Final Fantasy V (SNES via flash cart)

Half this game is figuring out creative ways to break it. Sure, you can wreck any RPG by running in circles for a few hours and fighting everything you run into. But FF5 gives you the job system to toy around with which counts more towards your ability to get through the game than levels. Some bosses like the fat Atma Weapon lookalike can only be overcome with the right job, and all the game's bosses and the monsters in the very last area don't even give EXP. With all the tools at your disposal, you can even figure out hilarious ways to trash the final boss in under three minutes (protip: there is something you can do with the thousands upon thousands of gil Crystal Dragons and Movers give. Also, X-Fight is useless against his second form).

The soundtrack is kind of weak for a Final Fantasy game, with many songs alternating between kind of cool and totally inappropriate (the final boss theme is especially bad about this), and the mountain song sounds like something out of Blasting Again. And on that note, Final Fantasy V also gets a lot of flack for having a dumb story, but I didn't really mind it. It's not particulary deep, but it gets the job done, I appreciated the humor, Gilgamesh is great, and it's not actively annoying... well, mostly. First of all, the big reveal after you defeat Exdeath the first time is pretty stupid. But I eventually grew to accept it, or maybe it just got swept aside by a bigger annoyance, that being FUCK CARA. She's like if instead of merely shoehorning Scrappy-Doo into Mystery Inc., they killed Scooby off first. And if how she gets on the party, her being such a perfect little snowflake, and Square forgetting she wasn't the main character of the game for the ending wasn't enough to make me hate her, while I was prepping for Shinryuu and Omega, I noticed her Berserker costume is a cat skin. Seriously, fuck Cara.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to give FF5 three and a half or four Skitties (yes, Cara annoys me that much), but I decided to go with the full four Skitties after beating Shinryuu and Omega. These guys really showcase the importance of planning and figuring out how to bork the job system in your favor. Powerleveling just doesn't work on these guys. You have to know their attacks, then prepare your party's Jobs, Abilities, equipment, and, in the case of Shinryuu, levels around them. Although I'd like to say I beat Omega in three turns on my first try, I can't honestly say that without a disclaimer; see, the first time I saw him, I examined him thinking "That can't be Omega, Square isn't dickish enough to put an optional superboss out in plain... oh, son of a bitch!", and a couple other times I engaged in battle with him trying to pass him. But I beat him the first time I engaged him with the intent of killing him.

On a side note, Snes9X does not emulate this game's sound effects well at all...


Lords and Ladies (Novel, Terry Pratchett)

My first real book of the year, and only four months in! I think this book is supposed to be a parody of Midsummer's Night Dream, which I've never read and honestly don't know much about. Maybe I would have gotten more out of it if I got the references, but this is still okay. Although it does suffer a bit from being one of the "slow beginning, reality gets lost, explosive finale" Discworlds.


Parasyte Complete Series (Manga, Hitoshi Iwaaki)

The whole eight volume series, here. The setup is that these little worms descend on the earth and seize control of a human body by replacing the head, and can shapeshift into blades and such and if you're noticing a similarity to Resident Evil 4 here, Parasyte actually came first. The parasites then go around eating whatever animal their host species is, generally humans. Twice thanks to his earbuds, our hero Shinichi ends up with one in his arm, and hilarity ensues.

The humor factor gets toned down a bit for the second volume, mainly reserved to Uda, who got a parasite in his lower mouth and upper chest, and has to fight with it over who gets to use his mouth. But the next six volumes are pretty serious... and gory, but that started back in volume one. This is not a manga for the squeamish, as just about every character in the entire series gets beheaded, stabbed in the chest, mutilated beyond recognition, or if they're really lucky they just blasted with pinball-sized shot, and the third volume kicks off with a subplot about a dead puppy.

At first it's kind of interesting to watch how as Migi gets more human, Shinichi gets more ruthless, but this ends up with volumes four and five being bit bleh thanks to Shinichi's short-lived angst-fest. Volume six gets back on track overall, and then things get a little convoluted in volume 8. I had to read Goto's death two or three trying to put together what happened, and the series kinda forgot to answer several other questions...

- According to one of the Q&A's at the end of the chapters, Iwaaki says the parasites actually came from earth. So who created the parasites and for what purpose? (Possible answer: to give humans a predator)

- Why did A's head explode?

- What happened to that girl who jumped out the window to get away from Shimada?

- What was the deal with Kana's power to detect the parasites?

- Exactly what were the experiments Ryoko (or Reiko, whatever you call her) used to create Goto?


Eversion (PC)

I randomly went through this game again one night, and according to Steam it only took me about 48 minutes, collecting all the letters even. It's a decent game worth checking out for the surprises, but it is kinda short...


A Whole Lotta RiffTrax (DVDs)

A few more Short volumes, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and Planet of the Dinosaurs. Of all of these, Planet of the Dinosaurs was the best. The shorts can be really hit and miss, and Plan 9 was kind of boring. Planet of the Dinosaurs was decent, though. Plenty of good laughs to be had, both from the commentary and the terrible dinosaur puppets.

One of the short collections was the Christmas Extravaganza which guest starred Weird Al, but while the shorts themselves were hilarious if marred by the occasional flub because it was live, Al's part in the show was a bit underwhelming. He's only in one short, admittedly a good one, but I could barely tell which jokes were his because he sounded too much like Mike.

I also noticed Kevin, Mike, and Bill like to push what they can do on these DVDs that they couldn't get away with on the televised MST3K. So yes, (bleeped out) swearing and dick jokes abound! Also, does anyone else have the problem I do where you hear Tom Servo call Crow "Bill" and think "Wait, what?"