mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Adeus Evernote, Olá Twitch!

After a wonderful two and half years working at Evernote I’m typing out GG and setting off on a new adventure! I truly loved working at Evernote. I love the product and my coworkers are more friends than colleagues. I’m super grateful for being a part of a team where I was able to hone and sharpen my Android knowledge and very grateful for being given the opportunity to work on some iOS features and even pick up some Swift along the way!

I am a huge fan of Twitch. Some may call it a dead game, but StarCraft 2 is, as Smule co-founder and Stanford Professor Dr. Ge Wang puts it, the “one true game.” Watching StarCraft on Twitch has become a part of my daily routine and Twitch is my go-to way to get my StarCraft fix. Recently, I went on a blind date (i.e. an interview) with some folks over at Twitch and turns out we like each other! So I’m super pumped to announce that I’ll be joining Twitch’s Android team! I’m excited to dive in and make Twitch on Android even better!


Final Fantasy XV - Chapter 13, Verse 2

Yesterday, Final Fantasy XV fans got the promised update to the decisive Chapter 13. This update buffs Noct’s abilities for the existing segment of the Chapter and adds a new segment (dubbed Verse 2) that lets you go through the chapter in Gladio and Ignis’ shoes.

I wrote previously about how the latter half of the FFXV felt rushed but that ultimately, even with its flaws, FFXV is a wonderful game.

I played through Verse 2 yesterday. It was a relatively quick romp: the entire verse clocked in under half an hour for me. Through radio broadcasts you could tune into and a few cutscenes, the segment fleshed out the story a little and I walked away from the entire experience pretty pleased. It goes to show that a little effort, properly channeled to address pain points, can go a long way to improving something.

It even took a jab at our current political predicament!

Even without Verse 2, I’d still say Final Fantasy XV is a great game that any JRPG fan should check out. But if the team continues to patch up the flaws and release additional content, I’m sure the inevitable Game of the Year edition of Final Fantasy XV will be a must-have!

A Short Story

For your enjoyment, a short story (traditional characters first and Pinyin below) about a pig and his best friend (some bread) and what happens when they come to my home. If your browser auto-translates the Chinese characters, turn that thing off now.

有一隻豬早上七點二十分起床。他的名字是寶貝。今天寶貝打電話給他最好的朋友。他最好的朋友叫麵包。寶貝問麵包:“你今天忙不忙?” 麵包說:“今天我有很多時間。” 晚上寶貝和麵包來我家。我晚上回家的時候。我很餓。我看寶貝和麵包。我問:“他們想不想喝東西和吃東西?”他們说不。可是我很餓!現在太晚了,所以所有餐廳關了。我有想法。我的兩個客人都很害怕。我把他們煮成一個大叉燒包。很好吃!現在我吃飽了,可是我沒有朋友。我很傷心。 生活是艰难的。

Yǒuyī zhī zhū zǎoshang qī diǎn èrshí fēn qǐchuáng. Tā de míngzì shì Bǎobèi. Jīntiān Bǎobèi dǎ diànhuà gěi tā zuì hǎo de péngyǒu. Tā zuì hǎo de péngyǒu jiào Miànbāo. Bǎobèi wèn Miànbāo:“Nǐ jīntiān máng bù máng?” Miànbāo shuō: “Jīntiān wǒ yǒu hěnduō shíjiān.” Wǎnshàng Bǎobèi hé Miànbāo lái wǒjiā. Wǒ wǎnshàng huí jiā de shíhou. Wǒ hěn è. Wǒ kàn Bǎobèi hé Miànbāo. Wǒ wèn:“Tāmen xiǎng bùxiǎng hē dōngxi hé chī dōngxi?” Tāmen shuō bu. Kěshì wǒ hěn è! Xiànzài tài wǎnle, suǒyǐ suǒyǒu cāntīng guānle. Wǒ yǒu xiǎngfǎ. Wǒ de liǎng gè kèrén dōu hěn hàipà. Wǒ bǎ tāmen zhǔ chéng yīgè dà chāshāo bāo. Hěn hào chī! Xiànzài wǒ chī bǎole, kěshì wǒ méiyǒu péngyǒu. Wǒ hěn shāngxīn. Shēnghuó shì jiānnán de.

Proposal for Saner Pre-Ordering

Another day, another dollar, another chance to be frustrated if you were interested in picking up the limited edition of Fire Emblem Echoes. Between ernest interest in the product and scalpers looking to make a quick buck, pre-orders are a race against time and an exercise in frustration. But do they have to be? Not really.

A saner pre-ordering system could be:

  1. The seller announces product, price, and a window for pre-ordering. This pre-order week can be well ahead of the release date to leave enough time for production.
  2. During that window people can pre-order the product. There is no fixed inventory yet so the seller can sell as much as they want.
  3. At the end of the pre-order window, payment is collected.
  4. The amount of product to be manufactured is now known. An extra amount can be produced for traditional methods of distribution.

The 99% of people who want to get a copy of the product can get it and the 1% who want to purchase it to resell later can do so as well. There is no need to punish people who just want a copy for themselves and even scalpers can carry on with their business. There are limits on how fast items can be produced but that can be accounted for by having your pre-order week way ahead of release date and, if needed, distributing the product on a first-ordered, first-shipped basis.

Publishers like Nintendo ultimately want and need to make money. They should make sure no one is getting turned away from giving them money.

Defying Expectations - Tales and Zelda

You’ve probably heard about it by now, but there’s a new Zelda game out! Breath of the Wild is a wonderful game that has been an absolute pleasure to play and experience. While thinking about what I should say about Zelda, surprisingly the Tales series came to mind! Why?

Protaganists from the Tales series

I see the Tales series as a consistent deliverer of JRPG experiences. Some are better than others (and some are worse) but generally I can pick up a Tales game and know that I’ll get a healthy serving of JRPG from the game; I’ll get a cast of interesting characters, a plot to flesh them out and keep me hooked, and plenty of things to level and power up.

Reflecting upon my expectations with the Zelda series, I realized those expecations were very similar to my expectations from the Tales series. I approach a Zelda game expecting puzzles, heart containers, a Master Sword, cuccos, and boss battles in a grand adventure to once again save Zelda and destroy Ganon. Each game delivers some interesting new mechanics, but it’s usually a play on the same formula.

Breath of the Wild upended those expectations. I applaud Nintendo for taking the risk of breaking from a working formula and I’m so excited about the product that resulted from that deviation. Playing Breath of the Wild took me back to when I first started playing Xenoblade Chronicles: a feeling of excitement that I, admittedly very jadedly, thought was no longer attainable in adulthood.

If you’re a fan of the previous Zelda entries, play this game! If you’re not a fan of previous Zelda entries, play this game! If you’re not even into video games, consider playing this game! If you’ve already played this game and want to play more amazing games – with a little bit of JRPG mixed in – check out the Xenoblade Chronicles games!