Spontaneous Saturday 9/27: Because it’s fun

(GIF original source: Yuyushiki episode 10)

Recently, I was thinking: what is fun? Rather, what is the point in fun? Is there such thing as an adequate amount? Is there such thing as too much?

The noun “fun” has a number of dictionary definitions:

  • enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure: the children were having fun in the play area | anyone who turns up can join in the fun.
  • a source of this: people-watching is great fun.
  • playful behavior or good humor: she’s full of fun.
  • behavior or an activity that is intended purely for amusement and should not be interpreted as having serious or malicious purposes: it was nothing serious; they just enjoyed having some harmless fun.
  • [ attrib. ] (of a place or event) providing entertainment or leisure activities for children: a 33-acre movie-themed fun park.

Meanwhile, the adjective has one definition:

  • amusing, entertaining, or enjoyable: it was a fun evening.

The question “What is fun?” can be interpreted in one of two ways:

  • What is the concept of fun? (defined above)
  • What are some examples of fun?

Some examples of what I consider “fun” are playing video games, watching anime, surfing the Internet, and typing random documents (case in point). But, am I really having “fun” with these activities? Some video games (mainly RPGs and strategy games) drive me to the point of frustration. Anime can be any variety of entertaining or humorous, but there is no real form of engagement besides a story being told and/or information being relayed to the viewers (and some anime, Lucky Star for instance, don’t even have a real story). Surfing the Internet…well, there are some entertaining and humorous things on the Internet, but it is easy for me to get swallowed up in thoughts of, “What am I doing this for? Am I really having fun or am I trying to get noticed?” (Whoever is reading this, thank you for noticing me, heh.) Typing random documents is a good way to get thoughts off my mind but, in this case, I tend to leave things until the last minute, so I find it hard to think of a topic (like fun, really?).

More about video games: really, how much fun is a game if it becomes frustrating to the player? In the case of RPGs, there is always a factor of pseudorandom number generation which, in some cases, may make or break a particular interaction. There is a reason why Stone Edge (in Pokémon) is called Stone Miss. 80%, in practice, seems a much lower number than it does in theory. In platformers, there is not much luck; most of it is acting on instinct. One little misstep can spell doom, but sufficient platforming can bring out satisfaction. I suppose it is the “If there is a mountain, I will climb it” mentality that keeps a player engaged, even through frustrating moments.

Another way to have fun is with friends. If there is someone whom you can trust and with whom you can share experiences without any dire conflicts or sheer impurities, that can be considered fun on both ends. When I tell a joke, write a document, or produce any kind of material, the greatest satisfaction comes not from the nature of the joke or the completion of the document or other material—rather, it is the satisfaction from people who perceive it as humorous, acceptable, or good. The unfortunate truth, though, is that these types of things either satisfy or do not satisfy their audience.

At any rate, fun is good, but there is such a thing as too much fun. Too many times, I have been caught up in some form of entertainment (I just got a rental copy of Bravely Default recently and I am madly enjoying it) so much that I forget about the world around me, about my schoolwork, about the rest of my life. In fact, I wonder how or when I will break out of this shell of entertainment and start living in a more conventional way. Similarly, having too much fun with other people can be perceived as stupid or annoying (in the words of Twitch streamer CriticalCyd, “The difference between humour and stupidity is knowing when to hit the off switch”). But, is there an adequate amount of fun? That entirely depends on a person and his or her idea of fun. From my understanding, there are people who work for fun and people who need fun to rejuvenate themselves after a period of work. I am the latter of these two, but somehow I find it hard to balance business and pleasure; there is always something in me beckoning me like sweet nectar to just have fun and forget about everything else. My general tendency is to just entertain myself while still meeting deadlines, but sometimes it is better to beat deadlines rather than meeting them. In this case, I could have concocted a better document if I had taken the time to think of a better topic. Then again, there is always that big “if”; reflecting on one’s past is only human. Finally, one person’s idea of fun may be anywhere from a complete contrast to a complete match of another person’s; you never know—therefore, use fun wisely.

In conclusion, fun is okay, frustration and fun are not black and white, and fun is better with friends, but there is such thing as too much. “Know your limits, but don’t limit yourself.” – DarkSpinesSonic

Poké Monday 9/22: Bronzor

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 1.02.10 AM 

Smogon official tier: LC
Type: Steel/Psychic
Base Stats: 57 HP, 24 Attack, 86 Defense, 24 Sp. Attack, 86 Sp. Defense, 23 Speed
Abilities: Levitate, Heatproof, Heavy Metal (HA)

“Usable” moves (according to Pokémon Showdown): Calm Mind, Charge Beam, Confuse Ray, Earthquake, Extrasensory, Façade, Flash Cannon, Frustration, Grass Knot, Gravity, Gyro Ball, Heavy Slam, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Hypnosis, Iron Defense, Light Screen, Payback, Protect, Psychic, Psyshock, Rain Dance, Reflect, Rest, Return, Rock Polish, Rock Slide, Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, Sleep Talk, Solar Beam, Stealth Rock, Substitute, Sunny Day, Toxic, Trick, Trick Room

(Although not listed, Recycle is also a viable move)

Overview

Bronzor is a recent example of how one generation of changes can break a Pokémon. The main changes of concern in this case are the Steel-type nerf and the Knock Off buff. As of gen 6, Steel-types no longer resist Ghost or Dark, meaning that Bronzor is weak to Knock Off. Meanwhile, Knock Off has been buffed to base 65 power as opposed to the original 20 and, to make matters worse, if the target is holding an item, Knock Off is boosted to a whopping 97.5 base power, better than any other Dark-type move in existence! So, what was once a solid wall that could just sit still in front of a majority of the tier and perform its utility is now an unforgiven victim of the new “Knock Off on everything” meta. Sure, Berry Juice is now legal and Bronzor is one of the few bulky Pokémon with access to Recycle, but here’s the thing: an item affected by Knock Off cannot be Recycled. Add that to the fact that Berry Juice being affected by Knock Off takes priority over the consumption of the item.

In short, Bronzor’s typing has been greatly nerfed in a way that cannot be redeemed with its offensive stats, so its best (and possibly only) role is utility.

Set

Bronzor @ Eviolite
Ability: Levitate
Level: 5
EVs: 228 Def / 4 SpA / 228 SpD / 12 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Flash Cannon
– Stealth Rock
– Toxic
– Protect

Flash Cannon is the main STAB of choice due to not having immunities (unlike Psychic) and prevents it from being completely shut down by Taunt. Stealth Rock is a key component of team building and helps with offensive prowess. Toxic can allow Bronzor to get residual damage on Pokémon who can sit in front of its Flash Cannons all day (which is not hard to do because of that paltry base 24 Special Attack). Protect is there for scouting and to avoid Fake Out (however trivial it may be to a Steel-type), as well as to possibly stall out Toxic damage.

Other Options

As mentioned, Recycle can be used in conjunction with Berry Juice for some serious recovery, but the combination falls short due to the omnipresence of Knock Off and Bronzor’s weakness to the move. You could also try Calm Mind with it, but I did so prior to coming up with the listed set and it just didn’t work. Trick Room is a good utility option for use in conjunction with a slow team. Dual screens (Reflect+Light Screen) are also good for utility, but be careful on whom you set up knowing how easy Bronzor can be killed this gen.

 

Lastly, here is a team with the set above (although do keep in mind that it is borderline): http://pastebin.com/ALBZvXKJ

Top Three Thursday 9/18: Grammar Pet Peeves

Before I begin, don’t get me wrong; I am not a Grammar Nazi to the point of having to correct literally everyone all the time (in fact, I try my utmost to keep it to myself), but it irks me when I see someone make an oh-so-obvious grammar error. I can completely understand those whose mother tongue is not English, and I can somewhat understand people who talk in an online chat client or an informal conversation where quick delivery is more necessary than grammar (especially those on a mobile device). Also, I will admit: my grammar is not always 100% perfect either. There may be trivialities like punctuation, prepositions, and words that I use in the wrong context; after all, it’s only human to be wrong. All I’m saying is: if you have time to think over your post, take a moment to check for obvious errors and make sure they don’t stick out like sore thumbs. That is all. On with the list.

3. Less vs. Fewer, Little vs. Few, Much vs. Many (plus Amount vs. Number)

In a grocery store, you might see something like “12 items or less”. Someone might respond to this, “Man, I have too much items.” Someone else might say, “I have too little items. Did I forget something?” Their standards of grammar are not high. You see, the correct way to write those sentences is:

  • 12 items or fewer
  • Man, I have too many items.
  • I have too few items. Did I forget something?

Why? Items are quantifiable; in other words, they can be counted. That’s the gist of it: if it can be counted, use “few”, “fewer”, and/or “many”. If they cannot be counted, use “little”, “less”, “much”. Wait, something seems out of line. “Little” is to “less” as “much” is to what? That’s right, “more”. This is the one word that stays unchanged whether the modified noun is quantifiable or not—which, if nothing else, is what makes errors involving the other words slip under the radar. If you get more bottles of beer, you will have too many, and if you get more beer, you will have too much. See the difference (or, in the case of “more”, lack thereof)? This is also the difference between “amount” and “number” (you would use “number” if it can be counted and “amount” otherwise).

2. Lie vs. Lay, Rise vs. Raise, Sit vs. Set (plus Who vs. Whom)

First off, I do not mean “lie” as in not telling the truth; that is in a whole different ballpark. I mean “lie” as in assuming a recumbent position. With that out of the way, “lie” vs. “lay” is the most common of the trio; someone in an informal setting would tell another person to “lay down”, which, from a formal standpoint, would raise the question, “Lay what down?” In other words, you would only use “lay”, “raise”, and “set” if there is an object to lay, raise, or set. Otherwise, you would use “lie”, “rise”, or “sit”. I can somewhat understand the confusion between “lie” and “lay” just because the past tense of “lie” is “lay”. For instance, “I lay in my bed as I typed this document” is a grammatically correct sentence. The Lazy Song lyric (by Bruno Mars), “I just wanna lay in my bed”, is not. “Rise” vs. “raise” and “sit” vs. “set” are not nearly as common confusions, but they are worth noting since the rule behind the usage is the same.

“Who” vs. “whom” is not 100% the same as the other confusions here, but in today’s informal language, the word “whom” is pretty much dead; it is, by societal standards, an archaic word. Just using the word “whom” in the right context is proof that you really know your grammar, and kudos to you if you do. If you don’t, here’s the deal: use “who” as a subject and “whom” as an object—be it a direct object or an object of a preposition. In other words, consider the word’s role in the sentence before deciding which of “who” or “whom” to use. For instance, in the sentence, “Who is the guy to whom I owe respect?” you should notice that the difference between “who” and “whom” is that “whom” receives a verb (“owe [to]”), while “who” executes a verb (“is”).

In layman’s terms, “he” is to “him” as “she” is to “her” as “who” is to “whom”.

1. Misuse of homophones

This I see way too often. Here are some commonly misused homophones:

  • “your” and “you’re”
  • “its” and “it’s”
  • “their”, “there”, and “they’re”
  • “to” and “too”
  • “affect” and “effect”

The reason to use “your” over “you’re”, “its” over “it’s”, and “their” over “they’re” is the same for each case. “Your”, “its”, and “their” are all possessive adjectives. To use these in a sentence, “Your foot reached its limit after you walked to their house.” On the flip side, think about “you’re”, “it’s”, and “they’re”. They all have apostrophes, which shorten a duo of words into one word. Without the apostrophes, the words are “you are”, “it is”, and “they are”. Think about what the contracted words mean, and voilà! their meanings are pretty much self-explanatory. The outlier, “there”, is mainly used in three contexts: as a shorthand interjection equivalent to “There we go”, as a pointer to a place, or in the phrase “there is” / “there are”.

“To” and “too” are really only confused by people who are too impetuous to hit “o” twice in a context that is more appropriate for “too”. For the record, “to” can be used as a preposition or in an infinitive, while “too” can be used to mean “also” or as an adverb. To use these in a sentence, “I don’t want to take too much to the party, and you too should lighten your load.” Yes, there is another homophone, “two”, but that one is not as misused because it is a number that can be simply written “2”. (It is also used in informal context to abbreviate any one of the other two homophones.)

The last duo, “affect” and “effect”, mostly refers to using “effect” in a context where “affect” is more appropriate (because “effect” is the more well-known of the two words). Similarly to “to” and “too”, the difference between “affect” and “effect” is their roles in context—”affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun. Think about this: the result of affecting is an effect; this can be a helpful mnemonic because “affect” comes before “effect” in the alphabet and in that context.

 

I realize that these are all usage-related errors, but those are the most distinguishable errors to me. Also, these are only three of the grammar errors that stick out to me. A few others include using “there is” with a plural noun (like the Silversun Pickups’ title “There’s No Secrets This Year”), using “ironic” in the wrong context (it means unexpected, not coincidental), “good” vs. “well”, saying “I could care less” to express a lack of concern, and using a comma when a semicolon should be used (i.e. before the beginning of a new sentence; for instance, “I just got back from the store, here is some chocolate” is grammatically incorrect). Heck, there may even be others I have not mentioned.

More About Me (who I am and what I am doing)

Who I am

I am a 20-year-old (as of 9/13/2014) Canadian-American boy (English Canadian, by the way) who harbors an interest in technology—frequenter of the Internet and consumer of electronic entertainment. I am mainly known as Vouivre Critique, and I am a resident of a number of social or semi-social websites.

Behind the name Vouivre Critique

From my MyAnimeList profile: “It all started when I bought Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock for the Wii. The game allows you to give yourself a name of up to 16 characters. I started out as Hidden Insanity, but I changed my name to Echec Critique (French for ‘critical failure’) a month or two after. A year or so after that, I got to know a Guitar Hero Wii group started on Facebook called Team Wyvern. Since I was a part of it, I decided to rename myself Vouivre Critique (French for ‘critical wyvern’) to commemorate my inauguration. I also changed my icon to the one I’m using right now (took me a while to figure out what to use as an icon, to be honest).”

Okay, I’ll be honest: the reason why I know the word “vouivre” in the first place is thanks to the French translation of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (which, truth be told, constitutes at least 15% of the French I know). Through my experience on Twitch, very few people know how to correctly pronounce “vouivre”, so most of them just call me Critique. If it helps, think of the first four letters as “oui” with a “v”.

As for my other usernames, my Smogon username comes from the French name of Galvantula (as I once stated in Top Three Thursday 8/7), my MyAnimeList username comes from a random fusion of Vouivre, Echec, and the memetic character Weegee, and my Steam username comes from the character You Kasukabe from my all-time favorite anime.

What I am doing here

I found out about this website through my brother. He and I thought at first that we had to resort to wordpress.org, the more professional counterpart, but then I found wordpress.com, the more accessible one, by hazard and started sandboxing with it. It is a nifty website, I must say—a nice place to deposit the thoughts that linger in my mind. Some time near the beginning of June, I decided to start up this blog, Vouiv-review, where I can share my thoughts to the public about stuff I like without having to be too shy about it. You could say it has become my comfort zone of social media. While I am sometimes pressured to be more conscious about what I post now that this blog has followers (which I did not expect at any time between then and my debut), I will try to keep it together and just write whatever comes to mind.

Nowi Wins Thanks for reading!

Poké Monday 9/8: Makuhita

RNG 

Smogon official tier: LC
Type: Fighting
Base Stats: 72 HP, 60 Attack, 30 Defense, 20 Sp. Attack, 30 Sp. Defense, 25 Speed
Abilities: Thick Fat, Guts, Sheer Force (HA)

“Usable” Moves (according to Pokémon Showdown): Belly Drum, Body Slam, Brick Break, Bulk Up, Bullet PunchClose Combat, Counter, Cross Chop, Detect, Double-Edge, Earthquake, Façade, Fake Out, Fire Punch, Focus Punch, Frustration, Heavy Slam, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Ice Punch, Knock Off, Low Kick, Mega Kick, Poison Jab, Protect, Rain Dance, Refresh, Rest, Return, Reversal, Rock Slide, Seismic Toss, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Sunny Day, Superpower, Surf, Thunder Punch, Toxic, Vacuum Wave, Whirlwind, Work Up

By LC standards, Makuhita has poor stats. In fact, it has the 13th lowest Base Stat Total (at a lousy 237) in the tier. (Bunnelby does too, but having Huge Power makes it actually viable.) Its decent HP is hindered by its low defenses, and its decent Attack is hindered by its sluggish Speed. The only things that make it shine are Thick Fat and Fake Out. Thick Fat makes it the only Fighting-type in the tier to resist Fire and Ice (although those types are not all that common), while Fake Out gives it a nice form of priority to pick off a weakened sweeper or to open an opportunity for Flame Orb to activate. On with the sets:

Makuhita @ Eviolite
Ability: Thick Fat
Level: 5
EVs: 116 Atk / 196 Def / 196 SpD
Impish Nature
– Fake Out
– Close Combat
– Bullet Punch
– Knock Off

The main thing I had in mind with this set was to combat Pawniard, whom I saw everywhere and who poses a threat to most of the teams I have made. Fake Out may seem weird on this set, but priority is important. (Plus, Makuhita is one of the only 18 Pokémon with access to the move, so why not use the move?) Close Combat is its hardest hitting move. Yeah, it seems counter-intuitive on a bulky set due to the defense drops, but I just didn’t want to miss Cross Chop, heh. Bullet Punch gives it another form of priority and the ability to hit fairies super-effectively. Knock Off is pretty much a 100% recommended-on-every-physical-set move in 6th gen, and it gives Makuhita some nice coverage with its other two moves and is especially useful in LC, where Eviolite and Berry Juice make the tier as bulky as it’s ever been.

Next set:
Makuhita @ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
Level: 5
EVs: 196 Atk / 116 Def / 196 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Close Combat
– Bullet Punch
– Knock Off

While this set has the same moves as the previous, its item, ability, EVs, and nature are different. Why? Flame Orb allows its Attack to climb up to higher levels thanks to Guts, and Fake Out is the best way to get the free Flame Orb activation. Speaking of Fake Out, it is the only reason why this set isn’t completely outclassed by Machop (which also has Guts, higher stats, and the same other three moves). The set as a whole serves two main purposes: 1) wallbreaking and 2) abusing Guts+priority. It can outspeed and guaranteed OHKO Munchlax and Ferroseed (not even 244/188+ with Eviolite is safe!) and, with the proper prediction, it can destroy a Ghost (Gastly, for instance) with Knock Off, even without Guts.

Other options: Cross Chop, as mentioned earlier, is less counter-intuitive on bulky sets but has less power and that icky chance to miss. Brick Break is an alternative that doesn’t miss but has even less power. A set with Bulk Up, Rest, and Sleep Talk could come in handy if all Ghost-types are gone. Other than that, Makuhita has no real “other options.”

This time around, I will include two teams. One uses tank Makuhita and the other uses offensive Makuhita.
Tank: http://pastebin.com/T7ArHCJi
Offensive: http://pastebin.com/xEeG87Pn

Top Three Thursday 9/4: Twitch Streamers

I have to say, twitch.tv is a magnificent website. Day by day, I find one reason or another to click the bookmark, find my favorite streamer among those whom I follow, and enjoy. Speaking of favorites, for this Top Three Thursday, I will talk about…well, my top three. Note that they are mostly speedrunners.

3. DarkSpinesSonic

Pretty much the go-to Sonic speedrunner. Sonic Lost World, Sonic Heroes (notably Team Rose), Sonic Colors, Sonic Riders, and even the infamous Sonic ’06 are among the games he runs. He’s a chill streamer who is sometimes entertaining and sometimes informative (and finds cool glitches, like this one for instance). Notable subscriber emotes include dssSanic , dssClap , and dssPalc 

2. 360chrism

A Germany-based speedrunner, most notable for his skill at 3D Mario games. He is, to date, the only streamer crazy enough to run Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 (in that order) all 100% and in one sitting…three times. His best time in this category (known as 602, the total number of stars/shines collected) is just below 24 hours. Additionally, he is the world record holder for Galaxy 2 100% and speedruns Super Mario 64 ROM hacks from time to time, notably Star Road. Notable subscriber emotes include chrisFrankersaur , chrisHi , and chrisRIP 

1. Cirno_TV

Canadian semi-speedrunner who assumes the identity of a Touhou character. As far as speedrunning, he tends to run Steam games like Half-Life, Mirror’s Edge, Super Meat Boy, and both Portal games. He’s not all about speedrunning, though; he sometimes plays games for fun (and has a special day of the week, Fungame Friday, dedicated to the practice). What I enjoy best at Cirno’s stream, though, is the chat and its tendency to get lewd, as well as the subscriber emotes. Notable subscriber emotes include cirFairy , cirLewd , and cirPrise