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Final Fantasy XV review: it’s not really a Final Fantasy game

I’ve played over 100 hours of Final Fantasy XV and it took me at least the first 50 hours to figure out exactly what bothers me about the game. That’s good, right? I mean, obviously the game isn’t LITERALLY UNPLAYABLE, or I wouldn’t have survived more than 40 hours. And I’m not going to say that the game is bad, because it’s not a bad game. But it is a fundamentally flawed game. I’m reminded of one reviewer who humorously gave it “9.75 out of 10: disappointing and underwhelming,” because there’s a lot of truth to that. This game may be doing relatively well on Metacritic, but from the reactions I’ve seen from the game’s audience, it seems like a different experience could have pushed it even higher.

So here is my unnecessarily long-winded “review” of Final Fantasy XV, which has undergone several revisions over the last six months, and thus may not be as coherent as I’d like, but the next 3,000 or so words should nonetheless be at least moderately entertaining. You’ve been warned.

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In this election, issues matter more than labels (or at least they should)

The worst moment of the entire 2016 presidential campaign was when Bernie Sanders said the phrase “democratic socialist.”

Why? Because since last summer, it seems like every online discussion regarding the election has involved slapping a label on an issue or policy and then spiraling into a fruitless debate about its precise application or meaning. And I blame the word “socialist.”  Read More…

A poem about carpet squares

Today’s poem—or, more precisely, the poem I wrote on March 27, 2003—will test the old adage “write what you know,” as its subject matter is something with which we’re all perhaps too familiar: carpet squares.

I don’t believe the classrooms in my high school even had carpeting, so I’m not sure why this particular topic inspired me to write a poem in my high school creative writing class, but here we are: my poem about carpet squares, followed by some nonsensical paragraph that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anything:

March 27, 2003: Poetry about carpet squares

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That time I analyzed my creative writing class

I’m back from my summer vacation—and boy, are my arms tired!

But seriously, folks: it’s been a long year. Let’s celebrate the fact that we’ve nearly reached the end of our annual trip around the sun by reviewing that one time I analyzed my creative writing class:

March 25, 2003: I analyze my creative writing class Read More…

The most dramatic game of Werewolf ever played, part 2: a story of ages

If you’re asking yourself “what’s Werewolf?” then you need to read part 1 of this story, in which I describe Werewolf and my feelings about the game. If not, then I hope your body is ready.

Photo credit: Dave via Flickr

Photo credit: Dave via Flickr

To recap: this is an epic tale of deception, of security guards, of teenagers, of drunkenness, of meltdowns, of suspicion, of betrayal, of murder, of mystery. And I must set the stage with the cast. Read More…

The most dramatic game of Werewolf ever played, part 1: a Werewolf primer

I must tell an an epic tale of deception, of security guards, of teenagers, of drunkenness, of meltdowns, of suspicion, of betrayal, of murder, of mystery. I must tell the tale of the most dramatic game of Werewolf I have ever played.

I feel that it is extremely important to communicate my exact feelings about Werewolf in order to help you fully comprehend the gravity of the drama that transpired during this legendary game, so I have broken up this tale into two parts; this, the first, shall focus on the mechanics of the game as I perceive them:

Werewolf, which you may know as Mafia, is the best party game ever invented (yes, even better than Cards Against Humanity). The rules are simple: a bunch of people sit in a circle, and they’re all villagers. But 1-3 of them are secretly werewolves. A “caller,” who runs the game, narrates when the village sleeps at night (closes their eyes) and announces whom the werewolves have decided to kill each morning, once the villagers have opened their eyes and risen from their slumber. The object of the game is for the villagers to deduce, through various methods, which of their neighbors are the werewolves… before they are all eaten.

File footage of a Werewolf game at Gen-Con 2011

Archive footage of a Werewolf game at Gen-Con 2011

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Actual advice for writing poetry, plus a poem that utilizes none of it

First off, you’re welcome for the ABSOLUTELY FREE NOTES I’m about to give you from my Very Professional Public High School Education. It’s your (or your parents’) tax dollars that paid for this, and I’m nothing if not completely willing to help you maximize your return on investment. Read and learn, then be completely befuddled by whatever may follow:

March 24, 2003: Satirical generic goth poem, plus class dynamics Read More…

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