I also had the personally interesting experience of finding out that there’s a version of old-school RuneScape you can play on mobile.
Thanks to Brutalmoose’s video for alerting me to its existence, I decided to give the old game a whirl again. It’s been interesting to jump back into an old favorite I played with my cousin Josh with more insight and experience.
Like… I’ve spoken with someone who works at Jagex, the company that made Runescape, fairly recently.
Good thing I wrote a bit of my book this afternoon before finding out the mobile game exists. Otherwise I would have gotten absolutely nothing done.
After all that, the night ended on an interesting note. Grandpa left to go play cards with some of his friends, so Grandma and I were left to our own devices. She whipped up some chocolate pudding that we ate while playing a family favorite board game: Rummikub.
Usually we play with more than two players, as it’s one of my Mom’s preferred pastimes with her parents. But the game worked out all the same.
And that’s that. Like I said, it was a low-key day all things considered.
From what I’m aware, our plans before I go home Sunday night include trying to hit up the museum and that fancy restaurant we’ve had to postpone because of the weather. We might even go to the horse racing track.
Whether or not the weather allows us to keep up, we’ll have to see.
Given my general adoration for all things video games, it makes sense that I’ve been enamored with so many things which have been assigned in this class.
It was a good decision to follow my friend Mimi into a random American Studies class as my ‘fun’ activity for my last semester of undergraduate college education.
One of the most interesting aspects of the class has been the gradual shift of my understanding of U.S. history based on different elements of popular culture that, for the most part, I already knew about.
For instance, that aforementioned analytical reading of Ender’s Game. Or our in-class discussion today about the 1983 Matthew Broderick classic WarGames.
Part of our discussion hinged on the shift from a World War II mentality of game theory in that the best way to win is to make sure your opponents can never fight again to a Cold War mentality of anxious peace through the zero sum game of the nuclear arms race (“The only way to win is not to play”).
But then we also tied the movie into discussions of early hacker culture with the development of Spacewar! in 1962, really the first game that taught people computers could be used for something other than work.
According to the blurb on the back, it “explores the development and implications of the ‘video gamer’ as a cultural identity,” most notably in relation to the perception of games as a “boy’s world.” But also looking at the moral panic stemming from 1976’s Death Race and other culture examining video games like Tronand WarGames.
Hence us watching the latter movie before reading the book.
That’s essentially my big task for the next week, getting through this little tome while dealing with Comm Law homework and such.
Luckily, now that my big networking event and midterms are out-of-the-way, I have a little extra time to settle down and read.
So if I wind up coming back in the near future with an obscure book review, now you know why.
Welcome to “I put this off until late and decided to scrounge something together based on semi-recent activities as a last ditch effort” blog post #1738.
Last night I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Fullerton celebrating with my friend Mimi and a few of her people. Even dragged my friend Juan out there with me, which was somewhat bizarre, but I would argue successful.
Bizarre mostly in that we’ve never really travelled outside of Redondo as a duo, that is. You can judge his personal eccentricities for yourself.
Oh and before you ask, I did not drink at the party. No Irish coffee for me.
It was a small party with maybe eight people, and one that took up my entire evening with board games and video games and corned beef — hence my lack of a post yesterday.
Theoretically I could have written something before the party… But I got caught up with work meetings and getting homework done.
So sue me.
I figured you all would not be interested in the exciting adventures of leaving the gym early to go check on Grandpa after he fell out of his wheelchair. Especially since he’ll fine and will tell you he’s “impervious.” I believe it.
Instead, I think it might be fun to focus on a little game we played at last night’s called Munchkin.
Munchkins the board game was developed by Steve Jackson Games and is, for all intents and purposes, a parody of Dungeons and Dragons. Players travel through a dungeon, collect treasure and class/race/gender changes and advance (mostly) by killing monsters like Lawyers and [Inter]Net Trolls.
It’s a game where players can ask one another for help or screw each other over, which becomes an ocean of mind games once one player is poised to win and the rest stack curses and debuffs during their combat.
That all said, I suppose this post has kind of turned into a bit of an endorsement for the game? It’s not an ad, but it could be an ad. Because I would certainly recommend it for people looking to play something engaging with a bunch of friends.
I’m not joking when I say things get intense by the end.
I absolutely would have won my game if Mimi didn’t sweep the victory one rotation before my turn. And I’m still mad about it.
Plus, the game fits well into my recent dives into D&D creatures for my novel. It’s just the kind of thing that’s up my alley.
So take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. Or with a pile of soft, sugary donut holes.
A good, old-fashioned map can add a whole lot of character to a place.
Sure, the colorful country-accurate map of the Earth on a globe is an impressive sight especially fully animated online:
But that view of the planet is a bit too modernist and clinical for my tastes.
I’m more of a fan of classic, stylized pieces such as the 1643 depiction of Europe by Dutch mapmaker Cornelis Danckaerts that I used for my Featured Image. It’s just the sort of rugged, swarthy style you’d expect to see in some kind of fantasy novel.
Replace that boat off the port of Spain with some kind of serpentine sea creature and it may as well be the map of a fantasy world. Like something you’d expect to see from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.
As I’ve made more progress in my Senior Honors Project novel, I’ve found it necessary to start keeping track of all the locations I’m name dropping to give the world a little more history and life.
To remember places I might want to bring up later and also lay everything out on a more cohesive latitude and longitude for when I explain travel across the content — as my book will include plenty of travel.
During class yesterday, I started to draw out a rudimentary sketch of my world map on a sheet of paper:
I used to draw things like this all the time, inspired by the maps I’ve seen in the front of books like Lord of the Rings and Eragon.
But never before have I put one together that might actually be useful.
So it was serendipity that, while sitting in my Honors 400B class last night, my friend Mimi noticed my drawing and offered to point out some free campaign map making software she knew about for Dungeons and Dragons.
How was I supposed to say no to that?
Of the software I got pointed to, my favorite was a website called HexTML, which as the name implies lets you create a world of your own using hexagonal signifiers like the board game Settlers of Catan.
Many hours were spent last night screwing around to translate that hand-drawn map into something that could reasonably be shown off to the world.
It’s still open to adjustments down the line and I’d like to put names on all of the areas and towns through the site, but for now I’m really proud of where I’d gotten:
While the continent proper does not yet have a name, but a lot of the structures within it do.
The town on the lower left is Fehrn, where my main characters live.
The singular structures around Fehrn are ruins of the old western empire that have been used as treasure hunting locales. To the north, that black cavern, is an underground chamber where my story begins — just below the Redbark Woods.
To the lower right is the Gnarled Forest, a large mesh of roots, branches and bark that was nigh impenetrable for eons. The old elven tribe was able to thrive there before being attacked.
Just above that in the mountain range hides a small structure signifying the capital of the Sparrine Empire. The Sparrine being the bird people who are basically France, taking over the region under bird Napoleon. Talked about that recently.
Moving onto the other side of the map, a few new main areas stand out.
Hidden in another mountain to the right of the Sparrine empire is the Prophet’s Sanctuary, where my main characters must travel.
Below it is a yet unnamed lake with an equally unnamed port town to its right side where the player character of my story’s game world will have to take on bird Napoleon in a thinly veiled allegory to the Battle of Waterloo.
Spoilers, I guess. If you know historical stuff.
The walled city to the right of that lake is the capital of the Bresegon Empire, where the lordly prince character hails from. Just above it is the ruins of an older nation’s capital.
Essentially the ruins of Rome beside the now prospering Byzantine Empire.
All of those ruins to the leftmost side of the region being the desolate remains of the Holy Roman Empire’s holdings.
Those are some of my world’s major locations, as far as I’ve planned things out up to this point. With all of the plot beats generally worked out for my story, I’m especially excited to start using a bunch of them now that I have a spatial awareness of how everything fits together.
Hope you’re interested in seeing some more cool little behind-the-scenes details on my writing like this from here on out.
Now that I’m getting into the book, I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to share.
Its been a while since I gave my other mobile gaming obsession any love around here. While I still play Duel Links just about every day, nothing particularly exciting tends to go on in the day-to-day breadth of the game besides the occasional new/returning duelist unlock events and traveling duelist events.
Until today, when we gained access to the “Set Sail for The Kingdom: Duelist Chronicles” event. This one is pretty special and cool, so I wanted to give it some praise in the hopes that we see similar events down the line.
Now for those of you who do not play Duel Links, there are two kinds major events that take place on a semi-regular basis.
New Legendary Duelist unlock events: Once in a while a new Legendary Duelist character will take over Duel World, the hub area for Duel Links. That character will invite players to collect an item specific to their personality or canonical storyline in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime in bulk. These items can be traded for the chance to battle that character at various difficulty levels to accumulate points and win special prize cards. The points typically go toward earning players a variety of basic rewards like gold and gems for pack openings, but the points also unlock the character you’ve been battling at a certain level.
Traveling Duelist events: Though these are generally more hated than the Legendary Duelist unlock events, traveling duelists are a pretty common way to shake up what players can find in the game for at least a week at a time. Unlike the new Legendary Duelists who reside in the hub world’s character portal, traveling duelists appear randomly in the world similar to the extra reward-granting Vagabond. The main problems most people have with these events are that the characters have a random chance to appear, but they also have a random chance to drop their exclusive cards, making it hard to get a good amount of special cards one might want. Plus, they appear in Duel World at a random difficulty level, meaning if you get a lv. 30 encounter as opposed to a lv. 40 encounter you have an even further decreased chance to get a special card drop.
Mokuba Kaiba drops cards that support dragon decks in general, though he specifically provides support for Blue-Eyes White Dragon and gives players access to special high-level cards like Darkflare Dragon and Frost and Flame Dragon.
Arcana made a pass as a traveling duelist in the build-up to Yami Marik appearing in Duel World. He added some spellcaster support to the game, namely around Dark Magician (a card which he had a special alternate art for).
Joey Wheeler occasionally goes through cycles as “Super Joey” and gives players access to support cards for Red-Eyes Black Dragon, such as Red-Eyes Spirit and Red-Eyes Insight.
Mai Valentine has appeared once in an event similar to Super Joey’s as “Elegant Mai” with card drops to support her token Harpie and Amazoness decks on top of Vennu, Bright Bird of Divinity, a powerful ritual card.
Though both of these reoccurring event-types do provide some variety and reason to keep playing the game, they do tend to get stale over time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always jump at the chance to get extra materials and new cards, but the RNG associated with these time sensitive events – particularly the traveling duelists – almost makes them more annoying than appreciated.
Not that saying so stops me from playing them adamantly of course.
So, what does the Duelist Kingdom event do differently?
While every Legendary Duelist unlock event adds a big aesthetic centerpiece to the main hub world, this ship actually serves more of a purpose than simply bringing up the event’s informational page. This ship actually delivers you to a mini-game within the game, something that can best be described as a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime-themed board game.
The board game itself is simple. As you defeat standard duelists in Duel World, you receive dice fragments. Seven dice fragments can be used to roll a die labeled one to three. The number you land on indicates the number of spaces you can move on the map, and each space hosts a different event:
Item Spaces give players prizes such as gems, gold or gate keys.
Support Item Spaces dole out a special die that specifically allows players to move one, two or three spaces at a time of their choosing without having to waste dice fragments.
Coin Spaces give out “Millennium Coins,” which I’ll elaborate more on in just a bit.
Forward Spaces move you forward by the number specified alongside the symbol, simply enough. There is also an equivalent Back Space that does the same thing but backwards.
Episode Spaces play out scenes from the anime using the in-game engine of portraits talking to each other. There are 10 scenes to see through this method, and you get an additional small prize after each viewing.
Standard Duelist Spaces let you duel a regular duelist to obtain some Millennium Coins. The difficulty of these fights increases as you move through the game mode and they appear to have new, unique decks for each fight.
The Vagabond Spaces offer more challenging duels against real player-generated decks. Even if you lose these fights, you still earn Millennium Coins.
Legendary Duelist Spaces are story-driven battles that prevent you from advancing until you win a duel. These spaces allow you to choose to fight at lv. 20 difficulty or at lv. 40 difficulty.
Part of the reason these Legendary Duelist encounters – and the event as a whole by extension – are so special ties back to how they present a story. Advancing through the event actually plays out the events of the Duelist Kingdom arc in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. In a sense, this allows you to play along with the original story using characters that have been introduced into the game over some time now.
Duelist Kingdom is probably the only arc in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime that I personally remember fondly, and it is arguably a memory that has kept me interested in the card game for all this time. Thus, it feels pretty special for me to experience, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that has that connection.
While playing through the storyline by itself is already a really cool feature, the way Konami engrains the story into the actual duels against these Legendary Duelists makes everything even better.
Not only do these Legendary Duelists appear on a series of maps in the order they’re originally encountered, they have pretty unique decks that can be as challenging as a competitive player-vs-player deck.
However, rather than letting players get away with using their most overpowered decks to blow through the competition, Konami made it so you benefit by experimenting with different deck combinations that you might not otherwise try.
The extra missions associated with each duel net additional Millennium Coins if you follow the guidelines. These guidelines contribute to the feeling of playing along with the original story by encouraging you to use the character and some of their key cards that were used against the opponent. Though doing so often leaves you at a disadvantage when playing at the lv. 40 difficulty, the reward for doing so is worth it.
Speaking of said rewards, I suppose it’s time to dive into Millennium Coins.
Though these coins are arguably the most important thing to collect in the Duelist Chronicles, what they do is actually rather simple. For every 30 coins you collect you get the opportunity to play the Card Lottery and earn up to 10 rewards at a time from a large prize pool.
While gems and gold are always fine prizes in their own rights, the main draw to this system is the cards you can collect. Though there are some basic cards like Celtic Guardian, more rare and dope cards like Kuriboh, Toon Barrel Dragon, Horn of the Unicorn and Union Attack are also available.
Just about all of the cards are recognizable for anyone who has fond memories of the series and Duelist Kingdom in particular, so it’s a nice goal to work toward.
On top of the card lottery, you also win prizes by clearing maps. When you beat one of the five maps you get something, and once you complete the final level you get to start over and earn a whole new set of rewards.
The most noteworthy of these zone rewards comes when you beat Pegasus for the first time: You unlock Yugi Muto as a playable character.
Once delegated to only being a traveling duelist, Yugi Muto has been requested to be playable by countless players in the past. After all, he is the main character of the show, even if most people remember his Yami form better. Plus, with a new character comes a fairly substantial influx of special cards and gems through level up rewards, which are always an appreciated addition to the game.
The fact that this event doubles as a character unlock event while bringing something completely new to the table through a special board game makes it easily the best thing I’ve seen added to Duel Links in a long time. It’s fun, it’s creative and there are enough prizes to keep players coming back, or even encourage them to use those stockpiles of duel orbs to restore standard duelist battles for more dice fragments.
Personally, I hope more Duelist Chronicles happen from here on out. If nothing else I would love to be able to have the same experience with parts of Yu-Gi-Oh! that I don’t remember that well so I can learn more while having a good time.