Pre‐​play expectations: Twilight Princess HD

Pixels, mirrors, and stamps – here are my expectations for Twilight Princess HD.

Dagnabit, I’m already a day late! Anyhow, I’m thrilled to finally have Twilight Princess HD downloaded on my Wii U, and if I write rapidly, I’m sure I can jot down some quick expectations for the pastime I’ll be cramming in between writing my dissertation and attending job interviews before the game’s beckoning becomes irresistible.

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Healing with fireballs in Divinity

Thawing AND healing allies using fireballs? Yes please.

In my review of Divinity: Original Sin I mentioned that you could thaw your frozen allies with fireballs, if they had the HP to withstand such a harsh treatment. Well, guess what? In Divinity, you (and enemies) can have more than 100% resistance to something, which means that you actually heal when “damaged” by that element or damage type.

So my co‐​op partner upgraded/​found some gear that gave him more than 100% fire resistance, and now I can throw my mightiest fire spells his way and instead of waking from a frozen wasteland to a burning nightmare, he’ll wake from a frozen wasteland to a sunny beach with a warm summer breeze in his hair and a team of masseuses attending to his sore muscles.

You’re welcome.

Creative Commons is good, if you allow commercial use

Accepting commercial use of your works is necessary for a thriving, worldwide commons of free cultural works. Here’s why.

I have just chosen to allow commercial use of my photos through an appropriate Creative Commons license. This was a rather significant change in my thinking. My gut reaction has always been “I don’t want others to exploit my work and make money off it”. But while this is a valid sentiment with the best of intentions, it utterly fails to capture the complexities of the problem. I did some research and, as often is the case, my new‐​found knowledge required me to completely change my mind and my conduct. Here is an overview of the problem and why you should allow commercial uses of your creative works.

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Why I support Wikipedia and why you should too

Knowledge is power. Giving everyone free access to knowledge is one of the most democratic things we can do.

Wikipedia has often displayed donation banners at the top of articles. Lately they’ve been getting a bit more dominant (in a perfectly fine non‐​flashy way, mind you). Now, at long last, instead of filing it away in the dark recesses of my mind, I actually read the message and reflected on the whole “knowledge is power” thing. Easiest reflection I’ve done – five minutes later I was a Wikipedia supporter. Here’s what went though my head:

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Review: Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition

Divinity is a really good game. It just forces me to make a few compromises I’d rather be without.

I’m currently co‐​oping1 Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition. It’s a fun game, with lots of attention to detail and thoughtfully implemented gameplay mechanics. But some poor choices on my part have left me wanting more here and there, and I’m not sure I’m willing to replay it to treat it more fairly. So here’s a kind‐​of‐​review that’s most likely a tad bit more critical than the game deserves.2

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  1. It’s a verb.

  2. I intended to just jot down a quick couple of paragraphs. Boy did I fail at that.

On my Zelda optimal equipment guides

The “why” of my no‐​nonsense guides to help you get everything as soon as possible while playing Zelda games.

In games, I like to get some mileage out of my gear. On the occasion of the imminent release of Twilight Princess HD, I have just released an interactive, mobile‐​friendly equipment walkthrough for Twilight Princess (both HD, Wii and GC) that you can use as a quick reference to get all the items and equipment as early as possible. The descriptions are short, concise, and clear enough that you’ll actually spend your time playing, not reading. Similar guides are also coming for Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Skyward Sword, and Wind Waker HD.

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Technical details about my new blog

Some edits I made to the Wordpress theme and plugins I’m using

When you’re into web design, of course you can’t simply install WordPress and be done with it. The current default WordPress theme, Twenty Sixteen, is nice and clean, but a few tweaks here and there made it look a bit better and even less noisy.

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Escapism is negatively charged. Let’s change that.

By spending time doing what you enjoy, it becomes easier dealing with what you don’t enjoy.

The spending of time and money on hobbies and other leisure activities is an important ethical consideration. How much is too much when your time (and money) could be spent in “better” ways? Here I argue that escapism can be healthy and make life better for you and those around you.

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A killer is born: On ludonarrative dissonance in Tomb Raider

Lara Croft’s origin story ends up being appropriate, just not the way the developers had envisioned.

Lara Croft’s origin story is supposedly one of survival. The introduction shows an innocent female archaeologist and her friends heading for adventure and fame. Circumstances quickly deteriorate, and the first Lara does in the game is to set herself on fire, fall several meters down onto a metal pin, and brutally pull it out from her side. The sequence is emotional and well executed, the subtext being that this hurts Lara mentally as much as physically. Before the credits roll, the screen fades to white and the text a survivor is born appears in bold, rough letters. And it might have worked. She has undoubtedly become tougher and more experienced. But she has also become a cold‐​blooded, psychopathic killer.

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