Summary of the Year 2013

Note to reader: This summary was written in late June of 2014, so the tone of the page is based on what I was all about at the time. Maintaining the blog for all these years has shown me that what I’m about at any given time always changes. That being said, 2013 wasn’t that long ago, so not that much has changed on the surface.

2013 was, however, a year of big changes in the background of this blog. I’ve switched hosting providers and themes several times throughout the year and even now, in 2014, I’m still not completely sure I’ll be sticking to what I have, though I’m satisfied with the current theme more than I ever was before.

January

January started with my completing of several games I started in the previous year. To name them, these were The Witcher, Populous: The Beginning and Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. As I said before, I even wrote a guide for Crash Bandicoot 2 and it gets a nice number of hits to.

After beating Crash Bandicoot, I started playing Grandia. This was another JRPG I remember fondly from my kid years. For this one, I’ve cleared pretty much everything, even the bonus dungeons. I even drew a set of maps for the biggest bonus dungeon in the game – The Tower of Temptation.

Once Populous was beaten, I got my idea for a new challenge. I decided to play through the Pokemon games as if I was Ash. I had to use only the Pokemon he was using and none of the others. It was difficult and I had to make a lot of compromises, but I got quite far with it, though I’m still not done at this time (in June of 2014). In January, I started the challenge with Pokemon Yellow and I was done before the month was over.

I also tried out one more game before the end of the month – Path of Exile. It was OK, but I never went back to it.

February

In February, I continued playing through Grandia and started the next game of my Pokemon challengePokemon Crystal. Transferring things from Yellow to Crystal wasn’t as straightforward as I hoped, so my first posting was a preparation guide of sorts.

I started my own game in XNA, but that didn’t last long.

Grandia had a game freezing bug on the PSP, so I had to transfer my saves to the PC, play through it on an emulator and then transfer them back to the PSP. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, and there was very little information online, so I wrote a guide based on what I figured out.

For a while, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to continue playing Grandia, so I decided to start another game on my PSP, just to keep things interesting. I opted for Tomba! and it ended up being a good decision.

Once I was done with Pokemon Crystal, I went back to the series I started this blog with – Legacy of Kain. I bought Soul Reaver on GOG.com and played through it entirely. It was a great game with amazing atmosphere and an interesting world.

March

In March, I continued my Pokemon challenge with Pokemon Ruby. I again made a guide on how to do the transition from crystal to Ruby and even planned out what I would be doing in the game. Finding a proper save editor and figuring it out was the biggest issue here.

I also continued playing through Grandia and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and had a lot of fun with both games.

I was done with Ruby quickly, so I immediately moved on to Pokemon Platinum. This would be the third time to start this game during this blogs existence and the first time I’d actually complete it. This time, the issue was with figuring out how to edit DeSmuME saves, since I was playing a Nintendo DS game on a Nintendo DS emulator.

I was also done with Soul Reaver this month, so I started my next PC game – Warlords Battlecry 3. This was yet another game I remember fondly from my earlier years and bought on a whim when GOG.com had it on sale. I did not regret it.

Before the month was over, I managed to squeeze in one more game. Babel Rising was something I got from free during an UbiSoft special deal. It was free, so I didn’t regret getting it, but I can’t say I had a lot of fun playing it. It’s cute, but not fun.

April

I was still playing Grandia in April, and I was still having fun with it.

Other than that, I had to take a break with the Pokemon challenge, since the Anime was still going through the Black and White seasons. I should get back to it eventually, I guess.

Since Pokemon was out of the question, I started another game I’ve been meaning to play for a while.

Gothic was a series that always intrigued me, but I never was able to play any of the games for various reasons. Gothic I was released in a time when I had Dial-Up internet, so all I had was a rip of the game that didn’t work properly. Gothic II ran badly, so my PC couldn’t handle it and Gothic III wasn’t any better. Effectively, the first Gothic game I played through completely was actually Risen. Since it was an old game, I had trouble running it on Windows 8 properly, so I made a guide on how to fix it, more or less.

Around the same time, I also continued with my Legend of Zelda Challenge by playing Link’s Awakening (the GameBoy Color version). It played surprisingly well considering the age, the platform and the fact I was emulating it on the PC. It’s amazing how charming older Zelda games were able to be with what they had available.

I kept alternating between these three games, GrandiaGothic and Link’s Awakening for the rest of the month and haven’t actually beaten any until…

May

In May, I removed Grandia from the equation by finally beating it and went back to Tomba!, since I was going to play it anyway. It’s truly a great and unique game.

Game Dev Story became the first proper game I played on my smart phone. I know I already mentioned Hill Climb Racing, but that was more of a time waster than this, though this wan was quite a time waster as well. I went all hardcore with it and even recorded some character data for future players.

Once I was done with that, a new chapter began. I started to play Might and Magic Book One: Secret of the Inner Sanctum. It was an ancient game and part of an ancient series which I wanted to experience and I’m still experiencing it at this time (in 2014). I wrote a series of guides for this one and even drew maps as I was exploring.

June

In June, I continued to play Might and Magic Book One as well as Tomba!, but I also added two more games to the mix, one brand new and one I returned to.

Pixel Dungeon is a roguelike amazingly suited for a smart phone. It’s not too complex, so it controls nicely, but it’s still every bit as challenging as any other roguelike. This game started out on my first smartphone, but has since found a home on each and every of my Android devices.

DOTA 2 is the other game and it was simply mentioned in a random posting, since I did play a few games in June.

Might and Magic was progressing at a slow pace, but I felt like I did something with every session and it never felt like I was wasting time. It’s an amazing experience, especially considering the game’s age.

I also decided to start a schedule in how I post. I would do it about three times a week from that point on. This lasted for a long time, but has since been abandoned.

July

In July, I’ve completed both Tomba! and Might and Magic Book One and what an amazing ride that was.

Tomba! was beaten a bit earlier in the month, so I started another (to me) legendary PlayStation game. Vagrant Story was a game I owned and still own, but wasn’t able to get through as a kid. This time, I had experience, the Internet and plenty of other resources at my disposal, so I was confident I’d be able to do it. I was pleasantly surprised with how advanced some of the aspects of the game were. It really showed early hint of the modern in the design and presentation.

August

In August, I took a break from Might and Magic. It’s a great series, but the games were heavy, so I was worried about tiring myself.

Instead, I tried out a game, or a set of games known as The Walking Dead: Season One and I was not impressed. The story was interesting and couldn’t in any way be called bad, but the game was just that – a bad game. I’d rather watch a Let’s Play of Season Two than play through it, so that’s exactly what I ended up doing. I did beat Season One, though.

Before all that, I tried out a fun, quirky game that didn’t take itself seriously, and instead relied on the mechanics. Offspring Fling was such a game and I enjoyed it for the short time it took me to beat it. I even tested my skill on some of the challenges, but I never cleared all of them.

By mid-August, I decided my break from Might and Magic was over, so I started Might and Magic Book Two: Gates to Another World. It was an improvement in every aspect except for the level scaling, which I complained about several times in my various postings.

I also went back to Pixel Dungeon for a few hours.

September

In September, I kept playing Might and Magic Book Two and finally managed to beat Vagrant Story. In short, it was great.

I also bought Constructor on GOG.com, which was a game I originally owned on the PlayStation. It’s harder than I remembered.

Finally, I started playing Ancient Summoner. It’s a Free To Play browser game. It’s a skinner box, it’s Pay 2 Win and it’s horrible. I have no idea why I was wasting my time on it.

October

Since I was done with Vagrant Story, I started playing Spyro the Dragon on my PSP. It was my first proper experience with a free roaming 3D platformer and I was actually pleasantly surprised. At some point, I’d like to get through the entire series.

On the PC, I kept playing Might and Magic Book Two and, same as with the first game, I was making slow, but steady progress and the game was completed on the 21st.

I played a few sessions of Dungeons of Dredmor, which is a sort of funny roguelike that I like, but don’t love, and then I moved on to Metro 2033, an FPS I knew nothing about and ended up greatly enjoying.

I was also done with Spyro soon, so I moved on to Suikoden, keeping up my long game – short game pattern on the PSP. This is another one of those games that impressed me so much I’d like to get through the series eventually.

November

In November, I got to the end of Metro 2033 and finally abandoned Ancient Summoner, which I shouldn’t have wasted my time on to begin with.

After Metro, I took a brief detour by trying out Dwelvers, an early alpha of a game inspired by Dungeon Keeper and playing through a session of Warlock: Master of the Arcane, one of the many spiritual successors to Master of Magic. This one is pretty interesting, mostly because it doesn’t try too hard and instead goes for a different, more war-focused angle.

The next proper PC game was Mark of the Ninja. It’s a precision stealth game by the developers of Shank and it quickly became one of my all-time favorites. However, it was short, so I was soon done with it and immediately moved on to Icewind Dale, the first one. As with many other infinity engine games, I’ve played this one a lot in the past, but never saw the end of it. This time, it was different.

December

December started with my completion of Suikoden and an attempt to get all the runes, which ended up being impossible without replaying the game. It’s an old game with an old design philosophy, so there was stuff you could miss completely.

I also continued to play Icewind Dale and made steady progress, but it’s a lengthy game.

By far the biggest thing that happened was that I bought an Archos Gamepad. This is an Android tablet with physical buttons and decent hardware, which makes it perfectly suited for emulation of older consoles. I would be using it a lot in the months to follow. I tried out a few games, but the first one I actually started to play on it was Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu, for the PlayStation. This game didn’t work properly on the PSP Go, so it was the perfect candidate, really.

I bead Jade Cocoon quickly and immediately moved on to Vandal Hearts, another PlayStation game. This one was an early strategy RPG and it showed, but it wasn’t any worse for it. In fact, it had a unique story and setting, a strange, but interesting visual style and a pleasant surprise in the end credits – a song sung in Croatian. That being said, I would not hear it until next year. Starting Vandal Hearts was how the year 2013 ended.

Conclusion

In 2013, the blog pretty much transformed in what I wanted it to bee. My postings had content now. The quality of it may still be debatable, but there was no debating that it was actual content and not just empty words written for the hell of it.

The only thing I’d still disagree with now was the posting schedule. These days (mid-2014), I’d prefer to post only if I have something to post, regardless of how long or how short it’s been.

Overall, it was the best year up to that point, I’m certain of that.

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