Tag: Legend of Zelda

What’s in a name?

While I can think of very few distractions better suited to the title than a video game where I’m able to kill a gun-themed dragon with bees, Enter the Gungeon cannot keep me from doing some work I need to do forever.

Mostly because the Switch battery doesn’t last forever. Otherwise it most definitely could keep me from my work for forever.

But that being said it doesn’t, and thus I have broken away from the addiction of roguelikes to work some more on my Senior Honors Project.

I’ve taken a bit of a turn in my approach to the project as the summer starts to wind down. Originally I had been simply starting to write the novel I’m working on while using a separate outline to keep track of things (as I pointed out in a previous blog post). However, I’ve found that hasn’t worked out phenomenally well.

It mostly left me in a place where I had a basic idea of some key plot points and the main characters, but no real sense of progression to build upon. Just figuring out things as I went along.

So I’ve decided to step back from the actual physical writing and focus more on the finer details of outlining this puppy.

Notably:

  • Fleshing out a more complete plot line
  • Coming up with the characters I want my heroes to encounter in their journey, with all the relationships those entail
  • Actually imagining more of the world they’re in, different names for locations included

With those in place I think writing a novel should actually be a sensible pursuit.

The thing that I’ve found most difficult about all this is naming everything. Who would have guessed that when you’re building a world from scratch you have to name all of the things?

All the characters, all the locales, all of the lore bits. So on and so forth.

Luckily I’ve made the task easier for myself by not establishing my world as one that has very strict hard-and-fast rules. I’m not Tolkien creating a crazy immersive, new fantasy world full of completely novel interactions amongst different races.

If anything… I’m kind of piggybacking off of the work he already did years ago.

See, for those who aren’t aware, my novel is a parody of sorts. It started as something meant to emulate the ideas of a book called ‘Redshirts’ but in the fantasy genre rather than science fiction.

Then I decided to narrow my focus even further. While I don’t necessarily read a ton of fantasy novels, I do play a lot of fantasy-themed video games. Zelda, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy. So on and so forth.

This my novel evolved into one where the focus is on NPCs in a video game who gain some semblance of sentience, realizing they are caught up in the tropes of a world created by game developers who, like me, love fantasy themes.

As well as tropes of the video game medium as a whole, of course.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping not to create a boring environment seeped in tropes for the sake of it. Hopefully by the end I’ll have an interesting world inspired by and utilizing said tropes.

Because of this I’ve felt free to come up with names for things in a number of ways without having to worry about standardizing too heavily.

Looking up name generators is a good general practice for character names especially, an idea bestowed by my friend Sam who does similar things for her Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.

However, I’m also trying to look to some real life inspirations. For example, the holy order of royal guards in the kingdom which presides over the land (currently unnamed since, like I said, names are hard) is based on my mom’s name.

Or in a more fun example, one character I have is named after this glorious little thing I found at Ikea the other day.

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Seriously how could I not make Eldig Black a semi-significant character in my story.

It’s just too perfect.

In fact, just perfect for the grizzled, Old veteran in charge of watching over the prince of the kingdom. The Gunter to my Corrin in Fire Emblem Fates, or the Jagen to my Marth in the original Fire Emblem.

Because at least one faction of characters in my story is not-so-vaguely inspired by the archetypical group of traveling adventurers in the early stages of a Fire Emblem game.

Those are just a few of the ideas I’m juggling right now, trying to create a cohesive world with a web of relationships among its inhabitants.

If you’re a creative-type, I’d love to hear what kind of means you tend to use for inspiration when it comes to things like character creation. Let me know somewhere on the Internet.

My thoughts on the January 2018 Nintendo Direct Mini

My thoughts on the January 2018 Nintendo Direct Mini

I’ve been busy the last couple of days between training for the Daily Titan, working on three stories for our first issue of the semester, writing some stuff for Gladeo and plenty of other little time consuming things, so I didn’t have time to really write something extended on the Nintendo Direct Mini that premiered earlier.

After watching through it again, however, I decided I didn’t exactly have a lot to say about the games they talked about in the first place. As a result I figured I could just run though a couple of quick fire thoughts here before working on writing my Fire Emblem Heroes post for tomorrow. It shouldn’t take all that long ideally, and I am interested in putting some of my mind on paper.

Metaphorically.

The 14 minute direct came completely unbeknownst to me, but I’m glad my friends let me know to stumble upon it because there are a few things on the list of announcements that I’m really glad I found out about now.

Of course there were a few throwaway things for me throughout. Namely the Pokkén Tournament expansion, the Dragon Quest Builders demo, Ys VIII, SNK Heroines, Art of Fighting 2, Fe and Celeste. For one reason or another none of those games really spoke to me, so if you’re hoping I talk about them then you’re probably going to be a bit disappointed.

Beyond those there were quite a few things mentioned that I’m quite excited about. For example, I’m really looking forward to jumping back into Kirby with Kirby Star Allies.

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Image courtesy of kirby.wikia.com

The game seems to be combining the art style of Triple Deluxe (one of my favorites in the series) and an extended version of the ability combination from Kirby 64 and Squeak Squad. The thing that got me more excited about this title is the fact that it’s coming out on March 16.

 

 

 

I had no idea it was going to be that early, but I’m very excited knowing there’s at least one game to look forward to early on this year.

Seriously Kirby is one of my favorite Nintendo properties. Even if the games tend to be on the easier side, they’re never not fun. They’re always a blast to play and this one promises to be a blast to play on a system that has already given us the amazing next steps of Mario and the Legend of Zelda.

So yeah can we just skip ahead to March? Maybe?

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Image courtesy of Nintendo.co.uk

Nintendo also promises a port of Hyrule Warriors definitive edition in the spring featuring a combined roster of all the main and DLC characters from both the Wii U and 3DS versions. It seems like this could be a good opportunity for me to go back and get that game since I missed out on it during its first run of popularity, which is an especially promising idea considering it’s going to be a more complete package.

Plus, I still haven’t gotten Fire Emblem Warriors either… So I really need to dip my toes in the Warriors series eventually.

Another Nintendo game making a return on the Switch is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

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Image courtesy of neogaf.com

I don’t know that I’m as excited for this title coming back as I am for Hyrule Warriors, but if nothing else both of these games returning sets a promising precedent for something like… Say… Super Smash Brothers 4 to get a definitive version on the Switch.

One can dream.

Also, playing Mario Odyssey and spending an obsessive amount of time in New Donk City has rekindled some of my love for the big ape. Add in Funky Kong as a new playable character and I’m probably a little more open-minded for Tropical Freeze as a result.

Speaking of Mario Odyssey, it’s one of three games getting an update soon. The others are Pokkén Tournament, which I already said I don’t feel too strongly about since I really have no intent to own that game, and Mario + Rabbids which is another game I don’t own despite being more interested in it.

But hey, Donkey Kong is being added to that game. So… Tropical Freeze callback? Or something…

Anyway, in the Odyssey update Nintendo will be adding a new mode called Luigi’s Balloon World.

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Image courtesy of Polygon.com

First of all, Luigi. Adding him into the game makes this already a win in my book.

Beyond Luigi just being amazing, the minigame the update adds does seem interesting in its own right. Essentially there are two aspects to it. The first had players able to choose to hide a balloon somewhere in the Kingdom they’re playing on. The second lets players choose to hunt down a balloon that has been hidden by another player.

The catch is that both modes must be completed in 30 seconds.

As the announcer talks about in the Direct, this encourages a speedrun-centric style of gameplay where the players who know the most about the map around them can create the best hiding places that might be hard for more casual players to reach. It’s a really interesting way to approach Odyssey that I never would have considered implementing, but one that also feels ingeniously perfect for an on-the-go console like the Switch thanks to the short time limits.

If I’m being completely honest, that little addition to an already great game frankly seems more interesting than the entirety of Mario Tennis Aces.

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Image courtesy of nintendosoup.com

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Mario Tennis games. Mario Power Tennis was one of my favorite GameCube games. From what I understand the most recent Wii U Mario Tennis game was somewhat disappointing, however. As a result of that and the strangely real-world tennis outfits characters are wearing (like Mario up above) I’m fairly skeptical.

Interested, but skeptical.

The last major theme of this Direct that caught my interest was the amount of games being ported to the Switch that seem like unusual candidates.

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Image courtesy of overkillsoftware.com

First is Payday 2, a game which feels like it has been around forever but has never necessarily caught my interest. Even so, it just seems strange to me that Nintendo would sanction a game about (somewhat) realistic gun play and bank heists being put on their system.

Though that brings me to the second game, Dark Souls.

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Image courtesy of polygon.com

Somehow the meme that was Dark Souls on the Nintendo Switch came true. From Software’s dark, demented and incredibly difficult action adventure is finally coming to a platform that I can play it on. To be honest, as much as I’m fairly intimidated by the game, I think it’s going to be worth trying it out if for no other reason than to appreciate the cult classic status.

If I actually get around to doing that, it should be quite the adventure.

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Image courtesy of nintendowire.com

Third on the list is The World Ends with You, arguably the game I’m the most interested in.

I have no prior experience with the Nintendo DS classic – unless you count the characters appearance in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance that is. Yet, basically every person I know or follow online seems eager to put TWEWY way high up on their ‘best DS games of all time’ lists.

Just from what I’ve seen, I can imagine why. The game has a really cool anime-pixel art style and an interesting gameplay mechanic in its original form involving two characters fighting at once with players using the touch screen to control one and buttons to control the other.

That will presumably shift to being one joy con controlling each character on the Switch version, but I could be wrong on that. I don’t know what the control scheme is going to look like.

That’s just another part of what makes it so exciting for me.

Not only will it be a game with an interesting story and control scheme, it’s also going to be an extended edition with more content similar to Hyrule Warriors.

Though TWEWY has no official release date beyond coming this year, it’s honestly going to be at the top of my ‘to get’ list whenever it arrives.

Those are about my off-the-cuff thoughts on the Nintendo Direct Mini. So, I leave things at this (as usual). What did you think of the Direct? Which games are you looking forward to?

Let me know in the comments!

New Year, Fresh Room

Is it tacky to start off two blog posts in a row with the same kind of title?

While I’ve spent some time working on a few video game-themed posts today that I want to get out this week, I wound up taking a little personal detour. As we begin 2018, I figured why not start the year off right by straightening up my room?

Okay so this is definitely a weird set-up for something to write about, I’ll admit. But I’m not putting together because I want to write about cleaning my room necessarily.

Rather, I’m looking to use this post to fill the sort of secret third purpose of my blog. Outside of archiving my professional work and giving me a space to blather on about video games, I also like to think I’ll be able to one day use this place as a time capsule. You know, look back to see how things were or take inspiration from my past or… I don’t know, anything like that I suppose.

So, why not take a little look at my bedroom as it is now? After all, this point of my life is likely not too far away from the point where I’m going to wind up moving out on my own, abandoning it as a result.

If anyone is interested in seeing the place where I spend most of my time, I guess this is your chance to do so while I feel good about it looking nice. But if not, just know that this one is more for me.

So let’s start out with the place I see the most: My desk.

Overlooking my desk are some nice collectible posters of mine, which you’ll find are a frequent sight in this little tour. Super Mario Galaxy and the region maps for Kalos and Alola are the prime examples here.

There’s also a photo of my high school class up top, opposite the photo I have of my middle school class as a matter of fact. I was pretty proud of the way I laid that out when it first came about.

Some of the most notable things on my desk itself are a Kirby plush bought by my friend Jonathan in Japan and my Rowlet McDonalds toy next to the desktop computer I admittedly don’t really use. There’s also a four-star dragonball that Megan gave me for the holidays in 2016 when we were news editors together, a very dried out flower that I wore at my high school prom, a newton’s cradle that has some written out Pokémon team ideas on top and a piece of quartz that… I don’t remember where I got.

I just really like how it looks, honestly. So its been there for about as long as I can remember.

On the other side of the entryway in is my bed.

The bed itself obviously isn’t much to talk about, but above it are a number of posters and pictures and such. Among them are a map of the Hoenn region, an XKCD webcomic, a table of elements and a Terminator-inspired self portrait I drew for my high school art class.

Oh, and you can see the laundry room outside too.

Meanwhile, in the other corner…

Right now there are some more self-explanatory posters on the leftmost wall, but probably some more interesting things on display for the rest of the space.

I have my original Twilight Princess poster from an issue of Nintendo Power in 2016 – still arguably my favorite Zelda game I might add – and the Pikachu/Mimikyu picture I got for my birthday last year that’s usually up in the Newsroom is currently housed here.

Oh, and I have a signed photo of Yvonne Strahovski, who played Sarah in one of my favorite, seemingly somewhat underrated shows, Chuck.

Gotta go back and watch that again one of these days.

The floor space in that corner is also what I like to call “the piles of no return.” It’s more or less all of the binders I’ve used for different school subjects going all the way back to middle school. I say that I keep them around on the off chance I ever need the information inside again, but frankly I think I just don’t know what to do with it all since throwing it out would be a waste.

In my opinion at least.

Moving on, we get to to the next corner of my room, notably featuring my over-stuffed book shelf and the papasan that winds up being extra storage space rather than a seat more often than not.

From this angle, you can also see the orange hat I wore when I dressed as Willy Wonka for Halloween in 2016, the Porg I got as a secret Santa gift from my assistant Breanna this semester, a piece of artwork I bought of one of my favorite Pokémon Gym Leaders (Roxie, from Black 2 and White 2) and the second half of my school-year class photos. On the opposite side of the room as promised.

A little more interesting to me are some of the things hanging up on the wall here.

The Star Wars poster is pretty self-explanatory, it’s just a cool Star Wars poster.

The two hanging pieces of print, however, are special for their own reasons. The smaller one up top is the first article I ever wrote for the Daily Titan (about an upcoming ‘Pizza with the Presidents’ event) that was framed by my friend Lissete because she’s great. The one below it is actually my first major front page article for the Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.

On the other wall, stuck to the closet door, is a painting my friend Tiana made for me showcasing my favorite Pokémon, Gardevoir. There’s a whole set that she made for each of my other friends in our little group too, which is pretty sweet. Above the closet is also also an award I got in 2014 for “Excellence in Newswriting” at a Journalism Education Association Write-Off Competition. Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and I’m sure some people must have noticed the metal weapons hanging up on the jutting out part of the wall too.

Yeah… I don’t have too much of a story for these. Basically, I’ve been the Anime Expo a couple of times, and one of my favorite things to see there is the video game weapon re-creations with real metal.

So I got myself a Master Sword and a Keyblade. And they look dope.

Next up, around the room’s one window, are my main display sources.

These two pieces of furniture are combined drawer and display spaces, and are obviously part of a set with my desk that are some of the oldest things I own.

The main drawers, with my longtime backpack resting in front of it, has a couple of notable mainstay items, including a collector’s Tanuki Suit Mario figure wearing the special Mickey Mouse ears that I got during our senior end-of-ear trip there in 2015, my high school yearbooks and diploma and my Amiibo collection.

Because yeah, I have a bit of an Amiibo collection.

Don’t ask me how this got to where it is now, because frankly I’m not totally sure. I started with Smash Brothers Link, but enjoyed the display value enough that I kept it boxed, and eventually I got it in my head that I wanted to collect every single Smash Brothers Amiibo to make a nice set.

However, I have neither the space nor the resources to really do that, so for now it’s just a little wall of Amiibo that my sister likes to make fun of me for.

The T.V. cabinet and drawer space has a good amount of collectibles on top of it as well. I have a series of trophies from my time doing chess tournaments back in elementary school that are cool because they’re shaped like chess pieces, I have some goodies themed after my favorite mythical Pokémon Jirachi – including a cardboard art piece that I made in my senior high school art class, I have some Lego builds from some time ago of the Fallingwater building, Obi Wan Kenobi’s ship from the Star Wars prequels (Episode III namely) and of the Space Needle in Seattle.

The last one in particular fits in well with some of the other landmark/history-themed goods, like a model of the White House I picked up during a trip to Washington D.C. for a journalism conference some years back and a Ronald Reagan diorama of sorts dating way back to the days of a President report in elementary school. Still proud of how nice that one looks to this day.

There are a bunch of other things I like to keep out on display which mean a lot to me, but that piece of furniture is also where I keep my yearly calendar. Though I often wind up falling a week or so behind when it comes to changing the month over, it’s definitely helpful to keep it so close by in my main workspace so I can jot down important dates if necessary.

Plus, I always like to have something theming the calendar that keeps me happy. For instance, between 2017 and 2018, I went from this:

To this:

Because how can you ever be truly stressed out when you can just turn your head to the left and see some dogs being adorable?

That just about concludes my tour. I could probably go into more depth about a ton of little items strewn throughout the room, but that would honestly take forever.

I do have stories about a lot of stuff, so who knows. Maybe I’ll get to that another day.

Now, as a final note. Is this the silliest thing I’ve ever written about on my blog? Or the dumbest thing? I’ll leave that up to you likely few viewers out there to decide.

On top of that, as a side final note, if this is me from the future looking at this while going through a small nostalgia trip, I hope you enjoyed it most of all.

That said, I’ll catch everyone next time.

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.

That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.

As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.

As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.

On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.

So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.

If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.

With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?



Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.

Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme



Continue reading “My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List”

My 2017 Spring Break obsession

While a lot of people took off on exotic vacations for this often beloved week off in the middle of the semester, or did not have a week off this week at all from what I’ve gathered from a few of my friends, I’ve had a bit more of a subdued break so far overall.  Between some work business I’ve had to make sure I’m around to do, some exams I have coming up right after vacation ends (always a good time) and helping my family at home while my Dad is off his feet, it has definitely been more of a stay-cation for me this year.

Now that’s not to say I’m complaining about it, after all just having the extra time for rest-and-relaxation has been more than enough for me considering how stressful my school load has been between four classes and being a newspaper editor. Plus I got to see my Alma Mater’s spring play, Shrek the Musical, so that’s always fun.

At the same time, having the time off has given me the chance to try out a game that I’ve honestly been considering trying for some time:

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Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, another honestly stellar mobile game to add to my collection next to Nintendo’s ventures of Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes. I used to watch the card game-based anime as a kid and I was pretty into that, but my interest in the game never extended much further than that – I tried learning how to play the game as a kid but it never really went anywhere. When I saw a YouTube gamer I follow start uploading content on Duel Links, however, I found myself almost instantly hooked.  The layout of the game is great and intuitive, the music is exciting and the free-to-play model doesn’t get in the way of advancing in the game itself (which is always a god send in the mobile market)… Add onto that the strategy-based thinking that Yu-Gi-Oh lends itself to when you understand how the game works and you’ve got a very appealing package for me.

Fun fact, I was actually planning on making a blog post around Saturday when I first downloaded the game to make a joke about how I probably didn’t need the extra distraction in my life because of how much work stuff I have to do in my aforementioned classes and on the paper. Then I got so busy actually playing the game and having a good time that I wound up using just about all of my free time playing it rather than doing things like writing for this blog.

Okay that might be overexaggerating a little, since my time has also been split between my family, homework and hangouts with my friends from high school… But honestly it’s not that much of an overexaggeration. This game is seriously like an addiction for me, and I’d be close to saying I have a problem if it weren’t for the fact that my other stuff is still getting done either way.

Will I be posting a lot of Duel Links content here?  Maybe, maybe not.  I haven’t honestly decided whether or not this game is something I’d like to share my thoughts on like I have with Pokémon or Fire Emblem or whether this is more of a personal pleasure to do on my free time. This might just be one of the only big things I say about it, since if anything I might occasionally post about a new deck I’m particularly proud of or a new event that swings in, but otherwise it might not be the most apparent thing around here.

Though speaking of big decks I’m looking forward to building, I figure I should at least tease this out for any fans of the game or show as something I’m currently building up cards around:

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That’s right, this is happening. And man is it going to feel satisfying when it does.

Duel Links may have been taking on all my free time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been ignoring my other current mobile love interest, Fire Emblem. I’m rather behind in posting about what’s been going on, and I’ve come to accept the fact that I won’t always be on top of the ball in that department thanks to life, but I figure I should at least show off this photo collage to prove I at least planned on doing something with these events.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Quick-fire Fire Emblem thoughts:

  • The game’s first large-scale Voter Gauntlet took place at the beginning of March. It consisted of eight heroes in a tournament tree where players could pick their favorite, complete missions to earn flags and use said flags to boost the hero’s score so they’ll win in their match-ups.  It was honestly a pretty engaging event, as I know I got pretty into it at least, and the end result was surprising all things considered.  While it seemed like Ephraim would win easily, being the only lance user in a tournament that housed six sword users and a staff user, in the end popularity beat out nostalgia and found Lucina as the champion.  Personally, I followed Eirika for the first two rounds until she got beaten by Lucina and then joined the ultimately winning party, so I got a good amount of rewards from the whole experience.
  • Six new heroes were introduced to the game from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.  Karel, Ninian, Rebecca, Jaffar, Priscilla and Lucius have made their way into the cast of characters available to summon.  Blazing Blade is a game I haven’t played still, but a few of the units are still interesting to me, enough so that I’ve been looking to summon them with the extra slurry of orbs that have been released through various events throughout the month.  In particular, the singing manakete Ninian seems like she would be fun to use, Jaffar has a close relationship with one of my favorite units, Nino, so I’d love to have them together, and Priscilla is appealing just because my assistant on the Daily Titan has the same name and she’s amazing.  Unfortunately, while all these characters seem fun, random chance hasn’t exactly blessed me considering I’m up to a 4.75% chance to summon the focus heroes and still haven’t with the event ending tomorrow.
  • A new system has been added to have units inherit skills from other units.  In essence, you tribute one unit with a skill you want for a unit you want to see that skill on, then you can unlock and use that skill with the inheriting character.  So far I’ve only had the chance to give my five star Eirika a battle activating skill that boosts damage based on her high resistance stat, but I’ve gotten my ass handed to me by vantage inheriting Takumis enough to know the true horrifying potential of this system.  Seriously, screw vantage Takumi, it’s like the world found a way to make an overpowered unit even stronger and it is the most annoying thing.
  • Minerva’s brother Michalis got his own Grand Hero Battle, which wouldn’t necessarily be big news in general except for the fact that Minerva is one of the main units I use so it felt significant in some small way. That’s about all I have to say for him, however.

Don’t know what it is about 2017 that’s made it so mobile-centric for me… But I guess I can’t complain. It’s certainly taken my mind off the Switch and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Seriously I’ve had some time to try the game out with my friend who has a Switch and it has made me consider spending that extra cash that much more.  Not enough to do it quite yet, but the temptation is undoubtedly strong.

Hope everyone else is having as nice a Spring Break (or potentially lackthereof I suppose, in which case I apologize for the pseudo-gloating in this post) as I am so far, and look forward to some pretty interesting journalism-related stuff likely to be coming down the pipeline in the next couple of days!

Saying Sayonara to 2016


As the holiday season and the year 2016 come to a close (very conveniently at the same time in this case), I feel like I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on some things.  As I mentioned in my last post about Carrie Fisher’s passing, the general attitude seems to be that 2016 can’t end soon enough.  Globally, the world is a bit of a mess.  In the United States, the incredibly divisive presidential election we just completed left everything feeling a little bit fractured and not-so-unified.  In the world of popular culture lots of people who were well-known and highly adored by the general public passed away.

It’s understandable why people feel the year was so bad, and admittedly there’s some of that I’ve gotten bogged in too over the last couple months.  However, for me personally, the year really hasn’t been all that awful.  In fact, it’s been a fairly great year all things considered.

One thing I always find interesting as a gamer is reflecting on what games “defined my year,” as it were.  Granted I didn’t necessarily diversify my interests a whole lot, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of things I played.

Toward the beginning of the year, I was still riding some of my Wii U hype.  I just got my system as a present last Hanukah, in fact, so games like Super Mario Maker were still huge time sucks, moreso than they are now.

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Image provided by Wikimedia Commons

Another thing that I’d gotten for Hanukah in 2015 also continued to take up my time, and that was The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes.

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Image provided by Wikimedia Commons

While the game wasn’t a traditional Zelda game like we’d all been waiting for in the relatively soon-to-be-announced Breath of the Wild, it was still a blast to play.  The game had some awesome multiplayer functionality both with friends and with strangers, and to this day I don’t think I’m over how hilarious it is to spam the cheerleader pom-pom Link emoji.

On top of that, you could literally dress Link up as a cheerleader and it was one of the most viable costumes in that game.  Not sure I ever thought I’d be so gung-ho to get Link to cross dress in all honesty, but I was.

Also earlier on in the year, while I was still getting into the swing of the Spring semester, I remember binging every Shantae game that’s been released thus far.

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Image provided by WayForward

Not only did I play the original Shantae for the Game Boy, I played Shantae: Risky’s Revenge and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse.  I fell in love with the series fast thanks to the lovable characters, the quirky and fun writing, the beautiful animation style and of course the music (composed by Jake Kaufman, who also produced the music for another one of my favorite games in the same general style: Shovel Knight).  I literally played through all three in a row and loved every minute of it, even if none of the games were necessarily all that beefy.

I do know that I can thank MowtenDoo for really sparking my interest in the series thanks to his indescribably wonderful rendition of one of the game’s songs, “The Nightmare Woods (Run Run Rottytops!)” in a way that’s truly unforgettable and continues to be one of my favorite videos on YouTube.  Seriously, I listened to this way too many times this year I’m sure.  But it was worth it.

Doing a little bit of research, it looks like the latest installment in the series, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, has been released just recently, but it apparently slipped under my radar somehow.  I’m wholeheartedly Ret-2-Go with that game as soon as I can pick it up, as there are a few too many games in 2016 that I unfortunately missed despite wanting to play them.  Didn’t have quite as much time to devote to these things as I would have liked.

Next on the list of my year’s rundown is the first in what I would consider my ‘return of old gaming loves’ trilogy.  That, of course, was Fire Emblem Fates.  All three together technically, but Birthright was undoubtedly my personal favorite.

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There’s a few things I’ll never forget just leading up to the games being released.  First, I’ll never forget the hunt my friends and I went on trying to find some of the special edition three-in-one game cartridges for Fates that was a resounding failure but had some great moments.  Like getting literally laughed at by a guy in a Game Stop one time.  That was awesome.

I’ll also never forget getting the first game, Birthright, as it was actually a gift that was given to me by the editors of the News section on the Daily Titan, Micah and Brianna, as thanks for being their assistant for the Fall 2015 semester.  Seriously, check it out, I still have the note here:

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It was really awesome, especially considering it apparently took a lot of work to build up to the reveal, including using my friend Kaleb as a spy to figure out which version of the game I wanted more.

Fire Emblem took up a huge chunk of my life from there on out, as I went on to play all three versions.  In a row.  In hindsight, admittedly not the best idea, but I’m really into the games so it was the decision I made at the time.  Birthright was incredible, rose-colored glasses or not, Conquest literally made my just about cry on multiple occasions from how unnecessarily difficult it got to be at times (Seriously, screw the port level.  If I never play that game again, the port level is to blame) and Revelations was… Admittedly underwhelming.

I meant to talk about it on here a little bit, but beyond just being burnt out on the games by the time I hit the third, there were a few things that really sort of killed the experience for me unfortunately.  First, I padded it out too much for myself.  I tried to grind all the characters up to have a ton of diverse skills rather than planning ahead what I would’ve wanted, and it wound up being far more effort than I was honestly willing to put in.  Second, they killed off my favorite character in what was literally the worst possible way in my opinion.  I have a huge, huge rant still built up about it because the moment was so caustic for me, but this isn’t really the time or the place, so perhaps I’ll still come back to it later.  Third, there was another game coming on the horizon that left me rushing to finish, which took away a lot of my enjoyment toward the latter half of the storyline.  Who knows, maybe if I go back to it now I’ll have a better time, but for now Birthright will continue to be the high point of my memories for Fire Emblem Fates.

The second game in my personal trilogy was Monster Hunter Generations.

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I talked about it on here a bit, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail, but this game sucked away quite a bit of my time as well.  Though I’ve only been playing Monster Hunter since the last major release, Monster Hunter 4U, it has quickly become one of my favorite franchises.

The seemingly near infinite levels of customization thanks to a wide range of monsters and a progression-based-on-skill system is something almost totally unique to Monster Hunter in my gaming experience, and it ticks boxes like crazy for me.  There are very few games that I get super in depth about building sets and doing hours of research into said sets and also things like lore, but Monster Hunter is definitely one of them.  It’s also one of the favorite games of my friend Juan, so we always have a good time going on extravagant hunts as a super powered duo, Hunting Horn and Charge Blade in hands.

Granted, I’ll admit that the game wasn’t quite as invigorating as MH4U for me, since that was the game where I truly had a skill curve to learn and overcome so I could truly become a master, but Generations was still a blast to play through and through.

Last, but certainly not least, comes what must be an obvious entry on this list.  Hell, there’s only one game that really defined not only the latter half of my year, but also most of what I’ve built my blogging experience on so far.

And that game is, of course, Pokémon Sun and Moon.  Because technically they go together even if they’re two separate games.  Because Pokémon works like that.

Images provided by Serebii.net

Really I’ve said more than enough about these games in many, many posts over the last year, so I don’t think I need to waste too much time on it right now.  Not only were the games beautiful and fun experiences in themselves, surpassing what I consider to be some of my favorite and some of the best constructed games in the series thus far, they reinvigorated the love of competitive Pokémon breeding that I fostered in Alpha Sapphire and got me back into the Pokémon YouTube communities I followed around the same time.

I have been and will continue to do some breeding in the games, especially once the Pokébank opens in January, and I’ve considered doing more competitive battling in 2017.  There’s an official battle competition coming up pretty soon that I’m pretty sure I’ll be entering, so I’m sure there will be plenty more posts in the future on the subject as well.

Beyond those massive entries that took up my time, there are a few other games that permeated my year’s experiences.  The 20th Anniversary of Pokémon for me included the continued playing of Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Picross on my 3DS, which were my puzzle game obsessions that I’ve only recently seemed to kick.

Images provided by Serebii.net (here and here)

The summer was undoubtedly defined by Niantic’s Pokémon GO, the game which really felt the most universally unifying during the sub-par situations of the year surrounding it.

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My whole family was playing the game together and I still remember wandering El Camino College hatching eggs after my summer classes there.  Though I wound up a little disillusioned with the game, and still haven’t jumped in to catch the start of the Generation 2 Pokédex, I still can’t imagine Pokémon GO won’t hold a place in history in some way or another.

Also hitting the mobile gaming scene this year was Super Mario Run.

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I gave my thoughts on the game in depth a little while ago, and as a small follow-up I will say that having spent money on the full game has made the experience even better for me.  I’ve gotten really into collecting all the colored coins in single player on long road trips and I have a pretty well developed town so far.  As a first jump into the mobile scene for Nintendo, I can personally say that Super Mario Run has been a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

I also replayed quite a few older Steam games that I adore but haven’t touched in some time this year.

My friend Samantha and I played Terraria for a long stretch of time together, progressively getting better and better as we learned and built more complicated structures and items together.  The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ate up huge chunks of my time in brief intervals throughout the year, as it’s always an addictive rogue-like experience that I’ll never get tired of.  The same could be said for FTL, which I can only describe as a real-time rogue-like spaceship command and battle simulator.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of the game it can be hard to explain, but it’s one of my favorite games of all time.

My 2016 was defined by more than just the video games I played, however.  It marked the end of my first year at college. It also included my first semester as an editor for a college paper, one which I feel went really well considering all the crazy things that happened politically while I was in charge of the News page.

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2016 was where I really feel like I got into the rhythm of driving and being able to get myself places.  It was also the first year where I got to vote for a serious election – despite how divisive it might have been as far as an election went.

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However, because of my time as a journalist, I felt like this was the first time I really got to apply what I was doing and learning to a real-world event.  Literally the more I learned, the more prepared I felt to vote in November.

On top of that, I feel like I really learned a lot just in general.  Two semesters and a summer intersession at college had me taking classes all over the proverbial spectrum at two different schools: Cal State Fullerton and El Camino College.  Not only was the subject matter of the things I learned interesting, I also got to explore more places at the same time, which I also enjoy doing.

I got my first few relatively well-paying jobs in 2016 between being an editor on the Daily Titan and working for Boom: A Journal of California.  Thanks to that, I’ve felt more independent than I ever really have before.

In 2016, I went to New York for the first time in I honestly don’t know how long.

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I used to have a lot of family living out there, but now most of my close relatives live here in California, so I rarely ever get to go out to the East Coast anywhere that isn’t Florida.  The trip was amazing and so much fun, and I really felt like I got close to a lot of my friends and colleagues in the newsroom that went with me.

While I was there, not only did I get to visit the Nintendo store inNew York (an experience you can read more about in one of my earliest posts):

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I also got to relive a part of my Dad’s childhood by finding his old high school.

So, all and all, I’d say that trip was probably one of the most memorable parts of the year for me.

I got to visit SpaceX for the first time this year, and though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside, it was still a phenomenal place to see.  Seriously, some of the stuff they have going on in there is incredible.

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In my opinion, I really started to come out of my shell a little bit more in 2016, and that helped me meet and interact with some people who I can really see myself continuing to talk to for a long time to come.  Both those in and out of the newsroom.

2016 was also the first year I’ve let my beard grow out.  It started as a No Shave November thing we did for the Daily Titan, but in the end I wound up getting such a positive reception that I kept the hair grown out.

Seriously, what a difference a little bit of hair will make.  I look totally different from one picture to the other, if you ask me.  Probably helps that I had more hair on top of my head to cover my forehead in the first picture too… But that’s another story.

Finally, 2016 was where I really got into blogging.  Yeah, seems like a silly thing to cap this whole list off with, but you are literally reading this on my blog.  I started this blog back on February 18, a day after my birthday, thanks to some school assignments I had to do.  My Communications 233 class required us to have a blog that we posted 20 things on of any subject we chose.  Naturally, I chose to make this a blog about video games and about my journalism experience.

Though it started as an assignment, one that I literally had to come up with ways to finish by coming up with admittedly silly things to post, I’ve come to really love doing this.  Writing is a passion of mine, and getting the chance to write more often has been wonderful.  It’s also been a way to voice my opinions and thoughts on various subjects, which I don’t tend to do in a largely public forum like this very often.  I may be a relatively small blog still, but I feel like I’ve found somewhat of a rhythm thanks to Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I’m looking forward to writing more on whatever comes up in 2017. As goofy as it might be to say it, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and write more next year, so I hope you all stick around to see whatever it is I come up with to write about.

Really, from the bottom of my heart thank you to everyone who’s following my blog, everyone who’s read anything I’ve wrote and to all my family and friends who have helped me explore, encouraged my writing ambitions, and worked to make sure I put my best foot forward.  If you have any of your own favorite memories from 2016, or if you just want to send a good riddance sendoff to the year, feel free to share them down in the comments below.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and here’s to 2017 being a happier time overall than 2016 seems to have been!

My E3 Ramblings for the Day

My E3 Ramblings for the Day

E3 has been going on for the past few days, and unfortunately enough not a lot of the reveals have interested me thus far.  A lot of the games talked about have been sequels for games I haven’t played or games on available on consoles I don’t own – and probably won’t own due to monetary concerns.  One of my favorite games talked about so far was Halo Wars 2 actually, since I loved the first game way more than I probably should have given how generally unpopular it was.  I played that to death with some of my friends, even months after the general fanbase dropped off and left the multiplayer barren.  Plus, it’s available for the PC as well as the Xbox One, so I’ll actually potentially have the chance to play it!

But that’s a different story, and one you can see more about here while you check out the beautiful trailer here.  After all, today was the Nintendo Treehouse Live, and there were at least two massive things talked about during the presentation.

Continue reading “My E3 Ramblings for the Day”

Something to look forward to

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Life’s a bit too busy right now to sink a whole lot of time into the new and improved version of one of my favorite games of all time, but…

At least I have this to look at in the meantime:

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Man what a beautiful amiibo.  Spring Break is coming, Midna. I swear I’ll make time for you yet.

In sort of unrelated blog news, however, I might be trying to roll something new out tomorrow, so look forward to that if I don’t wind up having all my time sucked away by eminent travel plans.

Foxes, Monsters and Kirbys – Oh my.

Foxes, Monsters and Kirbys – Oh my.

So, there was a Nintendo Direct today.

Glad I was in classes and missed out on watching it live.

But no matter, I watched the full 41 minutes post-haste, and now have plenty to say!  And I really mean plenty since… Well, there were a lot of announcements.  I’ll probably use The Hype to talk about a few of the games specifically in depth later, since I should theoretically be trying to make some kind of coherent list of regular post-styles on this new blog.  Luckily there’s been plenty of news to talk about recently!

I’ll also post the link to the Direct right here for anyone who missed it like me.

With the full list of announcements in front of me, I’m about ready to give a good paragraph’s thought or two on whatever happened to be new that peaked my interest – so read on if you want to see some first impressions.

At least, first put down in type.

Continue reading “Foxes, Monsters and Kirbys – Oh my.”