The Backorder: Final Fantasy VII

Back on, I started a series of articles called The Backorder. The Backorder would feature either reviews or just a little announcement of sorts that I would be playing a game that I should’ve played long, long ago. It’s time for a new installment of the backorder.

It’s also time for a guilty admission: I never played Final Fantasy VII. It’s not that I never beat it, never finished, never loved it, never hated it… I literally never played it. I have fond memories of watching friends play through it. I watched them traverse some beautifully created hand drawn landscapes, and watched them cast spells with CGI effects that rivalled Hollywood cinema. But I never once took a controller in my hand and led Cloud and co. on their journy.

It’s true, and I’m not too ashamed to admit it. I’m not a big RPG fan. I always hated combining items, or being over-encumbered, or not knowing when to use which armor against what attack… the games had too many little details to pay attention to. I’m a gamer-jock: I just wanna go in and blow stuff up. So I never played many RPG’s, and most that I did, I never finished. But I’ve looked back at several and decided this might be the year I finish a lot of games that I started ages ago (or never started at all), particularly those in the RPG genre. I’m thinking this year will involve Final Fantasy VII, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. But I have to start with the game that gets every person I know to say “you know what the best time of all time might’ve been?”

My quest isn’t just to play the game, it’s really an attempt to find out what made non gamers, girl gamers, boy gamers, hard-core gamers, JRPG gamers — so many different people — all say how much they love this game. I started playing it again, and I’m only 30 minutes in. I have to tell you, the graphics don’t hold up well. It’s blockier than I remember it being, I can see why people are begging for an HD Remake. But the combat is tight, the soundtrack is still incredible, and the action is still palpable. I’m looking forward to getting to know my characters and playing through the story that spawned an entirely new generation of RPG fans and really gave rise to a new era of JRPG gameplay elements. I’m hoping to see what everybody else saw. The kind of thing that makes people want to pay over $200 for the “black label” edition of the game.

If you have any particular memories you wish to share, or tips for me while I’m playing Final Fantasy VII, feel free to share them below!

What's your gaming style?

On Fridays, we discuss video games. Thinking about my favorite childhood topic, and reminiscing with friends and co-workers this week, got me wondering how other people game. It all got me thinking about my style of gaming. I like to play one game at a time, until completion. It’s my own minor compulsive need. I’ve strayed from it a few times, but as someone who lives and dies by single player campaign games (I love a game with a good story line).

So, if you’ve read this far, leave a comment! We use Disqus, no need to register, it’s easy! So, tell me: are you the kind of person that needs to complete a game before you can move on to another? Are you multiplayer or singleplayer, primarily? If multiplayer, do you stick with one game for a long, long time – or do you hop on the next hot title, the minute the next Call of Duty or Halo or Gears of War title is released? Do tell, please! I’m looking forwar to seeing some responses.

Bug Village on Windows Phone 7 Black Screen Solution

Weeks ago, another free game landed on Windows Phone 7. This time it was Glu’s Bug Village. The game itself is a fun little time-sink with the idea of making their money back through microtransactions. You build up your small town, harvesting acorns as your primary currency. Fun and simple.

Recently, however, problems have plagued the free title. A recent update for the game seems to have made things worse than the original launch title, breaking random occurances of some of the bugs which you need to tap in order to obtain certain achievements in the game. More annoying, still, is this flickering black screen issue which has caused many people, based on the reviews in the marketplace, to stop playing the game entirely. Lucky for you, I have a solution to keep the lights on.

The problem occurs because of a glitch in the game overpopulating the with sprites. Too many graphics loaded in to memory, and the game begins to fall apart, leaving you with a black screen unless perhaps you pan around to a secluded corner of the map. I can nearly guarantee that the people who are having the problem are people who went for an achievement included in the game, entitled “Great Decorator” – where you get some gamerscore for placing 50 decorations. If you love earning achievements, I suggest you earn the “Great Decorator” achievement before reading further in this article.

To fix the black screen issue with Bug Village on Windows Phone 7, simply click the ‘store’ icon in the lower left corner of the screen, then tap one of your decoration items, and finally click the purple ‘upward arrow’ icon which will uproot and remove the decoration item. You’ve already unlocked the achievement, right now all of those items are just for decoration – and they are what is causing the problem.

Removing the majority of my ‘decorative’ items hasn’t fixed the problem 100%, but it has made the game much more playable, and it is possible that removing all remaining non-essential items (houses / piles / flowers) might fix it entirely. However, I’m still one of the few experiencing the problem with random characters not popping up – meaning I’m stuck unable to get a few achievements until a patch is released. Some people have suggested ‘moving’ your bug’s homes (click the store, click a house, then drag it to a different location) might “uncover” these random characters which may have spawned in to a location where you already had a structure built, but I have had no such luck.

So there you have it. Although very niche, and not much, it’s my quick gaming post of the week, and hopefully a few people (Glu included) will find this helpful and get things working again.