And Then Came Haruhi Suzumiya…

by Erika on December 31, 2013

haruhi suzumiya

There are few anime as sublime as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. As though the series wasn’t already fascinating enough, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya offered me one of the most enriching experiences I’ve felt in an anime yet.

Thinking back, sometimes I feel quite silly about how excited I get about certain anime. Every now and again there’s some attribute I look for, find and resonate with before I can even completely fathom it. That feeling doesn’t always last, but it leaves me a moment of bliss I can’t yet shake. It’s fun, but temporary in intensity.

Haruhi Suzumiya, however, did something only the best of the best can achieve. I’m dumbfounded considered the mastery behind some of these works, and there I was contemplating whether or not I should waste my time. I can be pretty foolish sometimes.

I don’t know if I can completely express these feelings on camera, but rest assure there will be mention of it at one point or another — I’ll proudly wear my heart on my sleeve as per usual.  There are certain things worth writing about and this is one of them, even if only to express the sheer whimsy I feel from it. Felt that way? Relish it like your life depended on it, and let the world know of its wonders.

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So if you’re familiar with my Youtube Channel, you might have seen my retro gaming series, Retro Renegade.  By no means is this a new endeavor, I’ve been at it since October 2012 in written form, but it’s a series I am so excited to expand.  With my channel quickly taking off, now seemed like the perfect time to push the limits of this important series!

If you’d like to watch my latest review for genre-bending space shooter/action-exploration game, The Guardian Legend, you can find it below:

And if you’d like to check out my series on Eggplante!, please give it a look!

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It’s About Damn Time!

by Erika on August 15, 2013

My Magical Workspace

Hey all, welcome to my long forgotten website! Now it’s not all so bad… Just setting sight on my blog invigorated me to do more with it, even with the little time I have.

My main social media realms definitely have to be Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, but I’d like to put a little more love and attention into this here blog. If you’re not familiar with any of my profiles, feel free to check ‘em out!

In the coming days I’ll be posting much, much more here so if you like gaming, comics, Japanese fashion, cosplay and more you might just want to check it out! Stay tuned! :D

P.S. And if you’re wondering, this is my lovely little workspace. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

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Review: Xenoblade Chronicles

by Erika on April 30, 2012

I recently tried to publish this review for Xenoblade Chronicles to one of my major outlets, Future Shop Tech Blog, but later realized that because it’s sold exclusively through Gamestop it wasn’t gonna cut it.  I was really hoping to offer some sort of coverage so I’ve decided to publish the review on my very under-appreciated blog, mind-bit.  Here’s some love, mind-bit.  You deserve it:

Japanese RPGs have always been a big part of my life.  Since I was young, their captivating stories and intricate gameplay propelled me forward growing up. While I’m still a big fan of the genre, it’s changed considerably over the years, taking fewer and fewer risks and never quite aging as well as anticipated.

Games like Rogue Galaxy, Resonance of Fate, Trails in the Sky and Persona 3 and 4 are a few that I think have taken the best features from the genre while introducing a few new features along the way, but there just aren’t enough like them. It’s been a long time since I’ve played an emotionally captivating JRPG and I was starting to lose hope, but then came Xenoblade Chronicles.

Originally released in 2010, Xenoblade Chronicles was a long time coming for North American fans.  Released earlier this month, this game has reignited my passion for the genre without making any substantial changes along the way.  Funny how these things work.

Xenoblade introduces us to a mythical story involving two massive titans, Bionis and Mechonis, fighting a timeless battle until one day only their lifeless bodies remained.  Although eons pass and life begins to flourish on both of the titans, conflict continues to thrive.

Bionis’ human Hom race is attacked by the Mechon, a horde of blood thirsty machines from Mechonis.  Fighting to defend their existence, a Hom soldier named Dunban drives out the Mechon hordes with a legendary, time-bending blade called the Monado.  Of course, the blade comes with its vices, slowly absorbing strength from its wielder, leaving Dunban severely wounded after the epic battle.  One year later, another invasion occurs in which a young researcher named Shulk becomes the new wielder of the mysterious weapon.

One feature that makes Xenoblade so compelling is its real-time battle system. Much like the Active Time Battle System or Active Dimension Battle System, this game adds a time-based strategy to its battle commands. While many have regarded this game as having MMO tendencies, this sub-genre of turn-based battles harkens back to games as early as Final Fantasy IV where the ATB system was first introduced.

This battle system consists of several different actions, where the right combinations can whittle down a tough customer in seconds. Experimenting with different battle combinations, using Tactic and Monado Arts for defensive and offensive skills, observing your party member’s actions, timing morale boosts and charged chain attacks, and adjusting your character’s movements are a big part of battle. Also, strengthening bonds with your party members via exploration, Heart to Hearts or by helping them in battle will, in turn, improve your chain attack effectiveness.

Boss battles are an entirely different breed all together, allowing you to predict the boss’ actions with the help of the Monado.  By seeing into the future, you can then prevent all measures of attack by informing your party members, and shielding from said attack.  Each time you successfully change the future a new future appears which you must continue to avoid.  This system is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, implementing an array of features that are as intuitive as they are inventive.

Xenoblade is impressively non-linear, letting you explore and wander the world freely; however, it doesn’t hurt to proceed with caution. There have been several times early on in the game where I’ve explored a little too far and ended up killed by, say, a Level 81 Territorial Rotbart. Having the opportunity to see your enemy and their level before battle certainly makes the game fair (I just think of all the times in old JRPGs where a heavy hitter in a random encounter would demolish me without question). Here, there’s sort of an appeal to deciding whether or not to run into potential dangers.

Although I’ve played about 40 hours of this game, most of my time has been spent finishing missions (which isn’t as monotonous as you think). More than just busy work, completing these missions gives you access to rare items and loot you might not come across as easily if you were to plow through the campaign.  By taking your time to help the residents of each locale, you also begin to establish better relationships with them allowing you access to even more rarities.  While this is an optional aspect of the game, it comes with its benefits.

Despite how overwhelming all of this may seem, Xenoblade is an immersive experience.  Not only do we get to explore the intricacies of each character, unravel a story eons in the making, and strategize battle tendencies, we also get to appreciate the games beautifully vast landscapes (even though the textures can be muddy, they offer a nostalgic appeal), and rich English/Japanese voice acting (despite both being well performed, the Japanese voice acting is the successor of the two, in my opinion). While that’s only covering a small portion of what you can actually do in this game, there’s so much to admire.

Xenoblade Chronicles is a JRPG at its finest.  While many jaded fans of the genre might think to look past this game, think twice. It perseveres not by being radically different, but by embracing the key foundations of the genre itself.

 

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magical things

by Erika on January 9, 2012

 

“When did you get so hollow?” is one of my favourite pieces by Jessica Singh.  Check out her website at http://www.jessicasingh.com/

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mind-bit resurrected

by Erika on January 4, 2012

Happy 2012, everyone!

After tinkering with both my banner and The Thesis Theme for WordPress (probably the best damn theme you could possibly purchase) I think my work is complete.  I get this deep sense of happiness from designing blogs and this is definitely one of my favourites.

If you’re wondering why I went with the name mind-bit it’s actually the name of an old art blog I used to run.  The old mind-bit featured daily interviews with  cool contemporary artists across the globe and while  that blog is long gone, the new mind-bit will feature that sort of content and much more (as described in my last post).

I’m already working on some blog posts set to be published in the next couple of days so stay tuned!

To hold you over, you should check out my 2011 Top Gaming Picks on Toronto Thumbs.  It was pretty difficult to choose the best of the best, but I think I narrowed it down well.

Once again, thanks for your patience, everyone.  You’re all such lovely people :)

xoxo

P.S. I actually do want a trip to the moon (very badly, in fact).  This beautiful piece of work was done by Deila Maharanie.  You should check out her uber colourful works at http://www.dielamaharanie.com/

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New Beginnings

by Erika on December 30, 2011

I’ve been procrastinating for far too long.

When I first started this blog back in October it was supposed to be a way for me to express my thoughts and obsessions.  I already do a little bit of that on Twitter and Facebook, but there was no way I could convey these things in short (I mean, I could and I do but not in the way that I would like to).  Since that time I’ve been… how should I put it? Lazy.  I’m not always lazy, most of the time I’m a workaholic, but some of the time I can be dangerously unproductive.  This is one of those times.

So I made a deal with myself.  With 2012 fast approaching I decided to finally get up off my lazy ass and start blogging.  I would blog like there was no tomorrow.  I already have a few outlets I blog for (my dream job, truly) but the one person I’ve never blogged for is myself.  This is my New Years resolution and I’m sticking by it — kind of excited actually.

If you’re reading this sad excuse of a blog, don’t fret.  New things will come and they will come very soon.  Expect to read about all the crazy, kooky things that live in my brain.  Those magical things include: video games, sex toys, vinyl designer figurines, David Lynch, anime, raunchy and not-so-raunchy web comics, crappy b-films, board games, indie games, my cat, Magic: The Gathering, goth clubs, fetish, cyberpunk and many, many others.  If you don’t like my content or what I have to say you don’t have to read it.  Easy peasy.

Another thing I plan on changing is my pathetic banner.  The cute little rendition of me (thanks to my buddy, Cory Schmitz) is staying but the thought of my name looming over every blog post kind of gives me a headache so expect that to change sometime soon as well.  I don’t know what I should change it to, however, so suggestions are always open.  Hopefully that will be updated in the next week or so.

I truly hope you enjoy all the crazy things to come.  They will be wild.

Hugs and Kisses

P.S. The killer artwork was done by a super cool dude who goes by the name boneface.  You can check out more of his work at http://www.boneface.co.uk/

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