Crystal Dreams

November 14, 2019

Let’s Go and Ultra Moon thoughts

So, anyone who follows my twitter or may recall some of my older posts, I had been struggling a lot with finishing Let’s Go, Pikachu and Ultra Moon before Pokemon Sword/Shield’s release. I promised I’d extrapolate on that along with my feelings about them upon finishing. While I may make some mentions to Sword/Shield, I will not be mentioning anything from leaks– just stuff that has been officially said since E3.

Honestly, I hated Ultra Moon so much. I think part of it was that I just wasn’t that happy with Pokemon Moon in the first place– I found Alola nice and I did adore the trials, but customization felt like a step down, outfit colors were restricted based on your version, and catching, especially after ORAS and the beauty of the dex-nav, felt incredibly slow, as did some of the story’s pacing. Add on loading issues due to Totem Pokemon where I was actually worried my 3DS would freeze (and it did once), and it was frustrating and nerve-wrecking more than I enjoyed it.

Regardless, I found the story interesting and liked the characters and so I picked up Ultra Moon, mostly because of a few new Pokemon, and it just… was so much worse playing a second time. While I enjoyed some of the trial changes and some of the extended cutscenes (even if our character still didn’t emote much), the story overall felt much worse this time with a lot rebooting of past storylines and that already felt frustrating in ORAS. In the sense of a fan service moment, I did like seeing those characters, especially as I was surprised by how some character’s appearances changed, but in the sense of a story, it just felt frustrating. I feel like the game could’ve benefited from a sequel similar to Black/White 2 versus a reboot of the same story to align a bit more with some of the anime characterization.

Unless I like… super love a game, I don’t think I’d get a third version again and even then, I’d be relatively apprehensive about it. I think it’d really need to be a sequel or prequel or something just… fully different for me to invest again.

As for Let’s Go, my feelings for it are best summed up as “complicated”. The only way for me to really start enjoying myself was to essentially play a way I’m not used to doing and honestly, I feel like Let’s Go genuinely didn’t want people to. It felt aimed more at people who played GO (and likely don’t care much on having a living dex), enjoyed competitive aspects, and/or shiny hunters. But for people more focused on completing their dex and catching them all, it just felt so… monotonous and exhausting to take care of these catch combos to even get certain Pokemon to show up. What I ended up learning after becoming Champion is that Pokemon show up much more often (and rarer ones as well) then… So if I just waited until the end to work on my dex, maybe I could’ve saved myself time from catching so many of them through GO Park (which… I had mixed feelings on. Having to re-catch Pokemon I already caught and raised just sucked honestly).

I loved seeing this version of Kanto, but at the same time, my nostalgia for Kanto is kind of lessening as it’s just… constant. Like I love it a lot and I liked how the story was changed up too and how it kind of fit together with the existing timeline despite some obvious anomalies, not to mention playing with Pikachu was a lot of fun. One thing I was really disappointed in, which either I just forgot due to not having played so long or wasn’t mentioned, was that the Pikachu (or maybe Eevee in the Eevee version) waving the Joy-con around meant Pikachu wanted to talk to you or give you something… I just thought it was a reminder that someone could tag in as a support trainer so I’m disappointed I missed out on more moments with Pikachu as the cut-scenes and interactions were easily my favorite part of the game.

Bringing up GO for a second, I’m super mixed on how Meltan works, especially when it requires 400 Candy to evolve. Honestly, not everyone who gets this game will have played GO (and will probably miss the Safari Zone…) so they have no way to get Meltan and while I do think the initial reveal of Meltan was really cool, I do think it should’ve been able to get normally in the game somehow too.

As for the actual catching, I’m still not a fan of motion capture at all, but I understood why it was there (unlike the stupid catch combos) considering the GO-general-Pokemon-game-combo they had going. While I disliked battling for Pokemon, especially as I often worried about knocking them out, it was frustrating not having much we could do to stop them. I often abuse quick balls at this point in hopes of catching a Pokemon immediately, but I just spent so much time missing due to terrible aim (whether my fault or the system not reading where I was moving the controller to, who knows– maybe both), that it felt really disheartening when they ran. I was surprised I managed to get all the legendaries though without needing to reset. The 5 minute timer for them and Snorlax really stressed me out (why did there need to be a timer…), but it felt really rewarding to get through it and then try to catch without as many penalties. I think if they could do that for a chance to have the Pokemon not run would be nice.

Regardless, I did manage to finish my living dex dreams and re-make my very first Pokemon team from when I played Pokemon Blue which was a really nice feeling.

I will say though, while I liked the trainer’s default appearance, I was surprised there was so little customization. I also think it was unfair with how many more outfits the Eevee version got, especially considering Pikachu’s was more… shades of yellow/orange/brown while Eevee had a whole rainbow of colors. I think it would’ve been nice if you either could get them by showing an Eevee you caught or even just being able to buy them. I don’t know why they couldn’t do that. I can understand just having one hairstyle per trainer to match Pokemon GO, but… GO has customization so not being able to customize more was just so weird to me. I did get a bit lucky with the trainer at least as for the most part, it was what I would’ve picked anyway (well, minus the outfit colors… maybe I’d change the outfit a bit)– just I would’ve gone with the darkest brown hair color instead. I’m guessing part of it is due to the cute image at the end credits, but even if that may be the case, all the colors were in already so if they just let people pick their hair/eye/skin color separately and have all the outfits in, I don’t think it would’ve caused any harm.

Regardless, it was nice to find some enjoyment in Let’s Go despite my struggles with it. That said, I still prefer catching Pokemon as I go… getting a few that only show up post-game is fine I guess, but I prefer doing it all in order as I get to each new location.

In the end, the only thing I didn’t really spend much time on was the Master Trainer feature feature, only facing the Pikachu Master. I’m just not into that kind of competitive-battle-environment and for the most part, I’m not too upset about it beyond that I couldn’t fight Red then. Maybe one day. If the CP requirements weren’t so high for the “shown” ones, at least I could’ve fought Red. v-v

I will say though, it’s a shame these were my last full Living dex completions and that still breaks my heart a bit with Sword/Shield. While I always start a new team anyway, it always meant a lot to have all my Pokemon with me and know I could bring them out when I wanted to and get them new ribbons and experiences and that just won’t be possible now. As much as I love Pokemon and do love some of the new ones, I do feel there are… plenty of Pokemon at this point and I wish time would go into making a game that uses all the great things they’ve already made to make something even better rather than constantly trying to make something new.

November 4, 2019

Incoming Transmission from Batuu (and the World of Disney)

As tempting as it was to try and write this slightly in character, I’ve been sick these last several days so I’ll try and lessen it, especially for those of you who read this blog and aren’t particularly into Star Wars (That said, if anyone is here from my old SWTOR blog, a Rising Moons/Bright Suns to you depending on where you may be in the universe!). I’m also probably going to bring up a bit other facets of my trip to Disney World, but the focus is absolutely going to be in the brand new area– Galaxy’s Edge where you can visit Batuu and get a feeling of full immersion in the Star Wars Universe.

I wouldn’t really call myself the biggest Star Wars fan, but I like it enough to still enjoy several aspects of it. What I found myself most excited for was using the new Datapad mode through the Play Disney app once we arrived in Batuu. I absolutely adored collecting things in SWTOR so being in this immersive world where we can scan things and do jobs and quests and collect things? Completely up my alley.

While I wouldn’t mind my face not just being a black silhouette, there’s still some fun outfits. As hard as I tried though, I wasn’t able to do everything. I will say as much fun as I had with the Datapad, there were a few… issues I ran into with it. Less about the app itself, but oversights with having this type of connectivity and immersion.

For one, there isn’t a lot of seating. This isn’t really too surprising– besides for immersion reasons, it helps keep people moving and to be honest, it never felt incredibly crowded outside the shops a bit. Because of this though, people essentially make their own seats, whether it be the sides of plants or most commonly, the various crates lingering around. Which wouldn’t be so much of an issue if most of the crates weren’t used for the Datapad game. Various crates of all sizes have a QR code like this, either vertically like below or horizontally:

There were many times I ended up passing by areas missing them because people were covering them– whether leaning on it or with their legs while they sat down on it. While some people knew about the app (or recognized it after seeing multiple people playing and having them ask people to move), most had no idea and didn’t realize they were blocking anything. And sometimes people need to sit and nobody really wants to interrupt someone who just wants to take some photos, but there were times I ended up just waiting around for 5-10 minutes for someone to be done to finally scan something for two seconds. Some can even be facing inward which, at least for me, weren’t always easy to reach.

In the end, I managed to get 9/15 Outfits, 3/8 Weapons, 7/11 pieces of Cargo, 12/20 Parts & Scraps, 2/4 The Interior Star Maps, 3/3 New Territories Star Maps, 1/4 The Slice Star Map, 0/2 Trailing Sectors Star Maps, 1/3 Western Reaches Star Map, 2/4 Unknown Regions Star Maps, 8/8 Vehicle Schematics, 0/1 Schematics Data (though, I swear I had this?*), 4/8 Droid Data Memories, 4/5 Dok’s Den Dealings Transmissions, 0/3 Kase Double-Cross Transmissions, 0/2 A Strange Feeling Transmissions, 0/3 A Lifelong Companion Transmissions, 1/3 Debts to Oga Transmissions, 0/3 Life in the Outpost Transmissions, 1/3 Dhoran’s Mistake Transmissions, 1/3 DJ R-3X Transmissions, 1/2 Droid Problems, 1/2 Resistance Operatives Transmissions, 2/4 First Order Comms Transmissions, 0/1 OTS Recruitment Transmission, and 0/1 Monkey Lizard Sighting Transmission. As for titles, I have 23/40 unlocked. I probably won’t unlock all the First Order ones, but I have 2/5 of them thus far. I really want to get the Galactic Explorer title. I also don’t see myself earning Bankrupt or a few others unless something with the requirements change.

*I believe this is the Credits Skimmer. I never really figured out how to utilize it properly. But maybe it just doesn’t show up properly while out of the park.

While you have full control over the crates (barring… anyone sitting on and/or blocking them), the transmissions I had a lot of trouble with. I found my phone just did not seem to pick them up often and they would be gone fairly quickly (like it’d be there and gone within the next refresh even if I didn’t move). Hacking seemed to work the best, but some just… worked in awkward ways (For example, I found I had nothing to hack in the Cantina despite a few things requiring DJ R-3X to be). It felt like I had to walk in circles to really get it to work. Speaking of the Cantina though, we actually went in for breakfast as I just… had to try the Moogan Tea:

It was amazing. I actually got a second one to go. We also had some Batuu Bits which were really tasty. I’d love to go again for dinner, though, hopefully we can actually sit next time… Fingers crossed they will have the new dishes that their other location has too.

Moving on, the thing I had the most trouble with was actually the translating. The automatic rarely actually picked up anything I was near (and I needed to hold my phone up in front of it when it was) while it was also near impossible to really do so manually without holding up traffic. I don’t really know a better way to do it, but I ended up making no progress on it because of that. It would translate fine when it actually worked– the problem was just getting it to pick up what I needed.

The jobs were definitely the most fun and for the most part, worked the smoothest. I did almost every job with the exception of some of the First Order jobs– I only did the ones that would get me an item over just credits. I never received more jobs on a different day (though, I could repeat the ones I did), but I’m hoping more may be added in the future.

The exception to “working smoothly” though is “Flight Crew Wanted”, a big multi-step job that requires you accomplishing certain things while in the queue (normal queue– not fast pass and not single rider’s) for Smuggler’s Run. As much as I enjoyed the right (well, sort of– we’ll get to that), this is where I found some of the biggest oversights are for the Datapad mini-game. The job involves helping out Hondo Ohnaka and starts off wanting you to scan crates you will see along the line. There are a lot of crates and occasionally, you’ll be asked questions about where they go. How many crates you scan and how many questions you answer correctly determines what the characters will say about you and how well your performance was.

The biggest issue is that this is a moving line. If the line is moving incredibly slow and it’s a huge line, well, maybe it’ll work out, but unfortunately for health-related reasons, I actually can’t stand for long periods of time. If the line is moving that slowly, I wouldn’t even be able to stand in it. If the line is moving at a fair pace, you can’t scan fast enough and you end up blocking the line so I can either get separated from my party or end up just letting people pass me. It’s incredibly hard to balance and even when we tried to, it just became too much as we kept seeing more and more crates and even ones we missed due to not looking around enough.

Next, you’ll be memorizing various different IDs and then answer questions asked about it. I’m not sure how many you have to do in order to have “done enough”– but one surely was too little. You have a good amount of time to do this at least and this is probably the step you can work on the most as it really doesn’t require a specific area to be in to take care of something. You just need to be after the crates and before the look-out deck… which is where the next problematic step comes. You’ll be going past four large windows above the Millenium Falcon and again, depending on the line queue, this isn’t exactly the easiest to do. You will be asked questions about the ship and need to answer accurately in order to pass.

Once that is done, it’s time for the actual ride part and your performance matters. Whatever credits you earn from the ride will get you those credits in your datapad and even an achievement based off how much you can earn. At most, if you do everything perfectly, you can earn 13,000 credits, the amount going down based on your performance and how much damage the ship takes. And that is what brings us to our biggest oversight– each “party” for the game consists of six people. And not everyone is likely to want to do the ride just like you. There’s two pilots, two engineers, and two gunners. While you can see if someone may want a different pass than you (Someone is our group had been engineer before so I traded them my gunner pass as I didn’t want to be engineer), you can’t really do anything about having different ideas in mind for what you want to do. In general, there’s essentially these groups of people:

  • People who want to do everything perfectly
  • People who want to fail completely
  • People who just want to enjoy the ride for the heck of it
  • People who are just there for someone else

The other half of our party mentioned having an issue as one of the pilots was a little kid. A similar situation happened with a friend. There will be kids on this ride. That is absolutely expected. And while I absolutely believe some kids can do a great job, there are also plenty of kids who do not care in the slightest or are only there because their parent/guardian wants to be on the ride. And I genuinely worry slightly on the kids part because someone will absolutely get annoyed and take it out on their party members and that’s kind of the problem with these group teamwork things, especially if you do not know enough people to make a full party.

When we go to Disney, we have anywhere from 2-5 people usually. Not enough for a full group and one of those people would absolutely not go on it due to motion sickness. It ended up being three of us going on the ride with three people we didn’t know. My husband and our friend ended up being in the pilot seats with me as an engineer while our newly met crew members would be the two gunners and the other engineer.

In the end, while I managed to keep my side of the ship at 100%, the other engineer didn’t do as well with 15% damage done halfway through and even more by the end of it. My husband also messed up with the breaks at one point.

The ride is incredibly reflex intensive and the thing is, and unfortunately this is the other big oversight with it, the best chance you have at doing your best is not actually watching the ride at all. Maybe I could’ve done it regardless, but in the end, I had rarely watched any of the ride screen as I was too busy focusing on my buttons. You mainly just have to hit the buttons lit up and switch the appropriate switches as indicated. It’s very easy to read (likely due to the range of ages), but it’s also easy to get caught up in the screen or forget exactly where a button is if you’re not looking at it. And if you’re looking at the buttons, you’re missing what’s going on around you as you’re no longer looking out the window, but at your control panel.

I saw so little of the ride itself because I was so focused on doing well and not letting my crew down which I suppose our other Engineer didn’t care as much about. We had earned about 11,800 Credits, but due to damages, ended up losing over 3,000 in repairs.

I actually hadn’t even known we would get them in the Datapad at the time of going on the ride– I just am a perfectionist, but this made me even more disappointed we failed. Especially considering how well we did.

And does this encourage people to go on the ride again? Yes, absolutely, but heck, it’s encouraged by being one of the best ways to earn credits too and when you have a full schedule or not a lot of time, while going on Smuggler’s Run over and over again for an entire day/week sounds fun, it’s not always plausible– not to mention the team situation again. And honestly, I wouldn’t even mind trying a “failure” run where I just… don’t do anything the entire time, but I’d want to actually do a perfect run first. Since the ride varies based off when you “fail” or succeed, I really want to see both paths definitely, but it feels like it’ll be a while before doing either.

Smuggler’s Run was actually one of the last things we found time to do because of a very busy schedule and just trying to find a good time where the line wasn’t too crazy. There is no fast pass for it (and I’m not sure if there is one planned) and to be honest, as it currently stands, I would assume that would take me away from my crate checking and everything involved in the Datapad job so I’m not sure I’d get a fast pass even if I could.

As for the ride just… on its own merits, it was fun and reminded me of essentially a smaller party version of Star Tours– it moves very similar, but obviously, it’s much more interactive.

I had hoped to go on the ride again, if only for another chance at scanning things and a perfect score, but we just didn’t manage to make it back unfortunately. I’m still bummed about it.

Moving onto things I did BESIDES the Datapad minigame, for one, my husband and I both made Droids! Mine is this cute BB Unit who I still have yet to think of a name of. We even got the bag for it too:

I also got a personality chip for it and some stickers so I hope to style it up a bit at some point (mostly using the pink to cover up the black maybe…). My husband made an R6-Unit:

I kind of wish more could’ve mixed and matched, but I’m not really surprised they couldn’t. I hope we’ll see more ways to customize our droid in the future.

We also stopped by Savi’s Workshop for some very important business.

I had gone the Elemental Nature route which also gave me this lovely pin:

There were some pieces I liked from the Protection & Defense type, but in the end, Elemental Nature just kind of fit me more. Though, I wish they still kept the original coloring over the silver for the whale bone:

The Lightsaber experience was honestly really great and if you really want to feel part of the world, it gives a huge boost to that feeling. It’s very special. That said, if you are a bit shy like me, try not to get the very center station or one of two at the ends– those are interacted with the most, though, they will go around and check with everyone :)

While I definitely love my droid and the “power up” moment is cute, it doesn’t really come close to everything that happens over at Savi’s.

We also made sure to stop by the markets and I picked up these lovely handmade plushies:

This adorable Mouse Droid (plus a lovely droid group photo):

(The top opens and the wheels move so it’s fun to just… move it about and have it old some things :) Plus the lanyard to wear it around your next)

And a Holocron, currently with the purple crystal I had gotten with my lightsaber: :)

I also got white and green Kyber crystals. I sure hope they add pink ones.

As for food, I already spoke about the Cantina earlier, but we did our best to try everything at least once. Kat Saka’s Kettle was worth it for the Mouse Droid, but honestly, the popcorn just… wasn’t that great. It was kind of chewy in an almost stale-like way and I don’t know if we just got a bad batch or what, but it just… was not enjoyable.

We, of course, had to try the Blue Milk and Green Milk over at the Milk Stand. Both were enjoyable, but my husband and I both preferred the Blue Milk. I think my only complaint is I would’ve loved a less “smoothie-like” version– just actual milk or even a milkshake. Something more creamy, essentially. We wanted to get the special Milk container, but due to lack of time, we didn’t get the chance.

For breakfast, we had Ronto Roasters and got the Ronto Morning Wrap and Ronto Wrap (which seemed to be a combination of it and the Endorian Chicken Wrap at the time we went, but now seem to be more different things). Despite generally not being much of an egg person, I loved the Ronto Morning Wrap. It was perfect and the Grilled Pork Sausage was amazing. I’d absolutely get it again.

We got Docking Bay 7 Food for lunch (though, my mother had the breakfast and said it was great so I definitely want to try the Bright Suns Breakfast Platter next time we go). I had gotten the Endorian Tip Yip with mashed potatoes while my husband got the Felucian Garden Spread. I really enjoyed mine, though, if I picked, I’d say I liked my Ronto Morning Wrap more. While my husband liked his and I enjoyed my taste of it, it was a lot spicier than expected which took away from the flavor.

To go with our lunch, we also tried the [non-alcoholic] drinks and desserts! The drinks seemed to have been changed a bit since we last went, but both we had were great. As for the desserts, I got the Batuu-bon and my husband got the Oi-Oi Puff. We shared a bit though and both were really great. My husband can’t decide which he liked more, but I preferred my Batuu-bon.

Next time we go, I’d love to try the Batuuan Roast and/or the Smoked Kaadu Ribs. I’ve heard the macaroni and cheese is good too.

And of course, we’re not here to just talk about what we did, I have some pictures of the sights too :)

The entire area has such high rocks and is set up in such a way that it genuinely does feel like its own planet/city. Even if it’s a bit awkward walking through Toy Story Land to get to it. And all kinds of familiar and new characters will just be walking around. And who knows, maybe you’ll run into a cool spy and have cool spy conversations like the person writing this did :P

Moving on to the rest of Disney, it was honestly a bit of a mixed trip. In a way, it was less crowded than we expected despite some areas still being rather packed and I ended up being sick two days before we left and the day of. We normally go around this time for the cooler weather, but this year, it was about 90 the entire time, which sure I guess is to be expected when on a planet with three suns and also in Florida but usually it’s closer to 70-80 or so when we go. In the end, I quickly got hit with heat stroke which just kind of murdered me ahead of time for our trip. I’m not going to go into my health issues, but for several reasons, I do very very poorly with heat and with all the construction and things being moved back for the new gondolas, I was not doing well.

Because of that, a lot of our plans got cut a bit. We did our usual Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian where we had been hoping to stay before things ended up not working out:

I had gotten Zanzibar Chai as my tea and absolutely loved it. While I love all the courses, I will admit the scones and sandwiches are my favorite courses. We had planned to do the tea tasting they now have in Epcot at the England Pavilion, but due to me getting sick that day, we ended up having to cancel. I’m really hoping we’ll be able to go next year.

Due to the issues with our hotel stay, what we ended up doing was staying in a Polynesian Bungalow for a night (which was really nice, honestly):

The view was so pretty and we even got our own little private pool. While the Polynesian isn’t necessarily my favorite hotel, it at least has nice room service and I still love passing this every time we enter the hotel:

And then switching to a room at Saratoga Springs for the rest of our stay (in which I finally got to accomplish my dream of a two floor hotel room like in Home Alone 2…):

Despite the size of it, the beds were not as comfy unfortunately and the pillows were… incredibly flat :( Which made sleeping a bit difficult. The room also wasn’t particularly close to a bus stop which meant a decent trek in the morning (and the room was one of the last due to the size) to not be late and an exhausting trek back after already walking all through the park.

While we hoped to do our usual “taste” around the world part of the Food Festival, due to lack of time, it just… did not fully work out. Because of this, we tried to focus on just our absolute favorites (and even then, still tried to narrow it down) for things we’ve had before and prioritized new things we hadn’t tried. I didn’t get many pictures because, again, time was just hard and honestly, I never want to plan a trip with so much overlapping again, but we did get a few pictures of some desserts plus the lovely Boba Milk Tea from China.

Panna Cotta isn’t usually my thing, but that one was pretty interesting. I liked the left-most cheesecake of the sampler best. And of course I had to do the cheese crawl– the cheesecake for finishing was really good too. And China always has an amazing Bubble Tea lately to be honest.

The only things I didn’t get to try were the Cheese Plate and Popcorn at the new Apple Orchard booth :/ Someone ordered the last just before me and I’m still pretty bummed about it. It was our last day so not much I could do about it.

On the bright side, we FINALLY got to do one of the “special events” at the Food Festival. Because my husband and I don’t drink alcohol, it’s really hard to justify the prices of most of the events as alcohol is always included, but the Parisian Breakfast was one of the more reasonably priced events despite also giving alcohol. To be honest, I was worried we would miss it– there was a hurricane passing through and it was pouring like crazy. We ended up being completely soaked (and being super wet on the freezing cold bus was not fun) and then essentially had to book it from the entrance to Epcot all the way to the World Showcase and to Paris. Maybe if I was less out of breath and stressed out I could’ve tried explaining in French, but thankfully I eventually managed to get out that we had reservations (There has been people who had tried to come in for food and to be out of the rain who had not) and thankfully, they still sat us despite being about an hour late.

They were so nice and it was really good. Also lots of cheese which is always great. I absolutely loved the Hot Chocolate especially– I prefer my hot chocolate more light and creamy than really rich so this was literally perfect and I wish I had the recipe for it. I drank so many cups. And while part of it was so we wouldn’t get pneumonia, it was also because it was genuinely super tasty.

One other new thing we finally got to do was check out the Na’vi River Journey ride and Pandora in general over at Animal Kingdom. We rarely go to Animal Kingdom as it doesn’t have a lot of indoor areas and I kind of need that with my heat issues, but a lot has been added since we’d last been there. I had managed to get fast passes for the ride as I kept hearing good things about it and I have to admit, while the land wasn’t as amazing as Batuu, Pandora was still pretty cool:

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for the ride. It was pretty and sure, the Animatronic was impressive and very fluid, but it was just very… boring. Even most dark boat rides I’ve been on, there’s usually at least some… speeding up or amusing things to look at or some nice song or even a tiny drop, but this was literally just meandering around in a river in the dark and seeing some of the sights which, like I said, isn’t necessarily bad– I don’t regret going on it, but I don’t understand the hype and I would never go out of my way to do it again (and honestly, I’m not sure I would do it again even if I didn’t have to go out of my way).

On the bright side, we ended up eating at really lovely place– Tiffins. I loved the decor of it and while it was expensive, all the food was amazing. The drinks were really creative too. And that place alone may finally get my family to give Animal Kingdom another shot. And who doesn’t like seeing cute animals?

We also finally tried out the Frozen Ride which wasn’t too bad, but I do miss the old Norway boat ride. I really liked how the area for the line was decorated though.

In the end, we only went on about four rides total– besides the three mentioned above, we also went on Test Track again with our friend as it was his first time in Disney. I hope Disney will one day add an option to like… 3D-Print these over just getting it on a card.

Regardless, we at least got a lot of the big important things done. I just really hope our next trip goes much smoother. And with that, I just have one last thing to say: Til the Spires :P

October 27, 2019

The Event Excuse

In general, Halloween has always been kind of a mixed bag for me. I’m not fond of horror things and I’m really shy so I especially stopped trick or treating rather early, but one of the things I’ve noticed is around Halloween is a time where nearly anything I play or even just see friends playing may have some kind of Halloween or Fall Event. There’s almost always something, some limited kind thing to try and do as much as you can or grind out.

And honestly, it’s exhausting. Ignoring general grind fests over a limited amount of time as you do the same thing over and over, hoping to either finally get what you want or save up enough to do so, sometimes there’s just limits of how much you can do and the argument for why this is will always be “It’s not fun to finish everything on the first day”… but that isn’t the case for everyone and I think it’s a huge disservice how often so many games force people to play in this very specific structure. And you know what? If there’s no time limit, maybe people can work with that to some extent, but when there’s a time limit, that just… does not work as well.

People always chock it up to impatience when someone may prefer to finish things in one go, but that isn’t always the case either. Personally, I have a handful of health-related issues and have good and bad days– some days I’m super productive and can get a lot done. Other days, I’m a sick mess and just completely useless to the point where I can’t even grab a log-in bonus on my phone (here’s another frustrating thing– the problem with log-in streaks and missing out on special bonuses due to missing a single day).

So when I’m playing through and a game tells me “Oh, yeah, you already did as much as you can today or you have to wait this very long timer to progress any more now”, it really sucks. This is the main reason I don’t have any kind of stream/video/writing schedule because between my own health and random family antics, I can’t predict when I’ll be good to go or get things done. And if I could get it out of the way on a day where maybe I don’t feel like trash and then focus on the next game/site/whatever is holding yet another event, it sure is a lot easier than stressing trying to balance multiple things at once on top of however I may be doing.

At this point, delaying content or how much you can do is often used as an excuse to justify with lack of content. And the thing is… there doesn’t always need to be tons of content. Filler time doesn’t make up for actual game time. There are other things to do in most games. Not engaging in an event constantly shouldn’t be considered such hearsay or lazy.

And people who want to only do a bit a day will still do that. People who can break it up and may not have as much to play will still take their time. But those who can’t for whatever reasons are the ones who constantly end up in this same stupid loop and it’s exhausting to see it still happen.

There’s nothing fun about forcing people to play in the same strict line due to some worry that an event being done quickly makes it forgettable or boring. Especially with limited time things, the only thing letting people play it as much as they personally feel like doing just lessens the chance of people not bothering or getting frustrated.

October 7, 2019

On creating a character

This is probably one of the most different posts I’ve had here, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot due to trying to create a new character. And I… really struggle with character creation.

I don’t even mean just playing around in a character creator– I generally can make things work as long as I have options. And while I tend to pick very similar options to validate inner turmoil as a child who repeatedly became disappointed in doll aisles, it’s really working from “nothing” where I end up running into the problem.

Character arch-types aren’t enough for me to envision some grand scheme of things, why Character A is doing this or what they want. Who they fall for, if anyone. Why they do what they do. All it really does is give me an idea of the personality and what they hope to do, but not the why.

People can create elaborate backstories for their character off the bat, but for me, that back-story has to come based off what they’re doing. What my instinct is for how a character would react in that situation and figuring out the why later, as if the character has securely locked their past in the furthest corners of their mind and each key unlocks a step further. The environment and the story shape them as do their decisions and so it’s rare that anything is as simple as it starts.

Which especially makes things complicated in a setting where you need to know all the details ahead of time because I never do. My husband has wanted to try D&D for quite a while and with me starting a whole dice collection because I love rocks and they reminded me of like… certain aesthetics combined with rocks, it finally got into “hey, maybe we’ll try doing this”. While I have slowed down on the dice collecting (though, I am still waiting for some to come and am looking forward to certain Kickstarters).

In the short run, I don’t think it’s something for me. Between character creation issues and my general shyness with RPing due to issues with my writing, it’s just a very stressful affair for me, even though I’ve known everyone involved for at least 10-15 years. I also have a tendency to get too immersed in situations and something bad happening can cause me to empathize too much with how my character feels and nobody needs to hear me crying about whatever random thing has effected me at the moment. It’s especially an issue when I can’t personally read certain tones of voice and due to playing a character that is not me, I need to just be… better at reading that and working with the skill-set given to me and the dice rolls I get and it’s not exactly easy. Especially when skill set-wise, said character should be able to solve a puzzle and then I roll a 1 and apparently just had a sudden stroke instead.

I also know my not talking is quite the inconvenience, but I don’t like talking. Too many instances of pronouncing words wrong, lisps, and my breathing issues and it’s a rough situation. Add on that my issues with hearing tones of voices also leads to me not being great attributing my own tone to what I mean and it’s just easier for me to write it out as if I was writing a story or we’d probably never get anywhere.

Regardless, going back to the main subject, developing a character as you play isn’t exactly helpful in a game where someone needs to know about your entire character’s story to plan their story. Which makes things really awkward as more develops in your head and another person isn’t on the same page. Especially when you’re incredibly anxious about sharing anything you create or come up with due to constant paranoia of it being the worst thing ever.

For the most part though, it’s made it very clear to me that I don’t really like making characters. I like writing and developing characters or changing things up to see how characters react and learning about them, but I don’t like starting from nothing. Even with my imagination, rather than feeling like I have everything at my fingertips, it’s more like I am surrounded by so much color, I can’t see. It’s too bright.

I don’t think I would’ve even gotten as far as even making a character for this even if it wasn’t actually a scrapped character idea for something else that didn’t work out. I had come up with the hair and name, but couldn’t find anything to stick and then realized there was another character with similar-ish hair and at the same time, was losing interest in the game, so I just kind of pushed it to the back of my mind and then when I needed a character, well, I had something to work with. And that plus combining the idea of not wanting to do what I usually do character-design-wise, Masara was born:

Art on the left by Shattered-Earth, Art on the right by tshuki

And if she wasn’t, I’d probably have ended up going with my still unnamed Fire Emblem Heroes character:

Art by Autumn-Sacura
She’s still relatively blank, despite liking her design. And that’s also why I’m actually more attached to my Robin from Fire Emblem: Awakening who despite having this huge story she’s part of, I had a full idea for her and even a writing project that I’ve just kind of kept to myself:

Art by Selaphi

And even when my characters look similar or have some shared traits, their story is always different– their motivations, why they got to such a point. No matter how similar they look.

But it’s always a Work in Progress. And while in a sense, all characters should be, character development is important, I don’t think it’s meant to be to the extent I end up working with. Especially when some kind of one shot comes up and all your mind can come up with is a blank box of nothing because I apparently have the creativity of a teaspoon.

October 4, 2019

In which I talk a bit about things after all (Random Animal Crossing: New Horizons thoughts)

So, despite saying I wouldn’t really talk much about stuff from the Direct on Twitter, I couldn’t help it to an extent. For the most part, I’ll just be talking mostly New Horizons in general rather than just what was shown in the Direct last month, but just things I’ve been thinking about a lot.

For the most part, I’m generally excited for the game. It looks fun already, New Leaf brought a ton of new people into the fandom so if region-exclusive stuff does happen again, hopefully everyone will have lots of friends to play with. Not to mention with seasons actually taking the lower hemisphere into account, people can work together to complete their encyclopedias faster than ever before (no time traveling needed).

But I find the main thing I have in mind right now is just… a lot of questions. As games are now region-free, will they pay attention to what shop you get the game from? Will you get to choose a country when you start? Animal Crossing, being a real time game and where things kind of progress as you go, the earliest you can start, the better. Even if I start playing at midnight, it means I can still get ready and prepare as much as I can for the day to start. It may seem silly, but one of the ways I really made progress with Pink Sea was making sure, at the very least, my debt with Nook was paid off each day. So that first debt? Paid off the same day. I worked hard earning bells to pay them off immediately. Same for Public Works projects– I tried not to let any take longer than a day. Plus, I would empty out every single shop and then either sell back or give away the items I didn’t actually want or plan to use. That may be a bit excessive, sure, but it meant I was progressing and unlocking things quicker and for me, that’s the best way I can plan things out.

I’m a super detail oriented person, but I can’t really work in parts– I need to have everything together in order to fully break it down. Anyone who’s watched some of my Happy Home Designer videos may notice I have a tendency to just dump out everything and then from there, work on sorting and placing. I’m not really super into surprises and I like having an idea of what I want ahead of time. Which makes things a little complicated with HHD where with a worldwide release, it’s a little harder to prepare for. Thus, right now, my main goal is just to pay things off quickly and do as much as I can.

I think my main hope is a more “natural” Pink Sea– some of my favorite new items in Pocket Camp have been the waterways. I’d love to see them adapt in some way where, if there is one next to it, it automatically connects in a flowing canal versus wood/stone/etc. patterns at the end of each end irregardless. In general, I’m hoping to see the best things from both Pocket Camp and Happy Home Designer in this game with all the additional items and customization, but I hope it’ll still to AC’s usual pacing and not Pocket Camp’s constant energy as I just can’t keep up with that.

Regardless, I’d really like to keep the game pattern free this time outside of like… the town (or well, island) flag. I don’t really have anything against patterns, but they take a long time and I wouldn’t really call myself artistic. At most, maybe I’ll do recolors of certain existing outfits if anything, but I think Animal Crossing has a lot of great outfits already, especially in Pocket Camp, and with so many new designs, I’m curious how that could effect things. Can we pick different dress styles? Just another thing I’m super curious about. Even if I do go the outfit route, I don’t think I’d want to go the path route again. I’d like to try and keep things just to official items, especially now that we can place any outside.

I would say my biggest worries with the game right now are that the ordinance system is likely not going to return (I’d love to be proven wrong though) and the… fruit energy meter?


(as a side note, I can’t wait to see all the new hairstyles… come on wavy ponytail that is NOT a sidetail…)

We still don’t really know the full low-down on how this works beyond seeing the character eat an apple, the number go up, and then it going back down 1 as they dug up a tree. And you know, sure, digging up a full tree is a bit crazy, but Animal Crossing isn’t exactly super realistic in the first place. For me, this is just another Quality of Life thing, which is always good in a real time game.

But Animal Crossing has enough walls with paying things off, unlocking shops (Heck, I’m tempted to hoard clothing just in case Gracie has fashion tests again…), and progressing in general. We even have the Nook Miles app which will unlock new recipes.

I don’t want something akin to an energy system. If I want to spend hours picking up and moving every single tree, just let me do it, game. Landscaping is a big deal in Animal Crossing. And like, I get it, fruit doesn’t have much use other than to sell for some early money, trade with friends for other fruit, and look pretty, but to be blunt, not everything needs this big ultimate use. I’m trying to not jump to conclusions on it because we still don’t have much information yet, but it’s one of the things that has me most concerned (The other being crafting, though, it looks like the game is doing it in a fun way).

Moving back to the ordinances, honestly, if it wasn’t for the Beautiful Ordinance, Pink Sea wouldn’t really exist. Or well, it’d be a lot less pink at least. I kind of hate watering. Like if you ever wondered why my Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons fields are filled with grass and I just take care of animals, this is why. I find it way too monotonous and it just doesn’t vary enough for me not to get bored with it. Considering how differently flowers seem to work (with you just harvesting the bulb– it also makes me wonder if the breeding system could be more akin to how it is in Pocket Camp than how it currently works), I’m really curious if they will need to be watered every day still or maybe just to grow or what. At the very least, this’ll make it a lot easier for me to have a bazillion pink flowers.

Despite these few concerns, I just find myself excited about what’s to come while also being super overwhelmed on just how I’m going to set things up. I don’t necessarily want to make a copy of my New Leaf Town, but I do think it’ll be similar as that’s just how my tastes and aesthetic tends to go. While I’m still undecided, I’d like to be able to just have my main character versus three others this time, though, I liked being able to make so many different “house themes”.

I’m curious how big our house can be in this. I think right now, I just am longing for any new details. I don’t really feel impatient as I’m not in any rush to March– I still want to plan and think it all out. But at the same time, I genuinely am looking forward to playing and just seeing how much I can do.

August 27, 2019

On recent events, Mobile games, Game Events, & Visual Novel adventures

To start, I want to say I won’t only be talking about mobile visual novel games (though, some of the ones I will be focusing on are either mobile only or available both on the web and through mobile), but this will cover a range of different mobile games along with some other games. If you’d like to skip some of the personal stuff about why I’ve been relatively MIA and playing a lot of mobile stuff lately, you can click here to scroll on down.

In general, I’ve been having a rough time focusing on most things lately. It’s as if my mind is a giant static quagmire where a train exploded and is raining with wreckage. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is and there’s so much happening, I’m too stunned to move and can only stare in shock. And every step, it’s as if a landmine goes off and suddenly, there’s a whole other pile of crud that I can’t even start to begin to process before something else happens. To make matters worse, in the brief moments where everything is not explosions and fire, it’s just static elevator music where I can only wait until it ends to process what to do next, except it never does and even knowing that, I’m still just stuck there, staring aimlessly at nothing. To give a bit of an idea on how rough it’s been, this post in particular has been in progress for several months now.

I started this site, the various blogs I’ve done, and even doing more on my Youtube channel primarily for me– things like keeping track of my thoughts, wanting to log my gameplay, wanting to have recordings to revisit… I don’t enjoy replaying games, but I like seeing screenshots and memories of those adventures. And some people showed up and then there was the extra feeling of always worrying about letting people down– because I always worry I’m never doing enough, even when it’s just me.

So I know a lot of people want to see Miitopia finished up and Pokemon Ultra Moon and MySims and Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Happy Home Designer and for some reason more Tomodachi Life even though I can’t think of a single thing to show there and maybe even some of the extra puzzles in Lady Layton and some of the bazillion other games I’ve started and didn’t finish and with very few exceptions, like games I just could not enjoy no matter how much I try or games I feel are done, I want that too. And there is no one more disappointed than I am personally when the only thing I can upload is the visual novel of the day.

I actually recorded the really cute Hogwarts Mystery Pet side-quest and was looking forward to uploading that once I finished editing… Only to have accidentally permanently deleted it. I can’t redo the quest. It’s just gone and I’m still kicking myself for it. I’ve set up multiple times now to continue multiple different games as well that I’ve had in progress, but something always comes up or I just don’t have time. To bring up something more recently, I’ve had a set game schedule for streaming and testing some 3DS stuff (as I slowly fix Audio issues because of course I have to hit more problems when I’m struggling enough already) for weeks now, but something either comes up such as tech issues or I end up being sick again (for the record, this week has been a combination of both).

I collected a whole bunch of dream addresses for New Leaf, planned to do something small for Tomodachi Life, and also wanted to get back to Pokemon, but the same problems just keep happening and it sucks. And it’s easy to say “Push through it”, but that’s not always possible because it’s like there’s a barrier you just can’t push through no matter how hard you try.

And that’s why I’ve been playing a lot of mobile games lately. To feel like I’m doing something without having to deal with sound issues, graphic issues, lag issues, a broken chair, or when I just am stuck in bed or sneezing like crazy.

I will say if there’s one thing that’s come out of all of the Mobile game playing, it’s me figuring out what kind of game I wish there was. There’s a lot of Mobile games I’ve enjoyed, but I’ve noticed one big issue with them: Excessive amounts of brick walls.

With the exception of Animal Crossing’s real time schedule, I’ve never been fond of feeling the need to constantly check in with a game (and even then, New Leaf pressed my patience a lot with the moving mechanic issues). I’m very much a play until I’m done type of person and while I can deal with grinding to an extent, I’ve never been super fond of the “sit around and wait” unless there’s plenty else to do… and most of the time, there isn’t.

Whether it be energy bars, being locked out until you have a certain amount of something, needing to constantly log in to keep up with things, or just waiting out timers, it’s incredibly frustrating to just… not be able to progress. And I get the idea of wanting people to log in a lot and check back, but I am much more likely to check in for new content or when I know something is happening than when I get burnt out due to constant timers and thus, feeling I’ve missed out on too much to want to bother.

I’ve found myself using a lot of “Auto modes” in games with fighting because I just don’t have time to keep up with it and it gives me time to work on the bazillion other things. And when I barely have time for that mechanic, the last thing I feel like doing is waiting for when a game will let me play it again.

This was part of why Pocket Camp’s events became so overbearing. Ignoring the fact that you rarely got any breaks, that was reinforced with the fact that unless you paid to speed things up, you either had to depend on others (which wasn’t always an option) or wait. Wait for flowers to grow. Wait for bugs to be left. Wait for more Gyroids to spawn. Wait for more fish to spawn. Everything was on a timer and you could only do so much of an event at a time unless you could just buy tons of leaf tickets and speed through it (and even then, not everything can be sped through– such as seasonal events that have you gathering items from many of the various other events and completing certain tasks… Or how many events now feature crafting items that require Leaf Tickets. There is so much you have to do a day in order to be prepared and keep up with everything and that’s… absolutely exhausting. I’ve had more “enjoyment” with Pocket Camp when I just play randomly at my leisure, but being such a completionist in AC, it’s always bittersweet seeing how much I miss or just can’t get without laying down a lot of money.

Part of why I enjoyed New Leaf so much was thanks to the ordinances, I was able to focus on building up my town without constantly having to water flowers to keep them alive and worry about cockroaches or trash. I could take a few days off if I wanted. Which the broken moving mechanic ruined to an extent, but I digress.

Going back to fighting games, if the brick walls aren’t enough, it’s how convoluted games can get with features. Keeping things simple isn’t always a bad thing and for those who play more casually or just want to have characters they like, it can be a lot to get their head wrapped around all these mechanics and events across multiple different games. I don’t think new modes are necessarily bad, but the constant putting the bar higher on what you need to make your characters the best is exhausting. Like oh no, you suddenly need 5 Dragon Hearts!! Time to play that brand new mode that makes your currently trained team useless!!

This is especially frustrating when a game has a PVP element to it as whether they want to or not, their game is already paid to win. Players with money to spare can keep rolling to get all their characters powered up, quickly farm things, and just generally get things done quickly without grinding as much as other players have to. I don’t really consider myself a Free to play player, but I am no where close to high end and with how I tend to play, I generally am on the par of a free to play player– I just don’t mind paying for a character I really want.

And new features aren’t inherently bad, but there’s a difference between something like Fire Emblem’s Tempest Trials (which thankfully are balanced so much better now) and the Aether Raids and Tap Battles and Grand Hero Battles and other wars and constant new weapon crafting and just, it’s really not needed. I can’t even keep up with all the game modes anymore.

Going back to Pocket Camp again for a moment, we also get this with Gulliver where him having exclusive items is one thing, but they then went and gave him various villagers you can only get from him and at most, have a 50-50 chance to do so… And then you have to go through Blather’s Treasure Trek to unlock them further and just like… Maybe don’t do that? They already had it when new villagers were added, they were usually the first to show up, it didn’t need to make it more complicated. I honestly am just tired of crafting items for Gulliver just to have a chance at a villager at this point.

In general, I’ve never been super big on crafting in games– hoarding tons of items and grinding for materials by doing the same thing over and over again has never been fun to me, even less so in mobile games which have incessant amounts of timers and energy bars that only let you do so much.

As for Visual Novels, their brick walls are generally more located in any kind of energy or unlock system. While some games at least give you some things daily (such as My Candy Love), others are on specific types of timers (like Choices), or even require ads and roulettes (like Chan Prin). Dialogue or movement will then use up that energy in those games, or for ones like Choices where a Key unlocks an entire chapter, you get certain choices locked out instead. Some games do both– having an option that costs extra energy to pick, and honestly, I hate systems like that.

Besides often being the answer that would be “correct”, it’s also often something like “Be a decent human being” versus “Be obnoxious” and when you have games like this where what dialogue you pick should be a feature, it sure doesn’t feel that way.

Similarly, in the sense of a visual novel format, it’s honestly not super fun being forced to just have to stop in the middle of dialogue whether it be because you ran out of energy or need to save up for a special choice, it completely cuts off any kind of immersion. And I get that games need to earn money, but I think I’d rather just be able to “buy” a chapter and then play it freely with no pauses on choices. I definitely prefer buying visual novels to just… have as a lot of the mobile and browser games miss out on a lot of really nice features such as saving, loading, and skipping.

And just… it’s frustrating because a lot of these games may have interesting concepts or good stories or fun characters and eventually, I just don’t check back. The notifications only work for so long before I get tired with another 10 minute waiting sequence. I like to just sit down and sink my time into a game and if I want to put a lot of time into it, I’d like to be able to. And that’s the thing with a lot of events, yeah, maybe you can finish them in the allotted time, but it also means you need to play them nearly every chance you can too. There aren’t many break days. And at that point, it feels less like a game and more like a job. And I already have a job. Too many. I don’t need something that I picked up to try and relax to turn into one as well.

Going to a different kind of mobile game, and generally one of my favorites, it’d be more collection-based games. Collect cool trinkets, have them fill out a museum or room, collect animals, color pictures, etc. Unfortunately, to balance out the free to play nature, I’ve found they have often come with some really annoying features that ruin a lot of the fun:

  • Constant Timers – Waiting to be able to open a gift or for whoever to return to come back. Or until you can start work again because your character needs a break.
  • Limited to how much you can do – Only so many things can be set to open or only one thing can be sent out to search or you only have one thing you can do ever. This is ESPECIALLY frustrating with limited time things or games where the selection rotates so if you’re not fast enough (and in most cases, you will not be unless you use a premium currency), you could end up missing out on things due to being too slow.
  • Lots of ads – I don’t mind endless banner ads at the bottom. Even ads to speed things up is okay or to get a bigger reward, but when there is an add every other time I do anything in the game, it just gets annoying. Like all I’m doing is trying to play and I’m just constantly hit with ads.
  • Subscriptions – Because rather than just let people buy a game, let’s lock a whole section off that requires you to pay monthly, usually $10-$15 no less. That is the price of an MMO subscription.

It’s greedy and discouraging and pays heavily into the feeling of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in some cases in order to get people to spend to not risk missing out on things. Which is a shame because some are really cute, but that’s just garbage. And the timers would be less frustrating if there was literally anything else to do or a feature that can be worked on that maybe didn’t have a timer rather than being forced to wait yet another thing out.

I think if I ever tried to make a mobile game, it’d be combining a lot of those types of games and finding a way to make it fun and still earn some money without being cheap in the way it’s done.

Finally, to finish this off, I wanted to talk about Game Events which is something very popular with a lot of Indie Games and Mobile Games and is generally the act of patching an event in when they want and then removing it when they feel like it. And there are many games that I have stopped playing due to this.

Again, I get the point of wanting to get people to keep checking into your game… But I’d check in to see the new features eventually anyway. But when I’m constantly on a time limit to do some event that maybe I didn’t even know about, that fun level drops completely and more often than not, I may end up not picking up the game again. It sucks missing out and when your only chance of maybe getting what you missed is up to the developer, it’s hard to feel motivated to keep trucking along, especially with a game with a collection aspect to it.

I shouldn’t have to constantly have a bunch of game launchers up, be on a mailing list, subscribed to every social media account, AND be in a discord to keep up with every little thing for a game when it comes to important updates and events. The amount of discords and facebook groups for game events and keeping track of news and updates is so immense, I had to make a Discord just for gaming groups. And I still can’t keep up with it.

And just, I really can’t say enough how once again, this makes something I like to play for fun and on my own time suddenly turn into a job. If a developer wants to add in a new event, great, cool, that’s fine! But maybe consider making it a recurring ingame thing that a player can trigger and not something that gets turned on and off at their own leisure.

It’s incredibly frustrating and exhausting to have to spend hours and hours just hitting brick walls in various games trying to get as much done as possible. It’s a balancing act of different chores and it isn’t fun. And it’s even more discouraging when I’m not feeling up to doing much lately and then I can’t even succeed at something that was supposed to be relaxing.

I genuinely think a lot of mobile games have potential, but I think they need more faith in their player base versus the constant addition of new and higher tiers and timers. People will come back if you update. People will spend if they feel supported and communicated too. But drowning people out discourages so many people and it just isn’t fun anymore.

August 11, 2019

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Memory Edition & The Sanrio Collaboration

One of the nice new Quality of Life features with Pocket Camp is it’s possible to view a new memory you’ve unlocked without ruining setting everything up in your campsite. If you are subscribed to my Youtube Channel, you’ve likely already seen the video when it was uploaded a few weeks ago, but if not, I figured I’d include some screenshots of my favorite moments in addition to talking about the new Sanrio stuff and some of the other events.

I genuinely found the Anniversary Memory really sweet and I’m glad they gave us it.

I also enjoyed Chrissy’s Tea Party, though, I wish the items were normal-sized. I will admit the giant size broke my heart as the items themselves are super cute:

The Memory system is actually one of my favorite things in Pocket Camp (and I’d love to see it in New Horizons in some way, even if just as a way to revisit cut scenes) which is probably one of the most frustrating things with the fact that it’s essentially pay to win. Sure, like all things, you could get lucky or if you play a lot, maybe you’ll have lots of leaf tickets to spare (that said, if you’re a full completionist who wants everything, you’d have to be EXTREMELY lucky and some super helpful friends to not spend anything), it’s just not very likely without paying.

Similarly, I really adore the Gardening event end cutscenes. Unfortunately, the gardening events are just… incredibly frustrating with the constant check-ins, needing to keep clearing things out, and the best way to succeed being very dependent on your friends. I managed to finish Isabelle’s recent one at the last possible second— only after buying one of the special Gardening Event Packages.


While I do love helping my friends (and appreciate it), an event being exclusive to that while also lessening how much you can even help at a time isn’t fun. Constant brick walls has never been fun.

The Sanrio Collab has also made its way here and it’s hard to be excited for it when it all requires leaf tickets. While I can at least give the Sanrio stuff an understanding for being leaf ticket exclusives (it’s a collaboration after all), it being a lootbox system for most or $7 for a cute digital backpack isn’t a great feeling :/ On the bright side, I’m hoping this does mean we’re likely to continue to see the Sanrio items and Villagers in the future too at least.

I wonder if it could be an actual DLC pack or the Amiibo Cards could make a return (Just… ignore how few places the Sanrio Cards were even released). I just hope it’ll be priced better than anything in Pocket Camp if so. I’m glad it’s at least possible to get the villagers in Pocket Camp, plus one of each of the fortune cookies, even if you don’t bother with buying the items– as much as I adore the items, locking levels behind a paywall too wouldn’t be great. While I haven’t gotten all my favorites (and me loving the grand prize couches does not help…), I at least got a few cute things. Unfortunately, my camp site, cabin, and trailer are a bit too full to put much use of them, but I think I at least wear the outfit well. And some of these fortune cookies are too cute.

June 24, 2019

Returning to Happy Home Designer!

So, it’s been a long time since my last entry and recording of Happy Home Designer (in fact, even longer than I realized), but with the recent announcement of New Horizons earlier this month, I’ve been really wanting to play something Animal Crossing-esque and this was at the top of my list (I would’ve likely done Dream Suites otherwise, but the Welcome Amiibo update kind of killed my dream suite list :( ).

I’m still a bit nervous about making houses due to the fact that I’ve gotten some repetitive themes paired with the lack of new items most of the time to really get an idea of what a villager wants, but I still want to make a house for every single villager and NPC (I collected all of the Amiibo cards for a reason…) so fingers crossed I can do them justice.

Hamphrey – A smoked-foods showcase:



Rating Address: 0270-7799-059

Klaus – An ancient bathhouse.


Rating Address: 0470-7799-009

Shep – A life on the streets.


Rating Address: 0277-7799-949

Hamlet – A soccer arena.



Rating Address: 0977-7799-029

June 19, 2019

E3 Day 2 and 3 thoughts plus overall feelings~

So, this covers the rest of the press conferences from the last two days. I’ll probably add some stuff from Nintendo’s Treehouse later as they usually include some bonus details, but for the most part, this is focused on the conferences themselves. As a final note, while we did watch all of the conferences (including the “smaller” ones like Limited Run), I’ve only included ones where I had something to say, whether it be in general on what was shown or due to a game being shown I was interested in so any not included are just because I literally had nothing to add beyond that I watched it ^^;

I also apologize for the delay a bit with this! I had been sick and had… a lot of feelings about Pokemon and Animal Crossing but here we go!

UploadVR

To be honest, we originally debated on skipping this conference. We don’t have a VR headset and at the current prices, it’s hard to say if that’ll ever change.

I also just don’t personally care much about the concept of VR. I don’t like wearing some headset (or things on my head/face in general) and most of the gameplay I’ve seen for the games that DO grab my attention could easily just use the mouse or keyboard to play versus needing to work through VR which would also make them more accessible to people too.

Despite my frustrations with VR, I’d be lying if I said none of the games caught my attention. I did think these looked really fun and would want to play them if they weren’t VR– The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets and Garden of the Sea.

The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, despite a bit of an odd trailer, just looks absolutely adorable with a mystery you need to solve by traveling through different minature worlds and solving puzzles. The graphics are adorable and I wish I could play it.

Meanwhile, The Garden of the Sea is kind of a cross between Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon–you have a small cottage in a magical world and can grow a garden, pet cute animals, and explore the area. I always enjoy these types of games.

Honestly, I’d love if maybe a version of these games was considered not in VR, but I know it’s unlikely. I also wanted to just say that Dance Central VR reminded me of an old dance MMO you could play with the keyboard where you could dress-up your character and I’d be tempted to try that too, again, if not VR.

The PC Gaming Show

PC Gaming Show’s issue continues to be with the pacing and just what they focus on as their panels always feel like they are going on forever and not in a good way. They focus a lot more on how a game came to be versus the game itself and most of the time, I found myself having to go back to see what game they were talking about as the title was only flashed for a moment.

That said, despite the slow feeling of the show, one game did catch my eye– Cris Tales which takes inspiration from classic JRPGs and has an interesting time mechanic where you can switch between the Past, Present, and Future and your choices/activities will effect things.

The art style is super pretty and I really enjoyed the music in the trailer as well. There’s a demo up on Steam until June 24th and I had a lot of fun playing it :) It’ll be up on my channel early this morning.

Also, if you find the premise interesting, Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers also has a feature of traveling in the past to solve a mystery in the present which is what seeing this game made me think of.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft started off with an orchestra of Assassin’s Creed music which, while odd, was still nice to listen to. And of course, being Ubisoft, we did eventually have a full dance party with the dancing Panda and everything for Just Dance (Speaking of which, it’s nice to see them continuing to make it for the Wii as well as a lot of hospitals use it for physical therapy to help patients, but I was kind of surprised the Wii U wasn’t used–I mean, in theory it makes sense, but it was still surprising to literally see a later console skipped). Honestly, if Ubisoft ever doesn’t do a dance concert thing for Just Dance, I’d be concerned.

Moving onto the games, Watch Dogs: Legion looks really good. The first Watch Dogs had pulled me in, but what they showed and what the game ended up being were… really different. I didn’t have much interest in Watch Dogs 2, but Watch Dogs: Legion looks really fun in a more over the top way, especially with so many different characters you can play as.

Finally, the only other thing I really need to say is I’m disappointed to see yet another gaming company doing a subscription service. In general, I’m not a fan of subscription services, but the biggest reason for why I’m not is I just… get so little out of them. There isn’t even to pull me in. It’s bad enough how many things have their own launcher now on top of it.

Square Enix

I’m probably the only Final Fantasy VII fan who really has little interest in the HD Remake. In my defense though, I don’t care much for HD Remakes in general–I’ve played the game before and unless there is new or changed content (*coughlikeAerithcansomehowlivecough*), there isn’t any real appeal to me. Also I do not want to see my favorite character die in high definition.

Moving passed that, Dragon Quest Builders 2 looks like a lot of fun. I had really wanted to play the first one and even downloaded the demo, but just didn’t have time. I’ve been told the 2nd has everything the first does and is a huge improvement (though, I will miss out on items that are given for having played the first game) so I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to pick up this one.

Even though Square Enix didn’t have much that grabbed my attention, it was still nice.

Nintendo

Finally, we have Nintendo which definitely had the game I’m probably most excited for. Firstly, we got two new Smash announcements. While I’m not really playing SSBU anymore, I was really excited about both characters that were announced as I know how many people have been wanting them. Dragon Quest is huge and Japan and so many people I know, myself included, played Banjo Kazooie and have really fond memories of it (here’s hoping it brings us a new Banjo Kazooie game too!). For me, I actually can’t really think of a character I would be all OMGIWISH*name*WASINSMASH. I mean, sure, I have favorites where if they were in Smash, that’d be cool, but I have several characters I enjoy playing as and one thing I’ve learned with a lot of Nintendo’s more competitive games is what I like best and how I play are two completely incompatible styles, unfortunately. On the bright side though, this means I can’t be disappointed. I think, if I wanted anything, it’d be to customize certain fighters with other appearances or options or even be able to adapt certain fighting styles as your Mii. That’d be kind of cool.

I’m also excited for Luigi’s Mansion 3 between Polterpup’s return, full on character/portrait ghosts, and multiplayer, this feels a lot more of what I wanted from a sequel than what we got with Luigi’s Mansion 2.

We also have Link’s Awakening which I never played, but just find this style super cute. AND THE AMIIBO LOOKS AMAZING:

I hope they make a Zelda one too.

I still don’t really know what to think about Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’m intrigued, but mainly curious–I feel it’s a game I’d enjoy watching more than playing at the moment.

Pokemon Sword & Shield still genuinely looks amazing. My only real worried with it are the National Dex concerns in the sense of where my Pokemon will go–as I mention there, I don’t mind if I can only play with Pokemon in the region to start. I usually do that anyway. But please let me bring over my other Pokemon after I finish the game :/

Similarly, I really want to see more customization. With silly things locked in Sun/Moon (colors) and Let’s Go Pikachu (Outfits and you were stuck with one set appearance), I want to hope this game will be a bit more “freeing” in options and not lock you out of things because that kind of ruins the point of customization.

Also Wooloo and Yamper are adorable.

We also had Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo Olympics which, honestly, I still love these games. They’re genuinely pretty fun. I can’t help but be excited for it.

Finally, and of course, the most important game of the press conference for me: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Now, you probably already know from Twitter and one of my previous posts, I’m very excited for it. But I’m also really happy and relieved that I AM excited for it.

On one hand, it should be a no brainer right? I think anyone could tell you how much I love Animal Crossing and how passionate I am about it, but between Happy Home Designer (which I really do love, they just needed to vary the themes a bit), Pocket Camp (which just missed the point of AC and burnt me out beyond reason), and various personal things, I was worried I was burnt out and wouldn’t care.

But I still care. I care a lot. I have so many feelings about it, feelings about friends I made with New Leaf and everything before things just became… sad and frustrating. And I just can’t wait. All I keep thinking about is what I’m going to do, how I’m going to set it up.

And I was so worried how I’d ever make anything even close to my New Leaf town, but now I have… new inspiration. I still will generally follow in a similar goal, but with a bit more natural element. The big thing is I want to not use any patterns for the floor/island itself. In the house? Sure, but I want to do all paths and water effects naturally and I’m hoping a lot of those items from Pocket Camp will make it over.

I can’t say enough how much I’m looking forward to playing and having a daily blog and video series again. It’ll be great. It already looks so beautiful.

———

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think the press conferences I enjoyed the most were Microsoft’s and Nintendo’s. The announcement for PSO2 was easily the most surprising for me, but the game sticking for me the most is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which I’m thankful for as I was really worried Pocket Camp and some personal situations may have ruined that for me. I can’t wait for PSO2’s English release and to be able to play Animal Crossing again <3 For me, this was a fun E3 though and there's definitely a lot to look forward to so 2020 should be a good (although expensive) year.

June 16, 2019

On the National Dex situation…

While writing through my press conference thoughts (don’t worry, it’s still coming!!), I found myself deviating a lot from the main subject to really go into the current controversy in Sword and Shield with Galar’s National Dex. As to not completely sideswipe my original intent, I figured it may be best to try and talk about it on its own instead.

At the initial core of the subject, I’m not really bothered if Galar only has its own dex to start… I usually try to play through each generation for the first time with Pokemon only found there so for my initial playthrough, it really doesn’t effect me.

The problem I’ve found is everything surrounding it. Ignoring if we even got pokedex entries for every Pokemon (which, even if they could be imported in Gen 7, not all Pokemon had Pokedex entries), I usually liked to do the Elite 4 again with my favorites to get them new ribbons. And now that won’t be an option unless they added the option later.

My biggest fear is more of what I’ll be doing with my Pokemon. During the press conference, it was mentioned that Pokemon Home would essentially be Gen 8’s “Pokemon Bank” replacement which is fine, except for one issue… You can’t transfer Pokemon out of Home except to Sword and Shield:

And then we learned some portion of the Pokedex will not be able to be transferred to Sword and Shield after all.

So then what? Are my Pokemon trapped there? Will they never get to be in a Pokemon game again? How long will Bank around? Out of everything, this is really what keeps popping up for me the most. I have hundreds of Pokemon (probably closer to thousands) that may just end up poofing into thin air or being trapped in some box and that sucks. While I have hopes that Pokemon Home could maybe be similar to Pokemon Ranch and/or Channel, there’s no information confirming that right now or changing the issue at hand with the fact that it’s a one way transfer for a large amount of Pokemon.

To make things more frustrating, my favorite Pokemon is a Mega Pokemon–Mega Audino. Now, honestly, I hate battle gimmicks. I find them uninteresting and generally don’t even use them. But Megas had some pretty great designs and even with Z-Moves, some of the animations were pretty fun. While they managed to bring Megas along into Gen 7, from the sounds of things so far, it seems like Dynamaxing may be all we get in Gen 8, which, you know, fine, whatever, I really don’t care at all about Dynamaxing and it’s probably better to just have one battle gimmick per game, but it’s also so frustrating.

I’ve been saying since Megas started that I wish they’d just make them form changes (Akin to Alolan forms, Deoxys, or Meloetta) or actual evolutions depending on the Pokemon. They can have different types and maybe some stat changes, but not be too different. Seeing those designs just essentially be tossed really sucks. And sure, maybe it’s not the first time (We’ve had Spiky-eared Pichu and the Cosplay Pikachu), but there were a lot of unique designs and while I didn’t care for all of them, this is still 48 (50 if you want to include Kyogre’s and Groudon’s primal forms) designs tossed right out the window.

And I’ve never even liked the idea of Mega Evolutions, but god did I really fall in love with some of the designs. And what really frustrates me with Pokemon is they keep doing this.

They keep making interesting mechanics and then tossing them for the next generation. They want to gear to hyper competitive people and keep it interesting to them (Which tournament rules exist, you can do plenty there already) while also focusing on the extra casual group of people who are maybe coming in from GO and are just… forgetting everyone there in the middle.

And it sucks. There are SO MANY cool things in the Pokemon World already, including so many amazing Pokemon, and instead of just using them to the best of their abilities, they are busy making things more convoluted or gimmicky when it’s not even needed.

You know what I’d like to see as a battle gimmick? Bonds that mattered. I want the Pokemon I spent so much time with, traveled multiple regions with, to be able to have those high level stats that maybe only certain Pokemon would have. Forget EVs and IVs, let the experiences they’ve gone through be enough. I want to destroy those tier lists with my Dragonair, Mega Audino, Slurpuff, and Stufful, I want to show that sheer determination and effort and dedication can actually mean something.

We see it happen SO MUCH in the anime with Pikachu and other Pokemon, why can’t we have THAT in a game? You want unique battles? You want to turn things on their head? Let the Pokemon we’ve grown up with grow up too and show them what they can do versus hatching eggs for 5,000 years to get a specific shiny natured one. There’s a way to completely break the meta if connections actually mattered. Because right now, when we can’t even transfer our Pokemon to Galar and possibly to anything ever again? They don’t mean anything anymore.

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