Dust: An Elysian Tail is an independent action role-playing video game developed by independent designer Dean Dodrill (Humble Hearts) and published by Microsoft Studios.
Aside from the voice acting, soundtrack and portions of the story, Dust: An Elysian Tail was designed and programmed entirely by self-taught illustrator and animator Dodrill.
The game begins with the character Dust awakening in a forest meadow in the fictional world of Falana (inhabited by anthropomorphic animals) with no memory of his past. He is approached by a sentient sword, the blade of Ahrah, and it’s guardian Fidget, a small flying creature called a Nimbat. Ahrah offers to accompany Dust on his journey (consequently dragging Fidget along) to unravel his history and to discover the story of an ancient civilization on the brink of genocidal extinction.
Gameplay is presented on a beautiful hand painted 2D side-scrolling plane. The player controls the main character, Dust, wielding the Blade of Ahrah, as his main weapon. Fidget, the sword’s guardian, acts as comical traveling companion for Dust and can use magical projectile attacks which can be enhanced by Dust’s swordsmanship. My favorite element of the game is the combat system. Whether I was cutting through dozens of monsters with my sword or bombing them with different types of Fidget’s projectiles, I felt completely in control; the motions fluid and graceful.
Incorporating elements of role-playing games, Dust can interact with non-playable characters to buy and sell items or to receive quests to help the citizens of Falana. Experience can be gained by completing these quests and by defeating enemies to level up, raising various attributes, such as health, strength, defense or magic. As the player advances through the story, they can also acquire special abilities that permanently alter gameplay, such as the ability slide through small spaces, double jump, or climb to previously unreachable areas.
This has to be one of my favorite independent games out there today. While it took me a moment to adjust to the type of animation and voice acting, I ended up really enjoying the characters, story and combat. The hand-painted backgrounds and visual effects were quite beautiful. It was also pleasantly surprising to see characters from other popular independent games pop into the game as “friends” who added bonuses to health when found. I’m very impressed with Dean Dodrill’s skills and would love to see a sequel or a new game from him in the future!
I feel like I conquered…something! Everything! My eating and exercise habits, my willpower, the scale, you name it!
I weighed myself today and for the first time in over a year I was able to break my constant plateau of 145 pounds! I’m under by one pound, and that may seem like such a little thing to some, but to me it is gratifying. This has been a constant annoyance whenever I stepped onto the scale thinking I’d done enough to break that barrier only to find nothing had changed.
I have been drinking more water, eating healthier, doing 30 minutes of walking in the mornings before and 30 minutes of yoga in the evenings after work.
I am fired up, I am ready to get down to my goal weight. I have seen what a little hard work and dedication can do and I am ready fine tune what I’ve already started and take this all the way!
On a side note, I also fit into a pair of jeans I previously haven’t been able to , BOOM! ENCOURAGEMENT!
Starting this week, I will begin to limit my consumption of soda. I currently do not drink soda every day, but I do drink it more than once a week which is definitely more often than I should.
For the first month I will allow myself up to two sodas a week. The second month I will only allow myself up to one soda per week. The third month I will allow myself up to one soda every two weeks. The fourth month I will not allow myself any soda at all. After that month is over I will only have sodas on occasion, if at all.
To help myself adjust to this transition, I’ve put together a number of facts regarding the harmful effects of soda. The infographic above has some great facts and figures provided by Term Life Insurance. Below you can find some extra facts I was able to find independently.
- With a pH of about 2.5 (about the same as vinegar), soda is the most acidic beverage you can buy. Why does that matter? Acid oxidizes whatever it comes in contact with. For example, if you put soda or vinegar on metal it will rust it quickly. Think of the effect something like that would have on your teeth and within your body!
- The high levels of phosphorus contained in sodas can leach calcium from your system. Osteoporosis, tooth loss, periodontal disease and gingivitis can be problems associated with a high phosphorus intake.
- For those of you with a diet soda in your hands, the news isn’t any better, in fact it’s worse! One liter of an aspartame-sweetened beverage can produce about fifty-six milligrams of methanol. When several of these beverages are consumed in a short period of time as much as two hundred fifty milligrams of methanol are dumped into the bloodstream. Methanol is toxic to the human body.
- Then there’s the caffeine. Caffeine withdrawal can strike people who drink a single cup of strongly brewed coffee or drink caffeinated soft drinks regularly. Caffeine-withdrawal symptoms include not only headache, but also fatigue, mild depression, muscle pain and stiffness, flu-like feelings, nausea and vomiting.
Soda, although tasty, is not beneficial to our bodies at all and can be removed from our diet with a little effort and support. As I mentioned in my post about Caffeine, I believe most of my cravings stem from the need to treat myself at work or after work. I will try to replace these treats with different sorts of special drinks.
At one point, not too long ago, I was drinking so much caffeine in the form of energy drinks and soda (thankfully I don’t drink coffee too) that I started getting heart palpitations when I would lay down at night.
I began to think to myself that maybe drinking that much caffeine is not such a good idea. I started limiting my intake, and the palpitations stopped, but I still feel like I consume far too much for my own good. Especially when we are considering babymakin’ starting in December.
Caffeine is a crystalline compound found in coffee and tea plants and is a stimulant to the central nervous system. Like any stimulant, caffeine is physiologically and psychologically addictive, taking time and effort to remove from your system.
What’s so bad about caffeine?
- Caffeine can increase blood pressure, even in non-habitual consumers.
- Caffeine may reduce control of fine motor movements, by enhancing shakiness.
- Caffeine can contribute to increased insomnia and sleep latency.
- Caffeine may cause anxiety.
Caffeine withdrawal causes headache, fatigue, sleepiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people report feeling flu-like symptoms, depression, and anxiety after reducing intake by as little as one cup a day. Slowly tapering your caffeine dosage each day can greatly reduce these withdrawal symptoms.
I feel like my main drive behind drinking caffeinated beverages is work related. I like treating myself to a special drink each day as a pick-me-up and a reward to keep me content. I’ve started replacing my caffeinated drinks with other special drinks that have lower caffeine and sugar levels and hopefully that will wean me off.