7 most annoying bosses in video games

We spend long hours enjoying, exploring, visiting  and interacting in wonderful worlds thanks to the magic of video games that allow us to be actors instead of only spectators. But, because there’s always a but, those adventures are filled with bad guys that we have to defeat in order to progress further in the game. Sometimes they’re just so annoying that they get to our nerves. Here are the ones I found to be the most annoying.

Ghirahim – The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword – Nintendo Wii – 2011

I may be a retro gamer at heart, I still keep in touch with the current games even though they are not so good like the dedicated Wii episode of the Zelda series. It’s one of the best looking games ever and the art direction is amazing, no doubt about that. But what’s with the constant back and forth and the three areas only? But most importantly, what’s with Ghirahim? Not only is he one of the worst antagonist ever, the first few boss fights against him are ridiculously annoying. Add to that the barely working motion detection and you have a recipe for disaster. As you move your sword around with the Wiimote, the villain follows it with his right hand and will block every direct hit. The hint is to feint to hit on one side while actually hitting on the other… well, on paper. In actuality it rarely works and thus the battles takes forever and are overly frustrating. Never again, Nintendo! Never!

TimeSage – Dragon Quest VII – PlayStation – 2000

Dragon Quest games are known to be difficult. Heck! I never even finished one of them because of it. I reach the final battle and die miserably. But this is not what I want to deal with right now. In the seventh episode, which is the longest one to date made even longer with the 2016 3DS remake, around half of the adventure is the most annoying boss of the series, the TimeSage. Accompanied by two minions this battle can be done and redone, over and over because the monsters can purely and simply reset it, just like that. How horrible is that? The trick is to be quick.

Final Boss – Wario Blast – Game Boy – 1994

Bomberman was one of the first hit on the Famicom. Developed by the Sapporo-based Hudson Soft, the game quickly became a series with several episodes on the subsequent systems. On the Game Boy, after an episode that bears a different name depending on the territory it was released in, the series got mixed into the Mario franchise. Well, kind of at least. Wario and the Bomberman share the stage in Wario Blast. Like any other entry, each world is divided into 4 areas the last one being a boss fight. All of them are doable with a clear pattern except the last one. Whether I’m 8 or 28 (last time I tried), I still can’t manage to beat this motherfracking flying robot and its flying fists. It’s so annoying!

Wiegraf/Velius – Final Fantasy Tactics – PlayStation – 1997

Final Fantasy Tactics is a fantastic game, one of my favorite in fact. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect though and it’s rather challenging especially in its original PlayStation version (the difficulty was toned down in the PSP one). The Wiegraf/Velius battle automatically comes when speaking about Final Fantasy Tactics because it’s hard, frustrating and long. The fight takes place in three parts. First one is against Wiegraf, then he transforms into the Zodiac creature Velius summoning three extremely powerful fiends, and finally the last phase takes place on the roof of the castle you were fighting in but you have to protect a character that is managed by the AI and does nothing to stay safe. Of course there is no possibility to save between the battles otherwise it would have been too easy…

All of the bosses in Deus Ex Human Revolution – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC – 2011

I’ll be quick on this one because there is an actual explanation for it. In 2011, Eidos Montreal released a new episode in the famed Deus Ex series actually taking place before JC Denton’s investigation. While the game is great and I had a lot of fun exploring and resolving the puzzles, it’s plagued by boss fights that have absolutely no place in it. Even from a storyline standpoint it barely makes sense. But there is a reason. Pressured by Square Enix, who recently acquired Eidos (including the Deus Ex franchise among other things) at the time of the development, Eidos Montreal had to include boss fights because a good game without any of those would be unthinkable. Therefore the Canadian company chose to outsource them and it didn’t go unnoticed. They’re hard, pushy, wrong and ultimately frustrating.

Eddie Pulaski – GTA San Andreas – PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC – 2004

I love the GTA franchise and I played almost all of them but GTA San Andreas is and will forever be my favorite. The map is big, the RPG flavor with all the different stats you can boost hits me right in the feels and the overall variety just worked for me. But man the missions can sometimes be frustrating and I even threw my controller into my TV leaving a permanent mark when trying to pass my plane pilot licence. Little did I know that it was just the tip of the iceberg. Towards the end of the game, you uncover the mystery around your mother death which is the reason why you came back to San Andreas. One such culprit is Eddie Pulaski. The mission in which you confront him is succeeded by a car pursuit and a hot one at that. While he has an abnormally super fast car, you have a buggy… It handles bad, turns are close to impossible and the road is full of cliffs from which you can fall to your death only to restart the mission all over again and again and again. I think I can hear myself screaming in rage when thinking about it. Fortunately for the people around me at that time, I managed to pass it, kill this SOB and go on to finish this incredible game.

Gill – Street Fighter III New Generation – Dreamcast – 2000

As a child and teen, I used to love fighting games. I was pretty good at it. In 2002, for my 16th birthday I bought a used Dreamcast with two controllers and a couple of games including Street Fighter III Double Impact that contained both New Generation and 2nd Impact. Therefore I booted New Generation first and went through the arcade mode without too much difficulty until I reached the boss, Gill. The red and blue character is overpowered and you feel like you’re being deceived by the game! It’s so unfair! Even on the lowest difficulty it’s like facing a wall parrying all your hits  and punching you in the face.

What are your frustrations when it comes to bosses? Please share below!

How can retrogaming make you rich?

After having tackled the subject once (second part is coming soon), let’s see how retrogaming can make you rich, but watch out, because there’s a twist.

Indeed, I won’t talk about money here because this is something that doesn’t interest me or at least not when retrogaming is at stake. No, here I will let you in on the secret richness that retrogaming holds or maybe you just didn’t see it.

Anyway, if you’re a retro gamer there’s a chance that you are actually interested in history and that’s good but I’d like you to go beyond that, at least if you intend to get rich in knowledge, that is. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will become an historian. Hell, maybe you don’t want to! But what’s the point in collecting or even playing some good old school games if it’s not to learn some trivia about them?

Retrogaming can also allow you to meet new and amazing people! More and more people feel nostalgic about the games they played when they were young. There are many retrogaming related events happening all around  the world, some big, some just started by a few passionate retrogamers. I’ve been to a lot of these and every single time it was great! You spend time discussing, sharing memories, among other things. Nowadays, thanks to social networks it’s even easier to keep in touch because in those kinds of events you never know who you’re going to come across. When I was in Game On Expo in Chandler AZ last year, I met with Michael Price, a former game designer at Coleco, and Al Lowe, creator of the Leisure Suit Larry franchise. I also had the chance to speak briefly to the Gaming Historian, if you don’t know who he is, first shame on you, second just check his videos. I personally use them as reliable sources for my books, he’s that good! Anyway, that’s another great way to get rich thanks to retrogaming. Friendships that stick and that could be the most important lesson here.

If you have other ways to get rich thanks to retrogaming, let me know, I’m always on the look out!

A painful realization

Following my new game of Final Fantasy VII, I wanted to explore once more the next instalment that I hold dearly in my heart from my first playthrough. It did not go as expected and I was in for a painful realization.

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Indeed, in my memories, Final Fantasy VIII was more mature in so many levels. First, graphically speaking, the developers chose to give up the SD (Super Deformed—big head, small body) representation used in Final Fantasy in lieu of more realistic characters and proportions. The sound design was also upgraded as we hear the footsteps of the character, which is not as trivial as it may sound. This struck me back in 2000 and I felt playing a more adult and serious game because of that. Of course the game engine didn’t allow for heavy details on the faces especially, but it didn’t matter to me. Back then, I was 13, an age full of questioning, and self research. I was on my way to high school which would then lead me to the university which is one of the main area of the game (and a character in and of itself). But most importantly, character development was more in tune with what I felt back when I was a teen and the game was originally released. In 2000, when I completed my first play through on the PC version of this masterpiece, it was way ahead of Final Fantasy VII.

Now that I’m more than twice the age I was when I first played Final Fantasy VIII for the first time, I have a whole different understanding of the world around me, including video games. Playing again the games we enjoyed or not during our youth should be something we should all do, by the way. Having a new point of view on things, a better culture is helpful to catch on the jokes and the humour of those types of games.

 

Starting Final Fantasy VIII made me realize that it’s a deeply flawed game, especially when it is compared to its predecessor. First, right at the beginning there is a detail that I never noticed before which is nevertheless so important when it comes to playing a role playing game: there are no more treasure chests! As silly as it may sound, this is something that the developers chose not to include for some reason. Playing back-to-back Final Fantasy VII, with its world full treasure chests to hunt in every possible areas whether it’s covered in snow, in a sunken submarine or in a haunted mansion, and Final Fantasy VIII where hidden items are as rare as an Adamantoise, made me realize how much I relied on this feature to motivate me to explore the various locatio
s of a given game. Not only is it a way to reward us as players but it can also be a good way to direct us. For example, having a few chests here and there in the Tomb of the Unknown King in Final Fantasy VIII would help us not to wander around in circles.

ff-viii-tombSecond, the game system is so exploitable that, if you understand correctly how it works, the last third of the game becomes insignificant in terms of difficulty. The Junction system introduced here requires you to attach a certain magic spell to a certain ability to increase it. In order to have the said magic spell, you can, basically, draw it and stock it from monsters in battles or create it using items through abilities offered by the summons here called the Guardian Forces (I’ll come back to those later). Starting the game you can only draw magic from the enemies. The good thing is that they have an unlimited amount of them but the drawback (pun intended) is that it takes a certain amount of time. Come to think of it, this is kind of what life is. If you’re willing to spend enough time absorbing knowledge, you can exploit life’s rules to your own gain. Food for thoughts. Anyway, in Final Fantasy VIII, the systems allows to be so powerful so early on the adventure that you barely sweat during boss fights. It’s a bit of a shame considering that the point of an RPG is to progressively build up your character.

Finally, and it’s a detail, but developers wanted us to hear our characters moving so they added a sound effect for their footsteps. I haven’t realized until now that I actually didn’t care, not that it is annoying or anything but it’s funny to think that it was that important for them to be present in the game.

With that being said, I enjoyed this new playthrough, my first one in English for this game. Even though I didn’t care that much for the characters this time around, I loved every part of the game. Whether it is the Balamb Garden University, Deling City, getting lost in the Tomb of the Unknown King or blowing up the missile base. But I have to say that my biggest surprise was Ultimecia’s Castle. This last dungeon represents, for me, an apogee of the series. Upon entering this immense building, you are deprived of every feature including saving! Solving puzzles and beating up bosses will grant you those back. Even though it’s cruelly empty, the baroque architecture is amazing (woodwork, chandeliers,…), and the music track is amazing with its harpsichord part.

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Final Fantasy VIII is a work of art no doubt about it. But I realized that it lacks something in terms of character development. I would gladly play it again or if Square Enix would offer a remake after finishing the one they’re working on right now, I wouldn’t say no.

Preparing for Japan

A few days ago, we were watching Japanese Style Originator with my girlfriend. This is a Japanese TV Talk Show available on Netflix dealing with many topics around Japanese culture from food to crafting secular items. Then she made me realize that I still could do a Working Holiday Visa for Japan. Therefore our next destination was settled.

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I’ve always been fascinated by Japan as a country so far away from where I grew up in France; and also as a culture so different from mine. I first discovered this far-away land through the prism of video games! In fact the first reason I wanted learn Japanese was to understand games that never made it to North America (Europe is another problem). I haven’t achieved that goal as of yet but I will be working on it pretty soon.

Anyway, now is the time to put things in motion. I might not be 31 yet (the age limit to apply to a WHV for Japan) but the clock is ticking and I need to save money in order to meet the requirements from Japan. Basically I need €4,500 (roughly $6,700CAD or $4,900USD). My plan is to go back to work as well as to sell most of my extended video game collection. Right now it’s actually stored on two continents and doesn’t get much love.

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See you next time for a new development

Why is retrogaming so popular? (Part 1)

As the video game industry grows and grows, there have been an interest for its past achievements as well as failures. Not only that but playing games from the past made a comeback like no other. Even Nintendo jumped on the train with the NES Classic everyone wanted before Christmas. But why is this cultural practice known as retrogaming has become more and more popular over the past few years?

There are several answers to that questions. First, the nostalgia effect is something we, as human, respond to very greatly. We love remembering things, good or bad (but especially good). It makes us feel safe considering the path we took and the place we ended up being. It reminds us of this impossible boss fight in Megaman II that we eventually passed after many many tries. This is why an item such as the NES Classic was going to be guaranteed success. It’s smaller than the original system, plugs into the TV using an HDMI cable and doesn’t require to have any cartridges! All that for “only” 60 bucks! Instant success that led to one of the drift of this practice: reselling for a huge profit.

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Indeed there is nothing wrong with selling to a profit. Heck, this is how our modern capitalistic world functions, whether we like it or not. Sadly, in the retrogaming world, because of incorrect information broadcasted by the mainstream media, people think they have treasures lying in their basement/garage/locker, you name it. Turns out it’s not the case! It takes a full amount of research that is not based on a single eBay listing to determine the value of a game. Sure, there are some easier than other to evaluate but there are a whole lot of variables to take into consideration (condition, “rarity”, was the game heavily distributed when first released, and son). Nevertheless, some stores whether physical or online are focused heavily or only in retrogaming (Retrogame Shop in Paris, Video Games New York in NYC, Digital Press in New Jersey,…).

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Moreover, retrogaming opened up a whole new kind of study: video game history. Like yours truly, some people spend hours and hours doing research, interviewing gaming industry veterans, in order to write articles, books, create videos and whatnot. But hear me out now, it already existed long before retrogaming was even a thing as the first books were released in 1993 and 1994 respectively, the latter beginning its inception in 1987! Nevertheless, with publishing houses specialized in video game topics opening all over the world, it exploded. There’s not a year with five, six, or seven book projects being launched either traditionally or via crowdfunding especially Kickstarter. I love it, and I was even part of it twice for one “success” and one “failure” (I’ll let you know why I used quotation marks later.

Anyway, here it is for part one. Let me know what retrogaming means for you and I’ll join in! Part two coming up soon!

The best movies I’ve seen in 2016

As a fellow retrogamer, I have pretty much the opposite approach toward movies. I usually try to watch as many motion pictures that I missed in the theaters or that I missed during my youth but I’m not obsessed with those as I am with games.

Over the past year, I’ve watched so many of them that listing them all would be pointless. Instead I’ve chose three that I found to be mind-blowing.

1. The Theory of Everything by James Marsh starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones – 2014

Earlier in 2016, I watched Jupiter Ascending that was also starring Eddie Redmayne but was a piece of garbage. So I didn’t really know what to expect. Boy was I blown away! I knew a little bit about Stephen Hawking but definitely not to that extent. The movie is pure gold. It begins in 1963 when Stephen is 21 and a student at Cambridge. We follow him to a party where he meets his wife-to-be Jane. Then we see him gradually becoming ill until he falls and passes out to learn, once awake, that he has a motor neurone disease known as ALS or known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the famous baseball player. This gradually degenerative illness is well depicted and Eddie Redmayne perfectly act the affected real life scientist. It’s a touching love story between a man and a woman. It’s a beautiful story of a fight against a deadly disease and the creative solutions they found to overcome it. Finally it is the wonderful struggle of a woman who has to face the illness of her husband, the upbringing of their kids, her studies and her declining feelings to her lover because of her exhaustion.

Favorite quote: “Look what we made.”

2. Rocky V by John G. Avildsen featuring Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire – 1990

I already talked long enough about this underrated piece of movie history and why I think this is one of the best in the series. I felt for him and completely understood what the character was going through.

Favorite quote: “My ring’s outside.”

3. Non-stop by Jaume Collet-Serra featuring Liam Neeson and Julian Moore – 2014

I love planes, and Liam Neeson is one of my favorite actors. I loved him in the Taken series (especially the first) and I also loved his portrayal of the Jedi Master Qui Gon Jinn in Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace (yes I’m one of those people). So give me a movie with the Irish man taking place in a place and I’m sold. Non-stop is fast paced investigation led by a broken alcoholic air marshal who has to discover a potential killer in his flight while proving his innocence as the thing quickly escalates to become a set up against the sky cop. I loved how Liam Neeson’s character turns to be a Cassandra as nothing he will say will be taken seriously (I know this feeling all too well sadly) and how he will let his acts speak for himself.

Favorite quote: “You should just have handed out pamphlets. It would have been a lot easier.”

I also read a lot (for my standards in 2016 and I’ll share my best finds or even the ones that changed my life.

Final Fantasy Adventure (aka Mystic Quest) the one that started it all for me

I have to admit and you must have guessed it while reading the other articles, I’m a sucker for all things RPG especially when they are from Japan but I’m open to all kind of video games experiences. I love Role Playing Games and I’ve playing them since my tender youth (that is now far away now that I come to think of it).

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The first game I’ve played to discover the genre (I’m not counting the obscure Castle of the Winds I played on my computer as it was austere and very limited gameplay-wise) was Final Fantasy Adventure or Mystic Quest for the Game Boy as it was known in my home country of France. I later discovered that it was also the very first episode of the Mana series its original Japanese moniker being Seiken Densetsu that we can actually and roughly translate as the Legend of the Sacred Sword. This is also the game that made me discover and fall in love with a then small company from the land of the rising sun, Squaresoft.

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Castle of the Winds

I got it as a gift (I was—and still am in some ways—a very spoiled child) for this strange custom of celebrating my “day”. Let me enlighten you for a bit. In France, every day is associated with a Saint as the country was built on catholic religion principles. As my name is Antoine, it was, or so we thought for a long time, on July 5th (turns out the Saint celebrated that day was Antoine-Marie and my “day” was actually on June 13th but that’s another story). On that day parents give a present to their beloved child. On that fateful day in 1993, my father got me Final Fantasy Adventure and I was in for a ride, let me tell you.

First the packaging was amazing. Not only did it come with a bright green box with a side view of an armor (growing up in a country where the Middle Ages were full of knights and castles, it was very well done from a marketing standpoint), it also included a thick manual. Usually it meant that the document was in several languages, the game being sold simultaneously, for example, in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg. But not Mystic Quest! No, the manual was here integrally in French and was big because it explained the rules, different magic spells and ailments you could face. Moreover, it contained a short strategy guide for the first hour or so of gameplay! Perfect for a rookie like me!

The game in itself is Action RPG as dynamic as we could expect with great graphics, set in a medieval-fantasy world, and with an amazing soundtrack by the master Kenji Ito who would go on to sign the entire SaGa compositions (I’ll come back to that series later on). You play as a hero who is a gladiator for the entertainment of the evil Empire Glaive. You even witness your best friend Willy dying before your very eyes. “Look for Bogard, the Gemma Knight” were his last words. Fed up with those ludicrous working conditions you decide to escape. Sadly, as soon as you step outside, you overhear a discussion between the Dark Lord and his vassal, Julius, about the mysterious Mana tree. The Glaive leader sees you and chases you but you face a cliff. Not wanting any witness of his machiavellian plan, he doesn’t hesitate to push you down. After a long and brutal fall you wake up in a mysterious land still equipped with your sword and shield. On your way to look for the mysterious knight, you rescue a girl who was escorted by her friend Hasim to meet Bogard as well. As it cannot be a coincidence, you take here with you and there your adventure begins.

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Your playground in Mystic Quest

While limited by the small capabilities of the Game Boy, the developers from Squaresoft did an amazing job with Mystic Quest. The adventure is epic and long, the puzzles are smart and make you feel smarter when you understand how to resolve them. The controls are ridiculously simple, once more because of the hardware. You attack with A and use an item or a spell with B. That’s it.

It’s not an easy quest though and if you don’t pay attention to your HP very often, you could be in for a nasty death. One of the many great features of the game is that you can save your adventure anytime by simply pressing the Select button. However, it means, that it is up to you to do it every so often so you don’t precious minutes of gameplay.

The game is also brilliant by its diversity so much in terms of the areas you visit, you’ll explore swamps, forests, caves, desert lands, castles, and much more; the non-playable characters you’ll meet and befriend among whom some will follow you—and even betray you—like Amanda who looks for her brother, a robot, a mysterious traveller and many more; or the man yweapons and piece of equipment you can carry some of which have a direct impact on the quests like the axe that cuts the wood, the scythe that cuts the plants, the chain that catch the poles or the specific pieces of equipment you need to have to enter the Dwarf cave.

Every aspect of the RPG genre is respected, from the management of your—rather small—inventory, your equipment or your levels. Indeed, every slain monsters awards you some well deserved gold and experience points. Once reaching a new threshold you’ll be prompted to select the way you want to distribute your points: Stamina, Power, Wisdom, or Will. Grinding is of the essence, especially at the beginning as the very early monsters can be disturbingly unfair if not prepared for them. Fortunately as every screen is filled with those treacherous creatures, you’ll have many opportunities to level up and become more powerful.

Let me conclude on the soundtrack of this gem which is a nectar for your ears especially if you love chiptune soundtrack and in my humble opinion the Game Boy delivers the best there is on this kind. Kenji Ito is a virtuoso and offers melodic and charming compositions with epic boss battle themes, tearing sad theme, and empowering over world themes. All of that with very limited hardware capabilities which renders his prowess even more amazing.

This is a game I completed countless of times and that I hold dearly in my heart and in my collection. I can only recommend it, preferably in its original version even though some remakes are available on the Game Boy Advance as Sword of Mana or on mobile devices as well as PlayStation Vita under the name Adventures of Mana.

A plea for Rocky V

I recently watched the whole Rocky saga (which celebrated its 40th Anniversary in November) including Creed as the character of Rocky is part of the movie. I heard a lot of things about it in general especially bad things about the fifth instalment as being the worst of all or a bad movie. Even Stallone himself rated this entry with a beautiful 0 out of 10.

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Call me weird but I preferred this one over Rocky Balboa. Now, hear me out: what I loved about Rocky V is the back to the roots feeling we have. Here is the synopsis: because of a bad investment authorized by Paulie, Rocky, who is now finally retired, and his family lose their entire fortune and have to relocate to downtown Philadelphia where the first movie started it all. Rocky is getting older and is now a trainer at Mickey’s old gym. Adrian got her job back at the pet shop. Robert Jr. (Played by Stallone’s late son Sage) starts school and is getting bullied. In the meantime a great new character is introduced, Tommy “The Machine” Gunn played by the late real life boxer Tommy Morrison. He wants Rocky to train him as he has the will and the motivation to become a champion, the eye of the tiger. At first, the retired boxer refuses, citing that he doesn’t want to do that. However, Tommy insists over and over and Rocky ends up accepting the challenge. This where it became really interesting for me. A bond is created, a bond you only see between a fighter and his trainer: Rocky and Mickey, Rocky and Apollo and now Tommy and Rocky. You can feel it in the movie and it is even addressed in it, after loosing his fortune, Rocky feels alive and has a reason to get up every morning. However, it has some consequences. This new relationship takes a lot of Rocky’s space in his life and he doesn’t have time for his family especially his son who looks up to him and need his help.

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Of course there is the George Washington Duke character, who is a little over the top but as a promoter, why wouldn’t he be? If he reminds you of real life boxing promoter Don King, it’s because Duke is based off of him. His presence clearly doesn’t add any depth or anything, it makes the movie less credible especially during the scenes when he pushes Rocky to fight his then protégé, Union Cane (played by real life boxer Michael Anthony Williams). It’s embarrassing to watch.

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Then you have Tommy “The Machine” Gunn who is my favorite character from this movie. He is a gullible young man with a certain talent for boxing. As we now and learn, he got some bad habits from the streets and has a tendency to not listen. Even though he only has eyes for Rocky at the beginning of the movie, Duke manages to get his claws around and starts throwing money, apartment, and cars at him. Needless to say that his friendship with Rocky is forgotten. Gunn is young, impressionable and flawed like someone his age with his mysterious history would be. Things get especially sour during a press conference when journalists (who are real boxing reporters) states that Tommy’s opponent from whom he just won the Championship belt from was not a real and decent adversary, thus doubting Gunn’s legitimacy. Rocky is still the champ by the way as he retired without losing his title. Naturally, Tommy wants to fight him so he can show once and for all that he is tough enough. Of course Balboa refuses leading to the best catchphrase of the movie: “My ring’s outside” ensuing a street fight. It’s very good and a welcomed change in the series.

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Rocky is victorious and all is well that ends well. This is also the last time we’ll see all the main cast of Rocky but I won’t spoil it here. I just hope that you’ll watch or re-watch Rocky V with a new and more forgiving eye.

Final Fantasy XV is out so I played VII again (and it hasn’t aged a bit)

Yes, the new Final Fantasy is out and yes, the reviews are great but not over-the-top as expected by many. We’ve been waiting for this game for 10 years! Even though it’s nowhere as close as Duke Nukem Forever’s 14 years, it’s still a substantial expectancy.

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On my side, because I operated my company for close to 2 years, I haven’t got the chance (nor the money) to get the latest generation consoles and therefore couldn’t play either of the demos available for the 15th episode of my favorite franchise of all time or the full game itself for that matter. Considering the most recent feedback, I did something way better!

Lately, with my small earnings I offered myself a GPD Q9, an Android tablet with some buttons and joysticks that is literally built for retro gaming (my specialty). Indeed, you’ll find built-in emulators and can downloads hundreds of games including Final Fantasy VII.

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Very curious to see how the PlayStation would be emulated on my newly acquired device and eager to be able to play my very first Final Fantasy game in the palms of my hands, I gave it a go and was particularly disappointed on my first try. It was laggy, and the sound effects were “meh” at best. So I stopped it because when I first played it almost 20 years ago on my PC, it was also laggy and I even had an issue with my graphics card that flipped all the cinematics. But I got to love it even though, I didn’t actually play through it the first time. As I got my game for Christmas 1997-and proudly still own it-my cousin who is almost 9 years older than me and taught me the ropes of RPG and JRPG came by and showed me how to play the game. I was happy to let him because I knew I could go back afterwards when he left. And I had plenty of times to do so. You see, I own so many different versions of that games that I could play it literally anywhere.

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Anyway, I found out on my tablet that I could tweak a ew settings of the PlayStation emulator and-hurray!-it worked and allowed me to play a perfectly trustworthy version of Final Fantasy VII and couldn’t be happier. This is how my past week went.

Every time I launch it, I feel like I’m 12 again going battles after battles, advancing the plot, and discovering some details I hadn’t noticed before. And I love that feeling. Time goes by, hours are engulfed in this world that gets more and more depressing as the story line is revealed to us.

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Even though it is probably the 10th time I play it from beginning to the end, I try new teams composition, new materia arrangements and read a few theories here and there to complete my experience. Furthermore, it’s a very good exercise for your memory as you try to remember where is what and who to talk to in order to unlock the next scene in the game. In my case, I’m pretty good and proud to remember many details after so many years.

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Now that I’m done with it again, I’ll probably play VIII (although I might be done with it by the time I publish this article) and then a new game. I don’t expect a lot from Final Fantasy VII Remake on which CyberConnect 2 is working along with Square Enix. I don’t mind about the episodic releases as I’ll be able to buy them all at once considering that I have more than 3 years and counting on video games to catch up on! Wait & see…

Why watching cooking shows is inspiring

Earlier this year I read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why and was deeply inspired by it. So I figured I would start this blog with a “Why” statement. Here we go!

Ever since I met my amazing and wonderful girlfriend, I’ve been watching TV shows that I didn’t even remotely consider a thing before she introduced me to that wild world. As a matter of fact, as a French person, cooking shows were something that was aired in the morning and hosted by an old fat lady with a southern accent. It’s typically something you would watched whenever you were visiting your grandparents. But it all changed somewhere in the new millenium.

Indeed, thanks to the joint effort of Anthony Bourdain and Shep Gordon (among others), cooking would be something cool with handsome hosts and inspiring candidates. Chef would be known as celebrity chefs and kitchen swearing would be broadcasted live internationally. Food would even have its own channel, Food Network.

Well, over the past five years, I’ve been watching a lot of different shows, in both English and French (my mother tongue) and I learned a lot but more importantly, I was inspired. Every single one of the show we watch rely on some form of competition. Sometimes it’s a single effort, sometimes it’s team work. All the candidates whether they’re decorated chefs of amateur but gifted cooks have to put up with so much pressure while constantly thriving for creativity.

Watching them made me realize that those shows were the epitome of life. From the time sensitive environment to the proverbial judge who holds your future in his/her hands, I felt very humble while following the competitors—production values sure did help. They work under immense pressure for a place in the spotlight. Among all that they manage to stay creative and provide unique dishes while sometimes experimenting with the flavours or textures.

Even though the results can seldom catch the judges off guard, it is often brilliant and sometimes exceptional. I like cooking (especially desserts) and I’m nowhere near the level of one of them but it’s nonetheless inspiring to watch them go and create something great!