Category Archives: Personal Rants

Steam Summer Sale Haul, Mini-Reviews

As the Steam Summer Sale draws to a close (the deals are around for only about 36 more hours), I’d like to give little mini-reviews for everything I’ve acquired in the past week or two. To keep this short, all of these reviews have at least a Very Positive review rating (as far as I remember). I noted review ratings for games with an Overwhelmingly Positive rating. Most games I haven’t played for more than a half-hour, but there’s no purchase I’m really dissatisfied with yet.

Valkyria Chronicles: SEGA, what you get if Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, and Battalion Wars were mixed together. You have strategy that comes through both what you do through turn-based top down views and third person shooter views.

Astebreed: Edelweiss, an arcade shooter with an anime-type story that switches camera angles dynamically throughout stages. Has risk/reward tradeoffs that I generally like in games – you can make it as easy or as hard as you want. Haven’t played too much yet.
EDIT: After playing this a bit, I requested a refund. I don’t see myself having much fun with this type of game (crazy shooters).

Broken Age: Double Fine, a point-and-click adventure game spawned from a popular Kickstarter. Seems nice so far, but also a bit kiddy (not a problem for me personally – I know it’s very early in the game).

Cities: Skylines: Colossal Order, SimCity without the always-online requirement. And better. 95% positive review rating on Steam.

Crypt of the NecroDancer: Brace Yourself Games, a roguelike RPG with rhythm elements. Slightly disappointed that it’s less song-dependent and more just knowing how to keep a beat. Haven’t played too much, but I’ll probably be coming back. Singing shopkeeper worth mentioning. 98% positive review rating on Steam.

Democracy 3: Positech Games, a low on pretty graphics government sim. You decide the budget and issue positions through charts and graphs, and watch your decisions shape your country for better or worse. Through charts and graphs. Haven’t played much yet.

Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition: Koei Tecmo, slaughter alarming amounts of enemies in this action game. Gamers are kinda salty because despite the Complete Edition label, there is still a wealth of paid DLC.

Freedom Planet: GalaxyTrail, this Totally Not A Sonic Game is a 2D platformer with multiple characters with different moves. And yes, it is compared to Sonic a lot. 97% positive review rating on Steam. Demo available.

Grow Home: Reflections, an Ubisoft Studio, this platforming/exploration indie game involves a robot trying to grow, and get to, the top of a massive tree. You control the way it grows. Doesn’t require uPlay.

Mini Metro: Dinosaur Polo Club, an EARLY ACCESS title nearing completion, this simple-to-learn, tough-to-master strategy game involves you making a simplified subway network with limited resources while trying to not let any one stop fill up with passengers. Runs well on touchscreens! Quite fun, in my opinion. 97% positive review rating on Steam.

One Way Heroics: Smoking WOLF, this roguelike RPG with randomized worlds involves you constantly heading right to escape the oncoming darkness. With multiple playthroughs, your character gets stronger and unlocks more classes. 95% positive reviews on Steam, expanded edition coming soon.

Remember Me: DONTNOD, this beautiful action/adventure game is kinda similar to Assassin’s Creed in the shallow (but still fun in my opinion) combat system, and the fact you’ll be hanging from and jumping between ledges a lot (but in a far more linear manner). The world of 2084 Neo-Paris feels full of life, and the puzzle-like Memory Remix portions of the game are quite fun.

My Trip To Cebu, Philippines!

Well, I said this was coming, and I wanted to do this for a long time. I finally get to pound it out!

As I mentioned in my LDR post, I got the fantastic opportunity to travel to the Philippines in January to meet my girlfriend after a year and four months together. I meant to write this way earlier, but at first I was procrastinating due to the long length this would undoubtedly be, and then when my relationship with my girlfriend fell apart, it was obvious to me that writing this then would have prevented the wounds from closing. And then I just kinda forgot about the post some more. I am now, I feel, at the point where I write this and focus on the good and the interesting things – which the trip did have in abundance. Plus I need to write this soon before I start to forget details…

First, some background: Metro Cebu is the Philippines’ second largest metropolitan area behind Metro Manilla, the capital. The Philippines is a newly industrialized country. In Cebu, I saw a downtown city area not at all behind what you might see in a ‘lesser’ large US city, and the slums, a community down by a river whose buildings seemed basically like large pieces of scrap metal, and basically everything in between.

Language in the Philippines is a bit of an odd affair to Americans: because there are many islands, many different languages have taken root in the country. There are two official languages in the Philippines: English and Filipino (a standardized form of Tagalog and it seems like the two terms are used pretty interchangeably). Many parts of the country also have their own regional language – Cebu has Cebuano. My girlfriend’s home had Waray. Most people speak English, but only to a certain extent. In Cebu, Cebuano was preferred. Nearly everyone knows enough English and Tagalog to get by, but they won’t use it if they don’t have to. When my girlfriend was speaking to other people on my behalf, it was never English. Signs, notices, and websites, however, were frequently in English.

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Continue reading My Trip To Cebu, Philippines!

Tips on International Long Distance Relationships (LDRs)

After a long and mostly happy 1 year 5 month long distance relationship between me and my Filipino girlfriend, things turned south at a pretty fast rate after we met and finally we left each other last week, neither of us really fully knowing what had happened (several months later, I can guess, but unfortunately it will always be just a guess at this point). Despite this, I am open to the idea of future LDRs, even international LDRs, as long as we do a better job of communicating. I still think they’re indeed possible to pull off, and I wish the best of luck to anyone who might be in one. Here I want to share some tips so that other couples in similar situations may avoid this. This is primarily written for people in international relationships, but people in same-country relationships can learn something here too.

Anything to add to any of these? Tips, warnings, date ideas for those who the Internet is a rare treasure? Comment and I’ll add to the post.

– Communicate. You are both coming from different cultures. Depending on where you are coming from, the rules of dating, personal values, and etiquette may be very different. Do not underestimate this or it will come to kick both of you in the butt. This is the major reason why our relationship failed. Filipino women are raised to believe they should play hard-to-get, to challenge their boyfriends to see if they are worthy. Our relationship was already on the rocks, but she wanted to me to read her mind and decipher her conflicting statements on top of that. As a fairly direct person (an American), I really didn’t appreciate that. To me, that made her seem dishonest, and made her appear like she didn’t know what she wanted. I heartily believe if we were able to talk about this sooner, nail down shared expectations, and draw some boundaries on the relationship, we would still be happy together today. This will most likely take heavy lifting for both of you. You should actively do some research online to figure out as much as you can about each other’s culture. And, hey, it’s a pleasant surprise to the other person if you can demonstrate that you did do your research. Assume the other person knows absolutely nothing about your culture to start off with (unless they prove otherwise)
This can also be tricky – some things are hard to learn. One of my ‘mistakes’ in the Philippines was tossing a backpack onto a chair. In America, this is acceptable, and everyone I got opinions from (probably about 10 people at this point) questions what the problem with that was. My girlfriend and her parents, however, were shocked and appalled. I did not learn this until much later, which leads me to another point here: PLEASE alert your significant other IMMEDIATELY if they do something on accident that is not considered good in your culture. They may not know what it is, and if so they will be confused when you aggressively maintain their behavior was inappropriate while they think they didn’t do anything wrong. And if you’re silently fuming at them, not revealing the reasons behind it, the greater the chances of a tense relationship. Continue reading Tips on International Long Distance Relationships (LDRs)

Mind the gap

Hey, it’s been nearly two months since my last blog post, so I’m overdue for one. I have definitely been working on stuff, but I have been busier than ever (I took a trip to the Philippines the second half of January which you might hear more about, I’ve also been angling for a full-time job which I am going to start very soon, and some personal issues I’m not ready to put out into the open because it’s still a stressful, rapidly changing situation). I do want to do a few blog posts (about the trip, about the two website-material things I’ve been working on, and some other things). But, you know, I haven’t been too active on the blog, so who knows when those things will come.

One thing for now: Yeah, the OSU Dining Map has kinda fallen through now. Trying to remake two apps while maintaining a third is… well, I think I have more important things to do. Branching the map out into apps, while a great experience for me, kinda doomed the project by multiplying the work (and yes, trying to unify the three systems so they would be easier to manage was my goal, but that’s still a lot of work). Sorry about that. If it’s any consolation, the hours from Fall semester barely changed for Winter/Spring.

What I’ve been doing

Yeah, it’s been a while. Time to write here again.

First off, in the real world, I’ve now been at my new apartment for a couple of months now. I’ve been continuing to work, and get used to my new life providing (mostly) for myself. I question who I’ve become every time I compare brand prices at the supermarket, looking for the lowest prices and barely accepting anything more than that :P

There have also been a few things going on that I’ve done online too, although for the most part I’ve been quiet about them. Here’s they are:

I BELIEVE I am now a Windows Store developer again. They recently switched from a yearly fee to a one-time fee. I think I am now able to publish again, despite not actually having paid anything (I was signed up as a student before, which gave me access back then). I have not tested this yet. But since I still have the OSU Dining Map running, I want to get the app back on track soon.

I KNOW I am now a Chrome App Store developer. That only costs $5, so it was quite cheap. I made a Chrome extension for Newgrounds that assists in filtering out explicit content that you don’t mean to view. It’s a bit complicated to explain, so here: http://www.brianorchosky.com/chrome/ngfilter.html

It went to v1.00 about a week ago, and I made a few adjustments, additions, and bug fixes since. I haven’t made a big deal out of it yet because I want to be sure it works as good as possible first before I advertise it too much on NG.

After this, my next personal project is to try to make something that can sell. Not sure what will be yet, and while I like the idea I have (an extension to manage website passwords), I’m not sure it will be well-received (why trust my extension enough to buy it?).

My YouTube channel, which I’ll probably start linking to from the site, has taken off exponentially in the past few months. I have done numerous videos about Phantasy Star Online 2, my new favorite game by a long shot. Last weekend I got the hang of YouTube livestreaming, and began to do that too (today I did a livestream on Half Minute Hero 2, so it’s not completely PSO2 stuff). Here’s my channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Brianbcdefg123 If you subscribe, you should be able to see when I’m livestreaming, so you can catch it. Not completely sure how that works, honestly.

I also recently published my 50th Space Jam Mashup song, the Slowpoke Slam. I’ll make sure the website’s mashup page is up to date… eventually.

Can’t really think of anything else for right now, so I guess that’s it :P Still have more planned. Stay tuned…