Care to cast your eye over? Feel free to edit as you choose. As for the title, I'm thinking "Admintendo VII: Aeris Dies At The End", as we sort of discussed earlier. Thoughts?
Balladeer: The circle is now complete. When I left Stu I was but a learner; now I am the master.
Which is my way of saying, welcome to Admintendo VII! I'm Balladeer, the point of continuity for this Skypecast; but instead of Stu, we have a new admin.!
ZeroJones: Hello! ZeroJones, reporting for duty.
Balladeer: Morning, ZJ! Let's start with a traditional Admintendo topic: the forum over the past "quarter" (which has actually been four months). Any standout moments or threads for you, squire?
ZeroJones: My time has probably mostly been spent in the Last game you finished thread - I've had a real summer clearout of games.
The creation of the Last game you DIDN'T finish thread was a great idea of Jimbob's, for those sorts of games that, er, don't end. I've also enjoyed keeping up with the Snack review thread - always good for a chuckle.
Balladeer: Great shout on Jimbob's thread there. I've been using it more for the games I don't have the patience/inclination to finish (of which there are an embarrassing number) than those that don't finish, but there's really no other place for Mario Kart 8, is there?
I've also really enjoyed the Smash Bros. conversation. It's no secret that I'm a massive Smash nerd (more on that later), but when SSB3DS came out, the amount of talk we had in the thread about the new characters, how rubbish or otherwise Smash Run was, Gaur Plain being a mistake etc. etc.
And finally, the Doctor Who thread. Again, I think we might touch on this later in the Skypecast, but it's been great to read your (plural) opinions on every episode and how the quality has fluctuated over the series.
ZeroJones: Good shouts, all! The Smash Bros. stuff I've tried to avoid because of spoiler temptation, but once the game was out and about I got more stuck in. Speaking of the Doctor Who thread, must add my Dark Water thoughts... later!
Balladeer: Ayup! Anyway, since we seem to have started talking about what we've been playing already ( ), shall we formally turn to what we've been playing?
ZeroJones: Yes. Yes, let's.
Balladeer: Okay, I'll start, if I can remember playing anything before October. My gaming time, certainly last month, seems to have become a big Nintendo-shaped blur… (The shape of Nintendo as an entity is a discussion for another time, perhaps.) Let's see. There was a substantial quiet period, during which I tried to glean some entertainment from various downloadables. Bike Rider DX and Cave Story (which I shan't say any more about ) were the two key ones. I think that only the surprisingly decent Kirby's Triple Deluxe and the disappointing Mario Golf 3DS broke the downloadable stranglehold.
Then the run-up to October started, and suddenly I had more games than I knew what to do with. I started all of Hyrule Warriors, Teslagrad, and Fantasy Life in short order (surprisingly fun, surprisingly hard, and surprisingly MMO-like in order), before they were all swept aside by something far bigger.
But before we talk about that, because I know we've both played it, what have you been playing over these past four months, Zero?
ZeroJones: Many, many things. Guacamelee! was a highlight, and clearing out my 3DS backlog (nearly - ruddy Tales Of The Abyss) brought games like Ghost Recon and Castlevania Lords Of Shadow Mirror Of Fate to the fore.
Balladeer: I completely forgot about Guacamelee! Fabulous little title. And Child of Light, natch. The Wii U has started to get some really good downloadables in recent times, hasn't it?
(Wouldn't bother with TotA though. )
ZeroJones: Absolutely! The Wii U games list includes Scram Kitty and Teslagrad, with the former being good but challenging fun and the latter a nice aesthetic (and genre) experiment.
The real biggy over the last few months, though, was Bravely Default. Slgihtly after everyone else played it, mind! Rarely do I stick with a big RPG to the end: normally I give up part way through and swap to something else (Okami took me three separate goes). But there was something wonderful about BD that meant I had to keep going.
Balladeer: Glad you enjoyed it, ZJ! Without spoilers (natch), what did you think of the second half?
ZeroJones: Certainly quicker than the first half! I spent most of my life on sidequests and was happy-ish to see that fall away in the second half. Of course, other well-documented issues creep in and strangle the game to some extent. Regardless, it was good to see it all pay off during the final few hours.
Balladeer: Yup, I'd agree with that, and we can't say much more without spoiling things!
And now, with your permission: the big one. How has your Smashing been going? ZeroJones: On and off, really! It's great handheld fare: a few quick battles (depending) can finish the Classic Mode, which still features the Giant and Metal fights that I remember from my youth. The quality of the challenges varies and I'm very sad to see the complete loss of Break The Targets but, yes, my favourite Brothers Of Smash since the original.
Balladeer: High praise indeed! I can't be quite so lofty in my accolades: as I keep banging on, it feels a single-player mode short, and you're damn right when you say that the challenges are variable. True tests of skill are too rare; tests of endurance and patience, too common. But it's still Smash, I still love it, and I've basically played nothing else all October. (Still need to pick up Bayo 2...)
Any other gaming things over the past quarter for you, Mr. Jones, or shall we crack on?
ZeroJones: Just that I've bought five games in quick succession and have no idea what I should be playing now! Commence cracking on...
Balladeer: First World Problems, etc. etc.
I believe that you had an idea for a third Admintendo segment, so would you care to introduce it?
ZeroJones: Yes! We tend to talk about what we've been playing but there are other things to life: *drumroll* What Have We Been Watching/Reading/Otherwise Experiencing?
Balladeer: i.e., "Admintendo does the Off-Topic sub-forum."
ZeroJones: It's about time - Off-Topic is hot!
Anyhoo, would you like to kick us off, while I gather what few non-gaming thoughts I can muster?
ZeroJones: Sure! All my reading took place on holiday, where I polished off The Cuckoo's Calling, the Robert Galbraith mystery; The House Of Silk, Anthony Horowitz's Sherlock novel; and Bad Pharma, Ben Goldacre's terrifying depiction of how pharma companies just want to make loads of money. All great fun, in their own ways - hoping to get back to the Kindle before too long.
In TV terms, my girlfriend is addicted to Big Brother (Celebrity or otherwise), so I had a summer of that. It's an interesting show but doesn't half get repetitive. There's also Doctor Who (somewhat good, thus far), and The X Factor (also repetitive).
There haven't been many movies, sadly, because cinema is perhaps my second love. We did see the 1978 Halloween film a couple of nights ago, though, and that was cheesy as all get out. The first slasher film, though, I understand, so it was interesting to see the tropes appear.
Balladeer: "Your second love" after your girlfriend, of course?
Finally, I also saw Wicked in London a few days ago! That was awesome: a fast-paced, clever production with ace songs. Converted!
Balladeer: My turn for non-gaming entertainment, then. I have to confess that not much of it has been done recently, due to studying for exams and other things.
Reading wise, I've been very slowly getting through an e-book called Why Does The World Exist? by Jim Holt. It's the first real book on philosophy I've read, but it's reasonably entry-level stuff. (Incidentally, the title is, at its highest level, a question I reckon we'll never be able to answer, trapped as we are within the confines of said "world".)
Television-wise, it's all been about the Doctor. Peter Capaldi was an inspired casting choice, while the episodes themselves are the usual mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly (the latter category encompassing the Skovox Blitzer and last episode's tiger). A new series of HIGNFY has also just started, but sadly I didn't realise this until the first three episodes had already disappeared from iPlayer.
Stage-wise, I haven't seen anything, but I've recently joined a choir, so I've performed in a few things. Highlights have been singing in two Proms, and doing backing vocals for some Hans Zimmer songs as led by the man himself, including PotC and The Dark Knight.
And finally I've been following the cricket, like wot I usually do, because its stop-start nature means that I can follow it all on a live text feed at work without feeling like I'm missing anything. Also, it has numbers coming out of its metaphorical ears, and I love numbers, me.
Oh whoops - I think we both forgot something. I presume that we've both been listening to The Rotating Platform!
ZeroJones: Yes! mas tells me that the fifth one is available; I should get downloading!
Balladeer: I listen to them on my way to work. Nothing to cheer up a Monday morning commute like the NGamer gang's humour. It's laugh-out-loud funny, in the old NGamer style. If you're on this forum and not listening to it, what the heck's wrong with you?
Which brings me to the end of my non-Nintendo entertainment over the past four months, and brings us almost to the end of this Admintendo. So, like TRP, we turn to the future, although we're looking at the next two months rather than the year 3000. It's a big period of the year for games: Zero, what are you looking forward to playing, and reading on the forum?
ZeroJones: It's a straight toss-up between Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo Wii U (as I assume it'll be called). The demo of the former has got me a bit more curious, as I don't really like Hoenn (the second half being a series of gimmick towns for me), but Pokémon is Pokémon. The 3DS Smash Bros. has whetted my appetite for the Wii U one very well and I'm dead keen on that.
As for the forum, continued fun and games discussion... along with the end of year vote! Always a great time.
Balladeer: I forgot about your hatred of Hoenn's towns. I love them myself, especially the music in Sootopolis.
I'll picking those two up too (Sapphire having by far the superior selection of monsters compared with Ruby), along with the aforementioned Bayo 2, Shovel Knight, and probably some other bits and bobs that I've forgotten. Shame about the lack of Captain Toad, but that'll be something to enjoy next year.
On the forum, I'll be enjoying the voting too, and I'm also looking forward to Drunka's Secret Santa, after its success last year. And, of course, more great posting and "hilarious" taglines!
And having somebody to read my rants in the secret admin.-only forum again. That'll be nice.
Balladeer: Which I think more or less brings us to the end of Admintendo VII! Many thanks for doing this with me, AdminJones, and I look forward to seeing you and two others for more of the same in 2015!