Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

Hatch Pet: The 2 Year Birthday

So, today I did my ritual log-in on my iPhone apps, and discovered that my Fugu Hatch Pet had a birthday.

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No, actually, I had no idea it was getting this close! I could have sworn I first adopted him in fall, but the app does say he’s over 900 days old. So… who knows.

Regardless of actual date of adoption, yes, I have been logging in and taking care of my Fugu for a long time.  If I didn’t take care of him enough, there’s always a chance that he might run away Tamagatchi style. Not that it’s that hard to just hop in and feed him once a day. XD

If you’re curious what it’s about, here’s my review of Hatch as well.

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Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

FFRK: Palom & Porom Get!

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I’m always happy when there’s a FFIV event in FFRK. I’m still playing this game daily, just haven’t reported on it a lot because I’ve pretty much unlocked all the characters that currently exist (aside from a few base job characters).

Today, I picked up Palom and Porom. And as a bonus, Paladin Cecil got his random new Record Materia!

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I decided to blow some mythril on a few pulls, and sadly didn’t get anything for the twins. But I did pull the Stardust SSB for Tellah. So he can summon a meteor and (almost) kill himself again. Great.

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Posted in Gaming, Geek Stuff, Mobile Gaming

Introducing Miitomo

miitomo

I’ve been following the development of Miitomo, Nintendo’s first phone app, since it was first announced. It did an open beta stint in Japan, where it is quite popular, and finally just released outside of Japan yesterday. As soon as I knew it was released, I downloaded and created my Mii over lunch break.

I designed my Mii to look similar to the Mii I use on the Wii U and the MiiVerse. Alongside of look, you can also customize voice sound and personality. I think mine ended up fitting me quite well.

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While dressing up and answering questions the game prompts you with is one part of the game, the biggest element is what happens when you start adding friends. To do this, you can add a friend face-to-face, meaning someone who is in the same room as you IRL. Or you can connect your Twitter and/or Facebook allowing the app to search for your friends in these social networks who also use the app.

Note, I like that this app only selects friends who use the app. So it doesn’t just dump out your whole friend list and encourage you to spam itself on those who have nothing to do with it. As far as I see, Twitter and Facebook are just a way to connect people who are already playing.

I also notice that the app starts recommending friends of friends. I made a choice pretty early on to only add folks who are directly in my social media circles, because it would get overwhelming by adding friends-of-friends really fast. To me, it defeats the purpose of getting to know folks if I have way too many people on my list. There’s only so many names I can keep up with. Sorry to friend-of-friends who try to add me. 😦

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The app encourages players to:

  • respond to friends’ answers – either through hearts or in comments
  • get new outfits and change fashion
  • play “drop” mini-games to earn new fashion pieces
  • visit friends (which seems to happen automatically)
  • take and share miiphotos both in app and on social networks

This all seems pretty simple when you list it out, but the app has just been released, so it has a lot of room to grow. I’m having fun learning little interesting facts about friends I wouldn’t normally know – especially those I only know through social media. It’s a game that provides a way to connect people through slice-of-life moments, which can end up pretty fascinating… depending on how much you put into it.

Looking forward to making more Mii friends!

Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

FF:RK – One Year Anniversary

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While I’ve only “seriously” been playing FF: Record Keeper since September of last year, this marks the app’s first anniversary outside of Japan. We’ve been living it up, I tell you what!

We’ve been getting great log in bonuses – including Souls of Hero and Memory Crystals. I finally unlocked FuSoYa’s level cap!

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We also got a free 25 mythril just for logging in today, on top of a half off Lucky Relic Draw. I managed to pull 4 relics today – Zack, Sabin, Shadow and a Super Soul Break for Vivi.

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While I haven’t been posting about FF:RK much, I have slowly been accumulating most of the characters and their first Memory Crystals, allowing me to push my team to level 65.

I’m still having a lot of fun playing this game once or twice a day. I’m pretty casual about it, and have only spent about $1 ever – because the app is worth at least that to me. I should probably give them a bit more than that, to be honest, with how much I play this app.

Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

FFRK: Kefka and Figaros

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Though I haven’t been posting much about FFRK, I’ve been playing it pretty regularly. I just haven’t been unlocking as many characters lately because I’m getting closer to having them all unlocked. At this point, I’ve been focusing on earning Memory Crystals for the characters I do have, though I don’t have many character leveled to the point where I can actually break their limit cap at 50 yet.

This week unlocked FFVI characters for me, including Kefka (?) and both the Figaro brothers.

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I sadly had to move FuSoYa out of my party in exchange for leveling Rosa. He finally got a Memory Crystal introduced, but it is so far beyond me to actually get that he’s not going to break the level cap anytime soon.

Some of these events are starting to push my party to the limits. I’m always amazed that they can take the level 75 stages even though they’re only level 53-54. I guess I could use some experience eggs on them, but I just never do. Aside from that, I’m still working on finishing the story dungeons and increasing my stamina.

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I don’t usually enjoy little mobile games like this, so it’s a keeper. No pun intended.

Posted in Geek Stuff, Mobile Gaming

Jailbreaking Isn’t Hard to Do (Whited00r iPod Touch)

WhiteD00r-LogoSo I’ve been on a bit of a “purpose kick” lately – meaning I’m cleaning up old, outdated things and finding a better purpose for what I have. If I feel I don’t have a purpose for something, I’ve been giving it away.

Many years ago, I swore I had no need for a smart phone. Back then, I didn’t. Instead of a phone, I picked up an iPod Touch. Mine is a second generation, to be exact, dated 2008 on the back.

Yesterday, I rediscovered my iPod, and took it to work with me with all intentions to leave it on the “gifting” table in the break room for someone else to take home. What need do I have for an item that couldn’t even run any apps anymore? I think that was the problem I eventually ran up against… the final update for the iPod Touch G2 was iOS 4.2, and as apps moved on, there was nothing I could install from the app store.

But after I charged the iPod and turned it on for the first time in years, then did a factory reset on it, I started having second thoughts about giving it away. The back was scuffed up quite a bit since I never had a case for it, but the front still had the original screen protector, and the device worked like new. Slow, but like new.

Still, my question remained: What could I do with an old iPod Touch (aside from playing music). So I did some research, and fell upon the idea of jailbreaking it.

Now, jailbreaking is not something I’ve considered doing on any of my devices before this. I always imagined myself bricking something in trying.

apptimemachineBut this one is 8 years old, and I didn’t see the harm in messing around with it. I found a specific firmware called whited00r which not only jailbreaks the device, but upgrades the interface to look like iOS7, and includes an app market with the integrated AppTimeMachine. This was the big seller for me.

So I went to the site, downloaded whited00r, followed the instructions and restored my iPod to the new firmwear. I had some moments with iTunes wanting to hang, but that wasn’t whited00r’s fault. When it was done, I had a functional iPod Touch that looked a whole lot like an iOS 7 device.

Not only that, but the App Store was automatically replaced with the AppTimeMachine shop, which has rolled-back versions of many apps that work with the version of iOS installed by the firmware! I was able to test out a few of them, which installed and launched just fine – such as Pandora and IHeartRadio. Other apps would install, like WordPress and Dropbox, but due to being outdated and unsupported, it threw errors or didn’t work right when I tried to use then for things.

I discovered I had a set of discarded computer speakers in my closet – which I had almost thrown away -and that the iPod accepted the PC speaker jack like headphones. Suddenly, I had a lovely little Pandora radio player for my bedroom.

Instead of giving the iPod away, I invested in a new case and a new screen protector to spruce it up. I’m now enjoying toying around with old apps and seeing what works with this new jailbreak firmware.

What do you do with your old technology? Do you save them for a rainy day (like me), do you give them away, or do you find ways to re-purpose them? 

Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

Gaming with the Nvidia Shield K-1

 

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I didn’t get to talk much about my new Nvidia Shield K-1 tablet before I left for the holidays because I got it only a day or so before I went on the road. While I haven’t spent hours with it yet to test everything out, I’ve dabbled with it enough to get a good feel for how the device works. I have to say I’m very pleased with my choice in tablet upgrades.

Time to Upgrade

My first tablet was a Nexus 7 (2012), which was an excellent choice in entry tablets at the time, and one I don’t regret getting. While I still have my Nexus 7 and it’s still running (and should be supported for updates this year!), I started to feel like the device was showing its age. It would sometimes hang when it felt it had too many windows open, on things such as Chrome or Feedly. The wi-fi was finicky (an Android thing, I’ve learned), and the newer Android OS were starting to bog it down.

Most of all, it had no option for expanded memory. No micro SD slot means I was confined to keeping everything under the 16GB internal storage space. So that limited me on the apps and games I could install.

I did my research, and felt like the Shield would be the best upgrade option, especially at the price point. The tablet has all the features I wanted, is geared towards gamers, and has a price point of $199. I’ve seen it go out of stock at least twice on Amazon, where 3rd party sellers jack up the price to $250-something. So if you’re looking into picking one of these up, be patient and wait for them to come back in stock.

The only stipulation with the Shield K-1 is that it doesn’t have a stylus (don’t need it) and it doesn’t have a charging cord included. But if you’re like me, and have other Android devices, you probably already have a cord. Or you could just pick one up on the cheap from Amazon.

Making the Move

The extended memory micro SD slot is the major feature that impressed me with this. Using Android’s relatively new formatting option, you can stick up to a 128GB micro SD in there, and make it an extension of the tablet’s internal memory in moments. I’m never going to worry about space on my device again.

Also, moving from one Android device to another was so simple. I wrote down a list of all the apps I wanted to move over, and expected hours of installing and searching, but that’s not how it went. The moment I entered my Gmail address, the Shield knew who I was, what was in my Google Play account, and asked me what all I wanted to move to my new tablet. I was up and running in 15 mins! So amazed!

Of course, things like Amazon apps had to be re-installed, but I didn’t have a lot of those actually on my old device (due to space limitations), despite having a whole slew of Amazon Underground apps sitting on my account.

Over the holidays, I ended up picking up Final Fantasy IV (the 3DS port version) and Final Fantasy Tactics since S/E was having a half off sale. I figured these would be good benchmarks to try out the new tablet.

Gaming Tablet

I was totally blown away with how well the Shield handled both Final Fantasy titles – the sound and graphics were all smooth and it performed well without breaking a sweat. My only complaint was that it was difficult for me to adjust to the touch controls for FFIV. Running around and talking to NPCs took twice as long as it normally would in Baron. I figured I’d eventually get used to it, though.

Then, I found out that FFIV had controller support. Now, I wasn’t going to pick up the Shield controller this soon, but after reading good reviews about it and learning that it can actually be used on my PC for gaming as well, I decided to take the plunge. It came in yesterday, and oh, man, does it make playing FFIV so much better.

Playing FFIV on my Shield. The controller is totally wireless, but it's shown wired here because I was charging it.
Playing FFIV on my Shield.
The controller is totally wireless, but it’s shown wired here because I was charging it.

My only sadness is that not every game supports the controller – such as FF Tactics. But that’s not the controller’s fault.

Impressed by what I saw, I decided to pick up a mini-HDMI cable, which will allow me to hook the Shield up to my TV for even more gaming options. I’m kinda stoked by the idea of playing some of these games on the big screen – I’m just hoping FFIX for Android has controller support, because having my two favorite FF games both portable and big-screen at my own whim will be just amazing!

I’ll let you know the outcome of tablet gaming on my TV once I get the cable Thursday!

Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

FF:RK – Amazing Daily Relic Pull and FFIV Goodness

I remember to do my daily log in to FF:RK for the rewards, but I don’t always remember to do my one free Relic pull. That’s because, I usually only pull one star items, which are pretty useless to me. I’d heard that it was possible, but very rare, to pull a 5* relic… but I never expected it to happen. Much less, for it to be the one relic I really wanted.

When I saw the rainbow colors around the pull, I was amazed. When I saw it was an axe, I was on the edge of my seat.

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When it turned out to be Golbez’s Rune Axe, I was blown away. What were the chances? I mean, seriously, of all the items I could pull, that it would be the one.

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Needless to say, I leveled it up promptly.

The new FFIV event has also started – it awards a lot of the previous FFIV characters fairly quickly. A lot of these events seem to. Only Paladin Cecil seems to be missing. It also awards a number of soul crystals, most of which I upgraded over the holiday event. Ah well.

On top of that, we get Rosa and Edge as new characters. I’ve been reading that Rosa is pretty awesome. I may have to try her out.

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Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

FF Record Keeper: A Quest for Golbez

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Warning: FFIV gushing ahead. 🙂

Yesterday I blogged a bit about how I discovered the FF Record Keeper mobile app was holding a Man in Black event, where you can work through FFIV themed dungeons to recruit Tellah and eventually Golbez. I’ve had the app on my phone for a few weeks, but aside from doing the introduction, I haven’t put much time or thought into it. Until now.

The FFIV fan that I am, the event announcement instantly caught my attention. And beginning yesterday, I started leveling my butt off in order to reach the level 33 dungeon and eventually defeat Golbez so that he would join my party. Considering my team was pretty much the default starter team when I logged in yesterday, all hovering about level 3, this was a pretty crazy ride.

I found out that I really, really enjoy this app!

About FF Record Keeper

FFRK is a sprite-based mash-up of all the Final Fantasy games that exist. You enter dungeons from specific games to replay the highlights of the story and face down the bosses. Many of the bosses actually retain their original mechanics and tricks, which can be difficult to beat if you face them underleveled (like I did).

As you move through the stories, you unlock new characters from those realms, which you can build into your dream party. For example, Cloud is a character you unlock pretty early on, almost right out of the tutorial. I also unlocked Kain and Rydia as I played through the FFIV scenarios.

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There are quests (that I just discovered) that you can take to award extra goodies. And there are events, like this one, that unlock limited time characters – though I read that these events cycle around, so if you missed it before, you can get it again later.

So What’s the Catch?

No free mobile app can go without some kind of transactions and timer. The catch is that every step of the dungeon burns stamina, which restores over time on its own.  I haven’t felt too restricted by this timer, and there’s a lot of playtime you get out of a full stamina bar.

The transactions in game center around the Relic items – special legendary armor and weapons you get from a roulette. You get one free daily relic roll, but if you want to the good stuff, you have to either spend your mythril (which you earn slowly in game) or purchase coins for a chance at relic weapons.

These relics seem really nifty, but I don’t feel like you absolutely need them to enjoy the game. So, while it’s a temptation, I don’t feel pressured to spend money to progress in this game, which is good.

My Long Road to Golbez

While I came to the game as a total noob yesterday, I did a lot of learning about how to upgrade items, hone magic, and create new magic spells. It was quite a crash course – the game actually has a lot of neat collecting and leveling features to it. So, while there’s complexity, it was simple enough for me to wrap my head around, even though I totally didn’t realize there were quests until today.

I did power level a base party to the low 20s since yesterday. It was a fun trip down memory lane, moving through the highlights of FFIV and beating many of the major events.

We faced down Kain in the crystal room. Kain vs Kain!

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Baigan and Kainazzo in Baron.

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Gave the Dark Elf a what-for.

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And eventually made it to Zot, though it was level 29, and I was only level 20, and beat down the Sisters and Valvalis.

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It took a few tries to get through the Dwarven Castle, since that was level 33, and Calbrina was super tough! I really couldn’t have made it through most of this without the help of the additional heroes you could call upon. A level 54 Sabin burned them to the ground with an AOE flame attack. He also helped take down Golbez and the Shadow Dragon.

I did let Tellah get a little revenge on Golbez during the fight, just so he wouldn’t grouch too much about having to party with Golbez later.

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So, I did beat Golbez and recruit him to my party.

Interesting things. His boss battle notes that he’s weak to fire (which was true of the old game, too). XD

He can use all black magic abilities, being a “Magus,” but can’t equip sage robes for some reason. He can, however, wear all the armor that fighter-type characters can. He can also use not just the mage’s rod as a weapon, but has access to daggers, swords, cat claws, and apparently his relic weapon is the Rune Axe (which grants him a soul break that summons the Shadow Dragon).

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Not only that, but he stands in the front row in the party formation. Poor Tellah is now the dedicated healer of the group. XD

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The More You Know Moment: Gaelicats (which I love in FFXIV) originated in FFV! I noticed them when I was fighting through the FFV dungeons. Even though I played this game years and years ago, somehow I didn’t remember this.

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Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

Final Fantasy XI Going Mobile – Are You Ready for MMMORPGs?

Ff11_logo

Soon after FFXI first launched in the US, my sister and I were there in the world of Vana’deil. I had grand dreams for my Red Mage, but most of those dreams would never come to pass. While the game was great for people who had lots of time, friends and a solid linkshell, it did not do much to include folks like me.

I was casual, group-shy, and couldn’t fathom the amount of time that went into looking for a group, much less the kind of grinding required (back then) to actually progress anywhere in the game. I think as far as I managed to get was to unlock the ability to switch to a sub-class. Everything else – advanced classes, relic armor, and even getting a chocobo – were far beyond what I could accomplish… mostly due to the fact the game was not solo friendly. And that’s an understatement.

I’m describing my limited experience from back in 2003, so I don’t know much about how the game stands today. Obviously, since I couldn’t get very far in the game, as much as I really wanted to keep playing, I eventually put it aside. And that’s pretty much all my memories of this game that I wanted to love, but couldn’t advance in.

FFXI on Mobile

ffximobileSo when I read today that Square Enix (partnered with Nexon – really? REALLY? :/ ) is bringing FFXI to mobile platforms as a MMMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Mobile RPG), I did a double take.  My idea of smartphone gaming revolves around simple, casual games that you pick up and put down from time to time. I’m thinking about the battery limitations and screen size limitations. I’m pondering things like subscription fees vs. in game transactions. Thinking about these things, I’m wondering how this all will actually work.

Sure, the graphics and interface may be adjusted to fit mobile. But FFXI is a game I consider quite hardcore back in its day, which is the exact opposite of what I usually stereotype as a mobile game. The article did note that:

Final Fantasy Mobile plans to offer things like improved party organizing, solo-play improvements, better battle functionality, enriched community features as well as other tweaked in-game elements.

But unless the foundation of the game has changed significantly from what I remember, they’re going to have a lot to do to improve the non-existent solo-play that casual people are going to expect from a mobile game. I guess I’m just trying to wrap my mind around how they’re going to squish all those complexities into a little smartphone app.

mmmorpg

On the other hand, if they can make it work, go for it. Having more meaningful mobile games would be a step in the right direction. And we’ve already heard that ArcheAge wants to go mobile, too.

Other news sees FFXI releasing its final large content update and shutting down servers for Xbox 360 and PS2 players March of 2016. The PC servers don’t appear to be effected from this news, though it’s unknown if this new mobile version will have any connection to existing PC servers. I’m kinda doubting it, though.

 

So what do you think about trying to squeeze MMO complexity into a mobile app? Are you ready to embrace MMMORPGs, or do you have some reservations about the idea?