Category Archives: five things make a post

Five things make a post, and Suikoden III is an undeniable PlayStation 2 classic

gd bought suikoden III again on psn

Activity on Grinding Down has been sparse as of late, which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to the summer months. Truth be told, between moving from one state to another, working, burning the midnight oil, frowning over piles of paperwork, living a life, and eating up several episodes of House of Cards on Netflix every night, I’ve not been juggling many games at once, continuing to focus on my current mainstays: Pokémon Shuffle, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, and a handful of mobile entries, one of which I’m not even ready to openly admit to “playing.” What a tease!

Anyways, here’s a few–well, five, if the title of this post is to be believed–short topics I have enough words to spew about. Perhaps I’ll get back to longer, more traditional posts sooner than later, but I promise to make no promises. Except for that promise.


Steam Sale Has Shipped

I always imagine myself going crazy and buying game after game after game during Steam’s annual Summer Sale…but that never seems to happen. It should, as there are plenty of great sales, and I checked in on the marketplace at least once a day, almost pulling the trigger on Grow Home, but nope. This year, I spent a total of $0.74 for the Developer Alliance bundle, and of them, I’ve only got to enjoy one outing so far. The other titles are at least installed on my machine. Also, I tried out that weird meta “keep on clicking” mini-game about monsters battling, but had no idea really what the point of it was, other than contributing to unlocking additional sales.

Well, there’s always the end-of-year Holiday Sale to look forward to. Maybe I’ll spend over a dollar for that event. Maybe I’ll finally grab a copy of Grow Home before 2015 concludes. Maybe.

Welcome to tactical alien shooting

Naturally, I have a longer, much more detailed post in the works for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, but the videogame-musing words have not been very forthcoming these last few weeks. Anyways, I finally beat this last night, but the final fight took–ready for this–nine attempts. Seven with my team of agents that I’ve been playing with since perhaps the second or third mission of the game, which was frustrating as the last fight seemed designed to undermine every one of their abilities. Instead, I had to swap out my generic-but-loyal dudes for two other dudes with different classes, and yes I totally understand that these are personality-less soldiers, but, to me, to CIA Agent William Carter’s journey as a whole, it made more sense that his long-standing comrades should’ve finished the fight with him than these newbies. Oh well.

The Flame Champion once more

The Suikoden franchise, as much as it hurts to write it, is dead. And this time, there’s no late-game manner of reviving it like there was with a certain Young Master’s friend. Clearly, Konami doesn’t even want to make videogames anymore.

Thankfully, there’s been a few gasps of air over the last couple of months with the bringing of Suikoden II to the PlayStation Network as a digital download. This fantastic trend is continuing, with Suikoden III popping up this week for fans of Konami’s star-studded RPG series to eat up. Yes, I purchased a digital copy immediately for a whopping $9.99; y’all might remember the time and length it took me to finally snag a (used) retail copy, but it turns out that my used discs are a wee bit scratched and unreliable. Now I don’t have to worry about that, though I’ll have to start the adventure over. Methinks I will once I get through Final Fantasy IX.

What in the world was that?

I burned through a guessing game on my non-fancy Windows 8 phone the other week called What in the World?, which basically presents you with a category, a low detailed drawing, and a bunch of letters at the bottom. Your goal is to guess what it is, and, for the most part, the answers are pretty obvious. Harry Potter, Madonna, Paris, Spider-Man, and so on. I struggled mostly with celebrity names and automobile brands, but if you get stuck you can use power-ups to remove unused letters or even put several correct letters in their final places. In the end, I unlocked all the Achievements and then deleted the thing from my phone.

Quote the raven

Once again, I’m tasked with making room on my fledgling of an Xbox 360, as I’d really like to download Just Cause 2 and see some chaos unfold. But first, let’s complete some other Games with Gold freebies from my hard-drive. Like…um, The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief. Well, Episode 1 at least. It’s a point-and-click adventure game…on a console. Grrr. So far, I’m glad that this was free, but generally once I start something, I need to finish it, even if it is only the first episode. My favorite subtitle typo currently has been about a train patron when she “looses” her purse, but the next line contaiedn the correct use of “lose.” Can’t win ’em all, the creators of The Book of Unwritten Tales.

That’s all for now! I have to go find some lady’s lost purse, as well as trick a violinist into opening up his violin case. Videogames–am I right?

Five things make a post, so please stop uppercutting me to death


Things have been a little quiet over here at Grinding Down, and there’s a good reason for it, though I can’t reveal much at this time. Basically, I’m neck-deep in comic work and have been severely limiting my ferocious playing of videogames. Crazy, I know, especially since I’m right in the middle of my 2015 goal of seeing Final Fantasy IX‘s end credits–hey, remember when I wrote about how something always comes by and pushes me away during the second or third disc? Yeah, that’s what’s going on at the moment, but I have the fullest of intentions to get back to solving what’s really going on in that Black Mage Village.

That said, there has still been a few glimmers of activity, which brings us to this style of post.


I picked up the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection the other week during that crazy good PSN flash sale and have been inching away at it slowly. There’s not much to actually inch away at, seeing as these are literally just a column of enemies to three-round fight until you get to the end. Naturally, I remember everything a little different, back when I used to play these on my neighbor’s Genesis, and I don’t recall the computer AI being so difficult. I’ve even dropped the difficulty settings down to “very easy,” seeing little change. I won’t feel satisfied until they are all best, but for now I’ve only beaten the original Mortal Kombat (using Raiden, of course), though Goro still took a number of tries in the double digits.

Free-to-Pokemon nightly

I continue to use up my allotted five hearts in Pokemon Shuffle once a day, at night actually, just before Mr. Sandman comes calling. Strangely, since changing the system clock on my 3DS due to Daylight’s Saving Time, the game thinks I’m trying to pull one out from under it and has restricted my access to the “Special” levels. Unless I want to do blah blah blah–whatever, game. It’s not my fault you and the system don’t grok how the practice of advancing clocks during summer months by one hour works. Currently, I’m stuck on level 120, unable to take down a Mega Glalie, which is forcing me to go backwards, grind my hearts away while occasionally capturing a new Pokemon. It’s fine, really. So long as my captured pocket monsters are slowly gaining XP every night, I’ll eventually be strong enough to hit level 121. You gotta believe!

Greetings to Gracie

This should be no surprise to anyone, but I’m still playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf religiously and continuing to unlock slash see new elements of the game some years after its release. Such as finishing up Gracie’s Fashion Check quest four times, which results in the fashionista giraffe opening up a store of her own and upgrading your department store to fit all her swanky merchandise. Still need to pay off my house in full, fill the museum with more bugs, fish, and pieces of art, and get Katrina to open up a stationary fortune-telling shop in the town square. There’s always something to do, and even when there isn’t, just chatting up neighbors and pulling weeds is enough to satisfy me for fifteen minutes.

Not epic text, but bigger

Several weeks back, I saw word of another Dragon Age: Inquisition patch incoming, and usually these patches are just a long list of very specific catches/fixes that I might not ever notice or come across, but one item in this update stood out to me: Added an option to control the font size of subtitles. I’ve run into a lot of problems with the latest entry in the Dragon Age series–see here, as well as see here–but nothing got me to quit that game hard after only a few hours than its teeny tiny–nearly unreadable–text size. I’ve since loaded up the game again to discover that, yes, the text is much bigger and easier to read. Perhaps I’ll continue on with Girgna’s journey and actually leave the Hinterlands after Final Fantasy IX.

Unsuccessful hunter of monsters

Three times I’ve entered a physical store and tried to buy a copy of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate only to be told to scram. Well, no, not that. But mainly that such-and-such didn’t have a retail copy for sale. Now, I know I totally could go and order one from Amazon or download it via the eShop (actually, I can’t, as I doubt I have enough free blocks space for it), but that’s not my main operative. I want to go into a store and buy a thing and then have that thing in my hand, ready to be consumed. Me being me, I’m going to take this as a sign that I probably shouldn’t buy MH4U even though it seems like an interesting action game brimming with cats and cat-fed puns. This also happened when I tried to get Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Fire Emblem: Awakening, though I did procure a copy of the latter eventually. Meh, time will tell.

And there you go. Five random thoughts for a Friday.

Five things make a post, and I quit thee from my thoughts


Well, it’s that time again. No, not filing your taxes, though that is coming up in a few months. Sneaky bastard, always creeping up on people like that. But I digress–it’s another roundup post so I can touch on a couple of things real fast without having to devote an entire post to each topic separately, especially since some are less than interesting to analyze. That might not seem like much to you, but for me, I can only string together words so many times in a week without my creativity and passion melting away, and this is the best solution I have.

All right, here we go. Five things.

No more Knytt

I tried. I really did. I probably put in around four to five hours for Knytt Underground‘s chapter three alone, which is, more or less, the main meat of the game, and I literally got nowhere. The point of the final third act is for Mi Sprocket to ring a number of bells–I think it’s five or six–to stop the apocalpyse from happening, and this time, the map is your ocean. You are no longer limited to where you can go, especially now that you also have the bouncy ball powers of Bob at your side. Except that’s not true at all. I constantly hit wall after wall, sometimes literally and other times in the form of locked doors or NPCs requesting specific items to let me pass. Look, I totally understand the point of a Metroidvania game, but for some reason, this one really irked me. It never felt rewarding, and I was never rewarded for anything I did. Quests fizzle out, and you can do a crazy series of bounces and magic power jumps only to pick up some description-less item for your hard work.

All of that said, dang. Dang, dang, dang. I really loved the look of the game, and getting to a new screen was a pure joy, until it just became one new frustrating roadblock after the other. According to the Trophies list, you can beat the game without ringing a single bell, but I’m sure that’s even more difficult than the mainline goal, and so my saved progress will remain underground for good, never to be seen again.

Gears of Insanity

I uninstalled Gears of War from my Xbox 360 this weekend. Before I did that, however, I completed its first act again on its most difficult of difficulty settings, the properly named Insanity difficulty. Usually, I never try the high-end difficulties, as the challenge always seems too brutal, too unfair, but I was curious what it’d be like and whether or not I could do it; turns out, I could, but at the cost of constantly reloading checkpoints, grumbling about useless AI-controlled comrades, and dying in flashes of uncontrolled chaos. Knowing what the remainder of the campaign looked like, I was not interested in finishing it a second time on a much more savage level. Oh well. At least now I made room for Sleeping Dogs and whatever else Gold members get for free this month.

The Fishiest Grind Yet

Some bugs and fish are simply better than others in the world of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and a lot of that determination depends on what season we’re in. For summer, you want to catch emperor butterflies and all kinds of palm tree-clinging beetles. For the fall, um…I don’t know. Mushrooms, I guess. And for the winter, you want to keep your eyes glued to large shadows in the river at night, because if you’re lucky you can snag a stringfish, which sells at Re-Tail for a whopping 15,000 Bells. In the mighty words of George Takei, “Oh my.” Or should that be OH MY GOSH?!

So yeah, I wouldn’t say I’ve been actively trying to grind out stringfish, but I do walk the river-line back and forth a few times each night before I let the Sandman take over. Still upgrading my house, planning to upgrade town hall, and Bells come and go, but will always be desired.

The Purpose of Art

This is the year that art and my unprofessional game journalism come together, as y’all can probably already see with the comics I’m doing for all my completed games in 2014. I also plan to re-tinker the look of Grinding Down from top to bottom, so expect some new pieces of art to pop up periodically over the next few weeks, as well as some other elements to disappear. Did anyone notice that I got rid of my large list of Achievements? No, didn’t think so. Anyways, I’m still trying to figure out what I want here art-wise, as well as working on other comic projects, but I eventually want this blog to really stand out as something unique, even more than just silly words on images as post headers.

Broken Age Breaks Out

Here’s something crazy: Double Fine’s Kickstarter-funded Broken Age releases today. Well, Part 1 (of 2), that is. Double well, only for backers, which Tara and I are, meaning we will get to play what I can only describe as a visually astounding old-school point-and-click adventure game. I’m excited to finally see the thing in playable, watchable form, as I’ve been following the documentary videos closely now for two years, seeing its creators struggling to produce something both small and grand, something beautiful and instantly recognizable. Hopefully all my adventure game playing will aid me in solving puzzles high up in the sky, as well as in space. You never know what Tim Schafer will throw at you next.

Five things I still need to do in Skyrim

At the same time that I splurged on Mark of the Ninja–more on that fantastic stealth-stabby game later, I promise–I also picked up the second DLC item for the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It’s called Hearthfire, not Heathfire or Healthfire as I’ve been constantly seeing it misspelled across the Internet in the days since its birth, and it only costs 400 Microsoft Points. The low cost is low because there isn’t actually a whole lot of content in the pack; it basically gives you three spots to build a house of your own, and then you have to grind for materials like iron ingots and nails and chopped wood to actually build it and fill it with items. I’ve only just begun filling my Lakeview Manor with storage barrels and shelves to place my filled grand soul gems. Nothing terribly amazing, and it seems like this kind of Minecraft-esque stuff is better suited for somebody just starting out on their adventure to rid the realm of evil dragons than me currently who already owns a house in two different holds.

But at least I’m back in the game for the time being. Finishing up a few quests while selling some items and emptying my digital backpack of potions I’ll never use–like anything related to breathing under water for X seconds. And so, I got to thinking, and here are five things I’ve yet to do in Skyrim after playing the game as one single character for upwards of 95 hours.

Ride a horse

Look, if you could hop on a horse and ride it in first-person perspective all while still wielding a bow and arrow or sword and magic spell…then yeah, I’d be all for that. I play these Bethesda games in this perspective and this perspective only; moving out of it breaks immersion and really comes across as just goofy and dangerous to one’s safety. But no, if you get on horseback, you must ride in third person, and that’s not for me.

Get married

Haven’t really given it much thought, to be honest. From what I can tell, being married in Skyrim is a bit…old-fashioned. You gain a spouse who makes you food and takes care of your home. Great. Not really. I’m curious to see if I can adopt a child without being married after I finish building my house; if not, I guess I’ll go hunting for a favorable partner. Vex sounds ideal /sarcasm.

Find the Dark Brotherhood

Please note there that I said find, not join. I haven’t even been contacted by them yet, and I guess for that to happen I’d have to openly murder somebody who didn’t deserve it. Like, not a bandit cave leader or blood dragon. Hmm. That’s not really how I play, so it is unlikely this will every happen on my first character. Maybe if I ever roll a new dude, but that might not happen for a long time–if ever. I know, call me crazy. Except you should know I never did many Dark Brotherhood quests in Oblivion either. So there, fantasy murderers.

Learn any spell above the novice level

I’m no Harry Potter, y’all. When I need healing, I use a potion or eat some cheese. When I need to weaken a foe, I poison my arrows and loose them from afar. I’ve done the occasional spell to clear webs or gain entrance into the School of Magic, but that’s been it. Not my style of combat.

Kill a giant

Everybody did it at the beginning of the game. You see some mammoths and head over to check them out. Then a giant comes stomping at you, swings violently with his club, and sends you flying into the sky with one hit. Instant death. Lesson learned. Since then, the only times I’ve come across giants has been in groups of three or four, and I’m scared to take on one for fear of three more seeking revenge. Plus the mammoths, too. So, yeah. All those giant’s toes in my bag? I stole them.

So, those are my things still to do/things to never do in Skyrim. What about you? What have you not done yet in a world that seems to never run out of quests or ways to occupy your time? Catch a butterfly?

Five things make a post, and eff you up button

Well, it’s been a busy few days at Grimmauld Place in terms of videogaming. Good thing I have this bloggy blog of mine to put all these random happenings and thoughts. Otherwise, the world might never know what it’s like to play a dancing game on a breaking pad or how deep my love for all things LOTR goes. Anyway, let’s get to the Heading 3s and text below them…

Moar Used Games

After the great success of my first trip to the local GameStop near our new abode, I decided to head back and see if I could find any other titles off my “desired PS2 games” list. Alas, nope. I mean, yeah, some of the bigger titles are there, like Bully and Kingdom Hearts, but those are still around the $20+ mark, and I’d rather find the rarer titles first and wait for those numbers to eventually drop. Instead, I got Mega Man X7, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ($1.99 ha!), and Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA (for my wife, I swears). Haven’t tried the first two yet, but a good portion of my weekend was spent watching Tara put DDR SuperNOVA to the test; if you’re my friend on Facebook, there’s a video of her going through the song selection while two dogs look heavily uninterested. Also, the UP button on her DDR mat isn’t as responsive as the other buttons, leading us to scream “Eff you up button!” a whole bunch. Not “Eff you, up button!” but “Eff you up button!” The missing comma is important.

Pre-order Hoarder

Generally, I’m not a pre-order kinda gamer. There was that one time eons ago when putting down a few bucks on Final Fantasy VII not only nabbed you a guaranteed copy of the game, but also a t-shirt. I like t-shirts, and this liking of t-shirts strikes again. I also pre-ordered Radiant Historia to get a bonus CD, but other than that…nothing else has made me feel the need for lockdown. Well, until 11/11/11, I guess. Yup, I pre-ordered Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7. Why LEGO would come out on the same day as Skyrim is beyond me, but both games feature dragons, and so that’s a-okay. Also, I believe I am getting a t-shirt with my LEGO Harry Potter pre-order; something about Dumbledore’s Army, but I wasn’t asked for a shirt size so it’s probably one of those XXL or a child’s small. Time will tell.

There’s a midnight release party too, which is just another reason I should schedule to not work that Friday. Too tempting to pick up the game and then not play it for 7.5 hours.

Informed about games

I also decided that I was tired of constantly being asked if I wanted to upgrade from a regular GameStop Power Playa thingy to a silver account. So I did that. Bonuses include coupons for “buy two used games, get one free,” which is fine by me as that’s mostly how I shop, as well as a subscription to Game Informer. I haven’t subscribed to a gaming magazine since the PSM days, and I do miss it despite everything now being available on the Interwebz; still, the magazine is put together rather nicely. Hopefully it’ll fit in our mailbox, let alone reach it.

Ass Neglect Zoo

I’ve been putting this off for a long, long time, but I finally bought a copy of Mass Effect 2.

A new copy, too, which means I got some kind of activation number for the Cerberus Network. Not sure what that means, but it looks like I get a new dude for my team. I’m sure I’ll find out eventually. The reason I’ve waited so long is that I was hoping for a “Game of the Year” or “Master” or “Super Space Marine” edition, which then collected all the DLC and little add-ons the game’s been harvesting since its debut back in…oh my, the beginning of 2010. I’m sure a month before Mass Effect 3 comes out, some special edition will be released. Oh well.

Garnet Tries Harder and I am Trying to Finish This Comic

Zac Groman of Magical Game Time is putting together a zine all about Final Fantasy IX and is asking for submissions. Despite it not being a paying gig, I can’t resist and am working on a little comic about my favorite scene from he game, where Garnet is trying to blend in with the common-folk of Dali. Gotta complete it before the month’s end, but here’s a little preview for y’all:

Okay, that’s five things, which is good enough for a post. Expect plenty more content this week though as I’ve only skimmed the surfaces here. Didn’t even get into the horribleness that is Monster Rancher EVO. Just you wait. Just you wait…

Five things make a post, or it’s time to Ragnarök!

5. The next Assassin’s Creed game has been revealed, and it’s titled Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Please note that it, like Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, is missing a number in it. What does that mean? ::shrugs:: The newest game is rumored to be the last for Italian superstar Ezio, bringing his journey full circle to line up with Altair and Desmond. And the multiplayer aspect is coming back, too, which I think is fantastic. I never expected myself to become so interested in this series after its lukewarm first game experience, but here I am, waiting and wondering. Comes out this November, probably right around the same time as TES V: Skyrim, just to mess with me.

4. The Arbiter, upgraded to level 3 and rocking a tingling Shock Omega mod, is currently my weapon of choice in Ratchet: Deadlocked. This thing is just a beast, taking out dropships in two shots. Mmm:

3. As much as I adore Norse mythology, I’m not interested in the slightest over this new movie Thor. I mean, if I want to look at cheese, I’ll open my refrigerator. That said, there’s a browser-based game called Thor: Bring the Thunder! and it looks simply gorgeous. Colorful 16-bit sprites in what one could describe as Mega Man with a lightning-fused hammer. However, I think a better title would’ve been Thor: Time to Ragnarök!

2. I downloaded two demos on the Xbox 360 yesterday: LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and Red Faction: Armageddon. Unfortunately, due to time restraints and the constant distraction that is Netflix, I’ve not been able to try either of these yet, but will most likely give ’em a run over the weekend. Not expecting much from the latest Red Faction title, but I do love me some LEGO action. Hope it’s as fun as the movies were (well, the first movie at least).

1. I finally earned the highest amount of G in the latest bazaar in Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar. This meant selling everything I had in my bag, including a huge piece of gold I was lucky enough to find attached to my body after jumping into the river seven times. I was so excited for this as I knew that the highest seller won a prize from the mayor. Maybe it was a trophy? Or a huge bag of gold? Or his daughter’s hand in marriage? No. No, it wasn’t any of those. I won a bottle of milk. Ffffffffffffff.

And that, dear Grinding Down readers, has certainly been a post.