Quiet on the Front

What a year it has been. A bout a year ago I went back to university, graduated this past June, and start again in a couple of weeks to grind out another class change. I am still undecided if a doctorate will be my ultimate end goal, but I have plenty of time and my sanity has held up quite well. I practically lived at school pulling 12+ hours with very little time for gaming outside of whatever can hold my attention on an iPhone. The Nintendo Switch happened to be a great waste of money for me. I played it twice and have never touched it since. Now, I’m on the fence of whether to part with it in favour of picking up a PS1&2 again or let it continue to gather dust alongside my Wii U. *sigh*.

Board games have been my substitute. I keep several in the boot and they make for great stress-relief breaks and my extraneous money has gone towards crowd funding for new ones. It is also a hobby my father enjoys, so it gives us something to do on weekends. I also attend a few local meetups and it has been fun having a social life. That isn’t to say I haven’t been playing video games. It’s just having so much screen time from school, I like to stare at other objects instead.

Gaming wise, I have been enjoying slogging through Fallout 4. I had quit playing that ages ago when one of my companions glitched away never to be seen again and now it finally got fixed and I have my robot pack-mule again. I know events branch off and I’ve hit that point for one, and so I’m getting everyone else where they need to be so I can just reload saves in order to see the other outcomes. Once the main storyline is all squared away, I’ll be turning my attention back to all that DLC I have. After that, I’m finally going to give Fallout New Vegas a fair go. I snagged it when it was new and found myself put off by the presentation and barely made it past character creation. I think I’m nearing a place where I won’t be so condemning.

I rediscovered Spyro the Dragon. I never finished the game back when it was new. There was some world where I would keep failing some kind of glide where you had to go from sparkly lift to sparkley lift. I don’t know where that was because I just ploughed through most of the game in one sitting and I never encountered that area or problem. I now have the game on PS3 snagging it back when the Spyro collection was a PS+ freebie.

I’ve also been going through Suikoden IV. I just recruited Kika, the pirate captain and have set forth to get some people levelled and geared up. After this game, I plan to revisit Suikoden 1 and progress through to 5. I didn’t complete 3 because my save got corrupted and never started 5. I may take a break after this one and play either Arc the Lad or Wild Arms.

For a few weeks, I was thoroughly addicted to Skyforge until I completed the second story. Now I’m pretty well-finished with it. I feel I’ve gotten all I can from it and MMOs barely hold my attention for long.

World of Final Fantasy has been interesting. I need to strengthen some new monsters, but my drive to grind them has tanked, so I haven’t touched it in awhile. I’ve rather enjoyed it–seeing characters and placing them in their respective titles and recognising music. I didn’t think I would enjoy it that much, but I have.

So that’s how it is. School resumes in a couple weeks and I’ll resume my life as an academic robot. I have no idea what my social life or gaming life will look like this year, but I’ll be around–just probably scarce again.

Advertisements

2016 Retrospect

Well, this year has flown past and so many big things have happened. I didn’t do a whole lot of gaming, at least in the video sense, but since being on break from school I’ve experienced a hardcore resurgence. I have Pokemon Moon to thank. I started taking my 3DS to school and it had been a great comfort in the downtime. I then renewed my PlayStation Now subscription and brought my Vita to have an even broader variety of stuff to occupy me. From that, it registered how much I miss my PS3 and so I gifted myself a white 500 GB PS3 and a handful of imports. Of course, I also took advantage of the holiday sales from GOG, Steam, PSN, and XBox.

When I look back at what I’ve played this year, mostly garbage comes to mind. I’m reminded of the batch of NES games I got to play, thanks to a friend, and it sucked–the worst nostalgia fix.

Here’s a breakdown of what I finished this year, in chronological order,  and my 2 cents worth.

King Oddball (PS4) – Addictive physics puzzler great for fueling rage.
Labyronia (PC) – Encounters weren’t balanced with your natural progression
Toonstruck (PC) – So very 90’s and I didn’t enjoy it.
Dragon Quest Heroes WTWABB (PS4) – The ending had me in tears.
Plantera (PC) – Click, Click, Click, Idle forever, Click, Click–Done
Loot Hero DX (PC) – Brainless, but not so much that I can’t call it awful
Adventures of Tom Sawyer (NES) – Terrible everything
Marble Madness (NES) – I want to like it, but it just doesn’t work.
Mario is Missing (NES) – Atrocious
Adventures of Bayou Billy (NES) – Everything was @$%^
Dino Rikki (NES) – Lazy repeated bosses and terrible jumping.
Alfred Chicken (NES) – Mega meh
Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus (NES) – A little above ‘meh’
The Great Waldo Search (NES) – Atrocious
Wizards and Warriors (NES) – Challenging, but an okay experience
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (NES) – Average
Astyanax (NES) – Average
Bad Dudes (NES) – You wear diapers and fight midget gorillas. No like.
Battletoads and Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team (NES) – Tedious and difficult.
Abadox (NES) – Liked the gore aesthetic. Fun shmup.
Fist of the North Star (NES) – There are no words to describe this garbage
Dropsy (PC) – Enjoyed it a lot
Pokemon Moon (3DS) – Too much dialogue and felt hand-holdy, but super pretty

Not an impressive year for me and mostly full of disappointments, but I have a great many things to look forward to on X-Mas and a lot of PS1 classics I’ve neglected for a long time, so I’ll have plenty of entertainment to get me through next quarter.

Here’s to another year of gaming and many more. Cheers!

Still Alive

Holy crap does time fly! School started September 26th and the weeks have flown past. Things have been going very well for me. My head is swimming with the future. I have three options on the table with no clue which to pursue. My resolution is to make it through the quarter and see how I feel before deciding.

In other news, remember that 2014 ruby red Ford Focus SE I got about six months ago after my 1992 Mercury finally went buh-bye? Yeah, well, it turns out that it was an illegal sale. Long story short, it had a sticker under the hood stating it wasn’t for sale in my state due to some emissions garble. I found out this nightmare the Friday before my first day of school. Ford took care of me very graciously, and after about three hours investigating the mess up and what they could do about it, I drove away with a 2016 Ford Fiesta Sport. I could have gotten a sexy Fusion, but that would have cost me a few K. I settled for the Fiesta and after about a week stopped resenting it and the whole situation.

As for everything else, I haven’t done too many exciting things. With a six-month backlog of comics, I canceled all my subs and filed everything away in long boxes. I haven’t played any video games in ages. I either haven’t had the time, or it’s just not something I feel like doing. Aside from schoolwork, I need 1k volunteer hours, so I applied to be a Big Sister, and have done some tutoring and proofreading at school. All my other free time I’ve spent reading or playing board games.

And that’s my free time for today gone. I have 500 pages to study for a psyche test.

Bandaged Tentacles NO MORE!

I’m nearly shocked I didn’t write this post sooner, but I’ve been so thrilled to be out of bandages I’ve been doing all kinds of things just happy I am able to do things.

This Monday past, my bandages finally came off allowing me to do things again. They get fatigued rather quickly and I’ve lots more physical therapy on the horizon, but I am able to play games and function normally without nearly as much discomfort and pain as it has been.

*Happy squiddy dance!*

I’d write more, but I wanna go blow up spaceships.

New Purchases- Steam Lunar New Year Sale

And I was doing so well. After my day finished, I logged onto to Steam to see if the Deal-of-the-Day was anything I needed, and low and behold, massive sale time. I took a look at my wishlist, sighed forlornly at its massive size, then spent a good two-and-a-half hours meticulously going through each one to weed out the things I am no longer interested in. After completing that part of my quest, I proceeded to rank them. Only after that completed did I start actively deciding what I should like to get. The resulting damage contained only seven games, however, the continual damage I took today doubled that amount.

Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden

In light of my recent obsession with mindless clicker games, casual games have been foremost on the radar–amusing little games where my brain can go into rest mode and my eyes can glaze over a little bit. This game seemed like it would fit into that vein, being one of your clicky gardening type games, and I figured it would have some kind of weird story considering you are taking care of plants that grow organs and it totally does. It’s simple and mindless to play, while satisfying, and the strange visual novel styled story is interesting enough to break up the mindless click-grind.

Human Resource Machine

Ah, another visually bleak game from Tomorrow Corporation that gave us Little Inferno. Instead of sitting in front of a fireplace buying and burning everything we can, we work in an office building using simple procedural commands to get our enthused little office worker to move specific things from an inbox to an outbox in a specific order. These are my kind of puzzle games and upon reaching my first coffee break, believe this game has some kind of underlying dark story to it. I look forward to uncovering more of that.

Castaway Paradise Complete Edition

The best way to describe this game is an Animal Crossing base with Harvest Moon farming and land clearing (e.g., breaking rocks, digging up stumps) sprinkled on top. Upon first glance, I thought it had micro-transactions seeing a bunch of VIP stuff in the item catalogue, but that’s not the case. There is no cash shop at all. The game is just as stingy with $$ as Animal Crossing, but if you can reach level 15, your life will become easier and you’ll get access to nice things. For a game, it’s not terrible at all. I sank a great deal of time into it and found myself starting to get the same addictions I have with Animal Crossing. Wish it had controller support, but still, it’s a decent time sinker when my 3DS is unavailable.

Block Legend DX

I really like this little column game. It’s of the kind where you clear groups of two or more matching blocks simply by clicking on them instead of moving them around to make matches. It has an RPG layer to it that’s not too deep, but is totally fine for what the game is–another brainless casual game for me to waste time in. If I want a deeper experience, I can play a different column game.

Space Pilgrim Episodes I & II

I’ve encountered plenty of people that hear RPG Maker and immediately groan, shut down, and assume everything made with the tool is filth–stock graphical assets or not. While I can understand the sour sentiment, I like to give some of them a chance, especially if the premise sounds interesting and it looks like some amount effort longer than a weekend went into it. I also like seeing the games that use the engine to make other things outside the usual JRPG vein. Space Pilgrim looked to be one of those games by focusing more on the narrative and puzzle-solving than grinding out experience.

Swords and Crossbones: An Epic Pirate Story

A city building tactical rpg thing… Well, it looked good, so what the hell. I haven’t played it, yet, so who knows.

Unholy Heights

Take an apartment management sim and throw in tower defense and that’s what you get. I really should have passed on this one, probably, but I’m a sucker for weirds.

Loot Hero DX

I like this game. All I have to do is run into the enemy to kill them and earn gold to buy upgrades to more easily kill beefier things. I like it. It’s nothing fancy, it’s simple, and it kept me entertained for half-an-hour which is how long it took me to decide what my plans were for breakfast. It has served its purpose well.

Shu’s Garden

I really don’t know what to say about Shu’s garden other than it looks like one of those pretty art games where you just run around and do what you want in and see what happens. I like those types of games and especially those based on exploration and experimentation.

Forsaken Isle

Another sandbox craft-based survival game. This one is isometric with nice pixel art. Of course I would get it, though I’m happy to say I’ve slowed down in the genre. It’s too hard to compete with Minecraft and Don’t Starve that I just hardly touch any other ones.

The Oil Blue: Steam Legacy Edition

This looked to be an interesting oil-drilling sim. It’s no surprise I like these types of games and this seemed so unique–a type I’d never seen before even in the plethora of boring-job-simulator-20xx games that have flooded the genre. I really look forward to giving this game a go and seeing how well I do.

Cat Goes Fishing

You are a cat. You fish. This reminds me of that old drilling arcade game where you drill down into the ground attempting to grab stuff and pull it back to the surface. I remembered the name when I purchased this game, but it has since left me. If you know what I’m talking about, this game is like that, but of course, more physics-based. It’s not terrible, but I could live without it. I’d rather play that old arcade game.

Reveal the Deep

In retrospect, I should have picked The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human. In my brain, I got the two mixed up when selecting stuff on my wishlist, but it’s still an exploration-based game. This one seems more to focus on the narrative, but that’s fine. I expect to enjoy my time with it as I like such games.
Hopefully this is an end to my sale binge. 14 games is plenty to keep me busy (as if I still don’t have enough to play), but it feels good to pick up things I want on the cheap. This should be a entertaining weekend.

To Click or Not to Click–Also, Stuff.

I’m not even sure I know what’s happened to me since Christmas, but I’ve sure found myself drowning in more casual, brainless games that I can play while doing other things and I now understand what a clicker game is.

AdVenture Capitalist, I think, is the first clicker I tried. Available for free on Steam and wanting to check out something new, I had no idea how quickly it would infect me. While nothing special to look at, it offered a strange real-time based investment strategy that I could pay attention to for a few minutes before closing to check on and spend new fortunes later.

Clicker Heroes came next and became my main idle game of choice besides Mountain and Viridi. It is more visually appealing and feels more engaging somehow, despite the simple fact it follows the same mechanics. Still, planning out how I spend my gold and what ancients to invest in proved to be a nice diversion from life’s daily grind.

Crusaders of the Lost Idols is a more recent affection adding in a formation mechanic to the mix with a side-scrolling battlefield and more role-playing mechanics with equipment and health. It engrossed me pretty quickly and growing to be my fave clicker.

Just today, I decided to try out another very different clicker called Plantera. This one has you creating a garden that you can harvest by click or allow your in-game minions to collect for you. I have not played long and the choices you have are quite small compared to the aforementioned games, but I still found it to be enjoyable.

These games certainly are designed for those susceptible for mindless time-wasters and people who like to have simple games to play in the background of whatever else they’re doing. As such, they are not anything I would ever recommend to anyone not in this niche.

These games have spawned a resurgence of more casual (read as not action focused) games to play to allow my mind to relax instead of being overloaded with flashes and booms and things requiring too much concentration and lightning reflexes. Over the past month I’ve picked up a number of games to cater to my need for some cool-down gaming to play to wind down from the day.

The first that come to mind are some Pinball FX2 tables (Doctor Strange, Portal, South Park, and Balls of Glory) that have been great entertainment (I still need to pick up Pinball Arcade). Having been recently binge-watching South Park at nights (I never watched the show until now), I had to have the tables. I also watch Archer, American Dad, and Bob’s Burgers on occasion and enjoy them enough to pick up the tables. Portal and Doctor Strange go without saying, because I adore both.

Morphopolis is something I picked up today purely on the basis of looks. I just clicked through the images on the store page and that was enough. I played very little of it finding myself in a mental space that didn’t allow me to process puzzles or anything that was going on for that matter. I intend to broadcast it and inflict it on my bestie on our next hangout date.

A three-pack of Hexcells games recently went on sale and the odd minesweeper picross mesh intrigued me enough to go for it. I’ve played a little bit of each game just to see the differences and I do enjoy the logic puzzles. It’s very simple in concept and the soundtrack is quite relaxing.

A couple match-3 games found their way into my cart, to–10,000,000 which had been on my radar for awhile, and Battle for Blood. 10,000,000 tends to eat up a chunk of time when I sit down to play it. Battle for Blood is a freemium that’s interesting, but overall meh. The grind feels so much worse with the real $ variable thrown in. 10,000,000 has been going a bit more quickly since I’ve been able to upgrade and unlock things. It’s not the greatest looking, but I find there to be some charm with the dated look.

DungeonUp I can only describe as some kind of strategy RPG puzzler that makes me think of some kind of Lolo-Solomon’s Key affair with a rogue-like RPG at heart and a high probability of failure if you careless spent your keys making it impossible for you to progress. I have this tendency to play it more brainlessly as I should and end up at dead-ends having wasted my keys to get to shinies as opposed of actual progression.

This strange RPG called Suits: A Business RPG looked too weird to pass up, but I haven’t yet tried it out. The black and white sketchy art actually appealed to me, but in retrospect, I wish it had a cleaner look.

Hordelicious looked like a reasonably satisfying arena shooter and it was on sale, unfortunately, for whatever weird reason it doesn’t launch. I’ve been too lazy to lookup a fix.

Relic Hunters Zero is a freebie that doesn’t look good and plays of mediocrity. I banished it back to the ether.

Craft the World has been great fun as a strange Terraria-like god game where you manage and guide your dwarves to victory research technology, crafting items, and finding and assembling a portal to reach the next campaign world. I sank a great number of hours into it initially and passed the first campaign stage, but haven’t started the next. I am not sure I will ever touch it again, honestly. I feel like I got all I would from it. Still, we’ll see. My gaming moods can be quite fickle.

Destination Sol, The Expendabros, Big Pharma, Starward Rogue, Sorcerer King, Bionic Dues, Crashlands, RymdResa, Sunless Sea, and The Last Federation are other titles I picked up for one reason or other that I haven’t yet played or played long enough to say anything about.

On the console side of things (starting with PS4), Infinifactory looks like it’s right up my alley puzzle-wise. I enjoyed the tutorial and first stage and like those types of logic puzzles. SpaceChem remains one of my favorite games and any game that follows that kind of logic is gonna end up on my radar and in my library.

LA cops looked like a calmer Hotline Miami, so that’s where that came from. I do have yet to finish Hotline Miami and even get the sequel, but I’m happy with inspired likenesses. I played a little bit of this and enjoyed it and the mechanic of having a partner.

Chivalry. This game had been on my radar for a long time, but my PC couldn’t handle the demo. As soon as I saw it on PSN, it got snagged. Unfortunately it’s doomed to be a game I will rarely ever play as it fits a mood need and I haven’t been much in a slaughtering PVP mood.

On the XB1 I rarely touch anymore (are we surprised? ;p) Killer Instinct with the season 1 content was an XB1 freebie. I grabbed that and the season 2 content to finish it off. I actually like the KI games. I have many good memories of playing them with friends, so I have a huge bias. Also, I wanted something not Mortal Kombat to play.

The Escapists with the X-Mas DLC (and maybe Alcatraz–can’t remember) I decided to snag on sale there with the intention of actually playing it, but I’ll probably just snag the entire pack for PC one of these days anyway–sigh.

My WiiU got some of love with Super Mario Maker. I played a ton of it the day I got it and haven’t gone back. That’s not really from any lack of desire to play–I really would. It’s just that there are more other things that have snagged my attention.

I also picked up the virtual console NES Metroid game to play. I had never played through that one and had started my Metroid adventures with the SNES title followed by GBA ones.

I’ve only gotten one thing for my Vita so far– Criminal Girls: Invite Only. It looked cute. I have yet to play it or even touch my vita for that matter, but it’ll be there for me.

3DS… This… is what has been consuming mostly every waking hour of free time I have. Animal Crossing Happy Home Academy. I like this game. I like decorating my house. I do it frequently in New Leaf and have made a mule character to work on a second house. It entertains me and I’m pretty sure it is some kind of digital crack. Between this and New Leaf, I have no time for anything beyond casual games and the usual Warframe (of course I still play this).

Pokemon Picross and Pokemon shuffle found their way onto my 3DS, but… they’re both meh for freemiums. The picross one I prefer as I love picross, but I have hardly touched them at all. I have Mario Picross to get through still. Also, I got some weird thing called Excave which I’ve yet to even bother with.

So, that’s the score. I’ve lots to entertain myself with if AC will ever let me go. To close, I’m going to leave a few words about Animal Crossing amibo Festival.

Animal Crossing amibo Festival was a monumental waste of my time and money. The first game I played was cute, but all further games are just an exercise in boredom torture the likes I have never endured before. There is no real competitiveness to it and your victory lies solely on how well you play the turnip market. An hour and twenty minutes for a full four-player game is an eternity. The mini games are better, but I’d rather throw in some Raving Rabbids game or even the old Carnival Games for Wii for some multiplayer mini-game action. Never in my life have I desired the rage induced by Mario Party or even Dokapon Kingdom. At least shit was happening in the game.

Life After the Purge

It’s been 19 days since the purge that reduced my gaming collection to current gen consoles with physical games that fit on only two small shelves in my closet. Over the course of those days I have noticed changes in my habits I find interesting.

Thinking about it all, the most noticeable is my more relaxed approach to gaming. With so fewer games in my collection to play, I’m no longer feeling the pressure to barrel through them as quickly as possible so I can move on to the next. I had the habit of aquiring games at a ridiculously stupid pace with no hope of even finishing even one before my next monty haul. Often times I would scarcely enjoy my time playing and if dialogue became too much of a slowdown, I’d skip it. My gaming habits were primarily just to tick things off a list in hopes to get my collection under control. Even rationlising myself as a collector having kept all my consoles since childhood and aquiring things just to “have in my collection” offered no change to this burning desire to play through every single one. It made no sense to me.

In life, there are a lot of things that end up collections and the other big ones that come to mind are books and movies. I have an old college friend whose walk-in closet is nothing more than a DVD library. The collection is impressive–thousands of movies. I didn’t need to rent movies, I could just visit her and borrow something. I had asked her if she ever watched any of these movies more than once, she answered with an unsurprising “not-a-one.” I asked her why she kept them and her response accompanying a shrug was “I might someday.”

That day never happened for me for anything. I avoid buying movies I’ve never seen in favour of those I will actively watch again. I prefer to actually go out to see something or rent something as far as new experiences go.

When it comes to books, I read voraciously when I sit down to do it, so I always buy a few books when I’m out to do so. If whatever it is I’m reading turns out to be not-so-good, I get rid of it without caring I’ve left it unfinished. If I don’t get to one of my new books within a certain period of time, I get rid of it, too.

Logically, it seems as if I should have held video-games to similar practices, but instead I amassed them and hoarded them with the desperation of a greedy child on Halloween. I have no idea why. I enjoyed everything I owned, but when it came down to playing something, my free time would disappear trying to nail down a choice and often only playing things for several minutes before switching to something else. What should have been an entertaining diversion from life turned out to be a chore an exercise in anxiety (a thing I deal with).

These days when I sit down to game, I still don’t often know what I want to play, but when I narrow it down to mood, I simply continue playing whatever it is I’ve been working on. I’ve been able to enjoy the games more and enjoy my time with them and it amazes me how profound and quick this change happened from just a mindset.

Also, my library isn’t expanding beyond control. I don’t even have the urge to snag up things of interest on sale or grab others I discover on the spot. I’ve been quite content with what I currently have and that’s precisely where I want to be. I do not miss anything or feel any regret from the purge. I just feel good and happy again and that’s all that counts, really.