pulling together some anime and manga threads

There are a few stray threads rattling around in my head that I’ve been meaning to gather together into a blog post. I got one or two into this morning’s post about Full Metal Panic, but it didn’t make sense to pull any of the other threads into that particular post.

First thing: I’ve been relying on my Sony PS3 as a DVD/Blu-ray player for, let’s see… eleven years now, apparently. It has always been pretty noisy, and has gotten more so as it has gotten older. (And it’s particularly bad on hot days.) One of my rationales for buying an Xbox One was that it would probably be a better, quieter, DVD/Blu-ray player than the PS3. I still haven’t gotten around to buying a media remote for the Xbox though, so I’ve continued to use the PS3 for playing discs. But I think I may have finally driven it over the edge this weekend. After watching an hour or so of the first disc of FMP: TSR, I took a break, then when I came back and tried to pick up where I’d left off, I found that the PS3 wouldn’t recognize the disc anymore. I didn’t try to do much troubleshooting. I just switched over to the Xbox, and it worked fine. (And there’s no fan noise on the Xbox!) The regular Xbox controller doesn’t make a very good media remote, but it’s workable, once you’ve read the support article telling you what all the buttons do. I’m probably still going to want to buy a media remote at some point, but I’m not in a hurry.

As for the PS3, I’ll give the drive another try at some point and see if it’s fried or if it just overheated yesterday. I’m not sure what I’ll do if it’s fried. Maybe it’s time to give up on the PS3. (But I have so many games I haven’t gotten around to playing yet, and the PS4 isn’t backward compatible with PS3 discs. Oh well.)

Second thread: I mentioned the “hedgehog’s dilemma” in my post about Neon Genesis Evangelion a couple of months ago. I saw this week that Felicity Ward has a comedy show about the hedgehog’s dilemma that is available for download here. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’ve liked her appearances on The Bugle, so I’m curious about it.

Third thread: I just finished reading the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series. I’ve had the original black & white books in my reading pile since 2010, and just decided to read them now, as a break from War and Peace. I liked them a lot. I saw an article about a fifteenth anniversary party for the Scott Pilgrim books on Twitter yesterday, so that’s another (slightly) weird coincidence. I think you could probably get a decent essay out of the idea of applying the hedgehog’s dilemma to Scott Pilgrim. Out of curiosity, I searched for “Scott Pilgrim hedgehog” and found an academic paper that matched those terms, but the reference was to Sonic the Hedgehog.

Fourth thread: I’ve now succeeded in selling off all of my Ai Yori Aoshi manga and most of my Rurouni Kenshin manga on eBay. I still have nine items listed on eBay that haven’t sold. I’m just letting them automatically relist every week, with lower prices. I guess if they don’t sell, then at some point I’ll give up and put them aside for a library sale donation or something. I have more books I’d like to put up on eBay, but I don’t really want to do the work right now.

And I’m resisting the urge to buy more manga on eBay. I noticed somebody selling the Full Metal Panic manga, all nine volumes, for $36. That’s kind of tempting. And it’s out of print in the US, so I can’t get it digitally. That’s the problem with selling stuff on eBay; I always start straying off into looking at other people’s auctions, then I wind up buying more stuff!

Anyway, I think my next manga series might have to be Oh My Goddess. I’ve read three of those, and have nine that I haven’t read yet. Of course, there are another 6 or 7 that I don’t own, so I’ll eventually end up back on eBay… And now that I’m looking at it on Wikipedia and Goodreads, I realize that there are a lot more volumes of OMG than I thought there were. I was only looking at the first twenty volumes, but there are actually 48 total. Well, I assume I’ll get tired of it after twenty, but who knows? At least OMG is available digitally.

Not buying an Xbox

Yesterday, my brain decided to go down a path where buying an Xbox One started to seem like a good idea. I had nearly convinced myself to buy an Xbox One S from Walmart. I occasionally get the urge to play console video games. I still have my PlayStation 3 for that, but I bought it back in 2008, so it’s pretty old. But I have plenty of unfinished (and even un-started) games for it. So that should really be enough for me.

Anyway, I’d started thinking about Stardew Valley again for some reason. I could, of course, just buy that on Steam or GOG and play it on my PC or Mac, but it seems like the kind of thing that would work best on a console. It’s available for all three of the major (current) consoles: Switch, Xbox, and PS4. I’ve mostly been brand-loyal to Sony over the years, having owned the PlayStation 1, 2, and 3, and a PSP, but I haven’t been able to get too excited about the PS4. And I’ve never had any version of the Xbox. So that seemed like maybe something to try out.

Of course, then I started thinking about all the unfinished games I have, and all the clutter in my apartment, and mostly talked myself out of it. That got me started on a little kick to locate all of those games and the various game guides I’d bought for them. And that got me to realize how much clutter has been piling up in here. So the whole thing turned into a mini-cleanup project. I managed to sort out a bunch of stuff from past San Diego comic cons, and get that all together in a basket. And a bunch of old Metropolitan Museum bulletins, which I managed to get into a neat stack. And I eventually found all (I think) of the video game guides that I own. I have guides for Final Fantasy 8, 9, and 10. I made it about a third of the way through FF8, and still haven’t (technically) given up. I decide to give it a shot once in a while, make no progress, then give up again. I never started 9 or 10. I also have a nice hardcover guide for Metal Gear Solid 4, which is the game that came with my PS3. I never started that either. And I have two copies of the guide for Neverwinter Nights, for some reason. Speaking of NWN, the Enhanced Edition of that is marked down to $4 on Steam right now, so I should probably grab that while it’s on sale. The version I have now is the old GOG version, which kind of works OK on Windows 10, but kinda doesn’t.

Or I should go outside and take a walk. It’s a nice day out!

game nostalgia

I’ve been feeling nostalgic for old computer games recently. Particularly, Moria (the Amiga version) and the “gold box” AD&D games.

Moria was a “roguelike” game, similar to several other games that were popular back when I was in college. They all, generally speaking, had simple, ASCII graphics, and randomly-generated dungeons. I’ve been looking around for more modern roguelike games, and have found a few interesting possibilities.

Yesterday, I bought Rogue Legacy on my PS3. This game has some elements in common with the roguelikes that I’m familiar with, including randomly-generated dungeons, but it’s really a 2D side-scroller, and I think it may be a bit too frenetic for my taste. But I’ll play around with it some more. It’s fun, but I don’t think I’m going to be any good at it.

On the subject of the AD&D gold box games, I did some web searching, to see if they’d been ported to Steam or re-released on GOG or anything, but it doesn’t look like they have. I did discover, though, that some folks from SSI (the company responsible for the gold box games) have started a new company called TSI, and they’re working on a new game, in the same spirit as the old AD&D games. That could be really interesting.

And, at some point, I should get back to the Final Fantasy series. I played all the way through FF VII on my PS1. (Though I may have finished it on my PS2. I can’t remember.) And I’ve gotten a good way through FF VIII. (Probably started on my PS2 and continued on my PS3, which, yes, can still play PS1 games!) I should finish that, then try FF IX. (I do have all three of these on CD, but they’re also available on PSN now, I think.)

Hulu Plus

I blogged about Hulu Plus a few days ago, and the issues I had getting it run smoothly on my PS3. I e-mailed support about it, and they gave me a few things to double-check, so I did all that and the audio/video sync is still off by a bit, but it’s mostly tolerable.
Meanwhile, after not using my Wii for about six months, I decided to turn it on last weekend, and it wouldn’t work. I tried a few things, couldn’t get it working, and gave up on it. I even offered to give away all my games and peripherals on Facebook. I was going to pack them all up today, and get the main Wii box ready for recycling, but I decided to give it one more try.  Long story short, it’s working again.
So I decided to try out Hulu Plus on the Wii. It only became available for the Wii recently. It works pretty well though. The video quality is a bit lower than on the PS3, of course, but it’s watchable, the audio/video sync is good, and it’s pretty consistent (no jaggies). So I may decide to keep the Wii largely for the sake of Hulu Plus.

Hulu Plus

I signed up for a Hulu Plus account yesterday. The idea was that I’d use it on my PS3 to catch up on a few shows, and maybe watch a few of the Criterion Collection movies that they’ve got on there now. I’ve been pretty disappointed with it though. The biggest problem is that the audio isn’t quite in sync with the video. It’s not too far off, but it’s off enough to be a bit of a distraction. And the video gets a bit jaggy sometimes. I’ve run some speed tests on my internet connection, and it really ought to be good enough to do streaming video. I may cancel the account before my one-week trial is up. Or I might keep it long enough to catch up on Misfits and the last season of Battlestar Galactica, then cancel it.

too many games

For the purpose of convincing myself not to buy any new games, here’s a list of all the games I have sitting around that I haven’t played yet, but which I fully intend on playing through:

  • Final Fantasy IX (PS2)
  • Final Fantasy X (PS2)
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
  • Metal Gear Acid (PSP)
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)
  • Force Unleashed (PS3)

Okay, that ought to be enough to keep me from buying FF X-2 or FF 12 for the PS2, or Metal Gear Acid 2 for the PSP, or, well, anything new for the PS3 or Wii. I need to keep reminding myself that it’s a lot easier to plunk down $20 for an old PS2 or PSP game than it is to find the 50 hours to play it through…

PSN video store

I just got an e-mail announcing the availability of video rental and purchase on the PS3 through the PlayStation Network. I’ve been curious about this since I first heard of it. Here’s an article about it.

I just jumped on my PS3 and took a look at what was available. Honestly, there’s not much there that I’m really excited about. Buying videos that I can only watch on my PS3, and that will forever be taking up hard drive space on it doesn’t seem like a great idea. Renting seems like a good deal — just download the movie, watch it, then delete it.

Interestingly, there’s also a new anime series that will be exclusive to PSN. It looks like it might be good, but I don’t know if I want to get hooked on a series that I’ll have to $2 per episode to watch. There’s plenty of free anime on Cartoon Network and elsewhere on cable.