After growing intensely irritated with TV Tropes in the spring of 2008, I wandered on over to the Talking Time forums at GameSpite and found that a new (well, for them) phenomenon called the “Let Us Play” had recently grabbed hold there, which involved playing a game, taking pictures, and posting those pictures along with amusing and/or insightful commentary. As I was then at loose ends writing-wise I decided to try my hand at it, and produced a few LPs of varying quality before several problems put a halt to my production. This page provides links to all my LPs, as well a brief postscript for each one.

Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword

Strategy RPG / GBA / May 2008-September 2008 / Complete

My first LP was also, somewhat discouragingly, my most popular, at least if page views and fan response are anything to go by. I tackled one of my favorite games all-time, the seventh game in the FE series. (In the west, it was released as simply “Fire Emblem”; its Japanese subtitle was Rekka no Ken, or Blazing Sword.) I played through the entire game on Eliwood Normal mode, making sure that everyone survived and showing off as many supports and cool easter egg conversations as I could. This is the LP I would change the most if I had it to do over — I feel like I went into way too much detail and rambled on far more than was probably necessary. (The play-by-play was almost certainly overkill.) People seemed to like it, though — I got a ton of positive response, and the FE games remain popular subjects in the Let’s Play forum. LP master of ceremonies and all around Good Man PapillonReel did FE6, and FE8 is currently in progress with FE9 slated to start sometime in the future.

I made great time on this one, though, updating multiple times a week most weeks, and finishing a thirty-hour game in three months.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Mario RPG / SNES / October 2008-February 2009 / Complete

This one was fun too, and contains some of my favorite pieces of writing. Mario RPG is a game I’ve been playing since I was in fifth grade, so I’ve got a lot of history with it, and Mario himself has a lot of history, which makes for great writing fodder. I play through the game normally, collecting and doing pretty much everything. (No Super Suit, but everything else is in there.) After rereading FE7, I set myself a goal to be more concise in this LP. It… didn’t go so well, because I’m as rambly here as ever. I’m not sure that all the “little kid stories” were as funny or as interesting as they were in my head, either.

This LP has about a month of downtime about two-thirds of the way through, because my computer became infested with viruses and I was unable to work on it. When I had reliable access to a computer, however, I updated fairly regularly, if not as often as FE7. There was about one update every week or ten days.

Super Demo World: The Legend Continues

Platformer / SNES (Super Mario World romhack) / February 2009-March 2009 / Complete

This one was less a “Let’s Play” and more of a “Let’s Talk About General Principles of Mario Romhacks and Level Design Using Super Demo World As a Jumping-Off Point”, which is, admittedly, far less snappy.

Super Demo World is a pretty terrible game, so unlike my first two LPs it wasn’t a whole lot of fun actually gathering the screenshots. It does give me lots to talk about, however, particularly the way it demonstrates virtually all of the common pitfalls that infest romhacks. It was also my first action game, which I feel tend not to come across particularly well in screenshot LPs unless there’s some sort of gimmick. When I decided to do this game, I was thinking that if it went well I could jump off into more action games, like Kirby Super Star or Donkey Kong Country. I’m unsure how it went… there wasn’t much reader response, and I’m uncertain how well I could hold up an LP without the romhacking community serving as a backdrop for me. We’ll see, I guess.

Short game, so it took me only two months. I updated at roughly the same rate as Mario RPG.

Pokemon: Trading Card Game

Trading Card Game / GBC / March 2009-? / Incomplete, adopted

Now we start to move into the territory of LPs that were not great ideas on my part. LPs of the main series Pokemon games are a dime a dozen, but how about one of the wacky spin-offs? I know more about the Pokemon TCG, in both its cardboard and Game Boy forms, than anyone ever should, so I felt it would be a good choice to LP.

And indeed, it did go well… for a while. This LP contains some of my best technical/strategy guide-style writing, explaining what to do and why. However, I got about halfway through before starting to feel the pinch of my schoolwork, and I decided to put a halt to my extracurricular writing activities until I’d cleared my desk. By the time I had, I’d lost my momentum and didn’t feel like either playing the game or writing about it. In retrospect, I can see that I was running low on subjects to talk about — this version of the game is a little too shallow to sustain much interest.

A few months after I’d abandoned it, a fellow by the moniker of Mr. J volunteered to pick up the LP for me, a proposal I gladly assented to. He decided to start the game over and play a different way than I was, however, which is probably for the best…

Skies of Arcadia Legends

JRPG / GameCube / August 2009-? / Incomplete

This is like the anti-LP for me. With most LPs, playing the game and compiling the screenshots is the easy part; the hard part is working up the inspiration or motivation to do the writeup. With this game, collecting screenshots is such an onerous production that my mind shudders away from it whenever I consider starting it up again. If I could make the pictures appear out of the air and only have to worry about the writing, this LP would be done a couple of times over, but alas.

The real problem here is that I probably bit off more than I could chew. I’d recently acquired the means to take pictures of games on a console, so I quickly signed up to LP one of my favorite GameCube games, Skies of Arcadia. However, my cheap-o A/V-in thingy didn’t take particularly good screenshots, and I wasn’t technically savvy enough to fix them. Moreover, once I’d finally decided that this was as good as I could probably get them, I was four or five updates in to a fifty-hour RPG. It would have been smarter to do something short and easy for my first foray into image capturing off of consoles, but I’ve never claimed to be particularly smart.

The tragedy is that I really do want to finish this, very badly. Unlike PokeTCG, which I was all too eager to pass off to someone else, my enthusiasm for the game and the LP have not diminished. I’ve still got lots to talk about. On the other hand, the screenshots are such a goddamn production to deal with that it’s hard to imagine actually buckling down and restarting the damn thing. And I’d feel horribly guilty about leaving two LPs unfinished in a row after updating the first three so regularly, so I can’t just move on (even if the queue wasn’t already backed up to next year anyway). It is a conundrum.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Zeldalike / N64 / Future

That rat bastard Alixsar went and did my favorite Zelda game, Ocarina of Time, while I wasn’t looking, so I had to sign up for my second-favorite instead.

I’ve had Majora’s Mask on reserve for literally years, so it will almost certainly be my next project. As to when that will be… well, I’ll tell you when I know.