All About Chris_Watters
It's been a few weeks since my initial post mourning my first casualty, Sumia, but I haven't stopped playing Fire Emblem: Awakening in many of my free moments. On the train, on the toilet, in bed while my wife is reading, on airplanes... there's been a lot of Embleming. I think I'm on Chapter 22 or something, but I'm in the middle of a battle now so I can't check.
I've been spending a lot of time pairing up characters so that they get married and then I get to meet their time-traveling progeny. It's fun to see what characteristics the parents pass on to their kids and get an extra perspective on this doom-and-gloom future everyone is ranting on about. It's also rewarding to fill out my party with new blood; the excitement of new life offers a soothing counter to the anguish of life lost.
Today I mourn Vaike.
Look at this cocky bastard. Weird chains dangling off his neck collar like so much Ylissian bling. Can't be bothered to keep track of his axes. Refers to himself not just in the third-person, but makes himself into a proper noun: "The Vaike." No shirt, no helmet, no problem.
But what a soldier! When he torqued those practice-hardened muscles back and uncorked a ferocious axe strike, the Risen rose no more. He was a fierce fighter and a trustworthy ally, lending unbending support and an easy smile to all his compatriots. We'll all remember "Teach" sharing his strategies and tips freely, solicited or no. His confidence, his self-assurance, and his gusto made us all better soldiers, better allies, and better friends.
Vaike, for your rockin' hair, your rockin' bod, your rockin' attitude, and your rockin' axe, we salute you. Rock in peace.
So I've been playing a lot of Fire Emblem: Awakening on my 3DS. I am really, really enjoying the game, and grabbing every spare minute to play it (aside from beating BioShock Infinite so I could script a Gun Show and be on the spoilercast before the internet could spoil it for me). I'm playing on Classic Normal mode, which means when my squad members die in combat, they stay dead. Because the characters are nicely fleshed out with distinct personalities, attributes, and relationships with others, I find myself getting attached to them, even the ones I'm not particularly keen on. When they die, I feel the sting of loss, and this sting stays with me for a while (despite the few things the game does to muddle up the mourning process, which I'll get into in a later post). So I decided to give write up blog eulogies for each member of my team that perishes under my command.
My first casualty was Sumia.
In the ranks of the Shepherds, Sumia did not tower above others. A diligent soldier, she worked at her craft with earnestness and dedication, and though she was not the most skilled or daring of the bunch, she pursued doggedly, ever striving to be worthy of her post. On that lovely spring day when we came upon a pegasus in the field, she alone approached the proud beast while others were filled with trepidation. Whether it was her humility, her gentleness, or some other, deeper virtue that soothed the beast, all we knew was that the next time we saw her, she was resplendent on the back of her new friend, her new ally.
Watching the two of them in battle was a delight. Soaring and diving, swooping and feinting, the two moved as if they had been companions from the cradle. I remember with startling clarity the moments of stillness when, perched like a peregrine above their prey, motionless at the fulcrum between shining ascent and dire descent, Sumia and her steed made time itself stop and stare. For a fleeting instant, they blazed incandescently, the winged paragon of freedom, comradeship, and love. In those moments, I thought to myself, "There! There is an angel for us Shepherds!"
She was the first to fall. The first of us to fall upon the battlefield. The brave foray that saved her fellow Shepherd from certain death brought her within range of a fell archer. The arrow that pierced those hearts pierced us all, and we have never been the same since. To this day, as I marshall my troops for yet another skirmish in the struggle to preserve our precious Ylisse, I command with extra caution my winged brethren. The sight of those wings folded in a final plummet is never far from my mind, and it is with bitter regret that I tell you now it was not the last time I saw such a sight.
Oh Sumia, your life was short and hard, but you were unafraid. We fight here in your name. You will not die in vain. You will not be betrayed.
Yesterday saw the release (well, sort of) of Hybrid on Xbox Live Arcade. It's a third-person shooter from 5th Cell, the creative development studio known for Lock's Quest, Scribblenauts, and other games that totally aren't third-person shooters. There were server troubles yesterday, so the game wasn't available for a lot of the day. I managed to get into some games, fortunately, and decided to live stream some gameplay for interested parties.
Six hours later, I stopped.
That's a lot of live streaming and a lot of gun shooting! If you're interested in checking some of it out, the archive is up on Twitch.tv. Commentary gets started in earnest around the five minute mark, and there's a great close match starting around 18 minutes.
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