The Flaws of Final Fantasy XV

Full spoilers for Final Fantasy XV follow.

I hated Final Fantasy XIII. After years of hearing how great the series was, FFXIII was my first numbered entry in the franchise, but the game was a major letdown. Outside of Lightning, the characters were annoying. The game begins with a twenty hour tutorial. The level design is nothing more than straight corridors, and the battle system basically plays itself. I gave up on the game before I felt like I had even finished the introduction.

After being burned by the series, I was hesitant to pick up Final Fantasy XV especially after hearing so many negative reviews and comments on it. But I still gave the game a try because of the amazing trailer featuring a cover of “Stand By Me” from Florence + The Machine. Epic fantasy games are overdone, but coming of age buddy adventures are less traveled territory in video games. I picked up the Royal Edition in order to give the game a chance.

What I played was definitely a flawed game. Even with the additional content Square Enix has put out since the game’s release, so many areas of this game are lacking. After a decade of development, the game still feels unfinished. In fact, that long development time is probably a huge cause of FFXV‘s disjointed feel because of how often the developers’ vision changed. There is already plenty of discussion online about Final Fantasy XV‘s flaws. I will not bother rehashing those problems in too much detail, but here are some of the game’s biggest mistakes: Continue reading

I Hate C++

Since I was in middle school, I wanted to make video games. Though I had been passionate about games for years, how they came about was a complete mystery, and creating my own seemed incomprehensible.

Then I discovered gamedev.net. I poured over their articles and decided to learn how to program. Like all foolish novices, C++ was the only option I considered. The pros used it, and I was an overconfident seventh grader who was a self-styled genius. I would print out tutorials from cplusplus.com and cprogramming.com, take them upstairs to my ancient Windows 95 computer, and attempt to learn the language using the Dev-C++ compiler. Continue reading

King Slayer

For 24 hours, my hatred for the Lakers was renewed. LeBron James left Cleveland and signed with Los Angeles. No matter what your specific list of top 10 professional basketball players entails around half of them have been on the Lakers at some point in their careers1)Imagine you had a time machine allowing you to field a team of the Lakers’ all time greats at their peak powers. Here is what my starting lineup would be: PG-Magic Johnson, SG-Jerry West, SF-Elgin Baylor, PF-LeBron James, C-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I am not sure if those are the 5 best individual Lakers, but it is the best team possible if only to have Kobe and Wilt coming off the bench. Both of them would be playing with chips on their shoulders, and we would get to see Wilt get 40 assists and Kobe score 80 points every game.. The rich get richer.

But then DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Warriors. The greatest team in the NBA signed another All-Star, and they got him for the veteran minimum. Next year Golden State will be better than a superteam made out of the best players from the entire Eastern Conference. The NBA is fundamentally broken right now. We might as well award the Larry O’Brien Trophy right now, and Golden State’s dominance shows no signs of letting up. Continue reading

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1. Imagine you had a time machine allowing you to field a team of the Lakers’ all time greats at their peak powers. Here is what my starting lineup would be: PG-Magic Johnson, SG-Jerry West, SF-Elgin Baylor, PF-LeBron James, C-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I am not sure if those are the 5 best individual Lakers, but it is the best team possible if only to have Kobe and Wilt coming off the bench. Both of them would be playing with chips on their shoulders, and we would get to see Wilt get 40 assists and Kobe score 80 points every game.

A Defense of Easy Mode

Michael Phelps swam a lot. Tiger Woods golfed for thousands of hours. Steph Curry took a ton of 3-pointers. Practice often develops excellence but not for me.

I have played thousands of hours of video games, but I am still terrible at them. I will confidently pick the standard difficult level and then proceed to die over and over again. Most of the time, I will give up within a few hours and restart on easy. This happens so frequently that I now often just start on the easiest setting. Continue reading

The Fat Kid Chronicles: 290 Pounds

I was hungry, so I swung by the mall food court but walked right past the Chick-fil-A. Normally I crave their spicy chicken sandwiches but not when I am at the mall. They always have the longest line, and I am never far away from a pack of chicken nuggets anywhere in the continental United States. Going to Chick-fil-A when at the food court is like eating at McDonald’s while on vacation. Instead, I go get some cajun food.

Famous Cajun Grill has no line. I order double bourbon chicken and double potatoes. No way am I getting any steamed vegetables; that’s for suckers. A cute girl comes up in line behind me. Her otherwise brunette hair has some streaks of purple through it. Continue reading

The Prodigal Programmer

I fucked up my life. Since I was young, my parents and teachers told me I was smart. In high school, I was a straight A student and graduated sixth in my class of eight hundred. I was accepted to the University of Texas at Austin as an honors biomedical engineering student with a full scholarship. My first semester GPA was a 4.0.

Then everything went to hell. I failed classes and lost my scholarship. Engineering turned into philosophy, bringing constant questions of, “Philosophy? What on earth are you going to do with that?” After five unsuccessful years, I dropped out. (Technically, I failed out, but breaking up with someone sounds better than being broken up with.) I moved back to Houston to live with my parents and became a cashier at the same grocery store I worked at in high school. Continue reading

My Worst World Cup Losses

Soccer is usually only a passing interest of mine. I will catch a Premier League match if I am up early on the weekend or a Champions League one if I have a random day off in the middle of the week. However, soccer is not an obsession of mine like college football or professional basketball.

Except when the World Cup comes around. Every four years my social life gets put on hold as I try to catch every game. I will quickly form passionate opinions on players like Neymar and Mo Salah. I will support a team based solely on how good their uniforms look.

As an immigrant from the UK, football is in my blood, and I am forced to support both the England and USA international teams. Yet my love for the World Cup is more than genetic; several reasons make it the world’s greatest sporting competition: Continue reading

Rockets/Warriors: Infinity War

Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follow.

Sometimes I like to feel depressed. After a long day at work, I will listen to the Smiths, watch a sad episode of Scrubs, or remember that Donald Trump is president. Embracing your inner darkness feels good from time to time.

This summer I have been able to add a new piece of media to my list of depressing works of art: Avengers: Infinity War. I have already seen the movie multiple times, and despite (or perhaps because of) its heartbreaking ending, I have already fallen in love with it. Sometimes the bad memories have the largest impact on us.

The other event of the summer for me was the Western Conference Finals. All year, I have looked forward to Rockets-Warriors. Now that it is over, it too can join my list of depressing things to torture myself with. Multiple moments and lines from Avengers: Infinity War remind me of this NBA series. Let’s take a look back at how Rockets-Warriors 2018 went down. But first, let’s ask, Which Avenger is each Rocket? Continue reading

3 Dishes, 3 Observations

Photo by Lou Stejskal. Used under Creative Commons license.

Oxtail Stew

The world is unfair. Mean people can be successful. Nice people get stricken with terminal diseases. Karma does not exist.

Except, perhaps, with cuts of meat. Most meats fall under a continuum with flavor on one side and price/ease of cooking on the other. Take, for example, the filet mignon, which is expensive and takes only a few minutes to sear. That steak is tender and tasty, but it is a little bland and forgettable. Continue reading

The Possible Letdown of LeBron Going to Philadelphia

The NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals have been a huge letdown. Philadelphia has barely avoid getting swept by a Celtics team missing their two best players. And after a difficult first round, LeBron and his team of nobodies have demolished the Raptors. Neither the Celtics nor the Cavaliers deserve to play in the NBA Finals, but one of them is almost certain to make it.

LeBron knows his team is bad. The Cavs have been a flawed team both before and after the trade deadline. At times during the regular season, LeBron James looked listless and rightfully so when you look at whom he is playing with. The situation has not improved in the playoffs. Kevin Love, JR Smith, and Tristan Thompson have had at most two or three good games apiece during the first two series, and everyone else on the roster has been completely forgettable. Continue reading