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If you've been following me, you know I just got a new spanking PC, an Alienware Aurora R4 with a GTX690. I've been working on copying files over the network from the old computer, installing, and setting up Windows 8.1. I do finally have Steam installed and configured, although I haven't played any of those games yet. I found out, while putting my Steam account on this new PC, that I got Dota2. Basically, when I logged into Steam, it told me about the new game, which apparently came bundled with my new computer. "Sweet," I thought, since Jon gave me a list of Free-To-Play Steam games and Dota2 was on that list. I think I was only aware of one of those games on his list, Team Fortress 2, which I've never played.

Minecraft happens to be the first game I played on this PC. After installing and updating and copying over my world from the old computer, the first thing I did was to go into the options menu. There set my render distance to it's max of 16 blocks. My old computer used the default setting and it slugged a little bit when I tried to increase it. This one handles that option quite well. I maxed other settings and turned others on to test this beast.

I currently have a house on a "floating island" that the game mysteriously created for me, which I had been looking at from a distance. I wanted to get there and build my house, even though I have some holes in caves around my default spawn point, which was in a Jungle, exactly where I wanted to be so I could get a cat. This is my new spawn point, where I have a yellow cat, which hasn't been named yet.

Not far away from the base of my floating island house, I ran into monsters and was awed with the sound. My new Bose speakers are an upgrade from the cheap speakers I have on the old computer. So, it was cool to hear the zombies moaning, spiders sounded creepy. Of course, I ran into some Creepers. I really hate those things!

I went into a nearby cave, which seemed darker thank I was used to. Later, my son said that it was probably because my brightness setting was set to the default "Moody." It was, of course, I barely messed with that setting, but I put it at 64 and liked it much better. I then showed him my floating island and we both seemed wowed by how much of the world we could see (this is where that render blocks setting comes in). It was awesome!

In the meantime, I'm going to try to test out other games and see their improvements with the new PCs. I don't expect FTL will be any different, but I'm sure Terraria will be as it has some sweet settings to tweak that make it look better. That may, in fact, be my next mission.

I've you've read this far, thanks. Jon volunteered a list of FTP games to play on Steam, what games would you suggest I try playing on my new PC? I did try Star Trek Online with the old PC and wasn't happy with it's performance. I'll have to try it on this one.

Well, that's the question that comes to mind when playing FTL, because that is exactly what I'm working on. I've found out that my standard double laser beam is more effective than I thought. Sometimes I use it after I use a missile on their weapons, but I've found that sometimes I need to use it to disable the their shields in order to get a missile in. So, those are the two that I usually end up targeting.

As for upgrades, I like upgrading my shields to two, which requires power and system upgrades. Whenever I can afford a Drone Controller subsystem, I like to get it because the drone that does Hull Repair is a life saver! The Defense drone hasn't seemed very effective, though I found an upgrade, but never got the chance to use it. I don't really feel the need for System Repair drones unless I'm low on crew.

I like the rock aliens, especially where ever there's a fire. I also like them and the Mantis when I have intruders. I like the Engi for repairing systems. I've also had a Slug once, but not for long.

I usually try to explore a sector instead of rushing to the end of it. This can be beneficial, since I found out that the level of difficulty progresses with each sector and it's already a "hard" game on "easy." I avoid the spiders and most other "investigate" missions for fear of losing crew. Sometimes I have plenty, but there's usually always room for more and I don't often buy them unless I need to. Having around 10 energy and missiles at the beginning of the sector is good, I think.

I've found some really good weapons. Recently, I found a missile upgrade that sends drones to destroy a system, very effective and helpful. I've seen it miss maybe once. I've had various lasers and beams and like them, too. I have not yet unlocked different ship layouts. I'm not even sure if I've unlocked a ship, but I'm sticking with the default one.

It's a real fun game even though death seems eminent. The music is good, too. I've played for 18 hours.

I've finally played FTL, probably less than 2 hours was spent. The tutorial was definitely helpful and easy. I didn't do the virus or spider missions, I knew from CG that I shouldn't do the spider one definitely. I made it to the third sector, but that is where I ran out of fuel. I obviously need to keep an eye on that and buy some when I can. I found out (via a Google Search) that I could attempt to jump, but choose to wait and use a distress signal. Unfortunately, an enemy ship (a Mantis one, I think) found me and started firing at me. They had great weapons, including a laser that penetrated my shields. Unfortunately, they took out my weapons and caused some fires. I had crews repairing and trying to put out the fire, but my oxygen system was also damaged. Unfortunately, the three crew members (one an Engi) died while trying to repair everything (fire and lack of oxygen). Once the ship destroyed my weapons system, my ship blew up. I did try to take out their weapon system, but they disabled mine before I could get a shot in.

I have this habit, that I've had for a few years now, where I visit www.gamefaqs.com every day after midnight and vote in the daily poll. I love it! Do any of you do this, too?

I found out recently that Final Fantasy X and X-2 are being re-released in HD next month (1 month & 1 day from now I believe). I want to know what your thoughts are on games that get re-released in HD. I think it's great that games are in HD and cool that some get re-released in HD, but I'm not sure I'm going to by any of them. Zelda: Wind Waker got the same treatment by Nintendo. While I'm sure I'll get a Wii U eventually (maybe next month for my son's 10th birthday), I'm not really interested in buying the HD re-releases, especially when I still own the original game. That applies to Kingdom Hearts, too. I did buy the Metroid Trilogy for the Wii and regret that I traded in the Gamecube versions of those games that I had. I even saw an online graphic that showed how much better the originals looked compared to the new Wii version. I also had some disc reading issues with the trilogy and Other M (and Super Smash Bros. Melee). This is probably because I have one of the very first Wiis that were released, not the one that came with an updated disk drive.

I mentioned Kingdom Hearts, which is (as far as I can tell) the reason why I will buy a PS4 (for Kingdom Hearts 3). So far I see no reason to get one yet and am waiting on games I want (like KH3 and Final Fantasy). I wouldn't be caught dead thinking about getting an XBoxOne, even though I once again have the original XBox (the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer game is only for XBox). I really liked it back in the day when I had a PS2, Gamecube, and an original XBox. Even though I had the PS2 versions of Grand Theft Auto, I bought them for the XBox, which I loved because those games let you use the music you've stored on your XBox. I did trade in those games though when I gave away my first XBox. Now I only have Buffy for it and I'm fine with that. I also have the Gamecube version of the 2nd Buffy game.

Well, I've kind of gone off topic, but let's get back to the idea of HD re-releases and let me know what your thoughts on those are. Do you think they're worth getting, especially if you still own the original releases? I loved FFX & X-2, Kingdom Hearts, and Wind Waker. I still think each game is awesome, but I don't feel the need to go out and buy the HD versions.

I'm thinking of upgrading my PC now that I can afford to. Well, I shouldn't say "upgrade," I'm thinking of building or buying a I want your opinion. This post isn't exactly about gaming, since I don't do very much gaming on my PC, but if I had a better system, I might. Some of the games I'm thinking about getting are The Sims 3 and Starcraft 2. I went to Newegg.com (my favorite PC site) and looked up some components and then got frustrated. I also found some things on TomsHardware.com. Here's kind of where my predicament comes in....the very high-end graphics cards are apparently really great (like the Geforce GTX 600 or 700 series), but they are expensive! Apparently Intel has the best processors, too, but I'm an AMD guy. While Intel's CPUS are apparently better, they are also very expensive. I'm tempted to go all out on a PC upgrade (build or purchase) since money really isn't an issue (I'm not as poor as I used to be). But, I wonder if it would be better and cheaper for me to just get a high-end PC from HP or to build one on my own. Thinking about the cost of a high-end GPU, and the cost of Windows alone (I plan to stick with Windows 7, if I can), then it probably would be cheaper to get all of that from HP or someone.

My PC is ok for what I've been doing with it since I built it, but it's been 7 years or so. It can't handle today's best video games and I would like to see it start up faster (it takes about 5 to less than 10 minutes to be ready for me to start doing things with it). I've also noticed a tiny bit of lag every now and then with Terraria, probably because I put it on high quality settings. Right now I have an AMD 5200+ dual core processor. I have 4 gigs of RAM, but it's definitely not DDR3 (the latest standard) nor is my motherboard capable of that. I also have a Geforce 8800GTS (with less than a gig of RAM on it). I had thought to just upgrade my processor, GPU, and get some faster RAM, but again, I feel like that probably won't be enough and I should just go all out on building or buying a new one. That would be cool, too, because I'd be able to give my son this PC and wouldn't have to continue to share my PC with him.

So, what are your thoughts on this? What kind of specs does your computer have? What components would you recommend? What manufacturer would you recommend if I were to buy a new PC instead of build one? If you own a Mac, you can tell me all about it, but you won't convince me to buy one. I'm not a hater, I just don't have any interest in Apple. I know they're good quality computers, but they are expensive and (from what I understand) there is less out there for them (in regards to software) than for a Windows PC. At least, I think that's still true of them, but I could be wrong.

I'm not sure why, but before (in 1.2) I couldn't get Steam to capture a screenshot, so I windowed my game and used the Snipping Tool. Now it works and I thought I'd share my place, since Travis asked long ago. Feel free to notice my character. I found a Familiar Wig, Shirt, and Pants while exploring CGWorld3 and thought I'd equip them. These are the first vanity items I've used. The set makes my character look much more like him without armor. I don't know if that's a coincidence that the color of these items is either what my character has (without armor) or close. I've also experimented again with embedding the screenshot. I think it will work this time (if not I'll update again and fix it). I don't recall seeing the "Content URL" option while creating a new post, but it shows up when you select "Edit." Therefore, I must thank Jon for adding that feature.

You can't tell in this screenshot that I've been exploring the CG worlds. The third one is probably the best one. I found a wonderful arena to do the Pumpkin Moon (remember placing the dart trap and spikey ball switches?). Sadly, the Pumpking kicked my butt and I wasn't able to defeat it. Oh, I also found a Hoverboard in one of these worlds, which I'm thinking of trying out. While I didn't really want to take anything from the CG worlds, I've obviously admitted to taking some things. I also took Jon's cool hammer weapon, which is more powerful than my Terra Blade. Travis, at first I took your painting of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I decided to put it back where it was. Hahahaha. I've also now created a safe, so I'll see how that works. Anyway, these worlds are amazing and I'm enjoying them! I have not yet fully explored them, but I will be continuing my exploration of them.

Lightning Returns has been out for two days now, so I've had a couple of days to play. One of my favorite things about the game is that I got Cloud's Soldier 1st Class garb due to pre-ordering the game. It's very nice seeing Lightning in Cloud's uniform. What's cool, too, is that if I finish a battle in that garb, the Fanefare from Final Fantasy VII plays. It has a pretty powerful attack, which uses up a good bit of the ATB Gauge, I use it when I can. The ability seems to change if the enemy is Staggered, which is also helpful.

The game works as I described in my first writing of the demo version. Lightning slept for 500 years in crystal form and was awoken by God (Bhunivelze) to do his bidding, in return he'll bring Serah (Lightning's sister and Snow's fiancee and star of FFXIII-2) back. However, there's an enemy roaming about, who seems to be able to control the Chaos that's spreading and bears a striking resemblance to Serah. Lightning's task is to save as many souls as she can in the thirteen days before God awakens and destroys the current world and creates a new one. All the souls Lightning saves get reborn into the new world.

Time is definitely not on her side! The clock is ticking and some quests can only be completed at certain times of the day. Luckily, Hope has returned, but for some unknown reason is a boy (as he was in FFXIII) and not the man he was in FFXIII-2. He is aboard the Ark guiding Lightning through her quest. At 6AM (game time) every day, Lightning must return to the Ark, where time stands still, to deposit the souls she's saved. This helps grow the Yggdrasil tree onboard and with enough souls, Lightning can have more days until the end of the world. Currently, it seems that the world will be destroyed before the thirteenth day as Chaos is consuming the world, leaving only a handful of areas to venture to.

The demo version of the game is the beginning of the game. Lightning crashes in on Snow during one of his banquets and they have a bit of a duel while monsters pour in from a nearby Chaos infusion. Snow fights against Lighting and the monsters, but something is weird about one of his hands, it apparently seems able to suck up the Chaos. Snow later disappears into the Chaos as Lightning chases him.

Lightning cannot save all the souls in the world and she must act quickly to save as many as she can. She must use time management and decide whether to spend a lot of time saving a few souls, or spend less time saving more. It's a conundrum and there are 5 significant souls for her to save, my best guess is that these are fellow FFXIII characters. I'm already aware of Snow and I believe Noel (from FFXIII-2) was following me in another area.

This is the first Final Fantasy game I can recall where there is no party, just a single character controlled by the player. So far, I'm enjoying the game. The music seems new, but a few bits are obviously recycled. There was one character playing a familiar FF song, a bit remixed and I'm still not sure what it is or where it's from, my guess is FFVII.

Although I got ingredients for 3 schemata for preordering, so far the Cloud one is the only one I've really used. I set it as default, so that's what I see Lightning running around the game wearing, it's pretty cool. It seems you can only have 3 main schemata, but room to create more as sub-schemata and change them out (outside of battle) as you pleas. You can customize each schemata with a different garb, shield, weapon (the three main ingredients), accessories and abilities. So far, I've only explored two different places. I haven't completed every quest I've accepted, but I'm working on it. It doesn't seem too difficult, but I have died a time or two. You are limited to the number of restoration potions you can carry (6 at first), which grows as Lightning grows by completing quests.

If you play and like the demo, you'll probably like the game. I think it's pretty cool and so far I'm not disappointed. I may even decide to play the other FFXIII games again. I know in the first one, I wanted to unlock the PS3 theme for Fang, but that required crafting everything. I also believe there were some areas I didn't unlock in FFXIII-2.

Anyway, I thought I'd write a tidbit about the game....back to gaming!

For a few days or more now, I've been wanting to play Minecraft again. I don't know what held me back. When I first started playing it around Thanksgiving I was home alone with the pets as the rest of the family was in Kentucky with family. I lost track of time in those days. There might have been two days where I stayed up all night and didn't go to bed, something I hadn't done in a long time.

Apparently, I last played it a little more than a month ago and probably not for very long. One thing I found out was how to back up and restore my world. This became something I made into a habit as I really hate dying in the game and also when Creepers blow my stuff up. Usually if I die I just quit the game and restore from my back up. I also try to make a back up when I've done something significant, like finishing a house.

The world I last created at the end of November put me into a Jungle, which is exactly what I was looking for in the previous world, but couldn't seem to locate. I wanted a Jungle because I wanted a cat. Cats supposedly help keep the Creepers away, although one caught up to me as I was leading my new cat to our new home. Usually, I burrow into the side of a hill for a while, planting my base there and mining a nearby cavern or the one I've made into a base. I've found a few caverns, which I've noted coordinates in a Notepad file. I found this to be helpful as well.

Well, I noticed a floating island near where I was last mining and although I thought I'd make a tree house, I decided to move to that island. It's not very big, but big enough for a big house. I used dirt to create a path to get up there and then I leveled it out so that I could build my house. There isn't much room left on that island, which I think will help keep the Creepers away. Yet, some how a Skeleton spawned in my house, so I threw up more torches. I think I did see a Creeper up there, but killed it before it could blow up. Later, I went back and filled in the sides to my path up to the house, so that I wouldn't accidentally fall off the sides (I did that a couple of times).

I do enjoy Minecraft. It took a long time for me to play it. My son has obsessed over it and often watches videos of Minecraft people have posted on YouTube. It really is a good game and I love the music! The thing I hate most about the game is the Creeper. That enemy alone makes me not want to play it. I hate when a Creeper surprises me by coming up to me (out of sight) and blowing up and destroying whatever I'm near. It's really annoying. That's one advantage I found in living underground, but still my wheat farms outside were vulnerable (and blown up at times).

Minecraft is a "sandbox" game, but I'm in it more for the adventure. I like finding caverns and exploring them. I love finding diamonds even more! Sadly, I don't ever find enough of them. I have made a diamond breastplate, I think it might be enchanted. Now when I try to repair it, the game tells me it's "too expensive," so I've kept it in a chest. I also have a very nicely enchanted sword (I'm not sure what it's made of), which seems to get more expensive with each time I repair it. The last time I tried, I didn't have enough XP to repair it.

I'm surprised that it's been so long since there's been an update to this game. It's kind of sad because I've thought of lots of things that could be added (like snakes). I've even seen videos that had birds in there, but haven't seen any in the game.

Anyway, I don't really have a point to this post. I just felt like writing about my most recent Minecraft experience. I still want to keep playing. There's a cavern near my new home that I want to explore. The ocelot I found was very easy to tame, it only took 1 Salmon. It turned into an orange cat, which I've had a few before. I might try to tame more ocelots, I definitely need as much protection from annoying Creepers as I can get.


P.S. I've found that it's best to proofread my posts before posting. I hate reading things that have typos, incorrect spelling, or horrible grammar, so you can expect a bit more quality in what I write. I am a writer after all, pretty much always have been, which is why I'm so glad to participate here at "the best website on the Internet." (Those are Jon's words, not that I disagree with him.)

So, I just found out that the latest Final Fantasy comes out on 2/14. I found out today because Newegg sent me an email telling me I could preorder it and get a $10 gift card. I figured Gamestop would have a different preorder bonus and I was right. I'm not sure if or when I'd use a $10 gift card from Newegg, maybe if I decide to upgrade my computer, but I still don't feel like doing that yet. As for Gamestop, "Pre-order Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns to receive Cloud Strife's SOLDIER 1st Class Uniform, Buster Sword, and Soldier's Band! Equip Lightning with Cloud Strife's SOLDIER 1st Class uniform, Soldier's Band and Buster Sword from FINAL FANTASY VII!" So, yeah that seems pretty cool!

Luckily, I found the PS3 demo at the PSStore and am downloading it now. It's a 2GB download and comes with another costume. Also, there's a free theme for the game, which I got an installed. Other than the info I've given here, I know nothing else about this game. I do love Final Fantasy, with VIII being my all-time favorite of the series, but I had some issues with XIII and XIII-2. Maybe it was because of what I was going through when I played both games, maybe it was because I found some of the music to be too depressing, but I didn't fall in love with XIII as much as I'm used to for a Final Fantasy game. I think maybe my own issues at the time inhibited my enjoyment of the game, maybe that fit though as it seems to be a bit of a sad series. Still, I'm hoping this new FF is awesome and wows me and makes me love the series. I'm hoping some of the music doesn't return. I did like that metal Chocobo song, that was cool, they can bring that back, but otherwise I want new FFXIII music.

It seems I'm not the only one with even a slight disappointment in the FF series as of late, I've heard some others (not going to point any fingers *WBS* *cough cough*) seem to feel roughly the same. We want a FF that kicks ass and makes us fall in love with it. It's not too much to ask since the series itself is quite epic and the fact that it's survived and thrived this long is amazing.

So, what are your thoughts? Have you seen anything about the game that I haven't mentioned here that you want to talk about? Are you going to get it? Well, at least now I know I'll have a game to write about soon and I have about 10 days until I get my hands on it. Luckily, I'll have the demo soon and I also bought Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Collection for the PS3.

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