I’ve never seen Captain Tsubasa but this is absolutely hilarious.

Watching this clip I thought, though, that it reminded me of something and than realized that it’s suspiciously similar to Tecmo Cup Soccer, a… turn-based soccer game (?), which I played when I was a kid. Turned out that Tecmo Cup Soccer is a westernized version of the Captain Tsubasa game!

 

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I’ve been “studying” Japanese for some time but never actually tried to write any kanji or even kana symbols. Today was my first attempt (because apparently writing down words is the only way to memorize kanji) and, I guess, I failed miserably. Whereas I kind of can portray something resembling 彼女, the word 友達 leaves me in despair =( And I bet that I’m struggling with very easy hieroglyphs. Practise makes perfect, they say. We’ll see.

I got used to be a Reflector — Gamelog: Blue Reflection

Blue Reflection is definitely not a game for everyone. 16 かわいい girls fighting demons? Side quests with premises like “I’m so angry I have to study instead of eating snacks”? Scenes in the changing room? But I enjoyed pretty much everything the game has to offer.

The main selling point of the game is its general calmness and slowness. This JRPG is very relaxing, to the point, I’m quite sure, of being boring to some players. It’s easy, it’s not punishing — even if you die in the Common (local dungeons, similar to Persona 5’s Mementos) the girls are just thrown out to the real world. The turn-based combat is conceptually interesting and offers a lot of opportunities but for 80% of the time you won’t need them and can concentrate on the attacks’ visualization or eating an ice-cream if 15-to-20 frames-per-second action is not for you. The game is small — all you have is 4 zones of the Common, the school, Hinako’s home and a bunch of hanging out spots (nothing fancy, just a static background with girls models on top).

Boss battles are challenging though. It feels like you’ve been in a warm cozy room and all of a sudden have to go outside, where it’s cold and windy and demons are bristling with teeth and claws. They are interesting but you have to be mentally prepared that it’s going to be a long and touch fight, which will make you learn various tricks Blue Reflection’s turned-based systems has to offer.

When I was watching some reviews on this game, the main complaint was about its “Free Time” part. During this part you are being an errand girl and doing small missions in order to achieve N rating points. I’m agreed that those quests aren’t especially thrilling but they are so short that the necessary number of rating points can be achieved in no time. I finished all missions in the game, except one containing a cheating “hidden boss”, and didn’t feel tired or annoyed.

Blue Reflection is very stylish, hands down. Three out of four zones in the Common look awesome (the zone of Anger is just too typical) and they look even better when two emotions and, therefore, two zones blend together. Also, surprisingly, the game’s UI is great, comparing to my experience with most JRPGs. Girls’ design and their personalities are 普通, exactly what you’d expect to see. I strengthened my bonds only with Kaori and Yuri and, to be honest, ignored others, although Fumio was kind of an interesting character with her Death Marches and bursting out everything she has on her mind. The chat is also fun, so I’d suggest checking it out regularly.

I didn’t get the platinum trophy and wasn’t going to but it should be a relatively easy task, except for crafting all items in the game.

Unfortunately, Blue Reflection doesn’t give any costumes for free, which, I reckon, is a shame for a game with 16 high school girls. Various swimsuits are available as a separate purchase and whereas it’d interesting to try them out — they are not cheap.

P.S. Various in-game tips. The max level in the game is 50. The max number of rating points you’ll ultimately need is 1000, so there’s no reason to go beyond that if you hate free time missions. Link attacks are crazily effective — but you need 90% of Ether to execute them and Overdrive level 3. Ether is gathered with Ether Charge or after your supporters’ moves. There are also some Support skills increasing the Ether gauge. Yuzu’s Grape Wave is The Attack you want in the second part of the game, it crashes most enemies immediately. Hina’s most effective attack, in my opinion, is Lumière Cancer. Lime’s — Ibis Fang or Bear Whisperer (or Blood Leopard if we’re talking about a single enemy).


Reading log: Ender’s Game

When I first learned about this book, I got an impression that it’s something like a sci-fi version of Harry Potter, a book oriented mainly toward young adults. So I didn’t have any regrets putting it off =) Last year, at work, we began discussing books once in a while during our lunch break and quite a few of my co-workers recommended Ender’s Game, although, knowing me, they said they looked forward to hear me crashing their feelings and explaining why actually it’s a terrible story. A challenge, eh? So I bought the book, swallowed it in a couple of day and, apparently, going to disappoint my colleagues.

I knew the main plot twist from the very beginning and some warned me that it might make the reading not so exciting. Card proved them wrong. Ender’s Game is well written and, even knowing how everything is going to end, it’s fascinating to observe the story of Ender Wiggin’s manning up. It was like “ok, it’s time to sleep but I think I’m gonna finish one more chapter”, a thing I hadn’t done for some time. Maybe not the story itself but the way it’s delivered is great. Speaking of things I didn’t know — it was a very powerful moment when it’s casually disclosed at some point that Ender’d killed two guys.

Surprisingly, though, (or maybe not) Ender’s game’s characters are not appealing. All of them. Initially, I kind of liked Valentine but as the plot was moving on as she’s getting older — she’s becoming more annoying.

Card himself said that the second book is this series is stronger, so I think I don’t have any other choice but to buy and read it =) Also, now I’m curious how bad the movie based on the novel is, despite the fact that I’ll probably curse my curiosity later.

Today I learned.

I kind of knew that usually (always?) there’s no actual pow instruction, at least in HLSL assembly, and that pow is unwrapped as:

pow(a, b) = exp(b * log(a))

However, it shouldn’t work in case a is 0, should it? Because log(0) is NaN? Or something else? And after that I realized that I didn’t know what log(0) would result in. So, the answer is — log(0) is -inf. -inf multiplied by any positive number is still -inf. And, the last but not least! exp(-inf) gives us 0! Kind of amazing if you ask me.