Author Archive for Kaine Andrews


Trophy Hunt – 10/17


Rise of Insanity has finally been completed. It’s not 100% yet – have to go back through and find all the collectibles – but at least the main game is out of the way.

I don’t know how to feel about it. I know what they were trying to do, but I feel like they missed a lot of the boats that would have given it more punch. There’s a lot of imagery that seems there because “ooooooh, spoopy!” but doesn’t actually relate to the murder and madness that form the bulk of the plot. Perhaps I missed a collectible that explained it, but all the crow imagery – while very pretty and suitably atmospheric – seems tacked on with no reason. On top of that, the “twist” of who you’re playing and what’s going on was telegraphed five minutes in… but half the game’s notes and the way things are presented don’t seem compatible with it.

I’m not going to spoil it – if you want spoilers, you can see me playing it over on Twitch – because it’s still worth a playthrough if you enjoy games like Slender or Layers of Fear, and it’s pretty inexpensive… but if you like horror walking sims and haven’t yet played Layers of Fear or Layers of Fear 2, I recommend those first.

Beyond that, primarily been working on Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. It’s Sega doing what Koei has been doing with Dynasty Warriors: Take your well-known franchise, slap a popular skin on it, call it new. This time, instead of covering generic hack and slash with a coat of Zelda paint, it’s Yakuza with FotNS on top. It’s very well done, and for the most part feels like a decent Yakuza game, but it’s not taking any spots in the series’ hall of fame.

The main story’s fine, the combat works – even if it does become trivially easy once you get good at doing Perfect Channel attacks and unlock the Ki Field ability – and there’s certainly a boatload of content to explore. The problem is in the minigames. Most Yakuza games have a metric shitton of random minigames to play, and Lost Paradise is no different but unlike most Yakuza games, the amount of time you’ll have to spend playing them if you want to finish everything is ridiculously high… and there’s less variation.

For example, the club management minigame, which was most prominent in Yakuza 0 but also had variations in 3, 4 and 6 (probably 5 too, but I didn’t get to play much of that one since my PS3 cooked itself right after it came out here.) In those other games, if you want the trophies related to it (or the tickmarks for your Completion list, or the related substories) you’ll get through it in about 3-4 hours once you get the hang of it. There’s also some variety in the missions, the characters are actually developed, and you feel like you’re getting something out of it (be it money or items) that are actually worth your time investment.

In Lost Paradise, you’re pretty much forced into the game after you break a priceless vase and have to work off a 100,000,000 debt. The missions are 2-3 minutes long, usually stressful to start with, and until you unlock the last couple of them (and have a stable of S-Rank, max level hostesses), you’re going to get between 20k and 200k towards that debt. And no money or items to use in the meantime. When you finally get to the last mission, you’ll get around 1 million per go, but you’re going to need to repeat it around 85-90 times to pay off that debt (which is the roadblock to 3 substories, two hidden bosses, and the last match in the Colesseum minigame, all of which have associated trophies.)

The racing minigame is also a giant pain in the ass, tedious as hell, only has five tracks, and if you want to Platinum it, you’re going to be repeating one of them at least 20 times to rack up the BP (the racing currency) required to buy one piece of the top tier armor.

Right now I’m at 80% on the trophy list, with the primary hangup being the hostess minigame. Still owe 69 million. When that’s done, I can blitz the last few substories (and pop three trophies, one for each hidden boss and one for all substories done), finish the last two Colesseum fights (rematches against the hidden bosses, which pops two more), grind the Colesseum for crafting mats to finish upgrading junk, and then blitz Legend difficulty in about 3 hours, which means I’ll be done.

It will be the first Yakuza game I’ve actually platinumed. The mahjong stuff screws me over in most of the others, Dead Souls suffered from exploding PS3 syndrome, and Judgment is on hold because it’s been packed in prep for the move. Part of me is sad about that.

Beyond that, I’ve been picking at Caravan Story, which is a free-to-play “action” RPG that mostly plays itself. Going to be a nasty grind (you need to kill 10,000 monsters and enslave 1,000 more) but nothing exciting. Mainly something to stare at while holding X when I can’t take looking at the hostesses anymore.

Moving this week, so hopefully, things will be set back up and I can do a proper stream at some point next week; thinking either Alien: Isolation or maybe Yakuza: Dead Souls, if my PS3 wants to cooperate with me (I got a new one more than a year ago, but ran out of ports on the TV and couldn’t get behind it to rewire things. That will be fixed in the move.) If any of you out there have suggestions, I’m open to other ideas, too.

As always, shameless shill time: If you like my stuff and want to help me keep doing it, you can drop a dime in the bucket over on Patreon; everything helps and is always appreciated, but never required. If you want to help me get breathing again, I’ve got a GoFundMe for my surgery set up, too.

Until next time, folks!

KA Spiral no signature


Does Your Story Need More Tension? — A Writer’s Path

In case you slept through your high school or college lit classes, here’s a snazzier bit of discussion about dramatic irony; something you probably have been using and would recognize, just didn’t know the fancy description for. (Comments disabled here; please visit the original post.)

by Allison Maruska Have you read a story where the character knew everything that was going on and merely went through a checklist to solve the problem? I certainly hope not, because that would be boring as hell.

via Does Your Story Need More Tension? — A Writer’s Path


A Writer’s First Words

A lot of people need to be grabbed by the first sentence. If they’re not, they’ll chuck the book aside and move on to something else. It’s not my style (and I know plenty of folks who aren’t that way), but I get it.

Some writers know how to nail that first line and grab you right away. Neil Gaiman is one of those. The Graveyard Book opens with “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” Beautiful. Others can’t handle it; rarely has the first line in a Stephen King novel grabbed me. He takes a while to warm up. (Thad Beaumont’s explanation about the writing process in The Dark Half about sums it up.)

The opening line for Chrysanthemum Graves, my NaNoWriMo project, is going to be some variant of this:

“What the fuck, man? Put your damn shoes back on!”

I haven’t written it in the actual manuscript document, yet. I’m trying to be good and not actually start until November 1st. But I put it in my notes, and I saved a picture of what I think the place this line is said looks like, because it struck me last night and won’t let go.

How do you feel about your first lines? What’s your favorite? Your most recent? Let us know down below! (And feel free to link to your NaNoWriMo projects, if you like!)

KA Spiral no signature


I do believe in spooks!


As Halloween looms (alongside Dia de los Muertos, All Saint’s Day, Samhain, etc, etc, etc) it’s the right season to talk about this sort of thing, I think.

So, do you believe in spooks? Goblins? Vampires? All things supernatural, ephemeral, paranormal and/or as yet unexplained?

I do. People mock me for it, or write it off as my mental illness working overtime, but I still think there’s… something, anyway, out there.

I call ’em spooks, because it’s a handy catch-all term – and includes things that are/were human beings or our friends before becoming metabolically-challenged, things that aren’t human and never were, things that were human and became something… else, and giant friggin’ question marks – but whatever you want to call ’em, I think it’s a genuine possibility.

I’m also a severe skeptic, which might seem like a contradiction. I’m not one of those people who thinks every time there’s a little circle in a picture that it must be a sign that great-grandma is watching. I don’t tag every shadow as an extraplanar entity that means me harm. I don’t think every nightmare is a warning or attack from things beyond the grave. I just believe it’s possible that some of those things might be possible.

That means I tend to hate both hardheaded “science-minded” folks who state it to be categorically impossible and the nutters who think everything is true and shout it to the heavens. I want more middle of the road folks, from both camps, to sit down and talk about it. I want some actual research. I think scientists could afford to have just a little credulity and poke the bear, and most “ghost hunters” could be more willing to accept the possibility that they aren’t seeing what they think they are.

I also sometimes hope that I’m wrong, that there are no such things as spooks of any flavor, and they eventually prove it’s all infrasound, pareidolia, and schizophrenia. It’d be kind of a relief, even if it takes the magic out of it all. It’s honestly more comforting to acknowledge my crazy is the source of the problem, and not that my swords, dolls, windows and walls are harboring things that want to hurt me.

What about the rest of you? Do you believe in spooks? Why or why not? Have some paranormal experiences of your own you want to share? Do you want it to be true? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature


A guide to handling anxiety — ontheedgeofeverything

Struggling with some anxiety? So are others, and they have some tips to share. Check it out! (Comments disabled here, please visit the original post.)

Allow me to put this simply: anxiety sucks. It sucks a lot, actually. And as much as it sucks, it’s equally debilitating, making it pretty challenging to deal with at times. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I’ve been dealing with anxiety since I was in high school. I’m certainly not an expert when it […]

via A guide to handling anxiety — ontheedgeofeverything


Cirsova Magazine is Open for Submissions! Oct 14th-28th — mishaburnett

For those looking to submit, this might be helpful info: (Comments disabled here; please visit the original post.)

Originally posted on Cirsova: Cirsova Publishing is now accepting submissions for our flagship magazine, Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense! We’ll be looking to acquire roughly 150k words of fiction to publish in 2020. Our submission guidelines can be found here; please be sure to read them carefully before submitting. Some additional suggestions…

via Cirsova Magazine is Open for Submissions! Oct 14th-28th — mishaburnett


What Are Your Favorites?

It’s been an unpleasant week. I’m trying to focus on happier things. So here’s a few of my favorite things, that no one asked for.

Salem's LotFavorite Book: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I adore this book. I reread it at least once a year. It wasn’t my first exposure to King (I think it was Cujo, but it’s been over thirty years, so I no longer remember) but it was his first work that grabbed me by the throat and made me hunker down close to listen to him. The way the town itself is a major character, the description of the Marsten House, the musings that perhaps everything horrible that happens to the town and its residents as a result of Barlow’s arrival was both warranted and preordained… mmm. Love it so much.

Favorite Movie: Empire Records. This movie empire recordsis life. Aside from having Renee Zellweger looking adorable, the performances from everyone are great, it’s funny as hell, everyone is relatable in some way (even the characters you don’t like, like Corey.) It doesn’t hurt that it has a goddamn amazing soundtrack, either.


alice cooperFavorite Album: Classicks by Alice Cooper. You get “Poison,” “School’s Out,” “Stolen Prayer” and more. What’s not to like? Cooper is god.we're not worthyt



metal gearFavorite Video Game: Metal Gear Solid 3. Great and suitably weird story, amazing graphics for it’s time that still look damn good (especially on the Vita or PS3 versions), voice acting that burns into your brain, damn-near perfect gameplay. I can play this game over and over again and love it more every time.

What are some of your favorites? Is there something I should know about some of mine? Let me know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

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