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2013 is already going too fast

I still love FF13-2, and suspect I am at the end-game since even though there are gates and artefacts left to collect, they don't yet appear to be accessible.  I do want to say that 'Brain Blast Quiz Academy' and Serendipity in general can both go die in a fire.  A good quarter of those questions are literally impossible to know the answer to, you just have to brute force your way through and memorise the ones that are wrong.  And what the hell, Captain Cryptic?  Let's not only make the answers a crap-shoot  but let's make you walk all over a maze of a city to get the chance just to make another wild guess. Square has been doing this for a while, but somebody needs to take their design team aside and tell them that you are not supposed to design games as though someone is playing with gamefaqs open next to them.

As for Serendipity... seriously, it's probably quicker to farm gil from monsters to exchange for casino coins than to get them at the casino.  In the end I got the slot machine when it was 'on fire', set up the controller with a hair band holding down the trigger, and left it running overnight... and had a glorious net gain of all of 2000 coins.  :/

Also, I adore Chocolina, but at the same time, does anyone else get a creepy sociopathic vibe from her?  Her face does not animate according to her voice.

Anyhow, enough on that!  I think I promised a photo post today!

2013-01-04 11.45.21

One of my more interesting adventures over the New Year break was a short road trip up to the Sunny Coast.  Our first stop was the Bellingham Hedge Maze.   A hedge maze, guys!

2013-01-04 11.46.30

This said, it was actually pretty disappointing!  Mostly because it was undergoing a lot of rejuvenation and so was looking a little poorly and thin in parts.

2013-01-04 11.52.01

That said, I imagine if it were in full health it would be pretty decent at keeping you lost!  It's made me want to go to England to try out some of their legendary hedge mazes.

2013-01-04 11.58.58

...The reward in the centre was fairly lame!

2013-01-04 12.27.45

This maze, on the other hand, was awesome.  They had a handful of other mini-mazes and puzzles to accompany the hedge maze, but I think we spent more time on this one than all the rest combined.  It was actually very challenging with only one true path yet dozens upon dozens of possibilities. For extra credibility, the friend I was with is a game designer and even he was impressed.

2013-01-04 12.47.34

There was also a tiny little aviary as part of the complex which wasn't that interesting aside from this magnificent bastard.  As soon as we walked in this peacock started showing off his tail feathers.  Peacocks are such weird yet beautiful creatures.  (Though they've been forever made more badass in my esteem since Kung Fu Panda 2).

2013-01-04 13.41.22

Since it was only a short jump away, we went to the Big Pineapple next!  For those not in the know, the Big Pineapple is one of Queensland's more famous kitschy 'big' things.  It's actually not all that massive as you can see, but it used to be very popular not only for novelty factor but more importantly for its fabulous desserts.  I went here a lot as a kid, since it was along the highway on the way to Brisbane.  It had a petting farm and a little arts and crafts market and a light rail tour of the pineapple fields.  Small-time tourist trap.

2013-01-04 13.43.51

They still had a canteen making some excellent desserts - not nearly the range they used to have - but it's become pretty depressing now.  They built a bypass on the highway a few years ago and the drop in traffic has left the place empty and struggling.  The train and petting zoo were still there but sitting idle.  The markets have become a weekend-only affair.  I imagine it would be a lively place on a Saturday.

2013-01-04 13.20.01

This said, the area next door - the Big Macadamia, has gone full-blown haikyo.

2013-01-04 13.22.23

It's actually kind of awesome, in an abandoned-theme-park kind of way.

2013-01-04 14.26.12

Since the Big Pineapple was a bit of a wash, went to go check out the beach at Mooloolaba, which was quite busy!  It's high season for them right now and the traffic was surprisingly intense.

2013-01-04 14.47.26

You can't see it very well in this picture, but there were a few hang-gliders rolling about, it looked like a lot of fun!  I would like to go hang-gliding one day.  It's about the only 'extreme' sport that holds any appeal for me.

2013-01-04 19.28.59

Suddenly, back in Brisbane!  I have been eating a lot of froghurt the past couple of weeks.  This is another new place that just opened!  Brisbane has gone to having no froghurt places to having five in less than two months.  None are yet a contender for Cacao Green or Tutti Frutti, though. I still have two left to try so there's still hope!

2013-01-04 20.30.33

I just took a picture of this because I was so terribly amused by a game called 'Hero of Robots'.  And yet, I would play it.  I've been spending too much time in arcades lately.


And then there was the tennis!  It is tennis season in Australia, which meant the Brisbane International.  I bought tickets to the men's final.  First up was the doubles.


This was Marcelo Melo and Tommy Robredo!  Robredo is currently world Number 5!  Melo has an awesome name and perhaps inappropriately the next hour was filled with awful marshmallow puns.  'Don't go soft on them!'  'We're getting roasted out here!'  'It's a rocky road to victory!' 


Their opponents were Eric Butorac and Paul Hanley.  Hanley's a local, and a long time quiet achiever, but he's getting a little long in the tooth now!  These guys were interesting though in that I had the sense that Butorac was the better player on technical merits, but Hanley was the better strategist.  Considering it seemed like Hanley signalled all of their plays (hand signals behind his back, guys!  Does this remind anyone else of PoT?) that's probably the case, anyway.

It came down to a tie break, but after the first set, Robredo and Melo won fairly comfortably.  


Then the singles.  Grigor Dimitrov VS Andy Murray!


It was Dimitrov's very first ATP final!  He performed admirably.  I am a little bit of a fan now!


But Andy Murray, the first successful defending champion of the Brisbane International, took it home in straight sets.  Still, the first set was quite a battle, and it was largely quality! Not much in the way of unforced errors.  I still think the match between Murray and John Millman earlier in the week was more exciting, though - three sets, and some damn entertaining tennis.  Alas, when you buy tickets for these things it's always a little bit of a gamble as to what you're going to get.

Australian Open starting in a couple of days!  As though I am not already far too busy as it is!  XD  Maybe I can work on cosplay and watch tennis at the same time.  (If I try writing, Cloud and Sephiroth might start playing energy-ball tennis Link and Ganondorf-style.)


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 12th, 2013 01:41 pm (UTC)
Energy ball tennis sounds like something Genesis might play for fun XD And I've never actually been to an abandon theme park, but they seem to be pretty popular settings. As long as there weren't to many spiders, I'd probably be alright.

Jan. 13th, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
XD Fireball tennis, perhaps?

Maybe stay away from the Big Macadamia then. Spiders galore. Only reason we didn't go deeper.
Jan. 12th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
" I do want to say that 'Brain Blast Quiz Academy' and Serendipity in general can both go die in a fire. A good quarter of those questions are literally impossible to know the answer to, you just have to brute force your way through and memorise the ones that are wrong. And what the hell, Captain Cryptic? Let's not only make the answers a crap-shoot but let's make you walk all over a maze of a city to get the chance just to make another wild guess."

Oh My God I think I went through every single wrong answer on some of those questions! How should I know what the hero of some futuristic fantasy TV show does for a day job?! HOWSHOULDIKNOW?!
and i still haven't found Captain Cryptic for the last round of stupid questions. worst fragments ever.
Jan. 13th, 2013 01:13 am (UTC)
They really were! So frustrating! I completed one of the quizzes the proper way but after that I was like 'screw this, I'm gamefaq-ing my way through the rest of them'. I mean, they even throw in completely random 'heads or tails' type questions so even when you have a lucky streak where you DO know the answers, you can get totally boned by a random guess one! Worst in-game quiz ever.

And yeah, Captain Cryptic is even worse. They don't have nearly enough hints from the bystanders about where he could be. Acadaemia is HUGE!
Jan. 12th, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC)
Ah, I'm so jealous~ I adore tennis to death and have always wanted to go to one of the Opens, but have not been in the position to do so yet. T_T

And yay pictures~

And apparently fads do spread across countries. Last year, we had four frozen yogurts store pop up. We didn't have any, and then within a week, we had all four. They are all quite good though! I usually skip lunch at work and go to one lol
Jan. 13th, 2013 01:07 am (UTC)
One day! If you have the goal you'll eventually manage it!

Food fads are amazing in how quickly they spread. I mean, to set up a store or a franchise takes time! How do they wind up so coordinated?!
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:50 am (UTC)
lol Maybe, but I'm paying off all my student loans right now so I can afford to have a baby. I don't really have extra money for things I want to do atm T_T I guess that's my goal that I will eventually manage? lol

lol maybe it's all a spy thing and one person came up w/ the idea, and the other three stole it and quickly built theirs so they wouldn't lose out on customers...
Jan. 12th, 2013 10:36 pm (UTC)
somebody needs to take their design team aside and tell them that you are not supposed to design games as though someone is playing with gamefaqs open next to them.

A lot of videogame design teams need to be told this. u_u

There is something so sad about abandoned places. :(

That puzzle game next to the hedgemaze (which also looked cool) looked fun! (maybe the fountain thing at the center was a decoy and the real treasure was super well hidden, you never know)

lmao at the peacock showing off for you, that is so adorable!

"yes humans, I am, indeed, handsome"

Too bad about the Big Pineapple area losing tourism. :( I hope they manage.

froghurt? (frozen yoghurt, right? that is delicious)

um, what kind of person wouldn't want to play something called "Hero of Robots", is what I want to know

tennis seems super fun, but I've never had enough patience to watch a whole match D:
Jan. 13th, 2013 01:05 am (UTC)
True, that. I just find that Square is a particularly bad offender. Their games are about the only ones where I find myself going 'how the heck was I supposed to know that?!', whereas other games usually at least have clues and it's only laziness that will drive me to gamefaqs.

The hedge maze should have had the tyre maze at the centre, it was the real treasure!

I will now always imagine peacock having the most narcissistic internal commentary ever. XD Brilliant.
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:05 am (UTC)

//unproductive comment.
Jan. 15th, 2013 04:19 am (UTC)
Chocolina scares the bejeezus out of me.

The slot machines are stupid as hell, but the chocobo races aren't too bad. And it was cute as hell when my six-year-old was watching me play and cheering, "Run, chickens, run!"

Speaking of needing Gamefaqs open while you play, if you don't open the non-story gates in exactly the right order, you can't open all of them. Maddening.

Time travel fix-its are a not-so-secret weakness of mine, but I have to admit that XIII-2 rather wore down its welcome for me. I'm not sure how far you've gotten/how much backstory you've discovered, and I suspect I'm overthinking it, but Noel bugged me: he's the last human left after the destruction of the world. There's no vegetation left, only monsters. How am I supposed to believe that he's healthy, not at all malnourished, and wearing clothes that clearly speak of a thriving community with active trade lines? Also, what's with Serah's opening magic costume change? It's been years since the end of XIII, she could have just changed from the demented schoolgirl outfit without mystery.

I loved Hope (although I question the Academy's fashion sense), but everybody else seemed a bit deus ex machina. I agree that Caius is a villain with enormous potential, though. Not having played Dissidia, was there a connection there? It seems like it was hinting at it.
Jan. 15th, 2013 11:14 am (UTC)
Ahaha, that's adorable. I suspect I will like the chocobo races now that I have gotten my hands on a Golden Chocobo. Hopefully Golden Chocobos are as cheat-er-iffic as they were in FF7!

Also: Whaaaaaat?! You have to open in the right order? o_O Crap, I hope I haven't screwed it up - though it does seem like there are more timelines left to visit than there are gates available...

I'm pretty close now, just unlocked Acadaemia 500 AF and am running around side-questing my little heart out. I agree though, Noel's character design is odd given his origin - in fact, his whole attitude doesn't quite mesh with his fairly extreme circumstances. Some of it we can justify - maybe behemoth is super-rich in vitamins... - and maybe his clothes are antiques from a more prosperous time... - but it's a bit of a stretch. (What's that? Fanfic to the rescue to fix all the weird plot holes? :P)

We can agree that Etro's magical costume changes were pointless, though. I cringed with both Serah and Lightning there. It was kind of Sailor Moon, but in the worst possible sense of that comparison.

I haven't played to the end yet so I can't be sure, but I guess maybe Caius's story sort of parallels Garland's? It could even maybe be a Garland origin story.

And I hear you about the deus ex machina... but I guess with the introduction of Etro, that's kind of the point. :/
Jan. 15th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
I don't remember the timeline of the main plot off the top of my head. Have you been to 700 AF yet?

Golden chocobos are not nearly as cheaterrific as they used to be. One will get you through a few races easily, but once you start moving up in the race rankings, the competition gets pretty fierce.

I know I screwed myself out of some sidequests by not opening gates in the right order, and I was far too disillusioned to go through again at the time. Maybe after awhile.

Caius strikes me as less a villain than an anti-hero. If you were playing the game from his POV, Noel and Serah would be the clear bad guys. I'd love to see a talented author (hint hint) take him up.

On a happy note, I always laugh when I think about Snow's horrible mullet.
Jan. 16th, 2013 03:39 am (UTC)
A lot of Final Fantasy villains are anti-hero's except for Kefka, Kefka is just insane.
Jan. 16th, 2013 04:38 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree, but I'd like to hear your reasoning.

For the purpose of this discussion, I'm defining the anti-hero as someone with a noble goal in direct opposition to the protagonist(s). I can grant you Seymour and Vayne off the top of my head but everybody else I can think of is insane, greedy for power, bitter and destructive, or not developed enough to tell one way or the other. Or an embodiment of chaos. Those were really popular in the early days.

Who am I missing?
Jan. 16th, 2013 09:42 am (UTC)
My two cents... Garland, Emperor, Zeromus, ExDeath are all in the crazy/evil/greedy camps... Ultimecia's story is tragic but her motives selfish too. Does Golbez count? Since he was under mind-control, really.

Sephiroth was a hero once upon a time but it's a bit of a stretch to call him an anti-hero post-Nibelheim I think. He's more of the good-gone-bad variety. Caius in comparison has a noble goal, it's just the means which are unjustifiable. Seymour and Vayne would fit that definition too, though I thought Vayne was a bit weak as a villain. His story lacked personal investment, I guess.

Cloud of Darkness was interesting in that she wasn't even so much a villain as a force of nature.

Edited at 2013-01-16 09:43 am (UTC)
Jan. 16th, 2013 03:50 pm (UTC)
I said a lot not all :) It does seemed to be a popular theme, especially in the recent games. I suppose maybe not so much Anti-hero, especially with that definition, as much as someone who wasn't really quite a true villain.

That or I just may have a soft spot for a lot of them, even if I shouldn't XD. Kuja wasn't too bad, until he got into the take the world with me mindset.
Jan. 16th, 2013 09:30 am (UTC)
Yes, I've been to 700AF. 500 AF is unlocked just after you complete that section.

Bummer~! I will level up my golden chocobo more before I take him to the races then.

That is the one thing that has always bugged me about FFs, where they so often have content which you can miss. I thought with the 'gate-closing' system they had in this game it meant that wouldn't happen, but I guess not...

Well, considering his end solution is pretty horrific, I think he's still closer to a villain than an anti-hero, but really, all the best villains are the ones with noble motivations. And to be fair, his solution to Serah and Noel was actually pretty mundane - he even started out with giving them warnings! And then tried to lock them in a pleasing fantasy world instead of just outright killing them. Downright merciful.

XD I know, right?! We had no idea what a service the headband was doing for us in the last game.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )