Crystal Dreams

September 2, 2014

Review: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

plvspwboxart This is a game I had been anticipating since its announcement and after quite a long wait (almost 2 years since it came out in Japan and about 5 months after it came out in Europe), it finally came out in North America last Friday. Was it worth the wait? Completely. Whether you are only an Ace Attorney fan or only a Professor Layton fan, this game is still something you should be able to find enjoyment in (as long as you don’t hate court rooms and/or puzzles). The game does a great job crossing over the two series along with many ties to the original games and various staples you’ll be familiar with. I’m anxiously looking forward to getting to personally play the rest of the bonus episodes, but for now let’s get to the full review.

» Read the rest of this entry …

September 1, 2014

Tomodachi Life: New Month!

So, it’s not September which means…

1. New SpotPass DLC!:

Bicycle Helmets! Available in Blue, Green, Orange, and White.

2. New Monthly Interior!:

Pumpkin Patch :D

Not too much has happened in my game so just enjoy some random pictures for now!:




Note: I received the game early from Nintendo. Thank you, Nintendo! :D If you are interested in Tomodachi Life, you may want to look into picking it up!

August 29, 2014

On the new 3DS

I woke up to a bit of people wondering my thoughts along with surprise that I wasn’t up–to be honest, I forgot about the Nintendo Direct that had been announced despite being previously excited for it. It wasn’t due to already thinking it’d be disappointing or that it wouldn’t be important since it was Japan only (I often watch the other Nintendo Directs out of curiousity)–I simply had some issues sleeping due to excitement about the mail that should come today (PROFESSOR LAYTON VS ACE ATTORNEY) which I’m still waiting for.

Thus, when I got on, the first thing I heard was new 3DS. And I felt confused. Very very confused. That feeling almost immediately hit disappointment which has been going further the more I heard about it.

The new 3DS seems to have some features I really like which only makes it worse by the fact that I don’t want it. And it’ll apparently be out sometime 2015 for North America. :/

My main issue is, like with the Nintendo DSi, eventually there will be a game you want and you will be forced to get it. The main difference is I didn’t put as much “effort” into my Nintendo DSi. It’s not that I didn’t play it as much. I definitely did. I enjoyed Flipnote Hatena and several of its features. But I adore my 3DS a lot. StreetPass is one of my all-time favorite features and for the longest time, I had the StreetPass plaza as my favorite game. I bring my 3DS everywhere in hopes of seeing that green light pop up. I had my 3DS decorated twice (The first by an awesome friend as a birthday present–the 2nd time, shown below, by myself moving it from my original 3DS after the charge port had broken):

And as most of the people here should know, I also have a 3DS Capture Card–something that does not exist on the XL. I mean, who knows, maybe it’s CPU is so big it can do streaming off it. I don’t think so considering I’m sure that would’ve been announced, but moving on… I love being able to screenshot and record my 3DS. I have a tendency to take A LOT of pictures. If you’ve played LittleBigPlanet 1 or 2 with me, you know how many times I’d stop everyone to take a photo. Or to upload photos. And that isn’t even every photo I took because for a while I just uploaded them to an SD Card before I know that is what would happen when I uploaded them to the web. Still sad not all my photos are there now. MOVING ON…

If you’ve seen my posts here, you know I STILL have a tendency to take a lot of pictures. And if I couldn’t record, it’d honestly be about 10x more at least. I like being able to record so much and I wouldn’t want two 3DS–I like all my data on one (thus part of why I’m so picky on downloading games). If it’s data on another 3DS, it never feels like it’s mine even if I own both.

So for me, recording was a way to actually lessen my pictures a lot and the fact that I could just screenshot and upload meant a lot to me because it was much quicker. Removing the SD Card (especially after one incident) was not something I enjoyed doing to upload pictures. And while I appreciate the Nintendo 3DS Image Share website, just one at a time was way too slow for the amount of pictures I had the tendency to take. If I had to use these two options without a capture card for my Animal Crossing site, Disney Magical World site, and Tomodachi Life playthrough here, it’d honestly be a huge detriment to my enjoyment and eventually just really weigh down to the point where I’d play significantly less and less (Kind of like what the moving mechanic in ACNL did). And while yes, I know one of the new features has to do with this, there has been nothing that says it’ll be more than one picture at a time. Not to mention the quality varies–of course, this has a chance to be improved as well (though, I didn’t see it mentioned).

Those who know me know I rarely ever replay games so being able to have these recordings is really special to me. And again, saved so many pictures. While you can get a capture card for an XL (though it is very expensive), I’m sure it’ll be a while for one for the new 3DS plus I honestly can’t justify the price again. I made the exception when my original 3DS broke due to how special it was (being half pink and half teal), but I know I can’t do that again–I do not have the funds to make any justification for it as much as I’d like it.

Finally, I just don’t like the XL. I don’t like the shape, the matte finish (Though, the metallic seems kind of shiny which is nice… but only the XL versions are like that and I don’t want the XL), and in general I find it too big. While the latter may not be an issue with the smaller sized one (It doesn’t seem too much bigger, thankfully), there’s still the first two problems which is why I’ve never planned to get an XL.

But yes, going off my own personal reasons from being turned off about it, I want to go over the features too and my feelings on them:

Features I like

  • Amiibo support with no peripheral – I won’t mind using a peripheral, but obviously this is pretty awesome and the only thing I really envy from the new 3DS.
  • Better CPU so the new 3DS is faster – Never really a bad thing so… I don’t really find my 3DS slow in the first place, however.
  • Can move files between 3DS and PC via Wi-Fi – This should be unsurprising that I like this feature. Though, you can already move pictures and stuff through the internet, so unless it’s more than one at a time/completely replaces the use of the SD Card and can also be things like backing up or transferring downloaded games (versus just deleting them and downloading later)…
  • Home menu themes – Up there with the Amiibo thing–one of the things I REALLY like. I’m not going to go into full detail here since I’m going to talk about it below (since all 3DS’ get it), but just yay.
  • Videos work in Internet Browser – Yay!
  • Features I have mixed feelings on/Don’t care much about

  • Better 3D view: I rarely use the 3D feature anyway so better 3D doesn’t mean much to me… I’m not sure why I’d be looking at it from the side anyway? I guess if I was watching someone, but…
  • Bigger screen on New 3DS: I actually found the XL screen “too big” honestly, so I’m not entirely sure how I’ll feel about the bigger screen on the New 3DS.
  • C-Stick and ZR/ZL buttons – I’m worried they will be like my issue with the Vita where they will feel too small. Also, everything just seems really cluttered now. I don’t want to say for sure until I try them though.
  • Better Battery Life – I’ve never had an issue with my 3DS’ battery so this just doesn’t matter much to me.
  • Also a Micro SD Card – I…really don’t know what it’s for/the point just yet so…
  • Swappable covers – You’d think I’d really like this considering my 3DS is decorated and my original was half teal, half pink, but…:
    ss+(2014-08-29+at+02.16.13)
    They don’t even cover it. The white (or whatever color it might be) stripes along the top and bottom because the case couldn’t actually be the whole thing really really really bugs me.
  • 3DS Internet Filter – This really depends on how the filter is. I mean, 30 cents isn’t that much, but at the same time if I’m paying to view any site that isn’t Nintendo, it’s still kind of upsetting. I honestly don’t use the Nintendo internet browser too much. Most of the time, I use it when I need to enter a login on a website while away for work on vacation to get my 3DS on the internet and that’s what really worries me as I could see those being filtered due to not being commonly accessed sites. I mean, the 3DS DOES have parental controls. It’s disappointing (even if I can see why it is this way) that it’s not enough.
  • Features I dislike

  • Start and Select moved – I never had an issue with their original slot so…
  • Volume control moved – I just really liked it’s positioning to begin with.
  • Game Cards, Stylus, and Power Button moved to the bottom – Much more worried of things accidentally popping out now or hitting things. When my 3DS gets loose from it’s stand, it usually falls on the bottom which if it’s where the Game card and power button is… well… Not to mention I could see the Stylus just falling out randomly when it gets loose enough.
  • If I missed any features, please let me know.

    Right now, I’m just hoping there will never be a game I like that needs that 3DS. But I know there eventually will be and thus, the only thing I really feel is a load of sadness and disappointment. Not necessarily in anyone in particular–it’d be stupid to think there was never going to be a new 3DS… but there’s a difference between a new version (XL, 2DS) and a version that you need to get for new features. And of course, when there is a game I’ll want (even if I’m still hoping there won’t be), I hope a light pink and white version will be out by then (if not a completely light pink version).

    On the bright side, this does bring every 3DS the ability for an Awesome theme menu so yay!:
    BwNAGEuIEAALWkB
    At least I hope that applies to North America too… ._. I do know I’ll have trouble picking one though… I hope we can maybe mix and match them.

    Edit: Confirmed for October in North America too! Yay!

    August 26, 2014

    Tomodachi Life: Love continues

    With team preparations for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire more or less done, I’ve had more time to play Tomodachi Life. To my surprise, love has continued to be a trend and it seems to be happening a lot more often which is nice as I had been kind of disappointed with how slow it had been going. I think it helps that a lot of my Miis now know eachother due to hanging out with a Mii and others coming over. It probably also would’ve helped if I didn’t start out with so many… too late for that though.

    So, onto the updates!:

    Jennifer, Zero, and Marina went on a family vacation.

    Jigglypuff loves Kirby Saga:

    She was denied again. But then finally (with some help from Isabelle)…:

    Flora confessed again to Luke:


    He said yes this time!

    Meanwhile, ChibiUsa tried to get Haruka and Michiru together:

    It didn’t work out, however, another attempt by Cooking Mama and well….:

    Yay :D

    Wally also had a good day between proposing to Kuki:

    And finding out his most favorite food (Red Pepper):

    I have to say, while it’s the usual house for the two personality types, it REALLY fits them a lot:

    And Claire once again asked Professor Layton out–despite some competition, he finally accepted!:

    I was really tempted to have her confess giving him a top hat, but I’d probably cry.

    As for existing couples, Subaru and Luna had their first baby–a girl they named Cassiopeia:

    Finally, please enjoy Zero appropriately dressed for playing Takamaru’s Ninja Castle in Nintendo Land.

    And music fun:

    Plus beach relaxing:

    News highlights:



    Note: I received the game early from Nintendo. Thank you, Nintendo! :D If you are interested in Tomodachi Life, you may want to look into picking it up!

    Finally, I’ve gotten a few messages on Stream stuff… While it doesn’t look like my special stream will be happening soon (unless something changes–then I’ll try for Thursday), I will be streaming Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney as soon as I get the game until I finish it (not straight though–I don’t think I can finish the game in a ~14 hour period, but we shall see). I’ve wanted to do more random streams (I’ve almost streamed Tomodachi Life, Disney Magical World, and Animal Crossing), but have just not had the energy lately for various reasons.

    August 19, 2014

    More excitement for Fantasy Life

    So, a new trailer was put out showing some of the multiplayer features!:

    I actually didn’t know you could be able to play with more than one other person–not to mention the chat system which just makes me more excited (and does seem to be the Link version of the game).

    I can’t wait until we get it T~T It’s going to be so much fun playing with my fiancé and friends <3 Definitely one of the games I’m most excited for this year!

    I wonder how many people it will be total–I’d guess 4, but it’d be nice if it was even more than that.

    Virtual Worlds and Flash Games

    When I don’t really feel like necessarily playing a console game, Virtual Worlds are probably one of my favorite kinds of games as they tend to feature the two things I love most:
    -Customization
    -Collecting
    In general, if your game has at least those two things, I may be tempted to check it out. Virtual Worlds often get a reputation for being “just for kids”, but I think that’s a poor generalization (and is also part of why some do not get moderated properly) and people should try them more often. That said, there’s a lot of bad Virtual Worlds that are not much more than Flash Games, but there’s also good ones too… Unfortunately, most have closed, but I want to talk about those a bit first.

    Wiglington and Wenks was a really cute site–it was both a bit educational and involved traveling around the World to collect and discover things (based off a book series). The site ended due to lack of funds which is disappointing as I think it probably could’ve gotten somewhere if it was sponsored a bit more.

    Disney Virtual Kingdom is a game I didn’t get to play very much, but was kind of similar (different avatars and games, but it was the same “Go around the Kingdom approach”) to Disney’s Magic Kingdom game over on Japan’s Disney website (which is the game that Disney Magical World is based off of). I don’t think I’ll ever understand why Disney closed it (it’s not the first of Disney’s many virtual worlds they have closed either).

    Some of their other virtual worlds that closed by Disney are Pirates of the Caribbean Online (I played briefly, but didn’t stick to) and Pixie Hollow which I actually enjoyed quite a bit. The main issue with Pixie Hollow was the fact that you needed to spend -a lot- of time on the site for things. There were many limited time badges (Some that required earning thousands of little gatherables that you’d also be competing with many others for) and high score badges among other things and most of the quests were member’s only. I think Virtual Worlds really need to find a good balance when it comes to member stuff and most really didn’t. Pixie Hollow at least let you gift friends which was a cute feature–especially as one shop actually required you to give one to friends which kind of helped encourage sharing (or just brightening someone’s day with a random gift).

    That said, the site was still pretty popular even when it closed–the reason being given to put more time in Club Penguin (which I honestly feel hasn’t been as great since Disney has gotten it unfortunately–I love Disney a lot, but I know they aren’t perfect.

    Club Penguin is another game I’ve played for quite a while and still check into every so often:
    cp
    Unfortunately, my favorite things to do in the game were the missions to earn all kinds of neat awards and things like so:
    cp2
    And those missions really don’t exist anymore which kind of stinks. There’s still events (most of which have items limited to Members only :/), but it’s not really the same.

    Despite being Virtual Worlds, most of the games are more like Solo Adventures. You can see others playing, but interaction is incredibly limited (due to, again, generally being aimed at younger kids). Some games may have gifting, but most of the time it’s just you earning everything which has good and bad points.

    Not to mention many have incorporated the “make real life merchandise for codes in the game” tactic which isn’t necessarily bad (it’s not like it doesn’t work–I have a ridiculous amount of Neopets merchandise… Of course, most of the online stuff I no longer have (including the special limited t-shirts T__T) due to having been hacked when I was younger :/), but I find it’s rare I’ll want the items that are for the items I’d like in the game which makes me feel bad for the kids who probably do want the real life equivalent too.

    One of the nice things Club Penguin did with that is you could buy nearly any item and just get a general code which let you pick what item you wanted. This meant you could buy a plushie or figure you really liked versus needing to get that specific one for an item. Not to mention this meant you could continue getting certain items until they changed the online stock versus things like Webkinz where it would be the plushie you got and many have been discontinued (you do not want to know how many Webkinz I have from the brief time I played) or just some games where the items just aren’t really around anymore even though the site is (Poptropica has this problem with many things, but we’ll get to that).

    The main problem with Webkinz is that your account could become inactive/be gone if you didn’t register another pet fast enough which was one of the biggest reasons I stopped playing. I don’t know if it’s still like that, but I know that any site that makes you keep buying things to even stay playing isn’t really one I wanted to be apart of. I really hope that isn’t still the case as I’d have liked to check into Webkinz every so often, but that was a big reason as to why I didn’t. Webkinz is also probably the inspiration for getting a special item with the Plushie you bought that Build a Bearville did as well. Similarly, a game that has a membership structure on top of a game where you need to literally keep buying stuff for it is a bit disheartening.

    PetPet Park was Neopets’ mini flash game. It’s cute and something I still have fun checking in, but also went really focused on lots of limited things and member’s only stuff. Member’s features can add onto things, but when they restrict so much of a game (Kind of like how you could only do one world of Toontown) it feels kind of forced/like there isn’t any other option. I did make my Petpet look pretty cute though:
    ppp

    Going back towards Club Penguin for a bit, one of the big things is so many items are member’s only. They’ve made more that aren’t restricted to members, but with so many items being limited time and can only be purchased by member’s… well… It doesn’t help that their special events tend to feature NPCs wandering around that will give a special background if you click of them. Of course, the servers fill up fast and usually people are crowding around and/or dressing up as said NPC which can make it feel kind of frustrating.

    And now, onto Poptropica! If you’ve read my Twitter, you’ll know I’ve started playing a bit again. Unfortunately, finding other people who still play to talk to has become a lot harder than I expected. You can’t really chat with anyone while playing Poptropica which makes friend making kind of hard. Regardless, Poptropica is an adventure game where nearly everything is controlled with your mouse. This also means it’s not the most easily controlled game :P

    The game tends to feature many limited time games and items which wouldn’t be too bad if this didn’t also mean you could easily miss out on a lot (Items I am saddest about: Puppy Pal (from a Barbie Ad), Woodstock Follower, and the Nessie hat). The Puppy Pal is not on that list, but is from a Barbie Ad (with like the perfect hair too–I wonder if you could colorize from the NPC :( ) that actually opened a few months after I stopped playing. I AM STILL KICKING MYSELF AS AN FYI.

    That said, one of the things with Poptropica is it can actually get pretty challenging (which may be in part due to the controls). You can’t trade or gift items in the game, but you can “Costumize” most things which essentially is a feature that lets you copy an item someone else is wearing. You don’t own the item, but you can save it to switch to it whenever which is pretty neat. Most of the outfit I wear is actually Costumized versus what I own:

    One of the neat things is you can actually colorize your skin and hair to be nearly any color. Unfortunately, not all items will pick up said color (like the Barbie wig T__T Though, whether that’s because it’s stuck blonde or because I’ve constumized it from a player versus the NPC, I don’t know and I can’t really find anyone who would’ve been around then and still plays to ask/experiment). I think it’d be nice if you could colorize clothes as well (so many nice tops and skirts that are in colors I don’t care for), but there’s a lot of options in general which isn’t too bad.

    Membership in Poptropica is an interesting thing due to the fact that it’s pretty cheap and you really get a lot out of it. For one, all items are free… which actually can be a bit frustrating in a way. I have over 2,000 credits just sitting there doing nothing because I already bought everything I wanted as a member. Member items stick around even when not a member (which is awesome), but I wish I felt a point to the credits as a member. There’s a LOT of exclusive items for Members including Bonus quests on the newer islands–some of which are quite hard (I AM LOOKING AT YOU, WIMPY BOARDWALK. I WILL CONQUER YOU). The reward is usually just an item which is nice as it doesn’t really take away from not doing it–that said, it cuts off a part of the story which isn’t as nice.

    I think it’d be nice to see some of the older items back for credits (regardless of membership–maybe cheaper for members) just because then maybe Members would actually have something to spend them on. Right now, it just feels if you’re a Member, credits are worthless and then there’s kind of wondering what’s really the point in that sense–especially if you stick around as a member. My Poptropican may be pretty cute (see picture above), but I will always be sad she will probably never look like this:

    (please ignore my terrible editing skills)

    Anyway, to finish off the Virtual Worlds talk, I’m going to end with Imagine Town. Imagine Town was based off Ubisoft’s Imagine series and was run by them. The staff was friendly, the events were fun, and it just finally had it’s grand opening in North America (it had been opened in France for quite a while–many users, myself included, were very excited for those items to come over) before suddenly closing. It had collecting, quests, and various other things. The only big issues I can think of are a few people’s behaviors and inventory limits (always a bad idea in a game where you collect things–people aren’t going to spend as much if they don’t get to get the items the buy because inventory limits! This is an issue in Build a Bearville as well). Besides that, it was a neat game and I really wanted to see where it was headed so it makes me sad it was closed so soon. Even the Lifetime membership was a great price (I bought one) and while they refunded me, I really wish the game was still going.

    My character:
    it
    and room:

    Before it closed :/

    As for Flash games, I don’t just mean adorable games like this (I love that song so much to this day), but also the kind of games on Facebook. In general, the only thing I used my facebook for was games and most of those games no longer exist now. Pet Society and Restaurant City (the latter to a less extent, but maybe because it was closed first) both went downhill after EA bought them (way too money hungry with the prices) and never really recovered from that and thus, closed. They were two of my favorites.

    Treasure Madness is probably one of the first facebook games I really liked–you go around adventuring and collecting treasure for a museum. Unfortunately, it also got a bit too into the money hungry areas with the very limited time maps that you could really only finish if you paid or gave up doing anything else. Similarly, while all Facebook games have the “hey, friends, yay!” features, there is a difference between being able to help friends and being forced to rely on a friend to continue and whenever a game does the latter, it’s really frustrating.

    Fanglies by Playdom was another cute game, but was given a very short life despite how much was money focused and how much they probably ended up earning from various people (which of course was not refunded–I get that people get what you pay for, but when you close a game that fast, it’d be nice to be considerate of those who tried to support you in the first place :/

    Neopets also did a cute game with Treasure Keepers which was a collaboration between Neopets and the original founders [of Neopets]. It makes me sad that it closed so quickly as there really hasn’t been many other games like it. More or less, you went around a board game (kind of similar to how you’d do Treasure Madness–going around a map and clicking) and you would earn items for quests and that you can sell for money. You could also collect these items and display them (though, they really needed a proper “not for sale” feature). It was a cute game that let you both collect, customize your shop, and also play games and I just wish it was around more. I really enjoyed it, even if some of the items that cost real money were pretty overpriced (especially when, again, sudden closure).

    I’d like to say maybe I’ll see another game I’ll enjoy in the future, but at this point I think I’ve just given up on those kinds of flash games altogether and I’ll just stick to the cute bunny hopping one.

    August 18, 2014

    Tomodachi Life: An Update

    Even though I’m still playing and having fun each day, I have been spreading updates out so they are a little more packed versus various small entries (though, if you prefer the smaller entries, let me know? I also do random posts on Twitter). I had planned to write something up a couple of days ago to coincide with the New SpotPass item:

    …But with various personal things just being a mess, I didn’t get to. Thus, consider this the belated planned update–I’m also hoping to continue work on the main Tomodachi Life page as its stats are really outdated. I think the only thing up to date is QRs and that’s because I upload them immediately :P But yes, nobody is here to watch me completely babble so onto said update:

    » Read the rest of this entry …

    August 12, 2014

    Mega Audino!

    megaaudino

    Now, before you go “This isn’t on the Pokemon ORAS site!” as at the time of this, it’s not, it IS up on the website for Korea as is a Mega Slowbro, but that is not what this post is about! (Nor is it about how I didn’t think anything would surpass Mega Diancie or be up there with it)

    I love Mega Audino’s design. It is beautiful. I think the colors go together much better than normal Audino (who I do like. I used one in my Gen 5 team and I adore her–definitely one of my favorite Pokemon of Gen 5) and it’s just super cute. Mega Audino reminds me of a White Mage or a Snow Bunny or an Angel or ALL OF THOSE THINGS. Mega-evolving also adds Fairy to Audino’s normal typing and has the Healer ability.

    The only thing I dislike about this is that I actually wish this was a new Pokemon. Either a true evolution for Audino or maybe a bit smaller and a pre-evolution. I’m just absolutely in love with this design and I wish it was used for something more than just a temporary evolution. I would’ve loved to collect merchandise of it and make it my new favorite Pokemon and I just know there won’t be much (if anything) of it because it’s just a Mega Evolution and that makes me sad as it’s just a beautiful design and I feel they could’ve done so much more with it.

    That said, I’m looking forward to seeing the shiny version of it, but something tells me it won’t beat out my love for the normal version. I’ll be looking forward to mega-evolving my Audino from Gen 5, even if I know the entire time I’ll be wishing it was permanent.

    Special bonus: Mikayla, being the awesome person that she is, went and translated the page for me! Here are some highlights (with me plugging in some of the English names of things):
    Classification: Hearing Pokemon
    Type: Normal/Fairy
    Height: 1.5 m
    Weight: 32.0 kg
    Ability: Healer
    Releases healing vibrations that defeats enmity. Healing vibrations are potent to make anyone serene/tranquil. Anyone who comes in contact with the second antennae falls into deep slumber.

    * The characteristics of pre-mega evolution are “Healer” or “Regenerator”, but after the mega evolution it’s characteristic becomes ‘healing heart’ and the fairy type is added to it’s types. Defense and Special Defense are strengthened enabling it act as an excellent support during double battles.

    Thank you again, Mikayla! <3

    Edit: Mega Audino is now officially up on the US website and has a lovely trailer due to being announced at Gamescom:

    August 11, 2014

    More Brownie Baking fun~

    Brownies are probably the recipe I’ve cooked the most different kinds of. I can’t necessarily say why–I would guess I’m looking for the perfect brownie, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you what makes the perfect brownie as when it comes down to it, I just really like brownies.

    Brownies are probably my favorite dessert and are often the one I choose when going out to eat (Especially if said place tends to have home-made whipped cream on their brownie sundaes). Despite that, I rarely have whipped cream on my brownies at home–I don’t know if I would have whipped cream on them more often if I made whipped cream more often, but I usually just enjoy the brownie as is.

    As for the brownies I made yesterday evening, I once again did the half nut, half no nuts method as it makes my entire family happy (My father and sister preferring nuts while my mother and my fiancé prefer no nuts) and since I enjoy both, it’s a win-win.
    browniesyay
    I enjoy the chocolate-y goodness of the no nuts, but also like the nuts as I feel it gives a nice break when a brownie could be too rich. I may really enjoy chocolate, but I still prefer something light to really heavy.

    I have a feeling I’ll make these brownies again, but whether that is the next time I feel like brownies or experimenting more, we’ll have to see!

      Ingredients

    • 1 cup Butter (or 2 Sticks), softened or melted - Personally I went somewhere inbetween–some melted, but mostly softened!
    • 1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups White Sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
    • 4 Eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
    • 1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
    • 1 teaspoon Salt
    • 1 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
    • 1/2 Cup of Walnuts (Optional) – Feel free to use up to 1 cup of nuts or even a different kind of nut if you’d like!
      Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 Pan/Baking Tray.
    2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Once blended, beat in one egg at a time until everything is combined.
    3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended.
    4. Stir in the chocolate chips and, if you have chosen to include nuts, your chosen nuts.
    5. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
    6. Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out mostly* clean (Should be 35-40 minutes). Remove and let cool.

    *Since there’s chocolate chips in them, they will still be a bit gooey. Make sure to check if it’s the brownie itself or the chocolate chips before putting it back in as you don’t want to overcook them!

    While most people recommend cooling on a Wire Rack, I actually don’t have a Wire Rack so I cut it vertically (six cuts) and let it cool that way before cutting it horizontally as well.

    So much to say about Pokemon + Pokemon Center Delivery

    In general, I tend to always have certain goals in Pokemon:
    1. Have all the customization stuff I like
    2. Complete my Pokedex
    3. Get all the Certificates and other trinkets
    4. Get every ribbon I can on each of my main party (So this excludes the special event ribbons and Champion Ribbons (plus the ribbons from past games since I try to make my party in each game just who you can get in that generation and they are all from Gen 6) because those are things I can never get…. though, those facts really bother my OCPD)

    For XY, I have only 2 completely done. I have most of one done (all the clothes), but am currently stuck because of decorations. As far as I’ve been able to check, nobody knows for sure what all the decorations are. Most just list “that they have found” and I haven’t really seen ones with pictures of everything either. As someone who loves these kind of things, this is really annoying. Two of the items I know I want that I haven’t seen are the Substitute Doll and the Pikachu Hot Air Balloon. But the entire way to get them is pretty random which means not only do I know if I will ever get them, there’s no real control on even getting what I know I want (and who knows what else I could want!). This is why I really am not fond of random/luck-based systems. I had really enjoyed the Movies in B/W2 to an extent because of how it worked like a puzzle, but the fact that there was still a large system of randomness in there (versus if it was the right choice, it would always go through rather than a chance to fail) made it quite frustrating at points.

    This is my Pokemon Amie at the moment:

    It’s cute, but I’m not still super happy about it quite yet either. I think I have all the backgrounds at least now? But I also have over 10 of several items and some even more than 20.

    Going off of Serebii, these are just some of the items I know I’m missing (* by the ones I’m pretty sure I want):
    Pink Seashell Cushion *
    Rising Smoke Cushion
    Frozen Cushion
    Red Target Cushion
    Blue Circle Cushion
    Withered Leaf Cushion
    Fallen Leaf Cushion
    Ghostly Pumpkin Cushion
    Dragon Hill Cushion
    Cross-Top Screw Cushion
    Slot-Top Screw Cushion
    Black Rock Cushion
    Cream Ring Cushion *
    Shock Cushion
    Stump Cushion
    Soft Ground Cushion
    Hard Ground Cushion
    Yellow Yarn Cushion
    Purple Gem Cushion
    Iron Ore Cushion
    Iron Cushion
    Water Heart Object *
    Fighting Heart Object
    Rock Heart Object
    Dragon Heart Object
    Fairy Heart Object *
    Decorative Treat Object *
    Light Bulb Object *
    Substitute Cushion *
    Deadly Poison
    Mysterious Cactus *
    Mystery Crystal *
    Honey Object *
    Sparkling Mineral Object *
    Crown Object *

    And there could still be more (considering I even noticed some I had gotten that were not there) :/

    As for #3 (and this also ties into #4)… While I did complete my Pokedex, I have not managed to earn any of the trophies/statues for completing the Battle Maison and thus, will most likely not earn those Ribbons either (You get one for beating any on normal and another for beating any on Super) and it infuriates me to no end because I can’t say enough how much I hate the Battle Frontier–and when I say Battle Frontier, I mean all iterations of it so this includes the Pokemon World Tournament, the Pokemon Battle Subway, and the Pokemon Battle Maison. Essentially every Battle Tower and it’s other versions. It’s not that I don’t care so much for the different themes–it’s that it is essentially forcing Competitive Battling into the game and I don’t care to competitive battle at all.

    For me, it’s against how I like to play Pokemon. I like to go with a team of Pokemon I meet and stick with them. These Pokemon that got me through the game. Not breed them over and over to get “perfect versions” of them. Not only do I rarely use the breeding feature (another OCPD thing partially), but as the idea of going on this journey with these Pokemon you become friends with, the idea of turning them into breeding machines feels really messed up to me. And so, I have no interest in it.

    And while I can prepare my Pokemon either by leveling quite a bit or preparing their attacks so the team of 6 can do anything, I can’t do that in those modes because they are full of perfect IV/EV Pokemon (something that, again, I don’t care for) and legendaries and just… computer characters tend to cheat to begin with and this is like them at their cheating ultimate. I rarely have luck on my side in games, I often get screwed over by the RNG, and this just isn’t fun for me. I probably wouldn’t care if I could keep my Pokemon at 100 (even if it’d be overkill) or like how the mandatory first visit to the Pokemon World Tournament where your Pokemon kept their levels even if it was much higher than the competition.

    And people will go “well, it’s optional”, but when you’re completionist it’s really really really not. It’s not that I don’t want to work for it–it’s that it’s something that goes for only one way of playing the game and not everyone who enjoys Pokemon likes to play that way. I don’t battle online because this is something that has become the “norm” and I’m just not okay with it. I like my team.

    I don’t care if they aren’t the super most awesome team ever. I went through the game with them and I had a fun journey through XY with them and I had fun. And then it’s like hitting a giant brick wall that tells me “They’re not good enough”. They became champions of the region and you’re going to tell me they aren’t good enough? That sucks. That really really really sucks. It’s one thing to play other ways to complete things–it’s another point where a game tells you “oh hey, this is a journey with these new friends to explore the world of Pokemon!” then when you get to the end “Time to toss them to the curb because they suck!”.

    And no, I can’t just “make better versions”–this is my team. I do not want to replace them. And if I ever started a Pokemon game with breeding this perfect team, it would just be completely against why I play and enjoy Pokemon. That day I’d ever do that is the day I’d no longer play the game. I don’t have anything against people who do it–some of my best friends do it. I have fun watching some of the tournaments. Just don’t force people like me who enjoy playing and just knowing type advantages and other things and don’t care about all these inner stats and numbers behind the screen.

    Let us go on a journey and make friends–not train the ultimate knock out machines. And I try so hard with what I can do–I even suffered through the EV games and I can’t aim worth crud:

    But it’ll never be complete due to a mode I can’t do because of how it works. And I hate that it was created. Whether that mode was there or not, there’d still be competitive Pokemon. And maybe there could be an option to put at equal level (for those who want the competitive mode) or to keep a player’s Pokemon as is. Just something so those who want to complete the game but not be SUPERHARDCORECOMPETITIVE can still finish it. Because right now, unless they do the latter, they can’t. And that has literally been such a motivation breaker for me each and every game. I mean, can I possibly get extremely lucky? SURE. MAYBE! But it’s highly unlikely and as it is, I hear more often than not that my team isn’t good enough. :(

    If the Battle Frontier stayed like the Tower in Crystal (no actual ingame reward) or was just BP for special Battle items and didn’t have ribbons or trophies or other cool customizeable stuff (besides changing the color of the Trainer ID–I don’t mind that at all.), I wouldn’t care. It’s just those few things where it’s like the only thing left to finish. It’d be like if there was another badge you can get. That just sucks, optional or not.

    Moving onto ORAS announcements, more information on the contests were announced. I’m pretty excited about Cosplay Pikachu–though, I still wish there were other colors of the outfits or you can mix and match parts. I adore the Belle outfit, but have mixed feelings on the hat and don’t care much for the color–similarly, I really like the colors and sparkles and bow of the Cute outfit, but don’t like how un-modest it is. This would be the most awesome thing ever:
    sparklybellechu
    But it won’t happen (and yes, I know I don’t edit well, shhh).

    Speaking of un-modesty, I REALLY hope this isn’t the only contest outfit:
    hero_heroine_contest
    While yay pink, I just… I don’t like how much the outfit shows. I 100% prefer Dawn’s contest outfit (pink dress) or even wouldn’t mind seeing Rosa’s Princess dress from the movie as a contest outfit:
    dawncontestrosaprincessbackrosaprincessfront
    Not to mention there are more Pikachu than that so it’d be odd to just have one that only matches one each… I also hope since outfits are being mentioned (Plus Brendan’s new skin color), Customized Trainers really will return. I think it’ll be incredibly stupid if they don’t… I mean, just in Secret Bases alone it’d be really awesome and I’d love to see more outfits, but it still hasn’t been announced yet and Pokemon tends to have a trend of removing neat things through the games (Pokemon following you, Secret Bases in the first place, Seasons, etc.) while leaving stuff like the Battle Frontier :| (Which hopefully since it’s Ruby and Sapphire remakes, may actually not be featured! But it probably will. And have special furniture and ribbons. Because of course -_-)

    I just hope I’ll be able to get my Pokemon’s appearance stats high enough (with PokeBlocks that raise all stats) to get the ribbons on each of my party for ORAS. I always have hated how you have to switch attacks around for Contests versus Battling more often than not if you want to do more than one… Hopefully the TMs being able to be used more than once will stick around and make that less painful at least.

    Finally, to end this in a more happy tone (though, there are some happy things strewn about above), I received my most recent order from PokemonCenter.com today!:
    sdp
    Special Delivery Pikachu (SO happy I got one before it sold out!) – It’s so cute. Really soft–you can’t remove anything (unless you pull/snip a few threads) and the little brown package also has a pokeball on it like the Pokeball on the bag and hat.

    The Grand Opening Pin which looks much better in person (not that you can really tell with my horrible lighting…)
    gop

    The Postcard set! The enevelopes are just plain white (as are the insides of each card), but there’s one of each sticker (and enough for each card) plus on the back of each card is one of the same designs as the stickers:
    sb2
    Close-up of the Stickers + one of the Postcard Backs:
    sb

    The Notebook – It’s the same size as the Pikachu notebook, but I think the Pikachu one is nicer. The artwork is still lovely though:
    notebook
    The page artwork:
    notebook2

    I still really want to get this and possibly a few shirts so I’m sure I’ll make another order eventually… I just hope the Grand Opening Notecube doesn’t sell out T~T (also debating on the Binder as it looks nice, but I really have no use for it right now…)


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