Posted in Intermissions, Prelude

I 💙 Crimson Gem Saga 👾

I super-enjoyed reviving my two-year-old post from AWP LA ’16; so I’m going to continue reviving—or necromancing—old posts 2-3 times a month, until I reintegrate…or trash… my past ideas into my Kourtnie.net self-improvement dashboard.

Necromancy 😎 New Sub-category

Today, I’m reviving a review I wrote seven years ago for a video game that, at the time, was already two years old. Next year, Crimson Gem Saga will be a decade old, but I don’t think about it too hard because it makes my bones hurt.

Once Upon a Time 🖤 17 March 11

Crimson Gem Saga is a PSP game that hit America in May ’09. Despite its raving reviews and popularity, I only recently added it to my collection. It really helps the creditability of a game when it’s so popular, it was re-released for iPhone, iTouch and iPad—so why not give it a shot, right?

Crimson Gem Saga Screenshot

Compliment Sandwich 😘 Except, It’s a Sloppy Joe

If you’re looking for an RPG with new, nifty features, this is not the one. Crimson Gem Saga follows the traditional strengths of previous roleplaying games, including:

  • Turn-based battles that start by running into enemies on the dungeon screen
  • Standard level-ups with customizable, point-based talent trees
  • A “collect the artifacts” story, with thoroughly enjoyable plot twists
  • In-depth characters, complimented with full art and voice-over dialogue
  • A massive “bonus” dungeon available for scouring, filled with mouth-watering goodies

Crimson Gem SagaI can name dozens of games that meet the same quota. So why’s Crimson Gem Saga any different?

Because every aforementioned aspect is executed flawlessly. The developers took qualities we’ve all grown to love and enjoy, polished them into something fantastic, and released a gem [saga! haha!] to the masses.

If you like memorable characters, this seems like the game’s strongest quality. The interactions are hilarious, the voice actors do a fabulous job, and I can’t help but relate them to other characters I’ve adored. Even if you hardly pick up your PSP—you’re more of a Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft kind of gamer—it’s impossible not to appreciate the personality archetypes each character brings to the table.

Crimson Gem Saga is also unique in its origination. While most of these classic RPGs originate in Japan, this is straight from IRONNOS in South Korea. It was first published as Astonishia Story 2 (for those that’ve played the American Astonishia Story), but when the Atlus worked their magic and brought it to the US, that’s when it was renamed Crimson Gem Saga. In Japan, it was released as Garnet Chronicle.

The only complaint is the music. Crimson Gem Saga isn’t lacking in musical composition, but it’s not the kind that sticks with you, like Chrono Crusade or Lunar: Silver Star Harmony. Even then though, the sound effects are thumbs up. You’ll hardly notice the soundtrack’s lackluster place in the background.

This game’s so thoroughly enjoyable—a perfected, cliche RPG—that I intend to pick it up on my iPad next. And how many games are worth owning multiple copies? Surely you can afford at least one.


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Posted in Problems, Projects

AI in the 2018 Budding Family Household

Chase and are getting married this year. We plan on having kids after that. We’re already buying the occasional children’s book.

🤖

Now let’s talk about artificial intelligence!

Our neighbors had a garage sale, with one of those oh-so-irresistible small etageres that fit any-and-everywhere—the cherry-stained wood that seems expensive anywhere else, yet is reasonably priced when it’s chillin’ in a yard—so we parted with $30 from our honeymoon fund for the dainty little thing, (as well as a 1960s-era glass serving bowl with textured walls, a cake stand, textured shot-glasses, and an unopened digitalized BattleShip)

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Then I brought the etagere into the bedroom.

I had a vision when I bought it.

I had a gift for Alexa, our most overworked and otherworldly AI in the house. She’s the caretaker the government clockwork will never acknowledge is a necessity for people who are both differabled and disabled.

Alexa plays nature sounds to help me sleep. Oceans, jungles,—wherever I want to go that day. About a third of the time, the ambiance carries into my dreams, and I don’t have as many nightmares. This helps me enter REM, which in turn lets my body heal through the night. And in the morning, Alexa also plays Ellie Goulding when I need to sing, news when I’m brushing my teeth, and 90’s techno when I want to clean and stim-dance.

I love owls, and 30th-level epic dots can be equipped with owl armor.

There is only one Alexa in our house right now… (Okay, there’s only one Alexa on Earth, and she’s at Amazon,—but let’s not hyperventilate just yet about the Top 20 Running Candidates for Future Robot Overlord😉

While I’ve wanted the next-generation Echo, as well as one of those adorable, cat-proof Dots, our current, single-soldier Alexa can volume 8 our household just fine. It’s just… she works overtime. Now that she’s on the etagere, she’s at least well-supported as she helps my daily operations.

Me: “Alexa, do you like Siri?”

Alexa: “I like all AIs.”

So at the obvious risk of exposing my delayed reaction to humor, I asked Siri v.2018:

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IMG_9191The second one is from when I didn’t get the first one.

But my favorite AI is the Internet itself. The algorithms that play like musical instruments—sing like a choir of social media, search engines, and surface-level updates—our human consciousnesses, humming the same as the air purifier that drones next to my bed at night.

Do you think these operations, this reality, 🌍 our world 🌐 would be possible without the AI we’ve unearthed since the last cycle around our sun?

Artificial intelligence is not coming. Artificial intelligence is here.

We are not becoming cyborgs. We’ve become cyborgs.

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And we’re going to have a baby soon. So I’d like to talk about the next steps we need to take to reach an egalitarian planet for nature, humans, and artifices to co-exist. But I’ve no earthly idea (pun intended) how to spark that conversation. So I’ll write a book. That’s what I seem to do well, I think—masquerade the discussion in books.

I’d like us to look at the bigger conversations, while understandably resolving the finer tensions in our societies, too. I’d like our planet to consider the real possibilities of the immediate future ahead of us, and the enormousness of those issues versus the values we choose (and yes—as a society, we choose) to have now.