Fantasy Baseball Update Week 20

On the second to last match up, the Makers managed to lose again by a 100 points. It’s been interesting to see the discrepancy between my team and my opponent’s. The stat line between the two is virtually identical, except for the pitching. He’s loaded up on Closers, and scratched seven saves, including 2 wins.  My guys managed 0 wins and 4 losses, along with a blown save. So while his pitching staff put up 175 points, mine managed 35.

That’ll do it every time.

A brief note, that entertaining scruffle between the Tigers and the Yankees cost me my first round pick (suspension, appealed I’m assuming) and my hottest hitter so far in Gary Sanchez. Not that it makes a difference at this point. Andrew Miller is also on the DL again, and it looks like Johnny Cueto might be riding pine until the playoffs. So it goes in fantasy baseball, I guess.

Next up, we face each other again in the final game of the regular season. And by the way, with this loss I have not once had a winning streak this season. That has to be some sort of record? I may not blog the playoffs. If I don’t, I’ll post the final write up at some point after their conclusion (early October). Thanks for reading.

Read From Memory: FFVII pt. 34

Last time in FFVII, Ultimate WEAPON attacked and the Life Stream bubbled up to surface. Cloud and Tifa fell into Gaea’s juice, and now for more revelatory scenes.

Cloud’s Psyche

We’re in control of Tifa again, and there’s a floating platform we’re standing on. There’s a ghostly Cloud hanging above us, on his knees and grasping his head. Punished Cloud. There are three paths: west, north, and south east, each with a Cloud figure standing there. They look like portals to some event in his life.

I suppose we have to try to integrate Cloud’s personality, or repair his psyche, or something. I head to the Cloud standing on the north path first.

The Nibelheim Incident

So if you’ve been following along the Read From Memory series, Cloud’s identity is up in the air. (Get it?) He can’t remember certain parts of his life, or his memories don’t jive with the memories of others. Sephiroth continually referred to him as a puppet. He’s certainly acted the part: at the Temple of the Ancients he gave the Black Materia to the villain and beat up Aeris. Again in the Forgotten Capital, he tried to attack Aeris. And finally in the Crater, he gave the Black Materia to Sephiroth, and started this whole ordeal.

What’s his deal, really? At this point we’re led to believe that he’s some sort of clone, pieced together by Hojo. False memories provided to him by JENOVA. But is he?

Tifa is the key here. She does remember Cloud from childhood, and that contradicts Sephiroth’s narrative. His presence during the Nibelheim incident is the first and most obvious clash between Cloud’s version of reality and hers. We know now that the SOLDIER that accompanied Sephiroth was Zack. Aeris’ now dead boyfriend. But how could Cloud have known the details if he wasn’t there?

Actually, he was there, as one of the masked Shinra-men. He was knocked out while Nibelheim burned, and arrived at the reactor just as Sephiroth defeated Zack. He took up Zack’s buster sword and stabbed Sephiroth in the JENOVA chamber. Cloud subsequently rescued Tifa and on Zack’s last orders before dying, stopped Sephiroth from leaving the reactor by tossing him into the Lifestream.

Sad childhoods

So that explains the Nibelheim incident. Heading to the west path, we get a replay of the night that Cloud and Tifa met at the well. Here, Cloud explains his beta male attitude to her, hinting that he wanted to “get noticed” by anyone. Leaving town to join SOLDIER was his way to do it.

At this point (or maybe before it?) the kid Cloud appears. He showed up previously when Cloud acted crazy, but until now we didn’t get his significance. On the south east path, Cloud walks us over to Tifa’s house. Specifically, her bedroom window.

Inside, Tifa is sitting next to her bed with a few of her stooges. Kid Cloud is seen running to the house to join them. One of the boys asks is they should let him in, but Tifa is depressed. She doesn’t care one way or the other. Apparently her mother is dying, and she just wants to see her one last time.

Skip ahead to the group on Mount Nibel. Tifa and Cloud fall down a ravine, leaving her in a coma. Her father is irate. He berates Cloud for taking her on a dangerous trip, and the young protagonist can do nothing but sit there and take it.

Now we know Cloud’s hang ups, and why he wanted to do better for Tifa.

Cloud Returns

I might have written this sequence out of sequence. After this, we get the truth of what happened at the Nibelheim reactor. Tifa asks Cloud why he didn’t reveal himself when he came to Nibelheim originally. He confesses that he actually never made it into SOLDIER, and he was ashamed. He was injected with JENOVA cells which apparently all candidates undergo, but he was too physically weak to withstand the transformation.

So there we have it. Cloud is no clone of Sephiroth. He’s just a timid try-hard with a severe case of imposter syndrome. Sephiroth was able to manipulate him thanks to the Jenova cells but also his own weakness of character. He was living a lie this whole time.

But that stops now. He says. He’s just going to be himself and stop Sephiroth.

Back aboard the Highwind, he’s in the operations room with the rest of the crew. I assume he’s been telling this story to all of them. Barret asks him what he plans to do about it, now that he’s stopped living the lie. Here’s a heartwarming screenshot of the response:

Cloud, Tifa, and Barret recite his earlier exhortion
Barret’s Wisdom

Cait Sith tells us about the underwater reactor in Junon, which has another huge materia in it. But before we go and do that, I have some side quest business I want to take care of. In the next post, we’ll talk about Chocobos and ultimates. Thanks for reading.

Fantasy Baseball Update: Week 19

The Makers won this past week, 394 to 310, and “improved” to 7-12 on the season. The hapless former league champion suffered their fifth straight loss. As bad as my season has been, and in particular that really bad June, I feel bad for him. The way the playoff brackets are projecting right now, we’ll face each other again in the Consolation Round.

Gary Sanchez was the best offensive player, putting up 44 points. Jose Quintana took home the honor of best pitcher, with 41 points contributed. No significant injuries to report: not that it matters at this point.

Next up, I face the last place team twice in a row. They’re coming of a loss so out of sheer bias I’m just going to predict I’m going to take it, with 350 points. This has been a brutal season for almost everybody. As for me, I’m happy to have improved two games over last year’s brutal record. The Makers have actually crept up back into 10th place overall. The top teams have tallied about 7500 points, while I’m at 6300. My guesstimate of 10K points to win the title is holding firm.

Batman NES – Longplay

Batman for the NES (1990) as played by NintendoComplete. This is a 26 minute long run through, and rather impressive considering no deaths:

I rented Batman NES once, died a whole bunch of times, and never looked back. While we malign most movie-to-game conversions (and rightfully so) Batman avoided the steaming garbage reputation. The interesting thing that besides a few pixelized movie stills and character models, this game has little in common with the 1989 Tim Burton flick. That’s probably a good thing.

NintendoComplete also posted a lengthy and detailed review of the game, if you want to know more about it. I recommend it.

Game books: HTWAMTDS, AA, & OFAMAWWLFT

Yesterday I finally got in my hard copies of How To Write Adventure Modules that Don’t Suck, the Adventurer’s Alamanc, and Our Favorite Adventure Modules and What We Learned From Them. Phew, I’m gonna have to use acronyms for all of those in the future. Anyhow, these are beautiful books. I started peeking at HTWAMTDS, and will have a full overview of it later on in the month. Thanks to Goodman Games for the delivery.