I also had the personally interesting experience of finding out that there’s a version of old-school RuneScape you can play on mobile.
Thanks to Brutalmoose’s video for alerting me to its existence, I decided to give the old game a whirl again. It’s been interesting to jump back into an old favorite I played with my cousin Josh with more insight and experience.
Like… I’ve spoken with someone who works at Jagex, the company that made Runescape, fairly recently.
Good thing I wrote a bit of my book this afternoon before finding out the mobile game exists. Otherwise I would have gotten absolutely nothing done.
After all that, the night ended on an interesting note. Grandpa left to go play cards with some of his friends, so Grandma and I were left to our own devices. She whipped up some chocolate pudding that we ate while playing a family favorite board game: Rummikub.
Usually we play with more than two players, as it’s one of my Mom’s preferred pastimes with her parents. But the game worked out all the same.
And that’s that. Like I said, it was a low-key day all things considered.
From what I’m aware, our plans before I go home Sunday night include trying to hit up the museum and that fancy restaurant we’ve had to postpone because of the weather. We might even go to the horse racing track.
Whether or not the weather allows us to keep up, we’ll have to see.
Last night I mentioned going to swim in the pool today.
I made good on that promise, because how could I not?
It’s a beaut.
The water was also perfect today. Just cool enough to counteract the heat without freezing my toes off.
Fun fact, while I was getting that picture of the pool I noticed all of these cute old pictures of my grandparents that made me smile:
Also there’s a terrifying cat statue.
It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.
A return to the pool also meant a return to one of my favorite pastimes: Watching geckos climb all over the mesh fencing.
Look at this little guy, he’s so sweet.
Yet in a jarring turn of events, I found it was easier to watch the geckos than ever because I’m officially too damn big for the pool.
The deep end is 6 feet. I’m 6’2 or so.
Last time I came to Florida I was definitely not tall enough to stand in the deep end with my head above the water, which means it has been longer since I’ve been here than I thought. That blew my mind.
But before going for a swim, wading in the existential dread of time and noticing my growing collection of bug bites, I helped Grandma throw together french toast.
A nice, hearty breakfast. The kind of breakfast that I needed because part of my day was spent working out computer issues for both grandparents.
For Grandpa I simply helped update their computer software and readjust his settings back to normal.
But for Grandma… Poor girl… I had to show her that she could scroll further down the website she was on to get to a link.
I finally understand what it’s like for my Dad to be technical support.
Gold, Silver and Crystal started the trend of different versions having unique legendaries that changed details about an overall identical story (though Yellow technically led the way by making an anime-inspired version of Red/Blue/Green).
Arguably the first major game-to-game change was the Magma/Aqua split in Ruby and Sapphire, even if they were just different villains in the same circumstances.
It wouldn’t be until Emerald version that they truly stood out as different entities.
This new Rock-type is essentially a mobile ball of coal with a lamp that must have been a godsend during the Galar Industrial Revolution. It’s new Steam Engine ability increases the Pokémon’s speed when hit by Fire or Water-type moves.
Gigantamaxing Pokémon are extra exclusive variants of Dynamaxed Pokémon that trainers can sometimes find during Max Raid Battles.
They look different, have better stats and a more powerful “G-Max Move.”
Like… Is this something we’ll have to breed onto our Pokémon if we want competitive Gigantamaxing over Dynamaxing?
I don’t know, man. The official website only has so much information, so I can’t fully speak to the merits of this mechanic.
All I can say is I’m unfortunately still not into it.
And that’s that, ladies and gentlemen. New Pokémon information to salivate over.
While I’m not enamored by Gigantamaxing and the latest crop of monsters are more on the weird side, I’m still plenty excited overall. Especially by the prospect of having more unique trainers to meet on each journey through Galar!
So let me know what you think of this latest trailer.
While you do that, I’m going to make use of this closure and go back to sleep.
I played the game early on in its life. Conversations were had around my elementary school lunch table, and I specifically recall playing during one of my trips to Dad’s office at CBS/KCAL (sometime between 2006 and 2009).
Like Realm of the Mad God, the game meant a lot to me growing up. I even thought about revisiting it a year ago:
Because I never did, I wanted to try and write something for July 4 this year. I looked up the website hoping to get some work in for a more fleshed out reflection.
I signed up for this particular new Naruto-Arena to give it a fair shot. It’s in an early build where all characters are available to test, and some key elements like character unlock missions are being implemented.
But it aesthetically nails the old look:
Right down to the statistical layout on the right side of the scroll.
It didn’t take me very long to come into a quick game. Though the transition into battle was rough, battling itself hit my nostalgia hard.
This remake replicates the way lingering technique effects stack beside each character, and the way your overall ranking changes their portrait’s accessories.
I also have to give this remake props for proving to me that over 10-year-old muscle memory is just as potent as ever:
I just did a quick game, but this new Naruto-Arena has a fairly fleshed out leaderboard to make up for features that are being implemented.
If I start to tackle ranked battles, who knows where I could get?
Though… I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend on this version of Naruto-Arena. It needs a little more time to gestate, and has received updates as recently as June 10.
I’d like to at least have the satisfaction of unlocking characters before diving in.
Yet I really can’t complain. It may have hit me hard to find out a childhood favorite closed without my knowing, but that loss clearly affected a host of other people too. Enough that some of them went on to try and revitalize it.
That’s the truly powerful thing about fandom: A strong sense of community forged in the small, unofficial details.
I’m glad I got to be a part of that for a time.
RIP Naruto-Arena. Sorry I couldn’t be there for your swan song.
I like Roxie enough as a result that I got this at Anime Expo some years ago:
Beautiful, isn’t it? I wish I took note of who the artist was so I could promote them… Past me was so insensitive.
Another character added in Black/White 2 was Yancy. To this day, she serves as my favorite almost-canonical relationship in Pokémon history due to a side-quest that involves your character building a bond with her. Very underrated ship.
Yancy also happens to moonlight as a superstar named Nancy — creative, I know.
So… Now that I have an outlet for fanfiction stories… I decided to do something incorporating a few of these characters in the setting I love.
I’ve written two chapters of my Pokémon World Tournament story, which in many ways is a similar dramatization to the Stardew piece. However I have some ideas for bigger developments should I keep the story going.
Thus, where Stardew a one-off, I’m now going to try and write a serialized piece with regular uploads.
Right now I’m imagining a chapter per-week every Monday.
That should be manageable for the first few expository chapters I’m well into writing. From there we’ll see how popular it becomes.
The premise was simple: Throw a bunch of computers onto a tournament bracket and watch them fight. Alpharad and a few friends commentated the matches, providing insights into actual competitive strategies and general comedy.
It was fun and apparently so popular that he would have been a fool not to do more.
However, the CPU tournaments were clearly Alpharad’s bread and butter.
Over time they grew into more than just a showcase of computer intelligence. Jokes about certain fighters repeated to the point of giving them distinct personalities. Then came clever brand integrations by having his video sponsors “sponsor” the winners of previous tournaments like they were sport stars proving themselves.
Then the series grew further. Original characters were added via Mii Fighters that developed entire plot threads cleverly delivered by commentators on the spot.
I’m not sure how much was pre-planned or improvised based on genuine tournament results, but either way it was impressive to see a cohesive narrative emerge that culminated in an “Endgame” duel between light and dark.
In the lore, two years had passed. Thus, much of the first episode was spent doling out exposition about what had changed — from new Mii Fighters to the off-screen reigns of joke characters like Rosalina.
What stood out most about this structured direction is how much more planning and effort clearly went into the season’s pre-production. Everything down to anime-inspired intros that are just cringe enough to be great.
Whereas the first era of the CPUCS emerged from completely different roots and had to develop into something more, the second era is immediately running with the aftermath and presenting more foreshadowing for underlying story bits.
Yet I felt like this guy when I discovered that the blog not only exists, but has been used since May to create a more lived-in environment:
I too am now a big fan of Agent Naomi.
For what many would write off as a silly YouTube series about Smash Ultimate where cashing in is easy because no human interactions are needed for gameplay, this is an awesome bit of committed world building.
It shows how much Alpharad genuinely cares, and I can respect the hell out of that.
So if I haven’t convinced you yet, go watch the CPUCS.
I swear it’s more than just your average Smash Bros. series if you stick by it.
There were only about 300, and the game had a number of other restrictions including a stamina bar that depleted for each square filled and the requirement for an obscene amount of in-game currency (calls Picrites) to buy upgrades and access new areas.
Both of which were obvious ways to “encourage” spending money.
Even so I fully completed all of the Pokémon puzzles.
And the Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire tie-in Primal Reversion murals.
The game featured a daily challenge to gain meager amounts of Picrites for players who did not want to spend money, and I opened that sucked up every day for months to get enough.
It was worth it for me. Not only was Picross incredibly relaxing, but I wanted to see all of the Pokémon — including Mega Evolutions and Legendaries.
They had different skills based on their typing to help players complete puzzles faster. A neat idea that kept me coming back.
At the end I gave up on Pokémon Picross when it wanted me to enter the “Alt-World,” which cost 300 Picrites and used a weird mechanic I could never understand.
Didn’t think much of Picross for a couple years after.
But I didn’t want to buy a game for the Switch. Or bother with Alt-World stuff in Pokémon Picross.
So I turned to the iPhone app store.
My first attempt was a game simply called Nonogram.
This version is good for quick games. You pick a difficulty level and solve one puzzle. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The puzzles themselves were fine, but the game had issues. First, it gives you three incorrect moves before prematurely ending the session. Second, you cannot re-examine the puzzles you complete or use them in any significant way.
That second point sounds like a nitpick born out of high expectations from Pokémon Picross… And it is.
Each world has a large amount of puzzles that cover up an image you slowly reveal.
Puzzles will often depict the objects they are covering up and can be re-completed, giving them a bit more value in my book.
So far I’m about 50 puzzles into the first of 12 maps, fueled by a combination of my feverish Picross addiction and other completion-driving elements like achievements.
It also helps that the puzzles look pretty good while varying in difficulty.
I really only have a few problems with Picture Cross.
First, the fact that it’s absolutely chock full of advertisements. The game’s free so I can’t complain, but they are long and show up after every puzzle. They’re also often necessary to view if you want to collect more tokens.
Speaking of: Tokens (the game’s main microtransactions) are required to unlock new puzzles. Players can hold 10 tokens that individually recharge every five minutes as a baseline, and more can be gathered via advertisements or awarded after a puzzle.
So far I haven’t run into any problems collecting tokens, but I can foresee Pokémon Picross levels of daily grinding in my future.
Picture Cross also falls behind Nonogram in at least one major category. Nonogram crosses out each individual number in a row or column as they are placed:
Only entire rows are blacked out in Picture Cross, which can make things harder to track on a number-by-number level.
Frankly all of those are relatively minor complains to me. I enjoy the game a lot, and I can see it being a nice brain-teasing time-killer.
Plus… Downloading the game gave me stickers in iMessage based on its cute sprites.
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.
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.
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.
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’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…
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.
Look at how hype the Donkey Kong characters are for Banjo and Kazooie
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.
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.
Plus this is the first time I’ve replaced that cover since purchasing the car at least four years ago and it was kind of falling apart. Who would’ve guessed this oddball collection of gifts would already be coming in handy?
It’s just too bad I didn’t have the free parking vouchers before getting to campus yesterday, as it turns out my last parking permit expired at the end of May.
Though that expiration does offer me the chance to show off a now-complete collection of permits:
Some of my CSUF friends will yell at me for wasting so much money…
But hey, at least I got all of these permits in before the upcoming price hike, and they makes for a cool physical manifestation of my invested time.
Going to Cal State Fullerton was interesting beyond just noticing my permit expiration, however. In my four years at CSUF, three of which included work on the school newspaper, I somehow never made it to the Golleher Alumni House.
I did pass by this side of the building because of its proximity to the police station and Titan Student Union:
But imagine my surprise when it turns out that large gate wasn’t the main entrance.
Rather, I had to circle around to this entrance I’d never seen before.
Once I found my way to the entrance, there isn’t much to say about actually picking up the Alumni swag.
Monkey Business Cafe is a place I’ve heard many things about through publications like Tusk because of their focus on helping homeless or foster youth who may not have the opportunity to get job experience anywhere else.
I’d just never made the time to go there for whatever reason.
But now I have, and I made their burger a litmus test for how good the food is:
It was… Okay. Not a particularly special meal.
Though to be fair Mimi got waffles and those looked really good, so perhaps the joint shines more on the breakfast side of its brunch offerings.
Either way I had a good time and the meal was decently cheap. I can’t complain.