Secret of Mana – Why I’m excited about the remake.

In August 1993, the game was released initially as Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan on the Super Famicom (SNES) but sold outside Japan as Secret of Mana. Now, as of 2017 Square Enix is has decided to remake the beloved series which will be released in North America on February 15, 2018.

Earlier this summer, a Mana collection containing three pillars of the Mana theme; Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, and Seiken Densetsu 3.  This was Japanese exclusive for the Nintendo Switch. Now the second game in the series is headed to the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita as well as Steam.

According to Famitsu, this is a full remake with full voice-overs, a new musical arrangement, other new elements like upgraded gameplay and graphics. It will also have local multiplayer on all platforms. All sounds so far so good, right?

Well, with the launch of the SNES Classic launched at the end of this year I’m not too sure. If you were one of the lucky ones, who got these hands of one of these elusive mini consoles you will already have access to the legendary RPG. One of the charming things about the SNES Classic will find that, among other things, the most exciting inclusions was the inclusion of the range of JRPGS. One of the things about the SNES Classic that I love is that its entire library of games has lasted the test of time, so they’re still great today. There are very few games on the consoles roster that I wouldn’t play, which for me was a more enticing prospect than the original NES mini.

So, I’m reminded of how good Secret of Mana is with the SNES mini, but I was struck by how much it could benefit from an update. I’m, personally, not concerned about the new art direction that it’s taking. Chibi style is something that I’ve always had a soft spot for that style, and while there seem to be some odd texture choices, it’s not enough for me to be super concerned.

This is primarily because I’m so excited that there will be a new generation of players who will be able to experience this incredible game with no significant changes to its narrative other than its visual aesthetics. I have a similar feeling of optimism surrounding the remake of final fantasy 7 (although, I’m less pleased with it being episodic, but I digress). So, for now, I’m going to trust that we’re going to get the remake it so richly deserves.

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Review: ThinkGeek Bag of Holding Tote

Disclaimer: This is a review unit I was able to get from the lovely people at ThinkGeek.

As anyone who has been viewing this blog for a long time, you’ll know one of my pet peeves in my digital life is that I struggle immensely with finding the right sort of bag for my tech. I’m not entirely a “and the kitchen sink” kind of person. But, with my daily commute and the amount I have to travel, I do have to consider seriously what bag will suit my purpose the best. That usually depends on what I’m doing. Am I flying? Am I just going to town? How long will I be waiting for one form of transport to another? Do I need to bring clothes? A myriad of question always accompanies all of these essential choices.

Most people would know that I swear by my Timbuk2 Custom Prospect messenger bag. It’s my regular go-to for travelling and day to day use. You can find more of my gushing over it in my Women Tech Bag Video.

So, with the ThinkGeek Bag of Holding Tote, there are a few things that are worthy to note about it before we get started.

kgiq_convertible_tote_holding

Product Specifications

  • Convertible Tote of Holding
  • A ThinkGeek creation & exclusive
  • Comes with double handles and also removable backpack straps
  • Custom d20 print accent
  • Magnetic snap closure at top
  • Organizer built-in to lining (9 card slots, 2 open pouches, 2 zip pouches, ThinkGeek keyholder)
  • Metal feet on the bottom for durability
  • Materials: 100% polyurethane exterior; 100% polyester lining
  • Care Instructions: Hand wash
  • Exterior Dimensions: 13″ wide x 17″ tall x 4″ thick
  • Weight: 2 1/2 lbs.

It is a beautiful bag; its print accent is one of the most striking elements of the tote. It’s wonderfully detailed, and I regularly got compliments and comments from the passers-by who I encountered who were curious about where on earth I found a bag that had a pattern of a D20! It’s a testament to the care and craft of putting a bag together like this. kgiq_convertible_tote_holding_detSubtle details in the stitching and lining indicate this to the core. It’s challenging to find a rough edge on the tote, and that’s a testament to the craft of it in itself. However, that robust construction comes at a price in the form of its weight. It’s a good two pounds when its empty. So, if people are expecting this to be a light bag, I fear this may not be one for you.

That being said, I wanted to put it through its paces. I was off to a Ted X in Canada, and I decided since it was an overnight trip that I would need to bring a change of clothes for the event. I was also going to need to bring some form of entertainment, food. I made a noble attempt to fit all of these items into the tote but alas I failed to do so without leaving some essential items out. Which is a no-go for this bag to be used as my new travel companion. I’m not going to lie; I was pretty astonished that I couldn’t fit more into it, dimensions wise it’s a pretty big tote bag. Now, as my Youtube Review Video will show, I am bringing quite a bit, and arguably my packing cube for my clothes was the principal offender when it came to the space available. It was still none the less surprising though, as right now it’s not quite living up to my expectations for a bag that has the title of Bag of Holding.

My timbuk2 to had to resume its position for that particular trip as I had little issue getting the contents I needed there for my trip. Throughout my time bouncing from airport to airport to get to Toronto I was curious about what other use cases could I use this bag for? So, I decided I’m regularly in and out to college as well as the gym I would see if this would be a suitable all in one solution for this, as my Timbuk2 for those trips is complete overkill. Sadly, I ran into different issues when using this bag as a daily driver for my college and gyms trips.

kgiq_convertible_tote_holding_int1Cardinal of all sins for me is the lack of a dedicated pocket for my laptop/tablet. This is something I’m quite pedantic about. I think if you’re creating any bag, it makes sense to have a dedicated pocket for your tech that needs that added bit of protection. So having something that didn’t even protect my iPad had me quite frustrated in parts. I was always second guessing where things were in my bag or worrying if my lunch box was going to spill and what that would do to said iPad.

I ran into the space issue on multiple occasions too, sometimes having to forfeit a bigger towel for the gym or a bottle of water to fit something else in for a particular day. Which, evidently, isn’t a great solution for things either. It’s not as if I’d be bringing a lot with me for these sessions, but I’d always feel like I was running short on space.

It leads to a more significant comment too which is after a while it can tend to make the bag heavier than you would otherwise think. Having a 2-pound starting weight then adding other essential items on top of that can rapidly make a significant weight change to the overall bag and limits your options on how best to carry it.

kgiq_convertible_tote_holding_strapsMy go-to carry style was to use it by the handles on my shoulder as I was always overly aware in the backpack style that a small clip only closes the bag, and it would be straightforward to reach into the bag from that position pretty much unbeknownst to the wearer. So I didn’t have enough experience with the backpack style element to make a concrete opinion on it other than its relatively well executed but the straps suffer from the same fault that others do which is the straps are awful thin. This can lead to the straps cutting into your shoulders, and I am a women function over fashion. So, in my time of usage it didn’t get a lot of use, but as always your mileage may vary.

It might seem like I’m ragging on the Tote, but really, I’m not. I think I’d be more lenient on it if they’d omitted the title of it is a Bag of Holding. I think that’s where I’ve got the most of a mental block. I can’t view this bag out of the context of it being in its brand. The line is notorious for being compact but being able to hold pretty much everything. I’ve even seen the standard bags, and others in the range attest to this mantra. This, however, doesn’t.

Let me be clear; it is not a bad bag in the least. It’s incredibly constructed, aesthetically pleasing and works as a bag. But is it a bag of holding worthy of the namesake? I don’t think so.

You can find out more about think ThinkGeek Bag of Holding Tote at http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/kgiq/?srp=1

In Memory of my Father (Brian Fagan) – 1st of September 2015

It has been a long few weeks for me, with lots of things going wrong. I didn’t get my PhD place, my laptop broke, had other issues, been struggling finding projects to collaborate on, and my health hadn’t been the best of late. 
All of this pales in comparison to the fact that my father (Brian Fagan) passed away suddenly on 1st of September. 
 
It was a very sudden loss, he died in his sleep – the ultimate way of leaving this earth. After all is what most of us can only wish would happen to us. However, at 57 years old, it was far too soon for anyone to be comfortable with, particularly for myself and my mother. 

I was determined when my godparents arrived at myself and Splinters home at the early hours of the morning when we were told the news that I was going to do my Fathers eulogy. It was something that I knew that if I had done nothing else during that time I had to stand up there and do that. 

If I’m honest, I wound up doing more than I thought I would be able to. Mainly because I saw how profound of an impact his death had. Not just to his immediate family but to the people he engaged with on a day to day basis. I knew I had to step up to honour that, not just his memory and his gift to the world but to continue to reiterate the sentiment that he shared with the world.
 
Dad was always one of those people who was remembered. Everyone had a story to tell about Dad. Good, bad, happy, sad. Everyone had a memory and a story. He was that kind of person, and he was beloved by everyone. That’s without a degree of bias too, considering the sheer volume of individuals who turned up at short notice from all corners of the globe, and even more so from the corners of the planet who weren’t able to make it. I’d been talking to dad’s colleagues and friends from Europe, USA, and Canada – all sharing their stories and wanting to be apart of this. For those who I’d met all told me about how much my father inspired them. For some he was a mentor, others he was the inspiration to venture into fatherhood, or just known as “Mr Cool.” 
 
Our entire family was devastated, even those who I would have personally thought would have “pulled it together” – couldn’t. I was in touch with my Dad’s close friends, the strong silent type of Irish men. Who openly admitted they went and sobbed over the loss of my father. That’s when I knew that the ramifications of my dad’s death had a wider impact than just the immediate family. 
 
My Father never had any regrets, and he actually enjoyed his life. He believed in following your heart – but always having a backup plan. To say yes to the ignorant people – and doing what you want anyway. To being there for your friends and never stepping over people to reach your goal, because the good will always come to those who work for it. Success without limits stems from being true to yourself. 
 
Dad’s funeral was never going to be a sad description of a man’s life but a celebration of the life that we got to share with him. I don’t think he would have wanted it any other way. After all, particularly for myself and my family, it’s the memories that will endure, and in that way, Dad will never actually leave us. 
 
This was the point that I honestly reiterated in the eulogy. I didn’t need to stand there and tell them what they already knew because they all knew my Dad was a great man.  What was important then, and what is still important now is that we remember all the good and the bad. Most of the time immediate family generally aren’t able to do the eulogy, but I’m proud to say I did it and did it well. Even the undertakers made a point after the funeral to tell me how impressed they were – as did many of my father’s colleagues. So I’m proud I was able to do what I set out to do.
 
Now is the hard part: Enduring. For those of you who I haven’t gotten back to for whatever reason, or for those who are wondering why I suddenly fell off the radar, there is the reason. In light of that, however, I’d like to ask for your help. 
 
I’m trying to get back into the process of getting into research projects for Video Gaming or anything to do with Gaming to help get me on the ladder again. As I feel ready to do some things again and I know I need to start doing things again. 
 
Most of my credentials can be vouched for, all you need to do is check my linked in, about.Me  or twitter but I’d appreciate any and all help or even kind words and positive vibes.
 
Hopefully, my posts will be a little bit more regular once I get back into the swing of things too!