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The Save Game Strategy, Part III

On the topic of saving games again! It's strange.

Even though I know I should save often I find myself trying to play for as long as possible without. Like it's a challenge. Like I want to see how long I can go resisting the impulse to save, and the longer I go the more satisfying it feels when I finally do.

Other people might go to casinos, and gamble away their material wealth on the dream of a brighter future... with even more material wealth, but this is how I gamble instead. With time. With the prospect of losing progress, instead of just saving it and retaining it.

There is no potential surplus. It's not like the longer I go without saving, the more I can earn. I can only lose more if I lose, and the bigger the wager of time the bigger the potential loss.

So why does it feels like a victory when I do?

At first thought it didn't seem so different from a regular gamble, since time is money, so whichever you choose to wager would have the same potential for loss. But here... there's no way to win! Why do it? Am I settling for less, when I could wager bigger things, outside games? Change my life?

That latter question's a different topic entirely, but I guess by not saving I am placing a bet on the time I save by skipping each save point, so the longer I go without saving the more time I might save, yet if I lose the wager then it's all the more time lost.

The chance of losing is on the one hand much more calculated than throwing chips at lady luck, but on the other hand the potential time you win doesn't seem worth the risk in the first place. And you can only calculate so much. Boss fights: can I beat the boss easily at my current level? System errors: how common are they? Battery death: there's little risk I won't see the blinking red light in time to reach a save point, even if a local power surge makes simply connecting the power supply undoable.

What are the odds? How much time can you save? How much of that time you might be saving do you instead spend thinking about when to save? And if you do save your game, how often should you do so if checkpoints are common, and you have the ability to save more than once at any major point of the adventure? At which point does saved time outweigh the risk?

The more I consider it... the more meaningless a gamble it seems.

Moral of the rant: save your games while you can if you can't save your game all that often, cause every game not saved is an unnecessary gamble.

Metro 2034

Are there no happy endings in the subway?

This was just like the previous book. Just the same, but entirely new all the same, and with all the more philosophical ponderings along the way. Loose ends to both tie up and loosen up again, and an ending that... well, you'll see in the end.

Though we meet some characters from the first book again they're like new characters entirely now. I wonder how the old Melnik would've approached the new Hunter. Somehow things have changed, even if the similarities that tie together these different tunnels give me the same sense of despair and mystery as last. It's both magic and depressing. Dark and brooding, but with a spark of light, and heavy with symbolism.

It also wasn't nearly as long as the last book. It might not measure up to when everything was new, and more so: to when the writing was as well as it was (I assume the author spent much more time on the first book - it felt polished), but it comes close. It's a welcome detour back into the same old subway, where the train tracks crawl into darkness, monsters lurk wherever the eyes don't reach, and to each his own fight for survival.

This is the tale of a much more perceptible, yet not at all as mystical threat, and Homeros - our new half of the main character duo, tells it well.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Metro 2033

I tried the game Metro 2033 around the time it came out, but it wasn't until recently I found out there was a book by the same title on which the game was based! And a sequel, Metro Exodus, for which the same author actually wrote the script - and soon another book further expanding upon that story. There's one more story in the middle too: Metro 2034.

This book... it gave me tunnel vision. I started reading it a few weeks ago, at first on the train, and soon during late night hours, and in a headache daze yesterday... a few weeks ago (I'm a bit late posting this review) I read through the final chapters.

The ending changes everything. Everything makes sense. There were times during the story when I felt like the main character acted naive and immature as an excuse to bring up arguments against monotheistic religion (which I'm adverse but open to), but the ending presented this in an even better; less angled way. It's not just a dystopian sci-fi thriller about survivors in the Russian Metro - kept underground to protect themselves from the fallout of a nuclear war, and fighting a brewing evil in the dark, but about so much more. It brings perspective to what we're doing to the world, and human nature, and who we are and will be even when our circumstances change. To be human is... a special thing.

I can't say it was a very uplifting read, but it feels like it opened a few new areas in the mind, and the venture between stations and tunnels, seeking to vanquish the one threat all the while stumbling upon new ones, and new people, and different strains of faith and conviction... it was quite a journey.

The book's well worth a read for anyone who hasn't yet read it, and I imagine If I ever give the game inspired by this a second chance I won't have any trouble playing past the intro and plowing through the rest of it this time around! I'm excited to see how it compares, and to start reading the unofficial sequel that follows after this: Metro 2034. This was great.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

One Piece - Episode Of East Blue (2017)

One Piece - Episode Of East Blue (2017)

Or AKA the longer title: Luffy and His Four Crewmates' Great Adventure!

Oh man... the feels in this one! Even though it's a very compact flashback they get through quite a few of those! And yes, two hours is compact for a flashback on this scale! Considering how many weeks worth of episode content they tried to pack in and summarize in just one episode it sometimes doesn't seem nearly enough.

It's more than just a flashback too. Everything's re-drawn. It feels cleaner, and flashier, and yet some of the 'charm' of the older episodes is no longer. Expressions are more ruthless. The action is violent. I'm impressed by how well they manage to bring it all together, and impressed with the quality, yet I miss some of the warmth and lightheartedness of the earliest episodes, and how some vital details (like the importance of Luffy's hat) are left out.

All in all though an appreciated summary, and I hope they make one like it later on for all the adventures that follow, and all the friends and foes they stumble into along the way! It's been one wild ride so far, and though it's far from over it's never wrong to get back to their humble beginnings every once in a while; refresh your perspective. Especially if the show's been running for soon... as many years as I have. Almost two decades so far. Holy shit. No wonder it's such a big part of my life now. Good episode.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Week 48, 2017


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