Episode 11 Show Notes

Check out the show notes for the newest episode of my podcast, Everyone Is Funnier Than Us. We’re trying the show notes format to see how it works. Feel free to leave feedback and let us know what you think.

Everyone Is Funnier Than Us

So we thought we’d try this thing where we do show notes with our episodes. We’re not really sure where this will go yet, however it’s always worth trying. Plus, if we have polls going forward, we’ll direct you here (potentially) so that you can just get to the polls easily.

Haven’t downloaded episode 11, entitled “Money is Funny (At Least Something Is)”? You should click on one of the links below to download this episode now. We’re also available on Pocket Casts in addition to those below.

iTunes
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We mentioned a few resources that you might find use to help yourself out with money in the podcast. Samantha specifically brought up the online programs Mint and Digit. Mint and Digit are neither a sponsor of Tim nor Samantha individually, nor EIFTU as a show. That said, we wanted to share a bit about them.

Mint is a…

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Fire Emblem Direct Thoughts

A little over a week and a half ago, Nintendo held a Nintendo Direct event for the Fire Emblem series of games. As you might be aware, I like Fire Emblem just a little bit. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the four games discussed in the event below. If you haven’t watched the event yet, you can find the full video below.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Shadows of Valentia is a game inspired by an earlier entry in the Fire Emblem series, 1992’s Gaiden. While I’ve played quite a few games in the Fire Emblem series, Gaiden is not one of the titles I’ve played to this point. From everything I’ve gathered, the gameplay mechanics of Gaiden differ pretty drastically from other Fire Emblem games, which is a disappointment. Gaiden combines the turn-based strategy of a typical Fire Emblem game with a navigable world map similar to games in the Legend of Zelda series. I love the turn-based style combat of Fire Emblem, so seeing a Fire Emblem game deviate from that — as three of the games on this list are expected to do to some extent — is a bit disappointing.

With that said, Shadows of Valentia appears to have a good storyline, at least from what little we can glean from the Direct event. The game itself is reported to copy Gaiden‘s gameplay style nearly directly, though an updated story inspired by Gaiden will be introduced with Shadows of Valentia. Part of me is tempted to get my hands on an emulator copy of Gaiden soon to see if I like the style. But there’s two main things holding me back from that.

  1. Gaiden never received an English translation
  2. I really hate Zelda style games

The Direct event shows a scene around the 5:15 mark where you appear to do a dungeon crawl level that really turns me off to the game. As much as I love Fire Emblem, I have no desire to play hack and slash or dungeon crawl games. That said, a lot of the other scenes focus on more traditional Fire Emblem game play. My hope is that Shadows of Valentia focuses more on the traditional game play than the overworld.

Shadows of Valentia will be releasing on May 19, 2017.

Hype Rating: 3 of 5

Fire Emblem for Nintendo Switch

We don’t get a title for whatever the new Fire Emblem game coming to the Switch is, but that’s alright since the game won’t be releasing until 2018. We don’t know much about the new game other than it’ll be the first full console release of Fire Emblem since the Wii. Even in the Direct event, all we got was a 45 second blurb about the game coming out in 2018. That said, of the coming games, it’s the one I’m most intrigued to learn more about and eventually play.

Hype Rating: Incomplete, though likely at least 4 of 5

Fire Emblem: Warriors

No.

But really though. Dynasty Warriors is a hack and slash series that I have zero cares about. If you want to see an example of exactly how hack and slashy this game is, go to the 7:50 mark in the video at the top of the post. The art in Warriors looks amazing from the preview video, though I’d have to assume that’s console gameplay we’re looking at, not handheld. While Warriors will be released on the 3DS and 2DS in addition to the Switch, I do get the impression that either there will be less stellar graphics on the handhelds, or we’ll see a degradation of play quality. Since I can’t imagine Nintendo allowing the latter to happen, I’ll assume that the handheld versions will have lessened graphics qualities.

But hey, at least Chrom is in the trailer?

Hype Rating: 1 of 5

Fire Emblem Heroes

This game screams Brave Frontier or Final Fantasy: Brave Exivus. Bad. To the point where I had to go back and watch the Direct video a few times to make sure Alim wasn’t part of the development for Heroes.

This is Nintendo’s first foray into the mobile market with a Fire Emblem game. Heroes — at least from what we can tell from the Direct video — looks to combine some of the turn-based attack strategy game from Fire Emblem’s other games with summoning type mechanics found in mobile games like Brave Frontier.

Of all the games announced so far, Heroes is the only game thus far where I’m disappointed with the released art. I don’t know if this is because I’m so used to seeing newer Fire Emblem games like Awakening and Fates, however the actual gameplay art of Heroes is subpar. The non-gameplay art (in particular the summoning art) seems to be pretty good, so perhaps it’s just the preview that I’m bothered with.

Not shockingly, Nintendo has decided to go with the microtransaction model for acquiring the in-game currency needed to acquire units in this game. As much as I’d like to try Heroes thanks to my love for the Fire Emblem series (as well as the aforementioned Brave Frontier), I don’t think I’ll find myself picking up Heroes when it releases on February 2, 2017.

Hype Rating: 1.5 of 5

In Her Majesty’s Silent Service

“Mom, I want to get a picture with him!”

“Kaitlyn, he’s doing his job. Leave the poor man be.”

“Puhleeeeease!”

“Terry, make your daughter listen to me.”

“Kaitlyn, please listen to your mother and leave the guard alone. I’m sure he’s had to deal with enough tourists trying to get pictures with him today.”

Terry was right and wrong, all at the same time. I, along with nearly every other member of the Queen’s Guard, have tourists take pictures of us at a seemingly endless rate. I’m fortunate enough to begin my duty at a relatively early hour of the day, meaning the majority of people who cross my path are commuters rather than tourists. However, the sentry who takes up the guard after my tour of duty in the rotation ends deals with far more people than I.

The Americans are the worst. Loud, brash, insistent on spelling words like colour and aeroplane improperly. The Americans are the visitors that drive the less experienced sentries mad. I personally have a hot and cold relationship with them. On one hand, their country’s repressive drinking age means that young Americans are more likely to be drunk tourists. Drunk tourists never cease to add amusement to my day. On the other hand, I cannot interact with them. I cannot laugh, smile, nor otherwise act in such a manner that distracts me from my post.

‘You may not eat, sleep, smoke, stand easy, sit or lie down during your tour of duty.’

So it is. So it was. So it shall be. All in the service of our majesty, the Queen.

“I wonder when he’s going to move next.”

“The internet says they’re supposed to move every 10 minutes.”

“Oh what the fuck. It feels like we’ve been here an hour already.”

The second young lad was right, while the third was wrong. I, like all other members of the guard, do march every ten minutes at my post. The group had only been standing watching for a little over three minutes. It’s peculiar the details you begin to remember and which you begin to forget when your task is largely to remain silent for two hours at a time. If bystanders don’t say their names or don’t do anything to cause me to yell at them, they all blend together as voices in my memory. By the same token, I’ve learned to tell the amount of time that has passed in a ten minute increment within ten seconds in my head.

“Try saying something funny to him.”

“Wanker!”

Heard it. Your mum said it better.

“It didn’t work. Try again.”

“Fuck off. You want to make him laugh, you try.”

“WANKER!”

Saying something louder doesn’t make it funnier. It just makes it louder. That’s how science works.

“What if we ask him question until he answers?”

Won’t work.

“Do you like it when I do this?”

The first lad grabbed the second lad’s leg and began thrusting his pelvis at it rapidly and rhythmically. This led to the second boy smacking his friend, then running off while the first boy chased after. If I didn’t see that skit nearly every day from a teen, I’d probably find it funny. Instead, it just bored me.

Every once in a while, one of the passers-by will ask a question I wished I could answer. While the wording my vary by person, the six questions I hear the most frequently are asked in a manner similar to the following.

  • Are you a real solider? [Yes.]
  • Do you like your fuzzy hat? [My uniform is a representation of my country and my duty. I love my country and I honour my duty. Therefore, I love my fuzzy hat.]
  • Are you hungry/thirsty/tired? [It’s irrelevant while I am at my post.]
  • Have you ever had to use your gun? [Fire it? No. Port arms for someone not heeding my warnings? Only twice so far. I don’t particularly see this number rising, as my post is no longer one that the public can walk directly to. A rope prevents the public from getting closer than ten meters from my post.]
  • I want to take him home with me. [Not a question, but the answer is no. This answer remains the same independent of your attractiveness, at least while I’m on my tour of duty.]
  • What would make him smile?

That last question — as innocent and simple as it may be — is one that brings a particularly high level of consternation to my mind. As I mentioned before, we are not to stand easy while on guard. The intense focus necessary to perform our duties is more than just a solider’s training. It is about protecting and honouring the Crown. That’s not to say I was immune from cracking a smile as a guard. But every day I endeavored to be as serious about my job as possible.

“Daddy?”

“Yeah, sweetie?”

“Why isn’t the man in the funny suit moving?”

“He’s a guard for the Queen.”

“But I don’t see the Queen.”

Children like that small girl confused about the lack of the Queen’s presence bring me the closest to smiling or laughter. One day, very early in my time as a member of the Queen’s Guard, a small girl from somewhere in the Commonwealth (I believe Canada based on her accent, but time has faded the memory) walked under the ropes and started making her way towards me. Her parents yelled after her, causing the child to stop mere paces from where I would have been forced to shout at her to stand back.  For the next few seconds, the parents pleaded with the child to cross the ropes, while the girl insisted that she wanted to hug me. Had I not been on duty, I would have immediately walked up and embraced the child. However, had I not been on duty, the entire event would never have occurred.

“Daddy?”

Our present day child had more questions for her father.

“Yes?”

“Can I pet the kitty cat?”

A small kitten — likely no more than three or four months old — had crossed the street, strutting under the ropes like it owned the whole of England. It walked up to me, rubbing itself against the leg of my trousers. I could hear it purring loudly, in spite of the sound of the public around me.

“No, the kitty is on the other side of the ropes. You can’t go on the other side of the ropes.”

“Do you think he’ll pet it?”

I could not pet the cat, as the child had asked. That did not, however, stop my heart from being warmed as the cuddly grey feline snuggled up against my legs. The cat circled me, its tail reaching up and tickling the backs of my calves lightly. Its purring with rhythmic and fast. I found my own breathing speeding up so as to match the purring in time.

After a second pass, the cat stopped in front of me. It stood on all fours, patiently staring up at me as I glanced back down at it. The kitten sat, wrapping its tail around its tiny body. It cocked its head slightly to the right, never breaking its gaze with me.

“Meow?” said the cat, questioningly.

I smiled, first at the cat, then at the man and his daughter watching us. The kitten, seemingly content with my response, sauntered away, chasing after a fallen leaf that had blown by a few moments prior.

A Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America

United — it’s a funny word, isn’t it?
Joined together for a common purpose or by common feelings
Our similarities are so obvious yes?
They’re the things we see at a glance
Skin and bones, prayers and penances
These are the things that make us our best

And to the republic
For which it stands

We stand for a republic
A state whose power is held by the people
That’s all we are — people — every one of us
Gay or straight
Liberal or conservative
Atheist or religious

But you’re not here to stand for a person
You are but one of a larger people
Linking our arms together as we protect
All humans, who by definition, were created equal
And if we leave one man or woman behind
Raising them up powers our republic

One nation, indivisible
With liberty and justice for all

Our hearts sing for compassion
Our hearts sing for equality
Our hearts sing for acceptance
Of our pledge’s final refrain

Our hearts sing for unity
Our hearts sing for altruism
Our hearts sing for freedom
With liberty and justice for all

What If Fire Emblem: Awakening Characters Had Personal Skills?

For the handful of people who actually cared about these posts, it’s been quite a while since I did my last Fire Emblem related post. As you might imagine, I’ve decided to drop the series I originally had planned. After writing the character comparison post (and the fact that it went nearly 8,000 words by itself), I realized I was in way over my head for the level of detail I wanted to put into those posts. It was either drop the series or make this blog completely into a gaming blog. I chose the former.

One of the features of Fire Emblem: Fates that I preferred to Fire Emblem: Awakening was the implementation of personal skills for each character. While there where some characters in Awakening (Chrom/Lucina, Donnel, Robin/Morgan) that got unique classes based off of their starting class, most characters picked from the same skill pool. While that’s still true in Fates, each character was also given a personal skill that could not be removed, adding uniqueness to those characters.

In replaying Awakening recently, as well as getting the Fire Emblem: Awakening artbook for Christmas, I began to wonder what the personal skills for each character in the game would be. I’ve tried my best to base these skills off of the character’s personality or story in the game. Since there are three characters (Owain, Severa, Inigo) that overlap between the two games, I’ve addressed them in comparison to their personal skills in Fates.

Warning: Spoilers for Fire Emblem: Awakening. Also, if you don’t care about video games, this is a theorycrafting post. You’ll probably be bored.

First Generation Characters

Robin

Personal Skill – Invisible Ties – All units adjacent to Robin with C support or higher receive +10 Hit Rate/+10 Dodge/-5% Damage Received. Bonuses increase by +10/+10/-5% with each additional level of support.

Analysis: Similar to Corrin’s skill in Fates, Robin’s skill as the avatar of the game is tied to the support levels between them and your other team members. Since Robin is a tactician, it only makes sense that the better he knows his comrades, the more the bonus increases.

Chrom

Personal Skill – Ylissean Brand – Increase the frequency of dual support events by 10% and increases their strength by 10%

Analysis: Though Chrom’s personal weapon, Falchion, and his shield, the Fire Emblem, both play critical roles in the game’s story line, they don’t gain their power until too late in the game for them to be tied to his personal skill. Building off of Chrom’s Lord skills makes more sense from a game long utility standpoint.

Lissa

Personal Skill – Hidden Lineage – When Lissa is the support unit, enemy critical hits are negated. Weapon and class weaknesses still apply.

Analysis: Most every story line involving Lissa in the game is about how she’s self-conscious that her family brand didn’t appear on her. Giving her this skill leaves players a tough choice on difficult maps early in the game — expose Lissa to level her up as a cleric or keep her as a support unit but sacrifice her growth?

Fredrick

Personal Skill – Pick A God And Pray – When Fredrick is supporting either Chrom or Lissa, +10 critical hit rate. +5 critical hit rate when supporting any other unit.

Analysis: I covered this last time, but I hate Fredrick. His only purposes in Awakening are as an XP suck, to be a better dad than Libra/Virion, and to deliver the most kickass critical hit line in the game. His personal skill reflects this.

Sully

Personal Skill – Dame of Valor – If Sully’s opponent is male, damage dealt increases by 10%

Analysis: Considering almost every support of Sully’s involves her kicking the crap out of her future mate in training exercises — usually because they underestimated her — this makes logical sense. She’s not one of the guys, but she’s probably a better soldier.

Virion

Personal Skill – Thorn of Roseanne – Adjacent female allies deal +10% damage when attacking, however Virion also takes 25% of damage dealt.

Analysis: Virion is loathed for his flirtatious ways, which both helps his female companions fight harder, but also hurts him. Playing him would require a lot more strategy, particularly in middle levels once more female units are recruited.

Stahl

Personal Skill – Ravenous – Effects from items used in battle have double impact.

Analysis: Considering the fact that Stahl is constantly hungry, having a benefit from his consumption of items seems only natural. Suddenly Gaius’s Confect gives him +4 Strength, Skill, and Speed, which is useful in a pinch.

Vaike

Personal Skill – Tenure – If weapon skill level is D or lower, experience growth is doubled. If weapon skill level is B or higher, experience growth is halved.

Analysis: Vaike has always struck me as a guy who got by on strength alone for the longest time, meaning he’s only useful for teaching and learning for a beginner. His weapon growth rates should reflect this.

Miriel

Personal Skill – Meticulous – If Miriel has been engaged in combat with a unit before, Miriel gains +20 Hit Rate/+20 Dodge.

Analysis: Considering the number of support conversations Miriel has where she gives advice to other characters on how to improve their battle style with small tweaks, she’s definitely one for small details. Those details will let her dodge and hit better once she sees an opponent in battle.

Sumia

Personal Skill – Animal Whisperer – Mounted, Pegasus, and Wyvern units deal 10% less damage to Sumia.

Analysis: Probably the most natural fit skill in the game considering how we meet Sumia. Her power over animals causes opposing animals to pull up just enough before engaging her that she takes less damage.

Kellam

Personal Skill – Wallflower – Kellam can end on the same tile as any friendly unit, even if that unit is paired up. If an opponent attacks that tile, Kellam can neither be attacked nor defend.

Analysis: No one notices Kellam. Basically his skill would be Pass on steroids.

Lon’Qu

Personal Skill – Protector of Ke’ri – When paired with a wounded unit, Lon’Qu gains +20 Hit Rate and +15 Critical Rate.

Analysis: Despite never appearing in Awakening, Ke’ri’s existence is critical to understanding why Lon’Qu fears women. He’s now a sell sword bent on protecting those he supports, making him dangerous if his allies are wounded.

Maribelle

Personal Skill – Dignified Entrance – Gains +10 Magic/+10 Skill at the start of each battle. Bonus decrease by 1 each turn.

Analysis: I have to admit, of all the people on this list, Maribelle is the one character that I had a much better name for a personal skill than I did an actual skill itself. Nothing I thought of seemed to really suit her. The magic/skill bonus is at least useful.

Ricken

Personal Skill – Apprentice – When paired with another tome user, both Ricken and his support gain +2 Magic/+2 Resistance.

Analysis: Despite the fact that we don’t actually know most of the the characters’ ages, Ricken certainly feels like the youngest character in the game. Yet he’s always trying to learn how to do better magic. The skill is an extension of that.

Panne

Personal Skill – Last of My Kind – If Panne is the last unit to move in a turn, she gains +1 movement.

Analysis: Yeah…both taguel skills are going to be based on their ability to move. Just want to warn you about that now.

Gaius

Personal Skill – Sticky Fingers – If Gaius battles a unit with a better ranked weapon in the same class, Gaius has a 40% chance of stealing that weapon.

Analysis: Dear god do I wish this were a real skill. It’d be very situational, however if you were to put Gaius with a Bronze Sword up against someone with a Killing Edge, Gaius would have a 40% chance to take the Killing Edge for himself. Provided he survives, that is. And yes, sticky fingers is a play on both his thief class and his love of candy.

Cordelia

Personal Skill – Genius – Additional damage dealt to Cordelia by weapon weaknesses/advantages is halved.

Analysis: Fates took the good names for Cordelia’s skill with Caeldori and Subaki’s skills. Point stays the same. Cordelia is underappreciated. She can do everything. I mean, she can reclass into classes that let her use literally every weapon class. She’s a genius.

Nowi

Personal Skill – Playing House – When Nowi is paired with her S-Support or child, +2 Strength/+10 critical rate. Otherwise, -2 Strength/-10 critical rate.

Analysis: Nowi’s supports with Lon’Qu reference her desire to play house and have a family. Needless to say, being paired with her actual family makes her far more vicious than when she’s not.

Gregor

Personal Skill – Smash – Critical hits do 6x damage instead of 3x damage, but also use two uses of weapon durability.

Analysis: I really wish there was a relevant skill I could come up with referencing Gregor’s broken English. But alas, the best we’ve got is his love for smashing things.

Libra

Personal Skill – Incantations – When Libra heals another unit, he recovers 75% of HP healed.

Analysis: I originally had Libra’s skill as a Nosferatu-like heal-when-attacking skill. That said, considering his high crit rate and penchant for Killer Axes, stereo healing seemed more balanced.

Tharja

Personal Skill – Shadow – If Tharja is adjacent to or paired with Robin, her S-Support, or her child, Tharja can only attack second, however her skills trigger 10% more frequently.

Analysis: Depending on what skills you give Tharja (hellooooooo Vengeance), this has the potential to be broken as all hell. However, considering how situational it becomes unless you’re constantly using Pair Up, it should be fine. That said, you’re constantly using Pair Up. Meet Chrom with Vengeance.

Olivia

Personal Skill – Risque – All male units within 2 tiles receive -20 Hit Rate/-20 Dodge. This applies to both enemies and allies.

Analysis: The first couple of times I played through Awakening, I considered Olivia to be a very demure character. Then I read her support logs. And her other dialogue lines. And saw her official artwork. She’s basically trying to be a stripper. Seems distracting on the battlefield.

Cherche

Personal Skill – Loyal Servant – When paired with any noble character (Chrom, Lissa, Fredrick, or Virion), grants +1 to all stats except Movement and HP to that character.

Analysis: I know Minerva is her dragon and having dragons is her thing, but her support lines indicate she’s a damn good servant and diplomat. She’s arguably the unit I underrated the most in my first assessment, so I’ll make up for it here.

Henry

Personal Skill – Bloodlust – Gains +1 Magic for every 15% of HP lost.

Analysis: Here’s a dilemma for you. With this skill, the more Henry is damaged, the stronger he becomes. Combine this with Vengeance and you’ve got a monster if he has high Skill/low HP. But what do you class Henry as? Do you take him out of the Sorceror class to prevent using Nosferatu? Do you leave him in Sorceror so he doesn’t get Lifetaker from the Dark Knight class? Do you just make him a Dread Fighter and say fuck it?

Donnel

Personal Skill – Farmer – Donnel receives +3 Defense and +10 Dodge if he ends his turn on Plains or Desert.

Analysis: Honestly, I like Mozu’s personal skill from Fates for Donnel, but I didn’t want to repeat it. So let’s make him slightly less frail when recruiting him. Doesn’t help build XP, but doesn’t let him die so easy when defending.

Second Generation Characters

*Note: While Owain, Severa, and Inigo have retained their personal skill titles from Fates, I’ve changed the skill slightly to better reflect their usage in Awakening.

Lucina

Personal Skill – Iai Counter – If Lucina lands a critical hit on an opponent with full HP, the opponent is killed and Lucina heals 25% of her max HP.

Analysis: Smash references! Smash references everywhere! But seriously. The kids are broken without personal skills. This is about to get nuts.

Owain

Personal Skill – Aching Blood* – When Mystletainn is equipped, +10 Critical Rate/+2 Strength

Analysis: As much as Owain makes sense as a Dark Mage in Fates, he’s not quite the same without his trusty blade from Awakening. Even though it’s clearly an inferior sword, Owain is empowered by it.

Inigo

Personal Skill – Fancy Footwork* – All female units within two tiles gain +2 Speed. Inigo gains +1 movement if he starts the turn within two tiles of any female unit, ally or foe.

Analysis: Considering Inigo’s use of Rally commands in Awakening is pretty limited, playing off of Inigo’s flirtatious mentality as his skill still makes great sense. Just don’t tell Noire. She might go crazy.

Brady

Personal Skill – Bard – Whenever Brady heals an allied unit, he gains +1 Magic/+1 Resistance for the remainder of the battle.

Analysis: Similar to Henry’s skill, you’ve got some interesting choices to make with Brady. Do you focus him on healing early to build him up as an indestructible Sage near the end of a level? Note that the skill says heals, meaning using the Rescue staff wouldn’t impact Brady’s stats.

Kjelle

Personal Skill – Duelist – Only receives 50% of Pair Up Bonuses. Kjelle receives +1 Strength/+1 Defense/+1 Skill/+1 Resistance for each turn no allies are within two spaces at turn’s end.

Analysis: Kjelle’s entire recruitment level is all about she wants a one-on-one duel with Cassius. Why not play to it in her skill? Sure, she’ll be handicapped as you’re trying to build her marriage supports, but if you reclass her into a Paladin/Great Knight, she becomes your sweeper.

Cynthia

Personal Skill – Valiant Hero – When Paired Up with another unit, Cynthia’s Dual Guard trigger rate is increased by 25%

Analysis: Basically the inverse of Kjelle. Cynthia wants to be the one to save the day. Needless to say, she becomes quite good at it.

Severa

Personal Skill – Fierce Rival* – When supporting her S-Support Unit or her father, if the lead unit triggers a critical hit, Severa is guaranteed a critical hit (if the attack connects). When supporting Cordelia, if Cordelia triggers a critical hit, Severa is guaranteed a critical hit dealing 6x damage (if the attack connects).

Analysis: The one skill that Fates got essentially right. Just add in a rage factor for Severa when her mom gets a critical hit and you’re golden.

Gerome

Personal Skill – Minerva’s Wrath – Gerome receives 10% less damage from Wyvern/Griffon units and deals 20% more damage to Wyvern/Griffon units.

Analysis: Did you need an anti-wyvern unit? No? Are you really going to turn Batman down though?

Morgan

Personal Skill – Amnesiac – If weapon skill is D or lower, weapon experience growth is halved. If weapon skill is B or higher, weapon experience growth is doubled.

Analysis: Inverse Vaike. It makes sense considering his/her backstory.

Yarne

Personal Skill – Rabbit’s Foot – If Yarne receives a hit that drops him below 50% HP, he has a 50% chance to retreat, even if the enemy is mid-attack, as long as there is a free tile to move to.

Analysis: Yarne runs from everything. Easiest skill to write in the entire post.

Laurent

Personal Skill – Mirage – Once per battle, Laurent may use the Mirage tactic. This ends his turn without attacking. The next attack Laurent takes will deal no damage.

Analysis: The skill is a clear homage to Laurent’s recruitment level, wherein you must find a mirage village. Like his recruitment level, Laurent’s skill is underwhelming and ultimately a disappointment.

Noire

Personal Skill – Blood and Thunder – Noire receives one extra hit per attack.

Analysis: A simple skill, yet a useful one for a unit that will likely be a Sniper or a Nosferatu tank in the end game. If Noire doesn’t have Armsthrift, you’re going to go through some weapons, but it’s worth it. The skill is more a nod to her obnoxious speed growth than anything else.

Nah

Personal Skill – Blade Catcher – Damage from all swords except Wyrmslayers is halved. Damage from Wyrmslayers is doubled on top of existing bonuses.

Analysis: One of the better battle related supports is that between female Morgan and Nah, where Nah tries to learn to catch swords to save herself from her only weakness, Wyrmslayers. Nah realizes she can’t catch Wyrmslayers in her manakete form, which is when she needs to the most. Hence the doubled damage.

 

Fire Emblem fans…what did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Can We Talk About Black Mirror For A Second?

Warning: Spoilers. If you care about that. You shouldn’t. But just in case you do.

I’m not much of a TV person. I’ve got a small handful of shows I’ll watch semi-regularly with my wife, but there are very few shows over the last ten years that I can honestly say I went out of my way to keep up with. Even then, the shows have tended to be comedies (Archer, South Park), current events shows (The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, The Colbert Report), or anime (RWBY, Death Note). It takes a lot for me to care about dramas. Outside of The Blacklist and Sherlock, there haven’t been many dramas that I’ll go out of my way to recommend to people.

And then there’s Black Mirror.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

One problem I’ve long had with most television is that it’s formulaic. You almost always know exactly what you’re getting when you watch week to week. Even with “unscripted” shows like Big Brother or Whose Line Is It Anyway?, you’ve still got production companies to clean up the messes and deliver the message that they want their viewers to see. Though sports matches are unscripted and happen in real time, I’ve even struggled to watch those in most situations because the drama and twists don’t move me the way they once did.

Black Mirror is beautifully written. Because of the fact that each episode is a standalone story within the season, all of the loose ends need to be tied up — not necessarily neatly — in order for the episode to end.  You see this in nearly every episode, though there’s still episode to episode continuity in spite of this. The control technology for the grains in “The Entire History of You” makes repeated appearances throughout the series, while the grains themselves aren’t that different from the “cookies” used in “White Christmas”, which isn’t that far of a leap from the alternate reality technology used in “San Junipero”.

Black Mirror is dark as fuck. But that’s not what makes it interesting. It’s that it’s dark as fuck while straddling a very fine line between reality and science fiction. We can easily envision a reality where a technology company uses social media profiles of deceased person to allow alive loved ones to connect with them once more (and not just because one tech company is already trying it). It’s a bit harder for us to envision a dead person’s social media profiles inhabiting a live, interactive android like the one in “Be Right Back”.

The show, in many ways, serves as a cautionary tale for the reality we’re already in. I mean, it’s not like a joke candidate whose only goal is to speak to the uneducated by being provocative, racist, and otherwise just a general terrible excuse for morality would ever succeed in an election like Waldo the Bear did in “The Waldo Moment”, right? There’s no way a person’s social media status could ever determine their social status like what happens in “Nosedive”, can it? It’s not like internet trolls with no moral compass could ever ruin the lives of so many while remaining safe themselves like what happened in “Shut Up and Dance”. Obviously none of those things could ever come to fruition in reality…

Despite all of the excellent episodes so far[1], there’s two that stood out to me for different reasons. The first is “White Bear”, which is the middle episode of series[2] two.  The episode focuses on a woman, Victoria, who, along with her fiancee, kidnapped, murdered, and filmed said murder of a six year old child. Victoria’s sentence for her part in the crimes is to undergo an experience that would cause her to feel the same feelings of terror that her victim experienced. As such, Victoria is chased around by people trying to kill her all day. Of course, the “killers” are putting on a show, but Victoria doesn’t know that. Victoria’s mind is wiped every night, meaning that she believes that the threat on her life is real. Every single day for the rest of her life.

In addition to Victoria’s eye-for-an-eye punishment going on every day for the rest of her life, her escapades are part of a facility known as the White Bear Justice Park. The park not only administers Victoria’s punishment, but it also charges admission and lets park gets get up close and personal as they watch Victoria’s torture. The episode hearkens back to medieval times where crowds would father before someone was taken to the gallows, only to leave when their blood lust was satiated by death. The episode is an exceptionally bleak look into the psyche of mob mentality. I left the episode wondering deeply about where the line cruel and unusual punishment truly existed in society — as well as whether or not this latent desire for torture really exists within each of us.

The other episode that stuck out to me was the episode “San Junipero”. The episode is arguably the most uplifting of the entire series[3], which is saying something as both main characters of the episode are dead at the end. The city of San Junipero is nothing more than a computer simulation, one where people who have died go to live out their eternity as they see fit if they so choose to do so. Both of the two main characters — Yorkie and Kelly — are terminally ill, and are in the process of spending time in San Junipero to determine if that’s where they want to spend eternity.

Yorkie and Kelly fall in love with each other — a fact which wouldn’t have happened outside of the simulation as Yorkie has been in a comatose state since she was 21 and Kelly was married for 45+ years — and eventually decide to spend their lives (deaths?) together in the simulation after they’ve both passed on. The concept itself is an interesting take on the idea of an afterlife that is so pervasive in religion. Of all of the technologies and advancements shown in the entire series, this is the one I’d most like to see exist. Could you imagine the works of art, literature, and music that could come out of people’s consciousnesses surviving in a digital world?

If you haven’t seen Black Mirror yet, go watch it on Netflix now. If you have seen it, what did you think? What’s your favorite episode? For the love of all things holy, just go comment so we can talk about the show.

Lists Full of Favorites

It’s 2017. That means the seemingly neverending global shitshow that was 2016 has finally come to an end. Granted, there’s a lot that 2016 did to mess up 2017 (and beyond) for a lot of people, but hopefully we can work together as a society to ensure that people who deserve rights (read: everyone) receives them accordingly.

Whenever I take a day off from work, I leave a paper letter on the door of my office. While I’m not a big fan of printing things out[1], it’s a tradition that started almost three years ago, so I keep it alive. While the letters started out as completely serious, work-related instructions, they’ve since morphed into a hybrid of that and a place where I just ramble because I can.

More often than not, those letters also includes lists of various things. Usually, these lists are totally random, but sometimes they’re lists of my favorite things of some type or another. There likely won’t be a ton of context in these lists. After all, I’m giving you multiple of these lists at once while on my office door there’s one at a time. If there’s enough caring in the comments/via Twitter, I’ll go back and add context later.

Ten Most Underrated Songs of all Time

10. Bayside – The Walking Wounded
9. Flobots – Panacea for the Poison
8. The Lonely Island – Spring Break Anthem
7. Mumford and Sons – Thistle and Weeds
6. Sia – Chandelier
5. Louis Prima – Sing, Sing, Sing
4. Ram Jam – Black Betty
3. Gwen Stefani – Rich Girl
2. Rise Against – Re-Education (Through Labor)
1. Straylight Run – Hands in the Sky (Big Shot)

Ten Favorite Video Games of all Time

10. Tropico (2001)
9. Madden 96 (1995)
8. Mirror’s Edge (2008)
7. Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012 (1998)
6. Catherine (2011)
5. Super Smash Bros 4 (2014)
4. Brave Frontier (2013)
3. Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen (2004)
2. Civilization V (2010)
1. Fire Emblem: Awakening (2012)

Ten Favorite End-Stage Gen I Pokemon Evolutions

10. Starmie
9. Blastoise
8. Alakazam
7. Victreebel
6. Jolteon
5. Fearow
4. Cloyster
3. Hypno
2. Dewgong
1. Vaporeon