Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Still not starving.

I felt woefully unprepared when winter came.  A few crock pots, a meagre berry farm and a half-dozen bee hives were all I had to show for my summer's work.  The map is too vast!  Forests for lumber are a day and a half's walk from home, meadows for bees even further.  I've found only the edge of a swamp, no reliable rocky biome to harvest ore from, and where on earth is the clockwork biome?

There was work to be done.

The beefalo herd near my camp was vast, and ripe for culling.  As winter descended, I cut down two of the beasts, and began hunting rabbits to gather enough morsels of meat to cook some sustaining vittles - but rabbits only come out of their warrens during the day, and daylight hours in winter are terribly short.  Over two days, I caught five rabbits.

Not nearly good enough.

As the sun set, I took down a third beefalo, and thus armed with 12 meats and five morsels, I cooked up four meaty stews.  This would last me almost a full week away from home.

I tried to pack light - who knows what I'd find to bring home out there? - and headed out at first light, Chester, my strange dog-slash-storage-chest companion, hopping along behind me.

Together, we wandered east, through the meadows and forests thick with spiders.

Lightning struck, and burned one of those forests down.  Oh well - free charcoal.

After a day and a half of travel, we came to the edge of the swamp biome.  Here, finally, I could gather the reeds I desperately need to fashion a bird cage.  As we wandered the swamp, careful not to arouse the violence of the tentacles that spawn there, I found an edge and followed it, fleshing out the map.

Where on earth was the chess biome?  Only there could gears be found.  Only there could I obtain the precious particulars necessary to craft refrigerators, thus massively increasing the life span of food.

After hitting the ocean at the southern end the swamp, we cut west and followed the coastline.  I came across a spider den or two - silk is always handy to have - and lured the spiders towards a tentacle that growled beneath the surface.

Tentacles are incredibly dangerous, as they end in a vicious, spiked tip that will cut down an un-armored Wilson in no time flat.

They're also incredibly valuable, as they end in a vicious, spiked tip that - if dropped upon its death - is one of the best melee weapons in the game.

I had never killed a tentacle, personally.  I gave them a very wide berth, and only ever got the precious tentacle spikes when the weird fish-men - merms - swarmed one and took it down.  Then I would dash in, take the prize and run for the hills.

But as the spiders emerged from their den to challenge me, they stood atop the tentacle's hidey-hole.  It rose up and slashed one of them, and they all took to attacking it.  As the combat took place so close to their nest, the nest erupted in yet more spiders, led by a spider-soldier.

The tentacle massacred them.

But they must have done some damage to it, right?

I took off my backpack, and pulled on my log armor suit (2 rope, 8 logs).  I took off my warm winter hat (4 silk, 4 beefalo wool) and put on my football helmet (1 pig skin, 1 rope).  I equipped my spear and dropped Chester's eyeball bone, to ensure he kept away from what was about to happen.

And today, I learned how to kill tentacles.

By the time I emerged from the swamp, I had killed four of them without the assistance of spiders, and earned myself two of their precious spikes.

Then, still sporting two meaty stews (and two dozen long-lasting honeys, besides), I set off for home.

My health was dangerously low, but I was thrilled by my success and...

"Did you hear that?" Wilson asked.

The hounds were coming.

Desperately, I dashed north to a wormhole I'd discovered on my way to the swamp.  Perhaps I could remain near it, and dive into it just before the hounds got to me.  With no pigs, with no beefalo, I'd have no chance against a full-on hound attack.

When the hounds came, I leapt into the worm hole.  It spit me out in a nearby forest, thick with pigs I'd rendered homeless when I broke their dwellings down to composite parts, to assemble my own protective pig town.

When the hounds came for me there, the pigs took care of them.  Then, finding myself in said thick forest, I decided to see if the spiders there had finally upgraded their nests to tier threes.  A tier-three spider's nest can be destroyed, and will always produce a spider's egg - which I can then use to create what's basically an easily-accessible spider farm near my camp.

I went southwest and strode past the Pig King, who trades trinkets for gold - for on the other side of his village laythe first three spider colonies I'd come across.  They had evolved to tier three nests.

I dropped Chester's eyeball bone and quickly assembled three traps from twigs (2) and grasses (6).  Clearing spider nests is done by baiting the spiders into your traps, and finishing off the final one with your axe or spear.

After clearing two of the nests and obtaining my eggs (and a ton of silk!), dusk settled across the forest, and I began to get a little cold.  I would have to start a camp fire to warm up, and...

...but I couldn't start a camp fire.  I only had two grasses left, after making all those traps.

I couldn't light a campfire.  I couldn't light light!

The cold would kill me!  When it got really dark, the creature that lives in the darkness would definitely kill me!

That's it.  That's it, man.  I'm dead.  Game over, man.  Dead on day thirty-three.

Wait, maybe there's some grass nearby!  I mean, it's a forest, but I opened my map to check and... no.

No, the nearest grass was a half-day's walk away.  I'd freeze to death before I got there.  What the fuck.  I can... I can make a torch!  With two grass, I can make a torch and that'll give me enough light to... maybe get halfway through the night before it goes out.  If I don't freeze to death first.

Fuck.  Fuck, man.

But I can make a torch.  And I don't have to equip the torch.

I made a torch (2 grass, 2 twigs).

I opened my inventory, selected a single piece of charcoal, and dropped it on the ground.

It lit it with the torch - it burst into warming, blazing flame - and unequipped the torch.  Torch now at 99%.

I survived that night, and got eight piles of ashes for making healing salves, to boot.  The next day, I packed up Chester and started home.

Why aren't I playing Evil Within?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Excellent Model - Dragon's Crown: Sorceress 1/7 Complete Figure by MegaHouse.

~six months ago~

Kayla and I were out at my favorite restaurant (this fantastic Italian joint), and I asked her if it bothered her that I wanted to get the Amazon figure - she is, after all, a lady in a chainmail bikini, and I don't want something around that would make Kayla uncomfortable.  She said no, and that she was surprised I didn't want the Sorceress - who she now considers very "cute" after having fallen a bit in love with Dragon's Crown herself.

"The Sorceress?  No, the Amazon's the fun one.  Okay, well, fun factor probably goes Amazon, Sorceress, Elf, but that Elf sculpt is just amazing.   The only reason I'd want the Sorceress is..."

"To have the whole set?" she finishes.

Shit, she's right.

"But having the Sorceress will be pointless if I don't have the Amazon," I pointed out.  "If I don't have the Amazon, I don't want the Sorceress.  I guess... I could put in an order on the Sorceress just to lock her down, and if I can't get the Amazon when she releases in June, I'll cancel the preorder on the Sorceress..."

Kayla nodded, with encouragement. Well, shit.

~six months later~

Okay, first of all, press play.

Second of all - hm!





Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

The concept art.

Nothing beside remains.

My Vanillaware collection is complete.  I don't need Velvet and I certainly don't need Kongiku.

I'd buy Oswald, if he existed.  That'd be awesome.  Anyway, AmiAmi, in case you're curious, is awesome - they literally got that figure to me from Japan in five days.  Not five business days - there was a weekend in there!  And I didn't even go with pricier shipping.  Take that,

AmiAmi is where all the good geeks over at NeoGAF buy their figures from.  The folks in the figure thread there are living encyclopedias of PVC.  They collect cute figures, they collect badass figures and they collect... um... stuff that's...

Yes - that.   And you may be saying to yourself "Chance, the Sorceress is plenty lewd."  Well, to that I say you have no idea what is out there and how far it goes.  You don't want to know and, by comparison, the Sorceress is as tame as Saturday morning Flintstones.

That being said, these are the people who treat these figures like we treat games.  They know their shit, and this is their flag:

I think the fact that I have 3 of the figures pictured here doesn't mean I have too many figures.
It means I buy the good figures.

I've been lurking the thread since I discovered it, and it's a gold mine of enthusiast insight. FigureGAF, you are how I learned (1) where people who buy figures buy their figures and (2) where they get their information from.  It's where I discovered accurate sources for the Sorceress and Amazon's actual release dates (because is not to be trusted).  Now, I know if I really, really decide to get Tiki - which Kayla fully endorses, she's 1/1 for Pete's sake - I know where to go to pay like, 50% of what would charge me.

"Dude, didn't you just say your Vanillaware collection was complete?"

Look.  Man.

Shut up.

For now, at least, I've got the three I knew I wanted, when Megahouse first unveiled their line last December.  Do I want a good Selvaria Bles?  Yes.  Do I want a really good Rukyo Matoi?  Of course I do.  Would I turn up my nose at a particularly adorable Yotsuba?  Well, no.

But I've already got a hobby, and it's called playing video games.  It is that affection that led me to Momo, Gwendolyn and the Dragon's Crown heroes, and that is where it shall end.


Either way, I can now bask in the dreamy eyes and flowing hair of the Sorceress - and the fact that she stands nobly among my beloved Elf and Amazon.  I do so love complete sets.

"But Chance, are you really sure your (otherwise very chill) lady won't be displeased that you've purchased a figure of a large-breasted woman, flashin' all that thigh?" 

Well... for one, Kayla's in Vegas right now, and poses little immediate threat to my person.  Second, I suspect she'll be quite excited to see the Sorceress, as the one and only photo she's sent me thus far is this statue in a casino's fountain...

...which is a reproduction of Nike of Samothrace, a Greek statue from around 190 B.C, which (in addition to being around for two thousand years), served as the inspiration for the Goddess Althena's statue in Dragon's Crown.

Nike of Samothrace at left, the Goddess Althena's statue in Dragon's Crown on the right. 

That's who I'm dating.  I'm datin' a girl who plays long-distance Dragon's Crown gaming trivia. 

Things of note:
  • Her hair's more red-brown than brown, and - like the Amazon's - becomes more translucent near the tips. 
  • The hat doesn't adhere with like, magnets or a pin or anything.  You can position it however you want, and take it off. 

  • They added this really nice touch of these laces on the back of her bodice that you really have to get up close to see.  Lovely detail work. 
  • Unlike the Elf and Amazon, the Sorceress requires no additional support to keep her upright. She's very stable. 

  • How she holds her staff is a bit odd, as figures go.  It doesn't unscrew at a hidden seam so it can slide in to her hand without fear of damaging the figure (see: Gwendolyn, the Elf, Momohime, the Amazon).  Her hand is slightly open, and you literally have to force the staff into her palm as the terror of breaking a piece of plastic you just paid $160 for grips your heart with icy talons. 
  • The frog doesn't like, plug in to her hand or anything - it's a part of her hand, and can't be removed.  If there's one part that's going to break one day, it's that frog. 
  • Her base is by far the best of the three - the Amazon and the Elf in no way needed such huge bases. 
  • I kinda' love the figure she cuts from the back, with her skirt and hair all billowing out. 

I avoided the Sorceress's Curse spell for a long time.
Turns out, turning the most dangerous enemies in the game into frogs is hella fun.
The Amazon is still my fave, naturally, but the Sorceress is of very high quality - and the fact that all three are such faithful reproductions of the concept art is quite a boon.

And now, in keeping with tradition, the 360 rotation .GIF!

And that... is fucking' awesome.

Gamer pride.

The Sunset Overdrive launch trailer.


"Hey, it's us, Insomniac!  You loved our games for ten years when they were bright, cheerful games about blowin' shit up on your favorite console!  Then we made that shitty game for both consoles!  Well, now we're back with an awesome, zany, colorful game about blowin' shit up - and it's on that other console!  You can't fucking play it!"

Yes.  Yes I am a little jelly.

Okay, there are some pretty good sales on PSN right now.

'Specially if you have PS+.  Naturally.

Here's the whole list - here's what you should care about (I'll link to reviews where I can):

Week 1 - today to Oct 27th:

Week 2 - Oct 28th to Nov 3rd: 
But wait, there's more!  Totally unrelated to the Halloween sale, there's another sale going on that's also got some awesome stuff in it!
  • Class of Heroes $7.49
  • Knights in the Nightmare $7.49
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3: Full Burst $7.49 - I really liked the other Ultimate Ninja Storm game I played. 
  • Odin Sphere $4.99
  • Persona 4 Golden (Vita) $19.99
  • Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PS3) $4.99
  • Persona (PSP/Vita) $9.99
  • Persona 2: Innocent Sin (PSP/Vita) $9.99
  • Persona 3 FES (PS3) $4.99
  • Persona 3 Portable (PSP/Vita) $9.99
  • Persona 4 (PS3) $7.99
  • SMT: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army (PS3) $4.99
  • Touch My Katamari (Vita) $8.99
And finally, a little game called

Right now, you can get the PS3 or Vita version for $19.99

Dragon's Crown is a not-bad game that, possibly, doesn't suck.

As for me, I already own every game reviewed above, so I'm considering Naruto, the Personas, and Touch my Katamari.

A Katamari game on Vita would probably be pretty cool... and those Ultimate Ninja Storm games tend to be gorgeous...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Far Cry 4 : the only season pass I would consider.

I'm gettin' a bit tired of the whole games-as-platforms-for-season-passes-of-DLC thing.  Gettin' a bit tired of developers refusing to just put that shit in the box, but if there's one game I find myself scratching my beard at and going hm, it's Far Cry 4.

Press release:

Far Cry 4 Season Pass Brings Yetis, Prison Breaks and a New PvP Experience to Kyrat

Today, Ubisoft detailed the Season Pass for Far Cry 4, the highly anticipated first-person shooter for PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC.

The Season Pass extends players’ time in Kyrat and includes new missions that can be completed in either single-player or co-op. Content includes a Season Pass exclusive day-one mission, a prison break co-op mission, wild missions with Hurk and his harpoon gun, a new PvP mode that will have friends teaming up to fight opposing forces and a chance to encounter the rarest beast in the Himalayas – yetis.

The Far Cry 4 Season Pass contains

The Syringe – Available from launch exclusively for Season Pass holders, players must keep a rare and potent recipe from falling into the hands of Pagan Min’s forces. Playable in single-player and co-op, players will need to ensure that he does not use its devastating effects on the rebel forces.

Escape from Durgesh Prison – Ajay and Hurk have been rounded up and tortured in Yuma’s prison. Team up with a friend to escape and survive the hostile lands of Pagan Min’s Kyrat.

Hurk Deluxe Pack – Five missions, playable in single-player and co-op, including Yak Farm, Blood Ruby and Hurk’s Redemption are available. Access an arsenal of new weapons including a harpoon gun for Hurk.

Overrun – Team up as Rakshasa or Golden Path in this PvP mode and control a series of neutral locations across Kyrat’s countryside to protect them from being overrun by your opponents.

Valley of the Yetis – Ajay’s helicopter has crashed on an unforgiving Himalayan ridge. Explore the frozen landscape and find tools to upgrade your camp and protect it from a dangerous cult when night falls. With single-player and co-op options, players will not be alone, but in the darkest caves players will have more to fear than just the cult as the yetis await their prey…

Priced at $29.99 / £23.99, the Season Pass will be available at the launch of Far Cry 4 on November 18. Once purchased, the Season Pass enables the download of all included Far Cry 4 add-on content packs once they become available. Additionally, players who pre-order Far Cry 4 Gold Edition, which includes both the game and the Season Pass, will benefit from a discount over buying them separately. This edition is only available as a digital product on PC via Uplay and other PC Digital retailers, and on consoles via PlayStation Network (PS4 and PS3) and Xbox Marketplace (Xbox One only).

That might be worth thirty bucks just for Valley of the Yetis

A friend at work, today, was telling me how excited he is for November, and the release of Dragon Age Inquisition.

"Ehhh," I shrugged.  "I had a preorder down on it, but I cancelled it."

"What?  Why?"

"'Cause no Dragon Age has ever really been the game Dragon Age was promised to be.  The first one had uneven presentation and badly-designed combat, and the second one had a meh story and took place entirely in a single town.  People don't want to hang out in a city for their fantasy epics - they want to roam a world.  Dragon Age has never been the game it should be."

And Far Cry 3 was definitely the game it should be.  It sold me on Far Cry 4, and that's enough to put it atop my hype list.  Plus, there's just too much coming out in that little window.  If Dragon Age were releasing next Tuesday, I'd probably get it - but it ain't - and in the first half of November, I've got Assassin's Creed Unity, which is happening, Far Cry 4, which is definitely happening, and GTA V.

Wait, why am I getting GTA V instead of a game I haven't played before?

This requires some thought.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Video game vacation.

It was a helluva week at the office - my cold or flu or whatever it is continued to hang on, and I was coughing like a coal miner while juggling the needs of a half-dozen VIPs that had come in for a series of meetings.  When I got home last night, Kayla had gone to a social and I - physically and emotionally exhausted - wasn't prepared to dive back in to The Evil Within.

I finished the third chapter on Thurday, and the thought of subjecting myself to more pure tension was... unappealing.  Same with Don't Starve - I've made ends meet in my most-recent playthrough, but it hasn't been an easy road.  All of my needed resources are so spread out, I barely got my beehives together before winter came.  No farms, no bird cage, no pig village to speak of yet.

I'm just scraping by.  No, I didn't want to deal with that either.  I wanted something that was just purely pleasurable.

So, obviously.

And man, I am out of practice or somethin'.  I transferred my save to my PS3 to play a bit on the big screen (ohmyGodit'ssogorgeous) and made the mistake of jumping into my Amazon on Ultimate difficulty and heading into a higher floor of the Tower of Mirages.  I got my ass kicked, Son.  A boss-ified version of a goblin dangling in a metal thing to shoot crossbow bolts tore through two of my lives, and I had to pay for an extra one at the boss.

Still... parrying dudes, which turns me invincible and adds stacks of Berserk, which makes me attack faster and harder never gets old - but I was wanting something a bit... more mellow, so I switched over to my Sorceress, who's also past level 100, but still on the early levels of the Tower.

I kinda' wish Megahouse's Sorceress model was based on this.
I would also like an Amazon based on her Brandish animation, thank you. 

And, as always, it felt like coming home.  But another game's been on my mind a lot, lately.  I don't know why - it's a game I wish I'd spent more time with, a game I'm kicking myself for not picking up the strategy guide for.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is no less endearing on a second visit.  I considered rolling a Jew this time around, but then I changed my mind and went with Fighter (again), because I love that Roshambo is an actual move that you can do in the game.  Then I went with Thief 'cause why not?

I was worried that the thief's abilities, which require a lot of precise button presses to get the most out of, would make the game too difficult - but I guess I'd forgotten that the largest complaint most critics leveled at The Stick of Truth is that it was too easy.

It's not too easy.  It's fun.  It's a pleasant, entertaining, enjoyable backstroke of a game.

I want to get back to The Evil Within - not simply because it's what I should be playing, but because it's pretty damned awesome - but I'm also falling under the impression that I've been working too hard, lately.  I've been worrying too much about what's expected of me.

I should've called in sick last week, but I didn't 'cause there was work to be done that I had to do.  I should've just gone to bed and taken care of myself, but I didn't.

I don't want to worry about what I need to do next.  I don't want to play what I should be playing.

I just want to exhale.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Watch the Hatred trailer. A lot of people are gonna' be talking about it.

It's pretty... disturbed. 

Press release:

"Destructive Creations is an experienced indie team that, in times where a lot of games are heading to be polite, colorful, politically correct and trying to be some kind of higher art, rather than just an entertainment, wanted to create something against trends. Something different, something that could give the player a pure gaming pleasure. This is how the idea of Hatred – the team’s first game, was born.

Hatred is an isometric shooter with a disturbing atmosphere of mass killing, where player takes the role of a cold blood antagonist, who is full of hatred for humanity. It's a horror, but here YOU are the villain. Wander the outskirts of New York State, seek for victims on seven free-roam levels. Fight against law enforcement and take a journey into the antagonist's hateful mind. Gather equipment of the dead 'human shields', to spread Armageddon in the society. Destroy everything on your way of hunt and fight back when it's disturbed.

The game is planned to be released in Q2 2015 on PC."

We live in an age of mass shootings.  This is something that happens - something that has torn countless families apart - and when they raise pitchforks and call for the lynching of Destructive Creations, I can't feel they'll be wrong to do so.  What the developer is offering, here, is supernaturally insensitive.  The purpose of this game is to be the best Columbine shooter, the best Virginia Tech murderer, the best Sandy Hook monster. That's unbelievably offensive.

That being said...

...there is a place for games like this.  For obscenely, mind-numbingly violent and grotesque games.  I'm enjoying one right now - the latest work of legendary creator Shinji Mikami - and as a young teenager, I loved the most vilified, shocking, literally-full-of-Satanic-imagery game of the nineties, DOOM.
"By now, you may be aware of this video game, whose effects have been highlighted on the CBS 60 Minutes program and the NBC Today Show. On both shows, a former Army Colonel described the game as a "mass murder simulator" that provides military-type training."
-Video Games Can Kill By Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid | May 10, 1999-
I played the fuck out of DOOM when I was a kid.  I played it so much that it became a sort of meditation - I was so good at that game, I could 100% every level without actually paying attention to it - and while I did, my mind would wander and I'd stumble across thoughtful solutions to whatever was bothering me that day.

We've all had fantasies of violence.  A co-worker told me about a particularly annoying bank teller she met this week, and was terribly proud that she hadn't punched the woman in the face - and video games offer a safe place to express that.

I feel it's worth noting, at this point, that I've never killed anyone.  Millions of kids and adults played DOOM, and our society has trucked on pretty well - in fact, North America is more inclusive, supportive and open-minded than it's ever been before.

It's not an accident, I feel, that the logo for Hatred bears more than a passing resemblance to DOOM's.

It's going after the same thing.  It offers the same fantasy - the fantasy a lot of video games offer, but no ostensibly mainstream game (if you're prepared to accuse Hatred of such) has been so... honest about what it's doing.

There are a lot of video games in which you slaughter countless nameless human analogs - Hatred is simply obfuscating that less.

If nothing else, it may just be some very canny marketing.  A lot of people are going to be talking about it.  A lot of people are going to get very upset over it - once they're made aware of it - and then you can bet they'll be talking about it, and I can promise that a lot of kids with gaming rigs are going to be playing it, regardless of whether or not it's a good game.

I feel there are arguments to be made.  That such games offer a catharsis that can't be found anywhere else.  That, perhaps, some disturbed individuals will be able to flex their darkest fantasies within Hatred, and won't feel such a pressing need to live it.

There's arguments to be made that it will inspire... terrible things.

Hatred may, itself, prove to be a force of evil in the world - but it may also simply permit discussions to occur which could not have happened any other way.

Destructive Creations are quite consciously attempting to skirt the more high-minded principles that have wound their way into gaming development in the past decade, but in doing so they may have unintentionally created the next game that will have a lot of people talking.  A game that will be drastically different things to different people,

It's been said that when two people look at something and come away with entirely different messages, it can then be considered art.

I'm reminded of that line from The Simpsons when Lisa goes to a military prep school and a student says, "truth is beauty, beauty truth, Sir!"

The teacher barks back, "but the truth can be harsh and disturbing! How can that be considered beautiful?"

I don't know.

But it's a question worth asking.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Excellent Model - Dragon's Crown: Amazon 1/7 Complete Figure by MegaHouse.

"What you saying about the Amazon trailer before the constable called and interrupted us?"

"Oh, sorry. That the Amazon's mechanics seem similar to Xian Mei's in Dead Island - she's a low-defense, highly-mobile, high-damage character. She's like... the kind of character I generally like playing in action games...

"She sounds pretty awesome. I never asked you to hate her or any of the other characters...just because I don't like it doesn't mean I will ever ask or tell you not to play it or anything else I don't like"

"I know. I just feel like I should dislike her 'cause of the Bat-kini."

"Ah. Well I imagine Amazons wouldn't wear much so the battle bikini might not be that far off. 

Try the game and then see how you feel about it."

-personal correspondence, May 2013-

If you're familiar with this blog, you're familiar with my position on Dragon's Crown.

There was absolutely no question, when a Japanese art house figure designer called Megahouse announced their Dragon's Crown figures, that I would get the Amazon.  She is my single favorite character from my single favorite video game of all time - but she proved troubling to acquire. flatly refused to list her for preorder, and I didn't - at the time - have much faith in any other company.  

That's when another heroine stepped up, and rescued me.  

Kayla laid down a preorder through Ebay with a re-seller in Hong Kong.  The Amazon was released on September 16th.  It got to the re-seller last week.  Last night, as I was playing The Evil Within, Kayla checked her phone and announced she was heading home for a bit, but she'd be back.  

I was worried the game mighta' grossed her out too much - she doesn't even like scary movies. 

Kayla came back with pizza, and the Megahouse Excellent Model - Dragon's Crown: Amazon 1/7 scale figure.

I flipped out a teensy bit.  

Her hair begins platinum blond on the crown of her head, and fades to a translucent brown at the tips. Just like in the key art.  Her eyes retain that cool, bored, liquid pallor - just like in the key art.  She's like, 

This woman gives zero fucks.  She's is a coiled spring of muscle and violence with a six-foot axe on one end, and she uses it to kill dragons. 

It's... very meaningful to me, that this was a gift from Kayla.  It's the most... daring figure I own.  The least-clothed, I should say - by a very wide margin.  I love that Kayla gets why I wanted the figure.  I love that she poured fifty-plus hours into her own Amazon in Dragon's Crown (she's past level 100), and I love that when I put the figure up on the shelf and called her over, her response was

She does look awesome - almost as awesome as a girlfriend who would buy me a two hundred dollar Japanese PVC figure of a girl in a bikini, holding an axe, and then pronounce it awesome. 

Also, pizza. 

That's awesome.   And the figure's... perfect.  I absolutely love it - and I know, you might be thinkin' "Christ, Chance, how many Japanese figures does that make so far?"

Four.  It makes four.  Momohimethe Elf, the Amazon and Gwendolyn.

I knew it would be a slippery slope when I bought Momo last year - but well-read gamers will note that I have, thus far, successfully limited myself to figures of beloved characters from games by the luxuriously 2D-centric Japanese developer Vanillaware (Momo's from Muramasa, Gwendolyn's from Odin Sphere). 

Of course, I have one more to go. 

What?  The Sorceress is plenty awesome, too. And now, let us end with some hot, hot turntable action. 

Aw yeeeah. 

Thank you, Kayla.  This is probably the best birthday present anyone's ever given me.  The figure and the understanding.  Often, we gamers aren't used to feeling... so wholly accepted.  By anyone.  And I'm glad that it's you.  That's a helluva gift. 

Also, pizza.