's presence in the Archer-era mirror universe had no perceptible effect on standard Starfleet technological progress. So, they still managed to develop Constitution-class starships along "normal" timelines, since the Defiant was kept as a personal secret hammer by the imperial rulers. Heck, maybe it was destroyed long before their own Constitution class was developed. When you say "another new ship," do you mean in your own STO fleet, or just new to the game? It looks pretty good. Nifty hammerhead shark vibe going on. Of course, it's worth mentioning that the original Klingon Bird-of-Prey itself is a bit of a Klingon-Romulan design, what with the name, bird motif, and cloaking device having originally been Romulan concepts. The Klingon BOP's debut in STIII:TSFS came out of early versions of the script having the enemies be Romulans, and the similarity was later explained as the design having come about from the Klingon-Romulan alliance which had decades earlier resulted in Klingon battle cruisers being used by Romulans, in the TOS episode "The Enterprise Incident." Personally, I've always thought the Klingon BOP looked much cooler than the Romulan BOP. I actually have a Klingon BOP toy with functional variable-geometry wings. Sadly, no functional cloak. onmode-ky
  15. Er, no, at least not specifically. I'm not sure if I've ever read even one of the books. I definitely have not seen any of the Nancy Drew TV series that's on CW these days, and I haven't played (or owned) any of the PC games, either, though I know there are quite a few. At any rate, what does the name "George" have to do with your question? Does Nancy have a friend who is a female George? With the apparent closures in a few months of the PS3, PSP, and PSV PS Stores, when I came across a 4-pack of $25 PSN cards for $90 at a Costco recently, I stared long and hard at it. However, I didn't get it (at least not yet) because a) I'm not actually sure I have $100 worth of PSN content that I want to get, either now or after the closures (keep in mind, I don't have any newer PlayStation systems--or any newer game systems from any company--than those three); and b) the Costco member paying would not be me, so I'd have to engage in diplomacy. Also, something I brought up in the PSPMinis Discord channels, I'd really like to see, in the eventual official statement, specifics about what is closing. Is it a closure only along the same lines as the PSP's earlier Store closure (i.e., the Store is still accessible, but can't be browsed, though the search functionality still works, and games can be bought once you find them via search)? Or is it a total removal of all PSN functionality, like no more download lists, no more online multiplayer, no more Trophy synching, no more account switching on PSPs and PSVs (which would kill my Japanese DLC, for example)? That would be major. Or is it somewhere in between? I have not been properly keeping up with plug-n-play news for the last year. : ( For the first time since, like, 2003, I'm out of date with the sector. Hopefully, I'll manage to catch back up at some point. onmode-ky
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