PLAY! A video game symphony

After walking around downtown Seattle in light rain, a blister, then traveling across the Puget Sound on ferry, and coming back home only to take a three hour nap… I’m back and ready to write about the concert I attended only hours ago.

PLAY! A video game symphony, is a live performance of many memorable (and not so) pieces from timeless classics such as the Mario Bros. Medley to modern pieces from games such as Halo, World of Warcraft, and now Guild Wars. Along with the live performances, a few pieces are also accompanied by visuals that also come from these game pieces. For Seattle’s performance, we were blessed with the performances of the Seattle Orchestra, the Northwest BoyChoir, and Vocalpoint! Seattle. What we weren’t blessed with, was the appearance of Maestro Arnie Roth. For those unfamiliar with him, he was also the man who had conducted Voices, Dear Friends, and many other video game concerts around the world. Maybe he was too good for the second performance, but I guess who am I to complain? The first performance (Thursday, Jan. 24) was sold out and the second performance was only made by popular demand for a second showing.

Instead of Maestro Arnie Roth, another conductor from Benaroya Hall was present. In absence of Arnie Roth, however, we were gifted with the appearances of two men from the video game industry. One was one of the men who had composed the Halo music himself! Which, I suppose, would have been great if I had actually played Halo…

The program for the day included:

PLAY! Opening Fanfare
Super Mario Bros.
Battlefield 1942
FINAL FANTASY VII – Aerith’s Theme
Sonic the Hedgehog
Metal Gear Solid
Kingdom Hearts


Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross
World of Warcraft
Silent Hill 2
the Legend of Zelda
New: Guild Wars
FINAL FANTASY VII – One Winged Angel

The striked song is what was removed from the program in favor of adding more time to play a piece from Guild Wars. Was it worth it? For those who were probably tired of the Final Fantasy fanaticism? Yes. For those who were looking forward to the old Chocobo theme like myself? Then you were probably as bummed out as I was.

One concern going into this concert was that a friend who had attended Thursday’s performance mentioned a noticeable problem with the percussionists. I didn’t notice anything off about the percussionist this time around, but I found that the stage presence of the violinist and overall presentation for the Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross performance to be very lacking. Time Scar had a very strong violin solo segment that went very soft during today’s performance at Benaroya. It was quite noticeable, especially since it was one of my favorite pieces that had me hooked onto Chrono Cross in the beginning! There was also a time when the trumpets seemed off, and when other segments just didn’t seem to be on key with each other.

The choir, while very talented and fresh sounding, did not exactly seemed ‘right’ to me during the vocal portions of the show. Then again, they were a very young group, and so some of the areas which you’d expect an older voice the choir would come off sounding like these children were being placed into slave camps. It was a little ridiculous, and I felt horrible seeing how bored the females were looking in the choir. It actually depressed me when I would occasionally glance at the choir form the screen.

Other than that, the performances were well played. A definite crowd favorite was Super Mario Bros and Halo. Also, despite my complaints about the choir, they did send chills through my arms when they had performed Liberi Fatali. Sure they sounded young, but at least they did a rather impressive job. Although part of me wished they hadn’t performed a piece from WoW, as I was already contemplating going back despite initial problems with my wrist and fingers. They also managed to give me a fresh view of the WoW music, which I had initially dismissed as being downright awful. Now I’ve rated it to be on better terms in my book, but I doubt my opinion of it will be any different with the actual background themes playing while in the game. I suppose, however, that is the beauty of WoW being in windowed mode! At least I can play more desirable music in the background…

Aside from the symphony, many people also brought their DSes with them. For the first time, I actually got to use Pictochat other than with people I am already familiar with. However, due to poor reception, I think I missed out on a lot of fun things that were going on elsewhere in the concert hall. I was also surprised to see that only two people decided to be daring and try to wear something a little different. One was a man wearing a panda hat down in the front row (yes, we could see you on the big screen) and a young lady sitting somewhere behind me wearing a lolita outfit. There were also a surprising number of older attendants, but I am merely assuming they were season ticket holders or people who had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

Overall, I wholeheartedly encourage those who do like video game music to attend any concert that features a live performance. It was an absolutely wonderful experience to be able to not only hear the music, but to hear it performed live and actually see the people perform the music as well.

The last to arrive, is the last one to stand.


After an hour and a half (or was it more?) of waiting for my brother to wake up and NOT kill me, we managed to continue where we left off on Saturday with our CoP 4-2 run and Refueling acquisition party. On Saturday, 2/3 of the BLU managed to get our spell while getting a little distracted watching an end game LS attempt to take down one of the popped NMs in Riverne. With limited time on our hands, we decided to wait until Monday, Jan. 21, when everyone would be home on a national holiday. Most of us were there on time or earlier, and the only one who wasn’t? My brother who nearly TKD’ed my face after several attempts of waking him up. Thankfully I have a laptop, and was able to prep him up, log him on, and take him to where we needed to go before he finally woke up and decided to join us.

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BLU Level 48-50 and PLAY!

Our camp for this level is one of my favorite camps in this level range: Garlaige Citadel. I have partied here both as BRD and WHM, and I’ve found it a nice little area despite some of its annoyances. We’ll probably be here for awhile, since the EXP is still pretty good and we can probably move onto Chamber Beetles now that we’re level 50. From 48-50 our main target focus has been the Funnel Bats since we can actually chain them and not waste 400+ MP on a single mob (the Chamber Beetles). However, there aren’t many spells that can lead to really high damage numbers on these mobs unless you skill chain off of them. Then again, we’re all /nin and I’m sure things would be different if we were in a different party set up.

Sadly, as we were down in the Citadel, I found that we weren’t really on top of all of our spells. It is probably my fault, since I am rusty and haven’t really bothered to check my check list in awhile. However, since we are now at 50, I’ll probably be arranging to get caught up on our spells and then a continuation of CoP runs for the near future. I am very excited, however, as it means we are getting closer to getting to our base goal: getting BLU to 60 and wear BLU AF. At the moment I’m keeping that single goal in mind, because there are so many other things that are stressing the hell out of me at the moment. One step at a time! Once we get to that goal, I’m sure we’ll aim for 75 and Sea access… but getting to 60 is already a lot for me to chew on at the moment.

This is also advance notice to my friends that on Saturday, January 26, my siblings and I will be attending a concert at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. The concert is known as PLAY! A video game symphony. Arnie Roth will be the conductor and is known to have conducted at the Dear Friends and More Friends concert for S-E. From the video clips I’ve seen of the guy, he seems pretty cool. I really enjoy listening to video game music, so this is going to be a special treat for me and my siblings who also enjoy the same thing.

Speaking of which, my brother (Makai on FFXI) found this clip when searching stuff on marching bands. He’s in the marching band at our local high school and we thought this was really cool:

Can you name ALL the video game themes they play!? :3

Goodbye Mr. Turnabout

One of my favorite game series for the DS is Gyakuten Saiban a.k.a. the Ace Attorney series. I also recently started watching an anime known as Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. The clip I’m going to post below manages to merge the two together for Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s opening scene. If you’ve played through the Ace Attorney games, then you’ll probably find this to be pretty amusing if not WTF worthy:

BLU Level 46-48


After a three month hiatus, the BLU set has returned! We were actually shooting for starting up again late December, but had little luck since we were playing WoW and then I had health problems (flu, hand and wrist pain). For these levels, we took a return trip to the Eldieme Necropolis; a small trip we had made for the first half of level 46 but had to leave because I had lost RR and we couldn’t get a Raise.

To get to our camp, we had to go through Beaucedine Glacier and then to where most people used to camp for the genkai item. Its a tad annoying, but its a nice secluded area and we hardly have to worry about anyone pestering us. The most annoying mob we fought here are the Hell Hounds. Being hit with a virus really puts us down for awhile, considering we have no one who can cast Viruna on us and the alternative ways of removing that status effect is a tad too pricey for us. To get around this, we eventually started to zone the dogs so that they would depop. This started to work against us after awhile, when the dogs started to pop at a faster repop time. Damn.

Lichs are especially annoying because of their spell casting abilities, but Mummies are great! They aren’t as troublesome and really bring about some nice EXP. We didn’t get many high chains, but after a few good hours we managed to ding up to level 48. We plan to exp for at least an hour sometime this week, and then try to get our CoP set to do a few ENM runs (that means you, Hiro!).

Though I really need to be careful about how much hate I pull. There was one situation when I ended up going damage happy for one fight. I started off with Bludgeon, went wild, and then tossed in a solo renkei for about 569 damage. o.o; Being a BRD and WHM, I’m not really used to doing stuff like that on my own! I couldn’t help but laugh and remember why I’d be the worst BLM alive… I’d end up over nuking things to death because I’d look at the numbers and go “ooooohhhh~”!

During this exp session, I found that FFXI was much easier on my wrists than WoW is when trying to grind away. I think for that reason, I’ll put renewing my WoW account on hold for awhile. My wrist has been acting up lately, and it tends to be bothersome. I have kind of figured out how to go at FFXI so that I’m not hindered too much, but there are times when I still end up in a lot of pain. I don’t like it when I have to be out for a few days because I was WoWing and then try to go onto FFXI but find that I can’t because my wrist is in a messed up state. It also prevents me from doing homework and responding to e-mails, so… yeah. Sorry, WoW! You lost this round.

Year in Review 2007 Edition

After shortly logging on FFXI only to have dinner and have an upsetting conversation at the dinner table, I decided to log off and did the following: play 40 minutes of DDR, think, think, and think a lot more. I’ll be up front about this: 2007 totally sucked for me. But this is a new year and a new chance for me to start anew. However, while I did all that thinking, I knew I didn’t want to start off my new year with a bitter taste in my mouth of all the things that went wrong last year. So, as a blogger and such, I thought what better way of trying to refocus my thoughts and such by writing the top five positive things that happened? They will, of course, be gaming/technology related since this is primarily my gaming blog. Doh. Anyway, here are my top 5 recaps for 2007:

#1 Getting BRD to 75.
I have been playing this game since NA PC release, started with an Elvaan WHM and then BRD, and restarted to finish up my goal as a Tarutaru BRD. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my good friends: Mekare, Orophen, Aenslade, Reiokyu, Guster, Chakura, and Kiln. These guys really helped me in ways that no one else has, and if it weren’t for them I doubt I would have still been playing for as long as I have. I still laugh remembering getting lost in Oztroja with Chakura, Kiln calling Chakura a wuss when she was a WHM escorting us, and how Mekare and I tormented Reiokyu when he first joined us on the Ragnarok server. I am also glad Guster helped become part of our 5 man Promyvion Holla win (we started with 6, but one had to log out after awhile), and Orophen is just… Orophen. I know I hate on him a lot, but I’m nothing without the guy.

#2 Starting the BLU set.
Despite running into several snags (mostly because of me), the BLU set is fun and AMAZING. We’ve proved several people wrong by doing what they believed to be impossible in terms of CoP missions, and hope to continue that when I’m not withering around in agony with wrist and other health problems.

#3 Making new friends!
Although it happened late 2007, I am still glad I was able to make some friends both online and IRL. I also strengthened some relationships, and it makes me feel really great inside considering I don’t always have the time to come online. Its nice knowing that despite my absence I’m still missed and hardly forgotten when I do come back. This is important, because its one of the reasons I’m able to keep coming back time and time again.

#4 More Gaming Than Ever!
Believe it or not, I did a lot more gaming during 2007 than I had in recent years. I became a Tetris fiend for awhile, I became heavily engrossed in the world of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, I dabbled in Pokemon Diamond, I cooked it up with Cooking Mama, I performed surgeries with Trauma Center, I hacked and slashed in the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, I boxed it out on Wii Sports, made friends with Viera on FFXII, did a toxic dance with the Blood Elves on WoW, and even had a chance to prove how much rhythm I DON’T have by playing Ouendan 2. There are probably much more to add to the list, but that’s what I could remember so far. Most of the games were on the DS, followed by the Wii, and then the PS2. For 2008 I already have three games (Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, the Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations) on my list to play and finish, and possibly a fourth if I can ever get myself to sit through Final Fantasy Tactics…

#5 Had a brief taste of FFXI end game!
I’m probably the few out there who doesn’t participate in the end game scene, despite having wishes to do so. With things such as homework (and after I get my certification, I’ll be doing MORE studying for graduate school), long commute times, religious obligations, and health concerns? Trying to find an LS that meets my special needs is a damn hard thing to do. So, it was with much surprise that I was able to be invited to a Sky LS that did weekly events on weekends! And NOT on times when I had religious obligations! Woo! I was psyched. Granted I only attended one or two events, it was really cool while it lasted. I am not optimistic that will happen again, but at least I can go away happy knowing I did it at least once or twice during my gaming career! I still have an Abj. they tossed me, but since I’m poor… I just get to keep it as a memento of that day.

If anyone happens to read this, feel free to post or comment on our Top 5 things of 2007! The more the merrier!

Attn: FFXI Blog Writers and Readers!

Although several days late, I thought I should remind and/or bring awareness to several people about yet another way RMT users are trying to get your precious information. We know that several weeks ago they have inserted an iFrame onto Somepage, but there are news going on that they have managed to exploit a security hole in WordPress (a popular blogging script) and try to take your information the same way they tried to when you visited Somepage. Maiev of the StarOnion has great news about it and details on how to better protect yourself here: FFXI Blog Writers, heads up! by Maiev.

I also wanted to take the time to state that doink! has been updated and that my Web Monkey Slave (a.k.a. Orophen/Derrick), has checked the coding to make sure that things are ok. If, however, you find something that is suspicious, please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at calaera(at)mreh(dot)net.

CR vs. SZ!

Awhile ago, I said I would post shots comparing the Vaio CR and the Vaio SZ. There aren’t many shots, but it was nagging me for awhile so I went ahead and took the pictures before I started studying. Before I go into that, I thought I’d talk more about the laptop since I’ve had it for awhile now.

Overall, it is SO much better than the Inspiron 1520 I had. I thought I would be ok with such a large laptop, but I found that it wasn’t really for me. My commute is long (can total about up to 4 hours round trip) and I also study best outside of my room. I end up playing video games if I am in my room, whereas outside? I feel guilty and forced to study! I also like being around the noise, as it tends to help me concentrate more than a totally silent room. Of course, all of this is hard to do when I’m lugging around 6lbs on a laptop alone. When I commute, I bring books, notebooks, my purse, and sometimes I even bring along a blanket (ride the longer ferry to Seattle during the commuter rush, and you’ll see a lot of people doing this and more). So the SZ really slims back the extra weight that can be put to other things like… more books!

The SZ is also great because of the dual graphics card. There is a dedicated and an integrated that is used as “Stamina” and “Speed” mode. Stamina mode is great for when you’re doing just word processing or internet browsing, and speed mode is great for when you watch movies or play video games. With “Stamina” mode, I can clock up to four – five hours depending on my settings. That helps a LOT as it cuts the need for me to carry around the power adapter! I can also sit in front of the TV and just watch stuff, if I wanted to.

The downsides to the SZ, however, primarily come with the keyboard, the OS, and the dedicated graphics card. How?

The Keyboard:
It is sometimes uncomfortable to type on. I am able to type well on it, but it still feels weird at times. I still wish it had the TZ and CR keyboard, because those are much more attractive and easy to type on.

The OS:
Vista sucks. Period. I should have ordered XP, but P1 is great because they are sending me a free XP disc to install onto my laptop. If you are ever looking to buy a laptop? I HIGHLY recommend P1!

The Graphics Card:
WoW and FFXI are installed on this computer. WoW runs beautifully here, but FFXI chokes like someone forgot to chew their food and just inhaled it… If I had time, I’d find a way to get it to work… but I don’t, so I’ll just wait it out awhile.

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