Category: Video Games

Jason wrote a fanfic

Jason wrote a fanfic

I have been playing a LOT of Stardew Valley over the last week.

For those uninitiated members of the audience, Stardew Valley is an independent farming/life simulation game in the same vein of Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing that came out in 2016 to critical and audience acclaim.

Well-deserved acclaim at that. This is a title with some incredible pixel art design, a treasure trove of content and enough charm to reduce your Pikachu’s attack by six stages — all made by one person, ConcernedApe.

That was a Pokémon joke by the way. *marks off checklist*

I bought the game alongside my friend Samantha, who was one of my close friends to recommend it years ago when I had no time to join the fad.

We’ve gone through cycles of playing different co-operative games together in the past. From brief stints with Don’t Starve Together to an innocuous MMORPG called Aura Kingdom, as well as hundreds of hours invested in Terraria just a few summers before she moved away.

This time The Dream Team reunited for the multiplayer update to Stardew that dropped for Switch last December.

Unfortunately she’s been a little more busy with work so far this summer, and we haven’t gotten the chance to play a lot. But I started my own single-player file to learn the basics so I wouldn’t be a complete disgrace.

I fell into the game hard. I’ve been up playing until 3:00 a.m. a few more times in the last week than I’d care to admit.

Originally I intended to write a review of the game for my blog to justify all the hours I’ve poured in. But I’m three years late to the party and everything I could say has already been said.

Plus it would more or less just be hundreds of words gushing about what a mastahpiece it is, and that can’t be very exciting for a three-year-old game.

You can honestly judge for yourself based solely on the trailer:

However, something strange happened with this game.

Even though I resigned myself not to write a review, a totally different craving bore its way out of my subconscious mind after watching my single-player character get married to my Stardew love, Emily.

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Ain’t they the cutest?

There was a particular string of events and cutscenes leading up to the marriage that I thought flowed together like an unintentionally beautiful story…

And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

My blood ached with the desire to show my adoration for the game by doing what I do best: Writing.

The other day I announce my intention to ruin my credibility by writing a Stardew Valley fanfiction, totally abandoning my original book for an afternoon to use digital ink on flourishing personal video game experiences instead.

I may or may not have managed to pound out 6,000 words.

Sometimes you just have to strike when the iron is hot. Writing is writing.

My blog post fell to the wayside as a result, but I think you’ll find it was a worthwhile sacrifice.

My quick turn-around on the fanfiction meant I was able to get it briefly edited by Mom (who I’m sure is now ashamed of that college degree [NEVAH- mom]) and posted online at fanfiction.net.

Even though the website’s posting rules meant I had to wait an extra day to get this post to you.

I’ve never used the site before, as most of my character-writing impulses have been expended via brief roleplays.

The only time I recall writing a legitimate fanfiction was a very short scene between Alela Grora and Wodahs from The Grey Garden for Sam, who also introduced me to that pseudo-visual novel RPG.

Talk about another title I’ll need to dedicate a whole post to. A particular bad end in that game haunts me to this day.

All of that is to say you get to be the lucky audience who sees my debut piece of fanfiction not counting Wattpad.

It’s pretty heavily focused on recreating scenes from the game to convey a budding romance in a grander fashion. So if you’re into that sort of thing, check it out here!

I’m past the point of shame, so there’s a genuine curiosity to know what you think.

Regardless of your thoughts, I will say the exercise was a nice break from my novel that kept me in an invigorated fiction-writing mood.

Can’t complain about that right?

Roaming the Mad God’s Realm

Roaming the Mad God’s Realm

Time to pull my head out of Stardew Valley and make good on the potential of my new laptop.

Let’s talk about Realm of the Mad God.

RotMG is a browser-based MMORPG of sorts developed by the independent Wild Shadow Studios and bought by Deca Games in 2016.

It has the multiple servers, raid battles and virtual economy you would expect out of titles like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV.

But in terms of gameplay it’s a free-roaming bullet hell similar to Enter the Gungeon.

Just more stylistically and mechanically simple.

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It’s a game that has been around since 2010.

Patches and balance updates have been constant throughout the game’s nine years, as recent as May 9, 2019. But looking through RotMG’s update history on its curated RealmEye forum shows a particularly interesting early life.

Around 2011 you can see the game launch servers for different regions worldwide, and in February 2012 a stand-alone client was released on Steam that can be used in conjunction with the browser version.

Plus some cool moments like a charity event for Hurricane Sandy relief in late 2012.

I can’t tell you exactly when I first played RotMG but it was undoubtedly early on in the game’s lifecycle. Probably around the same time as I was playing tower defense flash games on Addicting Games — which is honestly a post for another day.

Recently I had a craving to pick up the game again, and found that many things were the same despite its scope growing wildly.

Now I’m sure you must be asking, “how exactly does RotMG work?”

After you make an account, first you pick a class.

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And by that I mean you start with Wizard and have to unlock everyone else. More classes are unlocked as you reach level milestones, such as the Priest coming when Wizard reaches level 5.

With a character in tow you choose a realm to explore out of the Nexus hub world.

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Within each realm you encounter hordes of monsters based on fantasy creatures and tropes led by a larger boss variant.

Or… Not so fantasy creatures. Like this Sumo Master and his minions.

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Though they are the exception to the rule.

Sometimes a boss monster has multiple phases when damaged.

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In case you couldn’t tell, I really like the Sumo Master. He stands out in the best way.

Occasionally a monster will drop the entrance to a stand-alone dungeon on top of their typical loot.

These little mazes have a major boss at the end that will usually drop a couple pieces of loot.

Now would probably be a good time to discuss gameplay specifics so you can understand the loot system.

RotMG is simple to play. You move with WASD, aim and shoot with the mouse and use a special attack with spacebar.

That’s it.

Every class uses different weapons, special items and armor alongside a few overlapping items like rings with universal effects like raising health.

Characters are balanced for different play styles. Archers can shoot up to three arrows at once, making them more offensive than the Priest with one slow shot. However, the Priest’s special attack is a local heal that can buff allies.

Yet none of them have armor that compares to the Warrior.

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My slightly more open character roster.

Loot drops are the only way to improve your character’s weapon and armor without resorting to microtransactions, but enemies are just as likely to drop goods for a different class.

Killing monsters will level your character up to 20, at which point you start accruing “fame.” Whenever they die (because there is Permadeath in RotMG), fame is tallied up for a system where each class can earn up to five achievement stars.

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RIP Wizard…

As far as I’m aware the stars are purely a status symbol, though fame can be leveraged to do things like start a guild.

That’s about all there is. You fight hordes to level up and gain loot to survive until you can defeat bigger boss enemies on each map, all the while collecting pets and making friends.

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Once all of the Mad God’s “Heroes” are killed, all players in a realm are teleported to the Mad God’s Castle… But so much happens that my game lags until I get kicked out.

So I’ve never personally seen Oryx.

But the game is still incredibly fun in how simple and immediately goal-oriented it is. The art style is charming and design philosophy appeals to my fantasy leanings.

That said, my main problem with RotMG besides its tendency to lag (on browser at least — I’ve never the steam version) is microtransactions.

There are an obnoxious amount of quality of life benefits locked behind currency you need to buy with real money.

If you could purchase these things with fame or obtain coins through grinding, I wouldn’t be so annoyed at the system.

But to be fair, nothing is behind a paywall that impedes gameplay. Even if in-game purchases are more prevalent than I remember.

At least additions like daily log-in bonuses have improved the experience over time.

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Now if only they could add more than one looping music track over every part of the game.

You’ll want to play on mute. Perhaps catch up on GDQ runs in the background.

Music aside, if you’ve never heard of Realm of the Mad God before, I’d recommend checking it out. It’s a free game with a big history on the Internet that’s simple to pick up and try.

If you have heard of it before, let me know! I’d be cool to get some confirmation I’m not the only person in my small sphere of influence that has challenged Oryx.

My thoughts on Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct

My thoughts on Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to 2019’s E3 outside of the surprise Keanu Reeves appearance, but today was Nintendo’s time to shine.

That’s all the introduction you need.

Here’s the 40-minute video. Let’s talk about it.


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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Kicking off the Direct was a flashy cinematic of Ultimate’s World of Light in which Link was rescued by The Hero, our next DLC fighter and Dragon Quest representative.

You’d think that would be the big news. Yet Nintendo had one more trick up their sleeve to conclude the Direct:

Banjo-Kazooie.

I’ve never played a DQ game or Banjo-Kazooie, but I know plenty of people who love those series and I’m happy to see them so happy.

Especially given the love and attention both fighters are getting. The Hero has multiple alternate costumes and a final smash featuring different protagonists from that series, Grant Kirkhope was involved in doing the music for Banjo…

It’s just perfect.

Masahiro Sakurai truly is the king of reviving Nintendo history, and looping in Rare was a great way to include a fighter with die-hard fans who fits in the roster far better than Minecraft Steve or Master Chief.

Great way to bookend the Direct.


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Image courtesy of My Nintendo News

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Subtitle: Hotel Mario 2?

Though I wasn’t a huge a fan of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon compared to the original, this game looks pretty incredible. It has a creepy atmosphere directly reminiscent of Ghostbusters mixed with a Super Mario Sunshine vacation plot.

And it has built-in Gooigi multiplayer, unlike the shoed-in stuff for the Luigi’s Mansion 3DS remake.

I’m pretty into this game honestly. Especially after seeing this kaiju boss reveal Nintendo put out after the Direct:

It’s just too bad Nintendo has a billion other great games coming out, or Luigi swinging a chair around with a vacuum would be at the top of my list.


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Image courtesy of engaget

Link’s Awakening

Here’s one of those games that unfortunately pushes Luigi’s Mansion aside.

I was incredibly excited for this remake of a Zelda game I’ve always heard praised but never took the time to play when they announced it a few months back.

The new trailer didn’t show too much more than its Sept. 20 release date…

EXCEPT FOR A TOP-DOWN 2D DUNGEON CREATOR.

THE THING I LITERALLY ASKED FOR WHEN I GRADUATED:

Thanks Nintendo, you always make my dreams come true. Just be sure to add Minish Cap into the official Zelda Maker.


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Image courtesy of Nintendo UK

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I wrote a Fire Emblem Heroes post just this morning, so of course I was going to talk about this game.

All we got today was a cinematic trailer that mostly stood out because some character had a sword that turned into a bone whip. Which is fine because we got a big gameplay trailer already.

It mainly featured lore that won’t make a ton of sense until the game releases in…

Wait, late July?

Damn, I thought I had more time. Stop making so many games I want to buy Nintendo, I’m still addicted to Stardew Valley for the next few months!


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Pokémon Sword and Shield

I wasn’t expecting any new Pokémon news after the recent Direct, but Nintendo truly is a benevolent overlord.

During the presentation we found out that the Pokéball peripheral from Let’s Go can act as a modern day Pokéwalker and that the Water-type Gym Leader will be Nessa:

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Image courtesy of Serebii.net

She’s a little derivative of Shelly from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, but not a bad design at all.

During the Nintendo Treehouse we discovered the existence of a perfect Electric-type pup named Yamper and a little Dark/Fairy gremlin named Impidimp:

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

One of them is God’s perfect child and the other is his greatest mistake.

However, we also found out that not every Pokémon in the National Dex will be compatible with Sword and Shield, which is a step in the wrong direction after Sun and Moon already didn’t have a Pokédex entry for every monster you could collect.

Go check out Serebii’s page, because they have the full list of everything from today.


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Image courtesy of Sonic the Hedgehog on YouTube

Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Then there’s this.

Look I played the first couple Olympic crossover games with my sister and they were decent minigame collections.

But the fact that this series is still going astounds me.

Some of you would probably prefer I put Cadence of Hyrule in this major slot since it looks cool and is only $25 bucks, which definitely entices me to buy the game when it drops this Thursday in spite of never playing Crypt of the Necrodancer.

But… I just did.

So there.


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Image courtesy of Mashable

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Like Reggie Fils-Amie, I put a lot of time into Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

New Horizons not only looks like a wonderful graphical update to the series, but an update that allows for 8-player simultaneous action while potentially building a town from scratch.

That’s… Pretty god damn incredible. Definitely worth pushing the release date to March 2020!

Already Nintendo has me feeling all:

But we’re not done just yet.


The Highlight Reel

The reel always has a billion things, so let’s lightning round what stood out to me.


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Breath of the Wild 2…?

Time to address the elephant in the room.

I made a big deal out of returning to Breath of the Wild. Yet… I didn’t actually finish the whole game.

Turns out I should get moving on that again.

Breath of the Wild is getting a direct sequel, bringing it in-line with Majora’s Mask and the Wind Waker series. A sequel where Link and Zelda are going to be traveling the ravaged Hyrule together and discover some demented shit.

The trailer was just an “in development” teaser, but they sure did succeed in making it emotionally provocative. I’m curious to find out more… Though a lot of that is based on hype from my friends’ speculations.

Which means I guess I have to go finish Breath of the Wild.

Damn you, Nintendo. Quit monopolizing my time when you’re about to monopolize my time with all these new games!


Those were the big ticket items out of this E3 Direct for me, but there were a lot of smaller things that piqued my interest too.

A Final Fantasy Tactics-type game for The Dark Crystal, No More Heroes 3 with weird Star Wars jokes and Gundam fights and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 among them. Plus the Switch is getting the return of Contra, The Witcher 3, Secret of Mana, Resident Evil 5 and 6 and a Panzer Dragoon remake.

Nintendo really knocked it out of the park this year, especially considering the rest of E3 wasn’t phenomenal from what I’ve heard.

Though was there any doubt when they began their Direct by capitalizing on the “Bowser is Nintendo of America’s new president” joke?

All they’re missing is this:

Let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s E3 Direct! What game are you most excited for?


Featured Image courtesy of Nintendo Life

Fire Emblem: Days of Future Past

Fire Emblem: Days of Future Past

Within a few days, Intelligent Systems announced the 3.6.0 Update to Fire Emblem Heroes — which includes “revival banners” for discontinued 5 Star heroes — and this Awakening child unit banner.

Considering the 2019 summer-themed heroes are right around the corner, I have come to the conclusion that the developers just desperately want our wallets.

I can’t help but bemoan the fact that these units are pretty worth the investment despite those incoming banners I’d also like to use.


Summoning Focus: From a Future Past


Part of me hopes this banner is a pseudo-reference to X-Men: Days of Future Past so Fire Emblem can cash in on X-Men: Dark Phoenix being in theaters… Despite the shlock Dark Pheonix turned out to be.

But I digress.

Nah is the headliner for this banner, and a fairly worthwhile one. Oracle’s Breath is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.

She and Yarne are also some of my favorite child units. Yarne and Morgan are top five Awakening ships for me, so I’m more than willing to pull for him — which is good considering he’s a speedy boi between the Solo, Wave and Galeforce skills.

Kjelle and Brady are less significant characters to me personally and they have weaker skill sets.

But I am a fan of Kjelle and Owain… Despite Owain going to Nohr and becoming Odin, who I ship with Camilla.

I like her with Severa too, yet Severa also goes to Nohr so it’s the same problem.

That returning trio in Fates really screwed up my shipping charts. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in Three Houses.

Also Cynthia is coming soon. I didn’t connect with her in Awakening, but I’ve warmed to her confident demeanor over time.

Her descriptive text in Heroes is a perfect example why:

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Isn’t that amazing?

Luckily there’s a Forging Bonds event to give us some free summon tickets, because that should supplement the orbs out of this story chapter so I can save up for Lute… Or Genny… Or the summer units.


Book III, Chapter 8 — Truth of a Name

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At the start of this chapter, the Order of Heroes continue exploring the destroyed Ask from Chapter 7. They want to find out what happened to it, as that may provide clues on how to stop Hel.

Along the way they encounter Líf twice. The first time he almost kills Alfonse, but is stopped by Sharena.

Don’t worry about that. Foreshadowing.

As is the second encounter where Eir tries to find out what memories were wiped away by her mother.

There are a few bland encounters with Awakening kids that conclude in a library.

The Order discovers that this Askr was destroyed in a future timeline when they teamed up with Embla to enact yet another deus ex machina Rite that makes Hel vulnerable…

At the cost of all the lives in both kingdoms.

Bodes well for whenever Princess Veronica and Loki show up.

After that exposition dump, the final battle features Líf as its boss. Once he is defeated Alfonse goes Sherlock Holmes on our asses and deduces:

Líf has actually been doomed future Alfonse all along! Which means that Thrasir is probably Veronica, both of whom became Hel’s generals after they died trying to stop her.

Feh Plot Meme

So I guess now we get a ‘change the doomed future’ arc.

Fitting set-up for a Chapter that features the Awakening children.


Intelligent Systems just had to schedule this update for the same day as Nintendo’s E3 presentation.

It’s clever. Pick up that search activity.

Unfortunately, staying up late to write this will make me less likely to catch the 9:00 a.m. presentation live. Not that I really mind as the video will be online, so I’m still planning on writing a post about my thoughts on that.

At least Fire Emblem finally pulled my head out of Stardew Valley.

Because like I predicted… It has me hooked. Hard.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the new Awakening children! Hopefully the upcoming banners don’t completely overshadow them.

My thoughts on the June 5, 2019 Pokémon Direct

My thoughts on the June 5, 2019 Pokémon Direct

Is there anything better than waking up to Pokémon trending all over Twitter?

Especially when the series is trending because of some brand new Sword and Shield information dropped in this morning’s Pokémon Direct!

There’s a bunch to talk about, good and possibly not-as-good, so let’s jump right into what stands out the most.


The Galar Region and the Wild Area

Over the years, I’ve learned that my favorite thing about Pokémon is the world each region helps to create. A world that’s similar to ours but flourishing with fantastical elements on account of the creatures roaming through it.

Unova, Kalos and Alola made this especially apparent as Game Freak experimented with landmarks and traditions from places outside of Japan to great effect.

For all its faults, I have to commend Alola for its Hawaii/pacific island setting. Gen 7’s theme song was a perfect tone setter.

The theme song for the UK-based Galar Region heard in this and the last Direct is a bit more generic, but aesthetically the world looks like series of a watercolor paintings on the graphically superior Nintendo Switch.

The trainer models also look far better than the flat-faced happy trainers in Alola, and fist bumping Scorbunny helped me settle on my starter.

Hands down the best thing we learned about the Galar Region today is the existence of the “Wild Area.”

The Wild Area is ostensively a Breath of the Wild-esque open world that connects towns with free-roaming movement and camera controls. It also has overworld wild Pokémon like Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee who change via environment and time of day.

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

Also it has local multiplayer roaming elements. Need I say more?

Luckily Galar’s human inhabitants don’t seem too bad either.

 

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

Professor Magnolia is an obvious Queen Elizabeth reference and the first female Professor since Juniper, while her Granddaughter Sonia…

Already has a lot of smut drawn of her.

Because she’s really cute and that’s how the internet does.

 

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

Meanwhile Hop is our generic rival/friend-type who has a name eerily similar to both Hau and Hugh… Because Game Freak loves rivals with ‘H’ names apparently.

His older brother is Leon, the region champion and person Hop wants to defeat.

Personally I think the gameplay themes of Pokémon could have been utilized better if Leon was your character’s brother that you aspire to beat. But early revealing a beloved, undefeated champion with links to other major characters possibly sets up a fun secret villain twist.

Or maybe he’ll be Henry VII like I said earlier:


New Pokémon

That’s enough about boring people. In today’s Direct we got to meet new Pokémon.

Glossifleur and Eldegoss

 

Images courtesy of serebii.net

The signature line of Galar’s gym leader Milo, Glossifleur and Eldegoss are cute in their own right.

I’m not enamored with them necessarily, but the fact that they have Regenerator as an ability means we can probably expect to see a little meta action out of them if their stats are decent.

Wooloo

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

He’s a fluffy sheep and he rolls around like Sonic.

Not sure I need to say anything else about this beloved Normal-type.

Corviknight

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

Corviknight is easily the big winner of today’s Direct.

This super rad armored raven is a killer Steel/Flying-type that puts Skarmory to shame and has the hilarious role of being intertown fast travel.

I’d let this boy caw in my face and fly me to a new place in a heartbeat.

Drednaw

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of Drednaw.

It’s typing and abilities are decent, but something about the design is a little too… Rough around the edges for me.

Four out of five ain’t bad.

All of the new and returning Pokémon will interact with the world, either free in the Wild Area or playing hopscotch with NPCs like we see a Wynaut in the trailer.

I can’t emphasize how much I love that aspect of these games.

However, there are two Pokémon that astute viewers will notice I’ve missed. Unfortunately they comprise the first negative thing I have to say.


The Legendaries

 

Images courtesy of serebii.net

Meet Zacian and Zamazenta, the Legendary Pokémon of Galar.

Zacian is a good boy who runs around with a sword in his mouth and I love him.

Zamazenta is literally the exact same Pokémon but carrying a different weapon.

Whose decision was it to make the Legendary Pokémon so similar? I could see there being lore about the same Pokémon with different held items, but Cosmog kind of just did that idea. And Solgaleo/Lunala at least weren’t a bland duo.

Maybe they would have worked in a Rome-themed Region playing off of Romulus and Remus. But as it stands I’m ambivalent at best.


Dynamax

Pokémon changes mechanics frequently to keep things fresh.

Up to Gen 4’s physical/special move split, most of those changes were integral to underlying battle mechanisms that evolved the games.

Mega Evolution in Gen 6 was arguably the first “spectacle” battle mechanic — if you don’t count Chatot in Gen 4 or the sometimes still relevant Triple Battles.

Megas were a selling point by all accounts, something unique to Kalos. But it was a tastefully handled gimmick that gave old favorites new potential and meshed well with series’ themes of bonding with Pokémon. It remains popular.

Much less tastefully handled was Gen 7’s Z-Moves that provided a once-per-battle super attack which was only interesting when tied to a handful of unique Pokémon.

They were situational and not nearly as well conceived.

Now we have Dynamaxing: A similar limited-per-battle gimmick that turns Pokémon giant and essentially gives them a full set of Z-Moves for three turns.

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

I like some aspects of the Dynamax system, but overall I believe it could do more harm than good.

In the Wild Area, local co-op allows trainers to take on Dynamax Pokémon together.

This is cool, but I hope co-op isn’t limited to it. The main selling point of Dynamax Raids is encountering Pokémon you can’t find otherwise, but you’ll need a little more to impress a 22-year-old Pokémon scholar who already owns every creature.

They also appear to be giving every gym leader the ability to Dynamax, and I love the idea of making tougher challenges with unique mechanics. Like how Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire used Mega Evolution in its Pokémon League.

But Kaiju Pokémon are more restrictive than Megas design-wise.

Every gym in Galar will be a soccer stadium with an open ceiling for these Dynamax transformations. The developers use this to emphasize an idea of battling as spectator sport in Galar, but uniform gyms remove the uniqueness of a palace designed by its inhabitants from earlier games.

Part of why I love Black and White 2 is because every gym was unique down to the remix of the same theme for each building. That was awesome, and we might lose that uniqueness because of Dynamaxing.


And that, ladies and mentlegen, is today’s Sword and Shield info dump.

I might not be super impressed with Dynamax or the game’s Legendaries, but I’m still incredible stoked for new Pokémon games.

And I’m stoked to talk about about the build-up to them!

This post didn’t even touch on enhancements to Sun and Moon’s RotomDex, or my fan theory that the train system in Galar looks incredible similar to the unused train station of Couriway Town in Kalos.

Let me know all your thoughts about Pokémon Sword and Shield somewhere on the Internet, because lord knows I’ll be thinking of nothing else for the next week!

She’s Mythic and divine

She’s Mythic and divine

In Fire Emblem, some of Humanity’s greatest heroes wield a legendary weapon known as the Falchion that is imbued with the power to cut through dark forces and the dragons who often wreck havoc.

Alm, the Saint-King of Valentia, bore Falchion when he struck down a being of pure chaotic power.

Marth, the Hero-King of Archanea, bore another version when he saved the realm from a wizard who hoped to abuse the strength of the Divine Dragons.

Ylissian Exalt Chrom took his ancestor Marth’s blade to fight the Fell Dragon Grima, and Chrom’s daughter Lucina brought a Parallel Falchion back from her doomed future to help change fate.

Those descendants of the Hero-King were marked with a Brand of the Exalt to show the holy bloodline they inherited from Naga: King of the Divine Dragons who created those legendary blades in her ultimate benevolence toward humans.

Despite lacking the power to create, many consider Naga the world’s creation deity.


Naga: Dragon Divinity


Naga’s history in Fire Emblem lore ties back to one idea: Killing malevolent dragons.

Her skill set as the first Astra Mythic Hero in Fire Emblem Heroes reflects this idea perfectly.

She flies in (reminiscent of her appearance in Fire Emblem Awakening) and grants every adjacent ally effectiveness against dragon foes. For each ally with that descriptor she receives a boost to all of her stats.

That’s her entire gimmick. It’s an interesting and likely effective one, but narrowly focused toward players who actively seek competitive online matches.

Though to be fair her A Skill refers specifically to Aether Raids, so she’s obviously meant to appear in online modes of battle.

I happen to not be very focused on the Player-versus-Player aspects of Heroes, so Naga is more interesting to me on account of her lore than her battle prowess.

Yet she comes with a good enough entourage — particularly on blue stones — for me to like her banner quite a bit:

Every stone on this banner is decent for me except colorless, where I’m only missing Velouria.

Out of the rest I only had Eirika, Hector and Lyn before summoning. Blue was the most exciting between Naga and that Legendary Tiki who has eluded me for months, but I wouldn’t have been upset with too many of the summons here.

Luckily I wound up getting a great case scenario using the orbs I’ve saved up over a few banners.

I didn’t get Naga, but I got these two:

Tiki is worthwhile by herself, especially given her +Atk nature. I don’t feel particularly compelled to spend any more time on this banner as a result.

Though if I did feel compelled, at least there are a few more orbs to nab off of this Mythic Battle Map:

Fighting her on Grima’s back in the reverse position of Legendary Grima’s battle map is a nice touch Intelligent Systems.

A very nice touch.


All-and-all this is a pretty great Mythic Banner. An interesting main hero, a solid collection surrounding her and not many orbs spent.

Though in my opinion it’s hilarious to think about how Naga was put in the game now when there are still hundreds of characters to power creep her in the future.

Just imagine some low-level hero completely outclassing the Divine Dragon King.

Thus is the curse of a gatcha game, I suppose. It’ll be interesting to see how Game Freak handles a presumably similar concept with Pokémon Masters announced for later this year.

But that’s a series of blog posts for another day.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about Mythic Naga! I can only imagine Mila will be our next character in this category, but recently playing Sacred Stones again makes me want that game’s Demon King too. We’ll have to see where it goes.

Analyzing animation and Pokémon

Analyzing animation and Pokémon

After dealing with the mental gymnastics of drama retroactively changing content appreciation, it’s nice to find some new YouTube personalities to enjoy.

You may think replaying Sacred Stones would sate my appetite for entertainment, but the game’s weakest point is its soundtrack. I pointed that out in my essay, and it proved to be true.

So I looked for things to listen to while playing, and my newest obsession has been a series on Pokémon typings from Lockstin & Gnoggin.

There’s actually a somewhat interesting history behind my discovery of this series.

The channel’s “Every Pokémon Type Explained” has been recommended to me by the platform a number of times. Each episode was recognizable from a uniform thumbnail with black borders around images of different Pokémon with clickbait-y text suggesting they should NOT be that typing.

It always seemed over-the-top for my tastes, so I never watched any part of the series.

Cue life lesson about not judging a book by its cover.

As fate would have it, I intersected with the channel again through a collaboration they did with the animation channel TerminalMontage.

TerminalMontage is another fairly recent addition to my watch list, but became a favorite thanks to his “something about” series where the plots of video games are just torn apart with a goofy cartoon style and memes.

I’m particularly a fan of any Star Fox-related video, as he leans hard into the Super Smash Bros. Melee meta Fox who jolts around with the sounds of a GameCube controller clicking in the background.

Makes me laugh literally every time.

Brilliant stuff if you’re into fast, purposefully random comedy.

His recent animation depicting a Fortnite-style battle royale featuring Legendary Pokémon really caught my attention.

Like his prior Pokémon battle royale video, it was full of interesting deep cuts that made me want to know more about the thought process behind putting the project together.

So this time I paid attention when they recommended watching Lockstin’s breakdown of the Legendary Pokémon battle royale. Because he helped plan the videos.

I enjoyed his style of commentary and seemingly well-calcified knowledge of Pokémon lore. Thus, I finally bit the bullet and started watching the typing videos I’d put off.

In essence each video takes one of the 18 types (minus two as of my writing this) and tries to divide each Pokémon of that type into categories of real-life equivalence. And yes, he does actually indicate which ones might not belong. Clickbait justified.

For instance the rock-type video divides monsters into living rocks or beings that adorn rocks, and further breaks down what kind of real mineral each Pokémon represents.

Meanwhile the ghost-type video (in lieu of real-world science) breaks down every monster into what mythological legend or ghost story they represent.

It’s a really interesting and analytical series about what many probably consider an innocuous franchise. I appreciate the depth and flashy style of editing that shows a lot of care on the production’s back-end.

As a result, that’s my recommendation for the day. I’m always a fan of pointing out great content where I find it… And I really don’t have that much else to talk about tonight.

But stay tuned.

Tomorrow I will complete my video game/YouTube/movie media trifecta with a review of a little movie I’m going to see called John Wick: Chapter 3.

And boy I’m excited!

Wrapping up Gaming

Wrapping up Gaming

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here first.

I’m officially done with Gaming…

In American Culture.

You know, that class I was taking for fun with my friend Mimi this last semester? Despite it neither fitting into my Comm major nor my Psych minor.

As you may recall from this great post, that class had the last few assignments I was working on. An essay and a Let’s Play video based on Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.

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Up to 8 views as of this post!

This evening I found out that I got a 94 percent on both assignments, which landed me at a 102.22 percent in the class overall.

It looks like the professor added extra points to one assignment, and I don’t feel the need to address him in case that turns out to be an accident and we knock my grade down.

Gaming in American Culture was the last holdout for grades, so now I have the full scale of how my last semester shook out:

  • Comm 495T (Internship class) — 100 percent
  • Communications Law — 97.1 percent
  • Cognitive Psychology — 96.35 percent

My Honors classes don’t have grades associated with them… But I turned in my Project materials and give a presentation, which should constitute 100 percent.

Given all of the accolades I received along the way, not a bad way to end things.

Certainly good enough to feel confident in joining the Alumni Association:

Thus, my academic journey is over… Until I inevitably come back for a teaching degree or something.

Plus I’ll have to go back to campus for Alumni Association swag.

And I need to pick up my physical Honors Project once it’s printed.

But that’s all in the uncertain future. For now I can kick back and relax, even for a few days as I side-eye pieces of writing for Gladeo and looming job applications.

Actual gaming has been a huge part of my decompressing formula, because you’d be insane to think that my joke was an indication of actually quitting this sweet addiction.

In that regard, Gaming in American Culture gave me one last gift: An excuse to play through my favorite Fire Emblem game once more.

I didn’t stop playing Sacred Stones when I finished that paper. I’ve been carrying my 3DS around again to get through it.

As luck would have it, I happened to finish my current Eirika’s route run the same night as I found out my class grades. Hence the Featured Image and this picture of my favorite couple’s flavor text:

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Though I may have jumped the gun in pairing them together again so quickly.

I’m not going to say I regret the decision, because they’re my precious babies and I’ve always been the kind of person to fall in love with a pairing and ship them every time.

But Sacred Stones apparently has a mechanic where you can view previous support conversations from the main menu — something I believed only came in later entries.

Once I realized that, I decided I should go for new character pairings and appease the Completionist side of my brain since I’ve been stuck at the same level for years.

Even in this one run I found at least one new ship I adore in Lute and Kyle!

Definitely a great thing, but also deeply troubling.

After all, now I know there are new pairings that I may love… which is more incentive to try new support paths.

And I just so happened to save a separate file for Ephraim’s route.

So between work and Minecraft with my friends, I might just be diving into this Fire Emblem rabbit hole again immediately.

Let’s just hope I don’t burn myself out before Three Houses.

No love for these bridal heroes

No love for these bridal heroes

Good afternoon, world! Been a while.

I took the last few days off because I was spending extra time with my grandparents and…

That.

After one whole day doing absolutely nothing post-Graduation, it’s about time I jump back into the saddle for my daily writing exercises!

What better catalyst for that writing resurgence than a new banner in Fire Emblem Heroes?

… In hindsight basically anything else. Because it figures this is a banner I could give no fewer shits about.

Personal obligations to consistency ahoy!


Bridal Belongings


When I say this is a post written almost purely out of obligation, I’m not kidding. Maybe it’s in contrast to my excited reactions for Berkut and Alm, but I can’t remember the last time a banner was this much of a dud for me.

When I first watched the video, I had no idea who I was looking at. Usually I’ll have heard of a character if they’re popular, but not this time around.

Sigrun and Tanith are from the Radiant games, interestingly paired with Sanaki’s appearance last year.

Meanwhile Pent and (Tempest Trial reward) Louise are from The Blazing Blade.

Both convenient gaps in my Fire Emblem knowledge.

Unfortunately, none of them have anything to their unit skills that stand out enough to make me care.

Thus, Fjorm is the only character I’m interested in because I know her and she has some interesting skills. She’s a flying healer who negates dancing and gives allies a grounded version of flier formation. That’s kind of cool!

It’s just too bad she’s the only one I care about, because that means I’m probably going to save my orbs for whatever Mythic Hero is rumored to be coming.

At least she’s the main focus of the Paralogue story. So we’ve got that going for us?


Paralogue 34 — Bridal Belonging

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It’s just too bad Fjorm’s starring role is undercut by vague generalities meant to push an unrequited love subplot that Intelligent Systems doesn’t even fully commit to.

Our story begins with the Order of Heroes taking Fjorm to the Bridal festival. She’s admiring all the dresses when one bride-to-be turns out to be:

A way cuter version of herself.

Damnit Heroes, stop making me want to summon for this one character on a dud banner. I need to save my orbs.

Alfonse suggests this Fjorm may from the future rather than just an alternate Fjorm. An idea that sets an entirely new precedent? I don’t think having future versions of your timeline’s self has ever been established before.

And I’d rather not think about the Back to the Future shenanigans that might ensure if the character is summoned under those circumstances.

We follow Bride Fjorm as she gets advice about love from the new units, suggesting she’s worthy if she unconditionally loves a person or would give everything to protect them.

She says there is a person she would do that for, and based on prior experiences I can surmise she’s talking about the player character.

But this Paralogue does everything it can to cut her off.

I guess it does that because once the final battle is over, Sharena offers to be Fjorm’s wingman after she refuses to tell Alfonse who she would “theoretically” love.

As prior experience suggests, Sharena also has a thing for the player character. Which means we’ve got a real drama-bomb building under the surface.

Because this wouldn’t be an anime gatcha game without all of the waifus being in love with you for no other reason than to incentivize spending money on your preferred smooch.


So that’s that. My cynical, bored take on 2019 brides in Fire Emblem Heroes.

I’m coming from the bias of ignorance, so if these characters are worth caring about let me know! I’d like to play through their games eventually, after all.

But for now, this is all I’ve got.

If nothing else it’s good to be back in the writing mood!

I’ll have more time to come up with things to write now that we’re in Summer Initiative take 2, but other than an official write-up on Graduation once I have my Grad photos I have no idea what I’ll be writing about.

It’s going to be a real grab bag. Look forward to that!

My new Let’s Play channel

My new Let’s Play channel

What’s up, gamers. T1meslayer here with a channel update for all y’all.

A few months ago I launched a series of toy unboxing videos with my sister that has gone on to achieve great acclaim. That first video has almost 100 views, and that not-LEGO Mimikyu was a star in my class’ Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Our YouTube community has reached amazing heights, and I couldn’t be more proud of you all for helping me get to the coveted 1 subscriber milestone.

That’s why I’ve decided to launch a new project.

I’ll be going toe-to-toe with industry greats like the Game Grumps and Markiplier through my brand new gameplay channel: T1meslayer plays.

As you know I’m a huge Nintendo fanatic, so that’s going to be my primary focus. In fact, we’re starting off with one of my favorite titles on the GameBoy Advance. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (2004).

To help stand out from my competitors, I’m taking a new approach to YouTube gaming that I like to call “non-chronological let’s plays.”

We’ve all seen the first levels of certain games played a dozen times as new channels start to play, only to collapse under the weight of mediocrity before they get to the end.

I’m going to solve that problem by starting with Episode 5 and then jumping around.

So if you’re up to going on this journey with me, you can see the first episode of my series here:

Thanks so much for sticking by me during this turbulent time as I get ready to graduate. Like, comment and subscribe to see what’s coming next!



Alright. Obviously I don’t have a gaming channel.

Sorry to disappoint those of you who might be interested in watching that cringe-fest.

This let’s play video is actually one of the final assignments for my Gaming in American Culture class. We had to essentially parody the YouTube video game scene to try and convey some ideas we’re focusing on in our papers.

My paper is all about Sacred Stones, so my let’s play is an episode of what would be my Sacred Stones playthrough.

It was a nightmare actually putting this together (as one might expect when trying to pull an 18-minute video off of their iPhones to edit on a 10-year-old laptop), but I actually really like how it came out?

Like sure, I’m terrible on camera. And technology was so difficult that I skipped blog writing yesterday. But I cut out dead air and added an editorial commentary track to inject some humor, I think it’s a nice piece.

Nice enough to share publicly, at least.

Yet sharing the video is bittersweet. This is literally my penultimate college assignment. All I have left is the final paper for this same class.

Today was my last day of college ever — and it also happened to be my Gaming in American Culture.

Learned about some interesting things from these presentations. In sports especially, like the existence of pickleball and the beer mile.

The latter of which makes me happy that I don’t drink.

“Bittersweet” is really the best way I can describe my feelings. I’m happy to move onto the next stage in my life, especially since I can share the celebration with my family — particularly my grandparents from Florida, who both flew in together for the first time since my Bar Mitzvah.

Almost 10 years ago. Yikes.

But at the same time I have genuinely enjoyed my time in Academia, and the idea of finding a real job still terrifies me.

You don’t have to worry yourself with that part of my psyche, however. For the next couple days I’ll probably be posting all sorts of positive things on social media to try and convince you all that my life is nothing but wonderful.

Because that’s really what social media is all about, isn’t it?

In the meantime, enjoy my cringe-y let’s play.

Please.

I’m proud of it.