Welcome to ShawnSchaller.com!

I'm very behind-the-times. I hate online multiplayer games and buying digital media, and love well-done 2D entertainment and trading cards that aren't shiny, so naturally I have a blog. It's a creative outlet, an unprofessional portfolio, and even a of journal of my family's adventures (my wife and I otherwise neglect photos and commemorative opportunities), so it's pretty eclectic. In short, this blog is my excuse to do anything fun under the pretense of "blogging about it later." I recommend the stuff journal comprised of my thoughts on tangible things pertaining to my many hobbies, the personal section chronicling my many disconnected adventures and opinions, or exploring the other pages on this site. Thank you for visiting!

Avatar: The Last Podcasters, Episodes 7 & 8 "Winter Solstice"

Avatar: The Last Podcasters, Episodes 7 & 8 "Winter Solstice" (Book One: Water) is here! We talk about The Dragon Prince, Dragon Quest, Football, Game of Thrones and more! With a little Avatar: The Last Airbender sprinkled in there, too.


Topps 1956 Hank Aaron #31

In an effort to take my mind off my excitement for Dragon Quest XI (it's all I can think about), I spent lunch hour today pondering some of my favorite non-video game memories. One of my favorites (and one I can reminisce about quickly) is from the summer of 2013 when I bought my Topps 1956 Hank Aaron (#31).

Ultimate NES Remix & Level 7 Games

Image result for nes remix 3dsAny time my wife or I travel anywhere, I make it a point to beg and plead to hit up a local video game store (something other than GameStop). I love visiting new stores, and buying something to reminisce about later. Last week she went to Denver without me, but loves me enough that she visited Level 7 Games, snapped a few pictures, and came back with the Ultimate NES Remix for the Nintendo 3DS.

Wizards & Warriors, Iron Sword, The SNES Drunk, and Vomitron

Some of my earliest video game memories are from Wizards & Warriors on the NES, one of the earliest games Rare developed for Nintendo. The whole trilogy is solid if not great, each in its own way. The original is big, spooky, unique and advanced for its time. The sequel, Iron Sword, was bigger, moderately refined (if less original) and features unexcited, shirtless, sword-wielding Fabio for cover art. The threequel, Kuros: Visions of Power, has the most flaws, but also tried hard to be different, open and exploration-heavy. And the Game Boy release, Wizards & Warriors X: The Fortress of Fear, is also a game, but one that I neither own nor enjoy, so let's not talk about it.

Dragon Quest XI Review (Part 1: First Impressions)

Read my review!
I've played enough of Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (PC) to offer a few initial thoughts. I'll try to strike a balance between my own preferences and a more worldly critique. Quick summaries are just below, followed by a little more detail on the following:


Summary
Dragon Quest XI is a stellar entry into and evolution of the main series, and a pretty good game overall. It does everything series fans want, and attempts to add mass appeal. The result is a very full, refined JRPG in a casual, accessible package. It's probably not enough to grow the franchise's western audience, but loyal fans will love it and hopefully newcomers with appropriate expectations will be pleasantly surprised.

My take is that it's already my favorite entry in my favorite franchise. I have some minor grievances; casual difficulty and whimsical style (common series complaints) aren't among them. Games don't have to be realistic or hard to be immersive and fun. It almost feels like a rich, light-hearted simulator of an massive modern RPG.

Doing Things Differently for Dragon Quest XI (PC)

DQ XI LogoI bought Dragon Quest XI today. That's exciting enough all on its own, but it's particularly memorable because the way I did it was so far outside my norm. I bought it:
  • New (I can count the number of brand new games I've bought in my whole life);
  • Via pre-order (calculate above and divide by 10);
  • On PC (ditto); and
  • Digitally (very taboo in my house).
It's not going to fit in with the piles of cheap retro mediocrity occupying my shelves. (It breaks my heart that there's nothing to sit there at all.) But I don't have a PS4, and the Switch release is in flux, so I had no other choice to access the latest entry in my favorite video game series of all time.