About Me

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Virginia Beach, VA, United States
This blog (or 日記 if you will) is intended to chronicle my experience in Japan at the Yamasa Institute in Okazaki, Japan from July to August, 2012. I have always wanted to have a journal, though, so I will try to get into a habit of writing frequently about the things important to me in my life. Besides, I plan on returning to Yamasa to participate in the AIJP after I get out of the Navy! These are the Espelancer Chronicles. Erica is also blogging about the trip, and you should totally check it out. It is The Marvelous Misadventures of Schneewittchen link over on the sidebar.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hockey, Football, and JRPG's

With a score of 2 to 1, the Rangers advance in Game 7
    Wow, what a riveting series...  I am of course talking the Eastern Semis between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals.  Like most of their games, it stayed close the entire way through, and the final period was absolutely intense. This marks the end of one of the most exciting series this playoff season, and the Caps sure did give the Rangers a run for their money.  I'm glad they went all the way to game 7.  In a way, a little luck may have had something to do with it, as one of the Ranger's wins was from a goal late in the third overtime (game 2), and another was due to tying the score with only 6 seconds left on the clock, and then finishing the Caps off in overtime with a power play goal (Damn that 4:00 high sticking call!), however the Caps are out and now the Rangers will be advancing on to play the Devils in the Eastern finals.  I can only hope that the Devils and Rangers give us an equally exciting show.

  Really, this entire playoff season has been full of surprises.  For example, the LA Kings have eliminated the #1 seed in 5 games, swept the #2 seed, and is now going on to face the #3 seed in Phoenix (although Phoenix IS only the third seed because they led their division during the regular season).  Phoenix is a bit of an underdog, too, though, as they have not had much playoff success until recently, and have never been to the Stanley Cup finals.  I think the Kings and Coyotes will be a great match-up, too.

   Now, a lot of my friends think that it is strange that I like hockey.  Of all sports, why hockey?  I am not a big fan of football (although I've seen a few Cowboys games), and I think other sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, and especially golf are simply not exciting enough.  Hockey, however, is incredibly fast-paced and action-packed.  If I had to compare football and hockey to video games, I would have to say the football is the Final Fantasy of sports, while hockey is Ys (or perhaps more accurately, a Namco Tales game) of sports.

Tidus Tebow
     So, how is football like Final Fantasy?  Well, for starters football is the most popular sport in America, just as Final Fantasy is the most popular JRPG in America.  In fact, one could argue that Final Fantasy (ahem VII) fanboys have as much fervor for this series as the average football fan.  Now I like Final Fantasy well enough, and I can tolerate football, however I find both to be extremely overrated.
   Until recently, Final Fantasy games have been turn based (albeit with an Active Time Battle), which results in the players and enemies taking turns to attack most of the time.  In football, each team takes turns making drives into the end zone.  This means there are frequent pauses in play throughout the entire game.  There might be a good deal of heavy hitting and rough contact going on, however, play is stopped whenever the ball-carrier goes down or runs out of bounds, even if the clock doesn't always stop.  The ball is typically only in play for about 20 seconds in a down on average
   Modern Final Fantasy games are full of beautiful eye candy with cutscenes that look more and more realistic with each new game.  No other sport intermission can compare to an NFL halftime show, especially during the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
   Interestingly enough, there is an Uncyclopedia entry for Final Fantasy Football.  I think it would actually be a pretty awesome idea.
   There you go, football is a popular turn-based JRPG.

  Now, most of my favorite JRPG's are in fact action RPG's.  I'm a huge fan of the Namco Tales series and the Ys series (as well as just about everything else from Falcom), both of which sport intense and engaging action gameplay in which the tide of the battle can change in literally an instant.
  Well, you see, hockey is very much the same way.  The player can be forced to switch between offense and defense at a moment's notice.  No matter how well a hockey team can keep the puck in their offensive zone, if it comes loose, you may very well see the defensive team manage to drive the puck all the way down the ice and score on the break-away.
     In any match between two great hockey teams, though, most scores happen on rebounds and assists.  When you have 3 guys defending the net and another 3 trying to take control of the puck, most of the time it takes your entire offensive line to get the puck in the net.  Much like Tales of Xillia here, you use your entire party and, while lucky shots do happen, most of the time players need an assist to score a goal.  After all, it isn't easy getting a puck into a 6'x4' area, especially with a pro goaltender in the way.
    The biggest difference here, though, is that there is very little stoppage of play in hockey, just like in many action RPG's there is very little rest between fights.  Sure, you have the occasional icing or offsides, and sometimes the puck goes out of play or a penalty is called, but it is not unheard of for the puck to remain in play for over half of a period (that's 10 minutes for any non-hockey fans).  I'd love to see a single football down last for that long.  This leads to incredibly exciting games and hair-raising moments near the goal, full of action, body checks into the boards, hard open-ice hits, and sometimes even fights.  That is why I love hockey so much, because hockey is an action RPG.  Maybe Namco should make a Tales of Stanley game.  I'd play it.

   Well, that is all for today.  I can't make a hockey post without a hockey video, so I'll leave you with a video of some wicked hockey saves.

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