Bombing Mission (Not That One) – Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster #15

The team aids the people of Galuf’s World with a deadly assault on Exdeath’s defenses, and not everyone is coming home…

Watch LIVE ►
Full VODs & LPs ►
Follow for Updates ►
Lopporit vTuber by ►

Tonight on the Horror Block – Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster #14

After meeting a group some defensive but perfectly polite werewolves, we head to Drakenvale and find zombie dragons.

Watch LIVE ►
Full VODs & LPs ►
Follow for Updates ►
Lopporit vTuber by ►

Looking Back at 15 Years of Odd

Warning: This post brings up the subjects of depression, anxiety, mental illness and death. They are not the central focus of the post, but reader discretion is advised.

This fall will mark the 15th anniversary of this blog. That’s right. I’ve been writing on this thing in one form or another for FIFTEEN years. Can you even imagine? When I started writing this blog, I was a college student trying to expand his online presence with something that he loved. YouTube was barely a thing. The Hat – my own iconic hat – was not a thing I even owned yet. My name? It wasn’t even Vrykerion. When I started writing my name was “K-OSS the Harlequin” (Pronounced ‘Chaos’), an edgelord moniker that I had clung to since middle school. Vrykerion wouldn’t become the name I would use until well after I first came up the name for a Death Knight in World of Warcraft’s ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ moniker. It was a different time, and yet – a not so different one.

The Beginning

When I started this blog, it was dedicated to World of Warcraft. Something college-aged Vry had a lot of time to play, a lot of passion for, and not a lot of people to share it with. My friends pretty much all fell in to the camp of “money is too tight to pay for a subscription to a video game” and yeah, I don’t blame them. I was fortunate that I had enough disposable income from my work study job that I could do things like play WoW. But the lack of outlet left me with a question of what to do with all my excess excitement about the game? Well, how about a blog? They were easy enough to set up. For the most part, you only needed words. As a student of “Creative Writing” I had that in abundance.

But what to write about? I originally had figured that no one would want to read a personal blog. “I had fun doing this”, “Here’s my opinion on the new event”, etc. But I wasn’t really good at theorycraft or keeping up with the news cycle. That’s when I stumbled upon something that I hadn’t seen anyone else do – a niche that I could fill and call my own: a humorous look at all the random and weird things in World of Warcraft.

It’s even more unusual now in a world that’s become saturated with MMO’s, but the developers at Blizzard love to fill their world with easter eggs, references, and sometimes just random bits and pieces that serve no real purpose but to take up space in the massive world. Be it a bunch of NPCs throwing a barbecue in an area that you can only reach with flight, to a massive rabbit skull half sunk into a lake bed. I dubbed these “Oddities” and decided to mix in my own wit and humor to catalogue them. Thus ODDCRAFT was born. My own slice of the internet.

During that time I had a blast. I got to be part of the community. I would get on Twitter and have dozens of people who actually knew who I was and loved chatting with me and joking about the game. Some of them I’m still in contact with, and it is always nice to see them pop up in my feed. I created some works like the Warchief Election (that coincidentally had Sylvanas running for Warchief WAY before Legion debuted) or the Stormwind Tour that I can still go back and laugh at.

Which is important I think. The ability to go back and enjoy one’s own work, even years later. They say if you wince at your old work, it means you’ve improved. Maybe that means I haven’t but I think being able to laugh at your own dumb jokes after 10 years means you may have gotten something right as well. I got to incorporate my other big passion – video – as time went on, including making the only video left online right now that you can see my big goofy face that I made for my 100th oddity post.

Apparently, that video also made its rounds on Reddit as a peak example of “cringe.” A fairly new vocabulary word for me at the time, but one I’ve become fairly familiar with as the years have gone on. Is it cringe? Yeah, probably. But it was also meant to celebrate a milestone in my blogging career at the time. I figure I’m allowed to be bit cringe after 100 posts of content. Oh, and yes the joke there is I’m implying it’s Godzilla off the coast of Northrend. People have corrected me with the actual name of the ‘bigger than the biggest dragon’ but I don’t think that was canon at the time Wrath came out?

Ultimately however was my little corner – my niche – may have been a bit too niche. See, the only time the blog ever got any decent traffic was when I would post something USEFUL. A guide or walkthrough or instructions on how to get an achievement. Those would actually get visits to the site. My usual content? Much less so. I still got some regular readers though, and they would chime in with a comment here or there. My own history of depression and anxiety would creep in and whisper things like ‘this niche was vacant for a reason’.

However, The real biggest regret I probably have from that era was not putting my face out front when one of the things I was instrumental in creating became a internet wide phenomenon for a short time. The WoW Ironman Challenge.

It was six months before the official World of Warcraft blog posted about the challenge. We had made the rules they used TO THE LETTER except we didn’t include “No deaths” because the goal was to see how HARD it got without anything more than the most bare bones equipment and skills. We assumed you would die. A LOT. But when this whole thing blew up and neither my name nor Psynister’s appeared anywhere in attachment to it – I won’t lie to you, friend – there was resentment and hurt.

I finally made an impact on the community, just like all the other bloggers I looked up to, and my name was just left off of it. It was a “community challenge” started by a forum on the EU servers. Pay no mind that they didn’t start there site until months after we created the challenge, or that other than no deaths rule their official rules were verbatim with the ones I had posted on OddCraft.

I was so angry.

I still feeling hurt when I see the subject pop up.

Maybe that was part of the reason I moved away from Warcraft and started looking at other content to write about.

Just Odd

I knew I couldn’t keep the name “OddCraft” when writing about non-Warcraft things. I tried a myriad of names until I found one that just fit: “The Land of Odd”. I started writing about movies, anime, comic books, other games – anything that I found interesting. It pretty much all fell on deaf ears. Those cold whispers of doubt, depression and anxiety began to creep back in and turn every post into a life or death struggle for the soul of the blog and not just… another post. Coupled by the fact that I was working a downright abusive job that illegally paid me as a 1099 to cut costs and had me run their entire online half of the business for them for minimum wage, I ended up investing way too much of my self worth into this site in hopes that it was a way out – even for the moment.

It was a mistake. One I’m still paying for today. But we’ll get there.

Things finally turned around when I started writing about Star Wars: The Old Republic. I noticed many people on the official forums asking if there was any place they could find out about the various classes’ storylines before investing the time it would take to level them to max level. Again, here I thought that was a niche I could fill. One that actually had demand this time. I would write ‘reviews’ of my experiences playing through the story. After all, I really liked how every class in SWTOR got its own storyline to experience, and I could definitely write about things I enjoy to no end. In the end I wrote a NOVEL’S word count on just the class storylines in the vanilla game.

I also ended up doing “spoiler free summaries” which some people complained read like cheesy trailers or promos, but that’s kinda what a spoiler free summary would look like. Any more detail, and it wouldn’t be spoiler free. It was stuff like those complaints that really helped me toughen my skin and learn to ignore the negative feedback from random people online. After all, if the numbers were any indication, a LOT of people found them more helpful than not. I think my links still get passed around on the official forums and the subredit to this day.

As I moved on to Final Fantasy XIV, the Heavensward expansion had not yet been released. It was set to come out that summer. Again, I found opportunity in those who decided to skip the story of A Realm Reborn – because it is very, very long – and get into Heavensward, which was much more critically acclaimed. I realized that I could fill that gap. After all, I don’t skip cutscenes. Ever. I am a lore junkie. The kind of guy who keeps track of ever reoccurring NPCs.

After I began the Story Summaries for FFXIV, I once thought to construct a wiki to act as a concordance for all the NPCs and where they pop up throughout the various storylines. Luckily, I realized that task would be too much for one man alone and would likely be the death of me if I tried.

But people loved the story summaries. Each day, this blog gets more hits than people I have met in my life solely off of those handful of pages (granted, those web ‘pages’ total up to several dozen pages of written text).

Again, it helped me feel proud of what I created. People found something I made useful. But there’s that word again – useful. Not entertaining, not exciting, not ‘worth looking forward to the next installment’ but useful. At this point, I should maybe have just taken the win, but I did say I had invested a lot of my self-worth into this site, didn’t I? And it ate at me that while people found my content useful, no one knew who wrote it. It’s not like anyone has ever seen my character in game – all named Vrykerion – and recognized it from the blog or anything.

Those icy claws dug in once more and pushed me to demand more of myself. To do more to make myself known. After all, what was the point of all of this if I remained anonymous, even if my content was enjoyed?

Pride. It’s a deadly sin for a reason.

In 2021, as I wrapped up the actually anticipated Shadowbringers storyline summary, I rebranded the site and the blog once more: VRYKERION.COM. I was streaming now, posting content on YouTube, creating my own thumbnails and editing my own videos. I had successfully expanded the blog into incorporating every talent and hobby I had, and figured that it was time to turn my name into a unified brand that all my content could sit under. This was my moment. Vrykerion was ready to take center stage.

To an empty theater.

The streams average one or two viewers. The Youtube videos garnish a handful of views. And I sat here trying to figure out how to make it all work. What else could I do? How do I do self promotion in this day and age. The net is so very different then when I started out, I found myself lost.

It’s been 15 years. I was in college when I began. Now? I’m nearly forty.

Top it off with dealing with the death of my grandfather and the very unexpected passing of my father after that. In the middle of a global pandemic that left us all separated and more. The voices calling me a failure, that I had run out of time, that it was all over – they pushed me down, piled brick after brick and sealing me away without even a cask of red cream soda to keep me satisfied.

I was born bipolar. An unusual case, yes. Most people develop the illness in their late teens or early 20s but I have dealt with that mental illness since I was a child. These past few years have been the hardest I’ve ever had. The number of times I’ve wanted to shutter this site, delete all the story summaries, and just walk away from the longest surviving project I’ve ever worked on… well, that number is higher than I would like.

But you know what? I didn’t. I did not. I’m still here. I’m still streaming EVERY WEEK. I’m editing videos for release EVERY WEEK. I’m writing posts, and scripts, and story summaries.

I will not let doubt control me. I will not let anxiety or depression dictate the direction I choose. I sat down with myself and needed to decide that I make content for ME. And if anyone else out there wants to join in, go for it.

That’s when I remember a little voice in the back of my mind saying, “There’s an audience out there for everything. Just create and they’ll find you eventually.”

That was me. In college. Back when I started this blog. Fifteen years ago.

This whole thing got me so twisted up, I had lost sight of why I did it. Because I had fun with it, and hoped others would find it fun as well.

What Now?

Well, after 15 years, I’m back to just doing what I think is fun. Even if I’m doing it for an empty theater. Because some day, someone might walk in to that theater and like what they see. That won’t happen if the stage is empty too.

So yeah, I’m using a vTuber avatar of a little rabbit wearing my iconic hat. I gave them a little story about a sentient hat who wants to show the bunny all the great games of the world, and the curious silly bunny who wants to play them. I do little skits of them on Twitter. I do bits with them on stream. It matches my personality and keeps that grotesque mug that you saw in the earlier video off of the camera.

You also might be struggling out there. You might also feel that no one cares about your content or cares about you. Just remember, you are putting something out into the world. You are making it a little bit more colorful and interesting. And you never know when something is going to catch someone’s eye. There’s 8 billion people on this rock, that’s 16 billion eyes that might see that color. No one’s gonna see it at all if you don’t make it first though.

So yeah, I keep hoping to see more people in my streams, or watching my videos. I haven’t given up that they might find an audience.

But I also know it’s important for me to have fun too.

So that’s what I’m gonna do.

A Whole New World – Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster #13

Welcome to Galuf’s World. No Party Time. NOT Excellent.

Watch LIVE ►
Full VODs & LPs ►
Follow for Updates ►
Lopporit vTuber by ►

Space Rocks & Roll – Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster #12

We consult our resident Scien-gineers, Cid & Mid, on how to get to Space ™ this week on Final Fantasy V.

Watch LIVE ►
Full VODs & LPs ►
Follow for Updates ►
Lopporit vTuber by ►

Another Look at: Forspoken

This post was originally a script for a first attempt at a short video essay that would potentially be the start of a series. However, due to vacation followed by over a week of sickness that completely has destroyed my voice for the time being and thus has kept me from both recording this AND streaming, I have decided to release it as a text post. So you let me know! Would you like to see these as a video series? Keep it as a text post thing? I still have a good sized list of other movies, games, and what not that would fit the “Another Look At” format. Let me know!

You know, for a long time I’ve wanted to do a series on shows, games, movies – what have you – that I really, really enjoy but seem to have the minority opinion on.  You know.  Those things that it seems like everybody but you hate and think is awful?  Call them hot takes or guilty pleasures, but I wanted to take another look at stuff like that and share my honest thoughts on why _I_ like them despite all the hate.

So with that in mind, I wanted to talk about the most recent addition to that list, and take another look at a little recent game called ‘Forspoken’.


Forspoken is a 2023 release developed by Luminous Productions and published by Square Enix.  I feel the need to separate those two despite Luminous Productions technically being an in-house team at Square Enix for reasons we will get into in a minute. The game is an open-world action rpg set in the world of Athia, where the four ruling witches – or Tantas as they are called in-game – have gone completely insane, twisted their virtues into vices and unleashed a horrible miasma on their kingdoms dubbed ‘The Break’…  because it “breaks” things.  Not the most original name, but hey a lot of the locals in Athia just call it “The Corruption” and between the two, the Break sounds a lot more creative comparatively.

Into this ruined world falls Frey, a 21 year old squatter from New York city who is on the last fine strands of patience the legal system has.  She’s scrappy, resourceful, has a good sense of right and wrong – and tends to choose ‘wrong’ out of the necessity to survive.  She’s also an orphan who was found as a baby in a tunnel with no idea who her parents were.  Some of the trope-savvy out there are probably already putting something together from all of this.  Frey finds herself drawn to a magical bracelet in an abandoned shop, and upon touching it is whisked away to Athia.  Against her will.  With no knowledge of why she got brought there, how she got there, or how to get back.  Her only companion in Athia at first is the bracelet who turns out can talk and who she names Cuff much to its displeasure.  From there, Frey begins a quest to…  well honestly, get home.  I mean, home sucks but IS home and there aren’t zombies and dragons in New York… yet?

This sets the general tone for the game.  Frey is a young, snarky, New Yorker in a situation and world that she doesn’t understand, wants to leave asap, and the populace is firmly divided between thinking she alone is their savior or wanting her head put on a pike.  As Frey gets further and further elevated into a very unwanted hero position by the surviving citizens, the greater the conflict grows between Frey’s goals and the people’s wants.  This – more than the insane Tantas – forms the conflict of the story.

You’ve probably seen the memes and responses to the game that Frey isn’t a likable protagonist and she’s got too much “cringey” snippy dialogue.  And even I will admit that there is truth to those claims.  I honestly think people are overselling how much is in the game, but I won’t deny it’s there.  But as the game progresses I think it becomes very clear that this is intentional. It’s Frey’s story arc as she starts thinking about the needs of others over her own desire to get home.  She realizes that she’s been a horrible person to those around her and lashing out at them because of her situation which isn’t their fault either.  She stops quipping as much, because she starts to earnestly want to connect and help people instead of just “dealing with them”.  You can actually see this early on in the game, when Frey is down-to-earth, kind, and gentle with those she takes a liking to, but is snarky and quippy with those she doesn’t trust or feels are just using her.  It’s not Whedon-esque quips for the sake of being punchy, it’s legitimately character development on the part of Frey, which is something of a shorthand to where her loyalties lie through the story.

Speaking of, there’s the other half of this dynamic duo – Cuff.  Cuff is difficult to talk about without venturing into spoiler territory for a plot point that actually caught me off guard to the point that I don’t really want to go into it here.  Like it’s a legitimately solid twist, as opposed to the far more obvious twist that I was able to predict before we even got to Athia.  Cuff is the demeaning, deadpan observer to Frey’s journey.  Serving for the most part as Frey’s conscience and guide to Athia.  Cuff is not native to Athia, but has been there before so he knows SOME of the information to help Frey.  Honestly, most of the ‘annoying quips’ in my opinion don’t come from the wise-cracking New Yorker but the deadpan snarker bracelet, but what can you do when you are a powerful and sentient force that exists as a bracelet because of a bunch of crazy witches?

Oh, excuse me. Tantas.  The “antagonists” of the story are really more of a combined lore dump/force of nature.  Each are ‘interesting’ characters in the sense of how their madness manifests – the defender soldier turned tyrants, the arbiter of justice turned into a paranoid hypocritical judge, jury and executioner – with separate personalities for each – and the wise teacher who chooses to hide herself and her world in illusions to escape.  But ultimately, the story is not about the Tantas… who are not witches, despite having cat familiars and magic – they are instead the forces that drive Frey’s back and forth growth into a hero.

So with all that said, how was the story?  Pretty good.  Not great.  Not gonna win any awards, but it was a solid origin-style story of Alice accepting that Wonderland was her home all along.  It plays up the melodrama pretty heavily at points which I didn’t find extremely unexpected with the high tensions of the literal end of the world happening.  The drama can probably feel a bit much if you are jetting through the main story instead of stopping to explore the outside world and do the side-objectives.  It does deal a lot of back to back blows in that scenario and could wear you out.  But to those who find Frey annoying or unlikable, yeah. She kind of is at the beginning.  But only to emphasize how much she grows out of it by the end.  It’s like Mark Hamill in Star Wars.  He intentionally played Luke whiny at the start of A New Hope, so that you can more clearly see where he matures to by the end.  Or should I compare it to something Japanese, like Rise of the Shield Hero.  The game is pretty much an isekai down to the formula of the story.  Which is surprising from a team of American writers.

Oh, did you not know that?  Yeah, Forspoken is developed by a Japanese studio but the writing team they hired to craft the story of a new yorker getting isekai’d to a fantasy world?  All Americans.  Two of which – Todd Stashwick and Amy Henning – were writing that open-world Star Wars game for Visceral before EA canned the whole thing and dissolved the studio. Amy Henning in particular has a long established history in game writing and worked with Naughty Dog on both Jak & Daxter and Uncharted. The concept and lore was developed by Gary Whitta, who wrote the Book of Eli and was one of the early co-writers on Rogue One before departing ways with the project. With the fourth and final writer being Allison Rymer, who was the writer on Shadowhunters, the tv show adapted from The Mortal Instruments book series by Cassandra Clare.  And I can tell you that if you were to combine the minds that created Jak & Daxter, the Book of Eli, and adapted the Mortal Instruments into a blender…  You’d be well prepared for the tone of Forspoken. I mean, a Young Adult novel protagonist wise cracking with a snarky sidekick adventuring in a vast depressing post-apocalyptic open-world landscape?  Yeah, that all matches. 

But yeah, for a first time new studio, it’s a pretty basic story that holds together enough to show their real strength: the familiarity with their toolset.


“Did Vry say a first time studio? I thought this was Square Enix! Makers of the renowned Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises!”

Well, yes. That’s why I made sure to emphasize that Square Enix was the PUBLISHER, and that their internal team dubbed Luminous Productions was the developer. See Luminous Productions used to be called Business Division 2, and was the team responsible for Final Fantasy 15.

“See? Final Fantasy 15! Not a first time studio!”

Excuse me, hold on a moment.  Business Division 2 became Luminous Productions when Hajime Tabata, director of Final Fantasy XV, left and a bunch of other people on the team followed him to start another studio.  Luminous Productions is what’s left.  The directors of Forspoken?  One was a programmer for 15’s DLC, and the other was the director only for two of the DLCs – and the writer of an obscure romantic comedy anime that I watched in high school. Weird coincidence.

So generally, the studio is made up of people with lots of development experience but no management. Some minor directing credits at best.  So what does this mean for the game? Well, they know the tools they’re using. The game is made in the Luminous Engine developed for Final Fantasy XV and it is very clear that the team’s strong suit is working with it.  

They’ve developed an amazingly fun, complex but incredibly friendly combat magic system that makes it fun to just dive in and throw insane combos of various powers capped with ‘Surge Magic’ finishers that erupt the landscape in elemental fury that makes you feel like a God of Destruction, kind of like when you summoned one of the Astrals in 15.

You can eventually switch between four different types of magic, each with strengths and weaknesses and can be woven together seamlessly in combat.  What’s that? Drop a ring of fire to trap enemies inside and then cause a wave of water to push them away from you and into the damage wall of flame?  Yes please!

The environment is vast, gorgeous, and developed up enough that it never feels bland.  I always like to think that a sign of a good open world is that I don’t need a map to navigate an area and can work just with landmarks – Forspoken is great about this, leaving interesting details in spots that allow you to orient your surroundings using them.

On top of all that, the game is beautiful.  On top of the side quest to find picturesque photo spots, there are dozens and dozens of places where I would just stop and admire the scenery.

However, I am going to do that thing where I agree with the game’s critics a bit here.  If you want something that shakes up the standard open-world formula of here’s a bunch of map points, do something here and get equipment or lore or stat boosts – you won’t really find it here.  Forspoken does not break the mold of open-world adventures.  How much that will affect your enjoyment is really up to you.  I don’t play a ton of open-world stuff. I haven’t jumped into the latest Assassin’s Creeds or Far Crys.  So the fact that the game stuck to usual tried-and-true didn’t really bother me, but I can see how people looking for a breath of fresh air or coming in after a more creative take on the open-world formula like I’m told Eldin Ring manages to do, might find Forspoken lacking in that department.

But I honestly applaud the game.  It is a great first attempt by a studio who had its founder and creative visionary leave the studio and had to fill the void with who they had.  It’s not the best game, but as a trepidatious initial step from a fledgling studio trying to find its feet it’s not bad.  Especially in the performance department.  I put over 80 hours into Forspoken on the PS5, completed the entire storyline, and I had the game crash on me… twice? Tops?  Compare that to other big name open-world games from veteran studios rolling in awards like CD Projekt Red where I could set my clock to remind me to save every 25 minutes because Cyberpunk 2077 was guaranteed to crash at 30 minutes of playtime on the dot.  A game the size and scope of Forspoken running as well as it does? I’m still impressed.

So yeah, that’s my Another Look at Forspoken.  A game that got a lot of hate, despite it being an okay game.  Above average really. I don’t think you’ll see the accolades rolling in at the Game Awards next year or anything but it does make me excited to see what the team at Luminous Productions does next.  What about you?  Did you have any fun playing Forspoken?  What do you think of this new series of looking at my guilty pleasures? I’m enjoying being able to share these with you, so let me know in the comments or give it a like if you found my perspective interesting at all.  Till next time!

I Found the Mana Fortress – Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster #11

An ancient flying fortress? Who knew that this was a crossover episode! Maybe Randi and Bartz are related? (And the premiere of a new VOICE!)

Watch LIVE ►
Full VODs & LPs ►
Follow for Updates ►
Lopporit vTuber by ►