Crystal Dreams

May 7, 2018

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – I’ve played a lot and it’s been suffering

So, I actually thought I had written an entry about like… half the stuff we’ll be talking about here, but apparently I haven’t so let’s get started!

Before I do though, I will admit that I am debating on no longer playing Pocket Camp. I really wanted to love the game, but the game is incredibly stressful with all the events, rarely relaxing, and just feels too overwhelming. The only thing I had to worry about with New Leaf were villagers moving and that’s due to an issue in coding that I hope will be fixed next game.

Anything else, I knew would be back next year or I could trade with friends or, while I didn’t do it, there was always the option to time travel.

But with Pocket Camp it’s just based on what they want to throw at us, limited, solo-mode, and requires a lot of constant playing and it just isn’t fun. It’s really not. And while we get our villagers and nice decorated camp, I feel the game largely misses the entire charm of Animal Crossing with how it works.

Not to mention when collecting is literally one of the main features of Animal Crossing, having many things behind a pay wall isn’t fun. It’s not fun in the slightest. Literally having game mechanics you can’t complete without using their real money currency loot boxes is absolutely awful. I wish I could be like “well, it’s not that bad” but it really is. And sure, I’m sure there’s a good amount of people who have maybe managed to never buy any Leaf Tickets and saved everything, but not everyone has time to constantly check the game to get everything done in the time allocated. Not to mention due to hitting walls (waiting 3 hours for flowers to bloom or villagers to cycle), maybe you have a bunch of time in the morning, but suddenly are out of things to do unless you speed them up somehow.

And these are such classic sleezy mobile tactics. One of the most common things “adventure”-type games do is they have you tapping things for a certain amount of energy points to fill up a bar. You need a certain amount to pass with some being bonuses, but the bonuses often determine how you do in the plot so they’re not really as optional as they’re presented. You usually have anywhere from an hour to 8 hours to do these things where, unless you pay for energy to get it done while you actually have time or so you don’t forget about it, you will be having this game up for that amount of time tapping each time you get a single energy point every 3-5 minutes and praying for a level-up.

It’s not fun, it’s a huge wall, and it’s discouraging to anyone who wants to play a large chunk of a game in a time.

And that’s the thing with Animal Crossing. Not many people pick it up to play for a little while and then are done. People enjoy sinking time into it. It’s supposed to be a relaxing game. There’s all kinds of things for you to do. But Pocket Camp has these walls up and it sucks. It really does.

If it wasn’t for the fact that there might be connectivity in a future AC game, I don’t think I’d still be playing it. But I think, unless there’s a big chance to the Fortune Cookies or I hit the lottery and can afford to suffer trying to get the grand prize, I will end up no longer playing once the current run of Fortune Cookies end. I’ve always been a huge completionist with Animal Crossing. It’s one of my favorite series. So failing at the fortune cookies means I fail at two things: One, the catalog, which I have never failed to complete, and two, the new memory system that I had actually been really excited for before seeing how it worked.

So yeah, I’m bitter, but I think I have a right to be too. Anyway, I doubt anyone is actually here to hear me rant, so lets move onto what I have been doing in Pocket Camp!

For one, thanks to some help, I finally paid off my RV:

Unfortunately, it was pretty unsatisfying. At least it’s done though, I guess.

And Celeste’s item came out and despite it being 350 Leaf Tickets, I had to get it because she’s actually one of my favorite Special Villagers in the game:

And this gets long and image heavy so…
» Read the rest of this entry …

April 19, 2018

Opinion Piece: The problem with the fortune cookies (Loot Boxes) in Pocket Camp

I promise a normal Pocket Camp entry will be coming soon, but for now, I just needed to rant a little about this because… Pocket Camp’s leaf ticket system was fine without this and if they had to make it cost Leaf Tickets, there were better ways to do it, but right now it’s just poorly implemented and this is genuinely one of the worst games to have this kind of feature in.

See, the main argument for any kind of random box is that “well, it’s just aesthetic items!! Just collectibles!! They don’t effect gameplay so who cares!!” and that’s a stupid argument because collecting tends to be a big deal in games. In fact, most of the people who put a lot into those things are for those items that may be “just for looks”. They’re “Aesthetic” items for a reason and if there’s an outfit or item you really like in that box, you’ll be pulling for ages unless you get lucky. And it’s just… Not very fun, honestly.

This becomes especially more complicated because a big core of Animal Crossing IS collecting. There’s literally a catalog that tracks every item in the game. They literally just put part of the game behind a paywall. And it’s not even a decently priced paywall.

A special/certain character-based fortune cookie costs 50 Leaf Tickets to buy. These are the [US] Prices for Leaf Tickets (rounded up–usually by just like 1 cent so):
20 for $1
45 for $2
100 for $4
200 for $8
600 for $21
1,200 for $40
2,500 for $80

At best, you’re getting them for about $1.60 each with the larger payments up to about $3 at most if you only buy the lowest amount. On average, you’ll most likely be getting them for about $2 each. There’s 3 different Fortune Cookies, each with 10 items. So 30 total so if you’re lucky and manage to get all the items you need in your first go each time, you’ll spend about $48 dollars minimum (so you’d still have some Leaf Tickets left of those $80 if you went with that)–if you were closer to the average and maybe just doing 100 every so often, then that’s $60.

That’s the price of an actual new game to get everything. And you may be thinking “Well, we can buy some fortune cookies with bells, right?”

Except what Fortune cookies stock is also random. And there is no guarantee the leaf ticket exclusive ones will show up–you could just get Clothing or Furniture (Timmy/Tommy Cookies) ones (which also have exclusive clothing and furniture respectively, by the way. At least you can sometimes get these from villager requests). The fortune cookies will switch out after 12 hours, but only if you didn’t buy both already for the day. You can only buy two cookies with bells so if you bought both immediately, there goes any chance of getting a special character one (or maybe another special character one). Turns out it’s only ever two every 24 hours. They stock once a day so whatever two you get are the two you’re stuck with so hope it’s one of the Leaf Ticket ones, but no guarantees. Pair with the fact that these are limited and at most, you’ll get about 60 tries total to get all the items from each without buying any otherwise. And reminder that there’s 30 items (10 each) so you essentially get two total chances to get all from a certain cookie (Or you can put them all towards one cookie, of course, but it’s still RNG on what even stocks and there’s a chance you could see no leaf ticket exclusive cookies at all some days).

And of course, yes, there’s fortune cookies in the actual games with the Fireworks Event. The main differences there? One, they all cost bells. Two, the amount you can buy with bells isn’t limited. And three, YOU CAN TRADE WITH YOUR FRIENDS. You can’t give or trade or sell any furniture or clothing to friends in Pocket Camp so I am stuck with all these extras and it sucks.

So, you may say “Well, what about the Stamp cards?” and honestly, the amount you need to trade in for the grand prize is ridiculous. You need 10 filled stamp cards to be able to buy the grand prize item. You get 1 stamp for every fortune cookie you buy with leaf tickets–buying with bells gets you no stamps.

That means you would need to buy 100 Fortune Cookies (5,000 Leaf Tickets) to have enough stamps for the grand prize. Similarly, “Rare” (4 star items) need 5 while the others just need 1. Slightly more manageable than the grand prize which would require spending $160. For just one of the three grand prize items.

I will say Pocket Camp is pretty good at giving Leaf Tickets and if you haven’t used any, you may have like… half that saved up, but if you have (and most people have used quite a bit), you’re likely in a bit of a rut now.

I used a total of 3,050 Leaf tickets + the 3 freebie fortune cookies + 1 bell-bought leaf ticket exclusive cookie and these were my own results (25 Marshal Cookies, 22 Rosie Cookies, 17 Filbert Cookies):
-4 Pastry-shop Table
-5 Pastry-shop Chair
-3 Pastry-shop Screen
-2 Pastry-shop Cake Case
-3 Pastry-shop Lace Hat
-3 Pastry-shop Waiter vest
-2 Pastry-shop Counter
-1 Pastry-shop Cake Tower
-2 Pastry-shop Dress
-0 Pastry-shop Kitchen
-2 Pop-star Chair
-4 Pop-star Balloons
-5 Yellow Pop-star Dress
-3 Pink Pop-star Dress
-2 Blue Pop-star Dress
-2 Pop-star Beret
-2 Blue Pop-star Stage
-0 Pink Pop-star Stage
-2 Pop-star Neon Panel
-0 Yellow pop-star stage
-4 Smoke Blaster
-3 Rocket-Launch Lights
-2 Rocket-launch button
-2 Rocket-Pilot Jacket
-2 Rocket-pilot pants
-2 Rocket-pilot boots
-1 Control-room Desk
-0 Control-room Monitor
-1 Rocket-Pilot Helmet
-0 Rocket Launchpad

No grand prizes, several of the commons, and in the case of rares, I had two left for each before managing to finally get the Cupcake tower from Marshal (which at least was one of my favorites so I’m glad I got that). And on top of that, I’m just stuck with tons of extras I don’t want. Nor do I want to give to Gulliver since I don’t find his prizes particularly great, honestly and I got all the villagers and I’m just tired of RNG at this point. I prefer the Gulliver who gave me fun travel trivia. :(

Anyway, I don’t necessarily think this couldn’t work somehow–I think if the prices were cheaper (Maybe like… 10-20 Leaf Tickets per cookie) if it stayed the same with maybe 50 Leaf Tickets or 100 or even based on the item to just buy it straight out for people who maybe just want a specific item (and/or just add the ability to give items to friends!! SERIOUSLY). Another option would be lowering the current stamp totals–4-5 for the Grand Prize and 2-3 for Rares feels better balanced to me. It just genuinely feels so overpriced to buy a cookie.

But honestly, just having this kind of feature in a game where collecting is literally a core part of the gameplay and one of the reasons people play is just genuinely poor taste. And if you really want to argue that collecting is still “optional” and the catalog is an “optional goal”, I’d like to point out that:
1. Animal Crossing doesn’t really have any true goals so yeah, that’s kind of one of the closest you get along with paying off your house and completing the museum (the latter which doesn’t exist in Pocket Camp).
2. Then, if you want a more “concrete” feature this hinges upon–the new Memory system. You need to win the grand prize from each fortune cookie in order to get the item to unlock the special memory. You can’t get the memories otherwise and these memories are the ones that even feature your villager. You can’t unlock all the memories without buying into this and hoping you get lucky.

As cute as Pocket Camp is, it kills me that I feel it’s missing nearly every core point of Animal Crossing and what attracted people to the series in the first place.

April 8, 2018

So, with new Animal Crossing game rumors starting up recently…

…I wanted to talk about things I hope to see in the next Animal Crossing game from all current AC-related games along with new features in general. Some I know are unlikely to happen, but I’m going to list it anyway because I can :P

1. No item limits – As we get more ways to really decorate in the game, item limits are a huge pain. We already have a limit based on how big the rooms can be–I don’t think we need a forced limit on top of it. While it’s not terrible if you do just floor items, with items off the floor you can hit the limit very quickly.

2. Bring Wall Items (from New Leaf) and Ceiling Items (from Happy Home Designer) back. I loved these so much. It really helped add to the rooms and it’s just a really nice feature.

3-11. Honestly, there’s a lot I want back from Happy Home Designer so I’m going to just give it this section–a list of features I’d like to see from Happy Home Designer (besides the ceiling items as I mentioned that above): Door customization, different room sizes, being able to design villagers’ homes, being able to make places for villagers to hang out and design their interior and exterior, being able to place all kinds of furniture/public works inside and/or outside, all of the emotions, be able to squeeze between furniture, and being able to place villagers’ homes.

12-18. Similarly, more features from New Leaf: Bring back ordinances, let us be able to place our house still, bring back public works, let us be Mayor again in general (or choose not to if we prefer), bring the island back, bring Club K.K. back, and bring the Dream suite back.

19. Expanding on those a bit, I really want to be able to put multiple ordinances in place.

20. I’d also love a higher public work limit, especially since bridges counted towards it.

21-22. Be able to expand the town. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d love to make the town be bigger. New Leaf’s town is a nice size, but there’s so much more I’d like to be able to do. Similarly, also be able to kind of map it out yourself–choose your own map layout with just some required boundaries.

23. Bring the Camp Site back! Maybe that’s how Pocket Camp ties in :P

24. The ability to lock in villagers so you don’t have to worry about them moving. Maybe some way to tick it on and off if you get tired of a certain villager. This was one of the most frustrating parts of New Leaf for me so I’d love to see it rectified in some way.

25. More variety with villager numbers. I think it’d be nice if people who may want less villagers (Maybe 5-8) could have the option while possibly up to 12-15 for those who want more. Just variety!

26. More pattern space. Just a lot more pattern space. I had to make four characters just to have enough patterns for the town and had to sacrifice most else. Even HHD didn’t really have enough.

27. Similarly, remove the QR/Creator lock limitations. While I get why they existed, they were just frustrating when sharing patterns among friends or other characters in your game. I had a pixel off on one path pattern and had to re-do the entire thing for scratch because I forgot to save it and was unable to edit it or put it back up on display to save it again so I could edit it on my main character. It wasn’t a fun system at all.

28. Bring back Phineas and his badges (and since I don’t think StreetPass will return, unfortunately, possibly the balloons and other fun items through him as well). I adore Phineas so much. He’s the absolute best.

29. That said, I hope they add a counter you can view while working on Phineas’ badges. It’d make it a lot easier to stay motivated.

30. More storage. As more and more items get added, we just kind of need it. I love the storage they added to the Welcome Amiibo update.

31. Speaking of which, bring back Amiibo functions. They’re just fun.

32. Refurbishing! I love refurbishing so much. It gives a lot of great color options. I’d love to see something similar added to clothing and accessories as well and also with Gracie’s furniture set (BECAUSE THE PRINCESS SET SHOULD BE PINK…)

33. Pocket Camp, despite its issues, brings so many unique things between canals (I LOVE THEM SO MUCH) and all the unique flowers for the gardening event. I’d love to see so many things make its way into a new game, though, maybe not so many events.

34-37. Bigger Friend’s list. I mean, this is needed in general for the Switch though. Also bigger Best Friends list. And just bringing the Best Friend’s list back in general along with just making it so you can talk to your friends while playing ingame just through chat messages in general.

38. Be able to send mail to your friend’s town from your own town. It makes for nice surprises and works super well for those who may not be in the same time zone.

39. No region-locked events/items. I made some great friends through New Leaf (Lots of love to Zed, Rainy, Chananr, Ruu, and Mika) because of this and I don’t regret that, but one of the things I wish AC would do is just embrace the different cultures which, with all of my issues with Pocket Camp, it’s at least doing. Let us all get Hinamatsuri and Setsubun and Explorer’s Day and learn a little about each culture and experience it ourselves. AC has so many reasons to play with friends, but that language barrier can be hard.

40. I don’t think it needs to be said for anywhere else in New Leaf, but really all the shops should return and especially the Museum and Cafe.

41. While I think I’m in the minority for this, I’d love a way to import/transfer my New Leaf town and build up from it. I pretty much hit perfection for how I wanted it to look and I’d mainly just be doing that again. I loved the small transfer system from Wild World to City Folk so in general, I’d like to see some kind of similar option for New Leaf to a Switch version.

42. Be able to customize bottoms, socks, and shoes as well as tops, dresses, and hats.

43. More unique pattern outfits. While I understand needing to stick to a specific design (or maybe even give a few more options like have we have short, long, and no sleeves–like puffy sleeves or tight dresses or etc.) for patterns, it’d be nice if more “official” clothing items had more options like Lottie’s dress in Pocket Camp:

And with that, I’m going to end this off. There’s more I can think of and some I’m sure I’m forgetting at the moment, but this is getting long enough :P

March 29, 2018

Detective Pikachu thoughts!

So, as many people may know, I am been anticipating this game since it was announced in Japan over 2 years ago. I watched playthroughs of the first part and had been praying it’d come over, or even the next part in Japanese for me to watch, just something because I was absolutely captivated by the entire concept.

I absolutely adore side-Pokemon games. I really love the World of Pokemon in general. Pokemon Snap is one of my all-time favorite games and for Pokemon Colosseum is another one up there and features my all-time favorite town–Phenac City.

The main place in this game is Ryme City which I genuinely want to see more of. I really loved the small bit of it we got to explore and even some of the surrounding areas. And one of the neat things was getting to just… talk to people and Pokemon and hear their thoughts and it was a lot of fun. It’s a lot different than how Mystery Dungeon works where it almost feels like its own AU/timeline with how their Pokemon World works.

And honestly, after waiting over two years, the game really didn’t disappoint. I loved it a lot and I found every case tons of fun. All the characters were interesting and I never found myself bored. In fact, I would say the only thing that even made me feel a little disappointed was the very end, but we’ll get to that!

For myself, I’m pretty good at detective games. I can usually figure things out pretty quickly (If you’re familiar with my Lady Layton playthrough, I had mentioned how I usually managed to figure out the culprit by the first clue or some idea of what was going to happen), but not always how that conclusion happens. While most of the time I figured it out, the way Detective Pikachu has you put the clues together to get to the conclusion can be a bit awkward at times. I had a lot of trouble during Case 4 with this because even though I knew Crawdaunt was clearly brought to the island somehow, I didn’t understand how they wanted me to show it. While part of it was missing the box (which… in my defense, I didn’t realize I could walk that far out on the water towards the front), even after finding it, I didn’t fully realize they wanted me to show the tree and the box because of the “matching claw marks” because while they mentioned scratches and claw marks, we didn’t actually get to SEE the inside of the box ones…

I had mixed feelings on the QTEs as well. That said, I actually managed to do fine with most of them, but they stressed me out! Thankfully, there weren’t tons and most aren’t too bad. I think the only ones I really got close to screwing up were in Chapter 7’s.

I also wish the Pika Prompts were actually forced cutscenes rather than activated by the player. I generally tried to explore every single area as much as I could–tapping everything I could, trying to talk to Pikachu, making sure I got all the clues, etc. And yet I still missed some things–usually because I didn’t realize doing a certain thing would force me ahead or because Pikachu forced me ahead. Speaking of Pikachu, just one “Hey, listen!” would’ve been enough–I know to talk to him once I finish reading over all the case files and him still blinking was more than enough without him constantly calling out until I checked with him.

Going back to the Pika Prompts, they’re super cute and really add more to the story and I would’ve loved if they were forced because it’s so easy to miss them. Besides some only being in certain locations, you can actually get certain random prompts as well that are always available or a few general ones. Sometimes I stopped checking because nothing was popping up only to realize, yes, I still missed one because I wasn’t lucky enough to get it to show up. While you can unlock them all with the Detective Pikachu amiibo, it’s not really the same to watch them all after? Without the context, it lacks some of the fun I guess.

I also wish it was possible to re-watch cutscenes or even go back to old cases without saving over your own file or in a new file, but oh well.

Regardless, I really loved the a lot even with those few issues. I’m not sure if I could pick my favorite case or character–all the cases were a lot of fun and I found myself really enjoying every character. I’ll say the Chapter that hit me hardest would probably be Chapter 5 though with Fine Park. It made me cry and just completely broke my heart.

I’m so happy Charizard got to come back in the end. I really hope Fine Park can be refurbished or something now that the truth is out about what happened. I’m just sad we didn’t see a picture of Charizard with everyone–only Buneary.

As mentioned, the only thing I found kind of disappointing was the end. While I got really hyped up at the beginning seeing the parade (I wish we could’ve seen the other two… It would’ve been nice to end the final chapter with the full parade), the case itself was actually really short. I wouldn’t say it was the shortest, but it was the shortest of some of the bigger cases and especially after how hyped up Chapter 8 was with the Cruise Ship and everything (I wish we could have kept the Detective Cape! I also want to see some of the recipes…), it felt almost like a let-down? There really wasn’t much of a Climax and the final confrontation scene felt small as well (though, the music was great–the game definitely had great music).

I also had kind of calling that it’d been someone from GNN from the start so my detective princess skills continue. Anyway, I don’t know, I guess I just wanted more? I don’t know how they could have extended it though. Oh wait, yes I do, actually finding Tim’s dad. While it’s heavily hinted at multiple times that he’s currently fused (or maybe even switched with) Pikachu right now, I just want to know more on all of that? I also just… don’t really care for that kind of twist. I kind of like the idea of an actual talking Pikachu that someone can talk to (and from Episode 0, which I totally would have liked to actually play, it sounds like Harry could hear the Pikachu too so maybe even once it no longer has some of Harry as part of him, he’ll still be a talking Pikachu to the Goodman family) and is being detective and stuff so I hope that’s not completely gone even if Harry is back.

I wish we got to know fully what Pikachu and Mewtwo were talking about too. I’m guessing we’ll hear more about that and how it involves Harry in the next game and/or the movie. All I know is I hope the next part of Detective Pikachu comes out much sooner and they continue with this kind of series. I would absolutely love if they did more detective-style Pokemon games–both in and outside Ryme City. Let me experience all kinds of other careers in the Pokemon world. It’s never not been interesting and there’s just so much more to explore in the Pokemon World.

While I find myself losing interest in “main” Pokemon games for a lot of reasons, Detective Pikachu reminded me of how much I really do love Pokemon still and the world of it.

But yes, if you like mysteries and Pokemon, I’d really recommend it. It is a bit on the simple side, but it genuinely has a lot of charm. If you’d rather watch the series instead, I have an entire playthrough up over on my Youtube channel <3

March 6, 2018

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Leif’s Event & ACPC’s Main problem

So, before I get into recent happenings, the beauty of canals, and Leif’s event, I want to talk about Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in general and just bring up one very important thing: It entirely misses the point of Animal Crossing. Sure, your favorite villagers and special villagers are here and you can customize with familiar options, but the nice thing about Animal Crossing? It’s supposed to be relaxing. And Pocket Camp with its 3 hour timers and constant events has not been relaxing in the slightest since it officially launched. In fact, not counting friend events or the brief stretch goals with new villagers, only ~12 days have been free from events and new events usually come in directly after the last (Such as the upcoming Mario event which will be on the 10th–right after Leif’s event ends on the 9th. And we have new villagers coming tomorrow). It’s so constant.

Usually with most events in New Leaf and/or previous Animal Crossing games, you can poke in at various times of the day. Sure, it may only last one day, but you can usually slowly work towards it that day or even prepare in advance. You can also get help from friends which, while yes, the garden events do have that (though, the crafting ones don’t), it doesn’t really count when it’s heavily RNG and there’s a chance you could literally fail every chance despite your friend’s help.

And like, New Leaf fixed some issues with the beautiful ordinance lessening the issue with flowers, but the moving mechanic was still kind of busted–meanwhile, I can turn on Wild World and all my villagers are still there even if all my flowers are gone (besides golden ones). But Animal Crossing’s always supposed to be a relaxing simulation game and it feels everytime they step closer to completely doing that, other things take two steps back.

Pocket Camp is cute and I can understand things needing to rotate as much as they do, but at least let people have time to take a break and recoup. Because right now it’s just super tiring and it’s hard not to get burnt out on it.

With that said, let’s move onto Leif’s event. While the first part mostly went well, I had awful luck with the second half. I did, thankfully, manage to complete it though:

But even the cutscene felt a bit underwhelming. I liked the music, but that’s really it…

(also why can they put the cute path over the canals and we can’t T__T)

I will say the ladybugs were cute at least:

Regardless, I am really happy about the canals:

And you’ll probably see I messed with my camp… again:

I still don’t know what I want to do. I don’t feel particularly inspired no matter what I try.

The Event also brought new foregrounds and backgrounds for the camp environment and… I have mixed feelings on them.

I adore the Cherry Blossom trees and little flowers on the grass, but I’m not fond of the flowers actually used in the background and foreground otherwise. I kind of wish I could add some more trees too… and change what flowers are shown.

Finally, as you probably noticed, it’s finally Spring now:

I can’t wait until it’s Cherry blossom season.

March 3, 2018

Let’s make Chiharu’s Rare Cheesecake!

So, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a loooong time. Since the manga release, but there wasn’t… quite enough information to properly do so and being a huge perfectionist, I decided to hold off hoping the Anime would expand on it, or at least, show enough that between the two, we’d have enough information and to my delight, it did. I had wanted to do it since the episode over a month ago, but a lot of things made it a bit difficult sadly (so for those of you who keep asking me where the next episode of Miitopia is, that also goes under this… Seriously, I’m doing my best, please be patient).

I actually am incredibly picky with cheesecake. The usual “New York-style cheesecake” is actually a type that I… kind of… hate. I found I generally prefer European style cheesecakes and well, I’ve never really had a Japanese cheesecake before which makes this an adventure in itself.

Cardcaptor Sakura is a pretty special show to me for a lot of reasons. For one: It’s the first anime I had ever seen subbed and kind of opened up that whole “anime is from Japan” door for me. While Animal Crossing got me more interested in Japan’s culture, Cardcaptor Sakura got me interested in Japan in the first place and, especially, Japanese food. It’s not that I hadn’t had Japanese food before, but mainly just “staples” in a way–in fact, my absolute favorite Japanese dish is something I only first saw in Cardcaptor Sakura: Takoyaki.

Even though Cardcaptor Sakura is not in any way a “food” Anime, they definitely have the habit of showing a lot of dishes that look incredibly tasty. And if CLAMP ever made a recipe book, I’d get it. But yes, onto what this entry is all about…

For the most part, I doubled all the ingredients from this recipe as Japan generally uses smaller pan sizes. On average, there’s is about 6 inches. We have a 9 inch spring form and doubling helped it fit perfectly so… The only things I didn’t double are the Lemon Juice and the Gelatin which use the same amounts as the 6 inch.

Ingredients for the Cheesecake

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 100 grams of Graham crackers (About 1 and 1/4th cup ground)
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 80 grams Sugar (roughly 2/3 cup–a little over, or do 1/2 cup and a little under 1/3 a cup)
  • 160 grams Honey (roughly 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice (2 tablespoons) – Not doubled
  • 400 grams of Cream Cheese, softened (Roughly 2 cups)
  • 10 Grams Powdered Gelatin (3 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup Lukewarm Water

Ingredients for Whipped Cream

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Cheesecake Instructions

1. Crush graham crackers with a rolling pin or just… smacking them in a ziplock or something. Just crush them to pieces. I did find the rolling pin the best method though.

2. Microwave the butter to melt it. Combine it with the graham crackers.

If the graham crackers seem a bit too dry, feel free to add a bit more melted butter. Similarly, if they seem too wet, try adding some more crushed graham crackers. It’s a small enough amount that it shouldn’t be too huge a difference and I find the kind of graham crackers and butter used can cause some variance.

3. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom. Press crust down evenly against the bottom of the pan.

Put in Fridge to harden. You can also do the freezer if you’d like it to harden faster, though, I found the fridge fine.

4. Sprinkle gelatin in 1/4th a cup of water. After the gelatin has absorbed some of the water, microwave about 10 seconds and stir to smooth it out and break up chunks.

5. In a bowl, mix the softened cream cheese a bit. You can also add the lemon juice here or at the end of the next step.

6. In a different bowl than above, whip the heavy cream a bit. Add in the sugar and honey. When the mixture begins to have soft peaks, add in the softened cream cheese and lemon juice.

7. Make sure the gelatin is no longer hot and stir it again to make sure it hasn’t reclumped together. Then add the melted gelatin to the mixture and stir.

8. Pour the mixture through a sieve into another bowl.

9. Then pour the mixture into the springform pan on top of the crust.

Set it in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. It is definitely the most firm overnight though!

10. Once finished, cut yourself a piece and top it with what you desire. While the recipe does recommend fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or mint on the top, I decided to go with whipped cream as I’m super picky with fruit sauces and I’m allergic to mint so! But really, just do whatever topping you want.

Whipped Cream instructions

1. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes (Optional, but helps a lot). You could also sit the metal bowl on some ice while doing the whipping.

2. Put sugar and heavy cream into a mixing bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks are formed and then it’s done! Top your cheesecake with as much as you’d like.

And with that, the cheesecake has been completed:


I really liked it–it’s definitely more a creamy cheesecake which I prefer. It is VERY sweet so if you’d prefer things less sweet, maybe add a little more lemon juice and lessen the honey (which is actually optional), but I think the honey gives it a nice taste and I do like things pretty sweet so….

Similarly, it was a bit soft and fluffy like I mentioned so maybe doing a bit more gelatin (as we only used the original amount mentioned in the show’s/manga’s recipe list which is for about 6 inches) would’ve made it more firm, but I really like it at this consistency personally.

February 22, 2018

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – I’d really appreciate a break

While I know a lot of people don’t play Pocket Camp anymore, I still keep playing it. Besides just enjoying Animal Crossing as a series, when the mobile game was officially announced, it also mentioned having connectivity to a “main” Animal Crossing game so whenever we do get a new one, I want to be ready for it.

But right now, it just feels kind of an endless struggle. One of the things I really appreciate from games, and maybe I am the only one who does, is the ability to just have a moment to breathe.

I’m so happy I started playing Pocket Camp when it released early in Australia because I think I would’ve given up otherwise. Being able to play that month and just get familiar with the game without tons of limited things happening and more and more new villagers being added constantly was so relaxing and that’s the one thing Pocket Camp is really missing to me. It’s not relaxing in the slightest. In the same way that New Leaf stopped being relaxing for me due to the broken moving mechanic. It’s not fun to load up a game and be dreading if someone moved or not.

In the same vein, I feel like I’m constantly watching the clock when I play this because, oh look the villagers are switching again in a few minutes. Time to rush to try and get what I can done.

While the gardening event was incredibly improved with Lottie, it still felt stressful. And I just do not really care for gardening. I’m struggling enough trying to get those flower trade items only to have to rip up my garden again for another gardening event. I also have a lot of feelings on the new slot machine at OK Motors, but we’ll get to that.

For now, let’s just go in order since my last update and take one thing at a time. There’s been quite a few new villagers including a new essence type–Hip. I don’t really get it. The villagers don’t really seem to fit it and the icon for it is a mushroom and the amenities are even weirder… In Japanese, it’s “Pop” so I would suppose they are going for “Popular” but it still seems kind of odd to me? The whole theme seems odd. Regardless, I made sure to get them all moved in quickly:

I was especially excited about Merengue:

I also completed all the Hip Amenities and finished off the Rustic ones as well:

I absolutely love the waving from the balloon:

And while the capture feature is cute, I wish I could also take pictures of the whole screen versus just a square.

I also finally started working on my RV and camp site a bit more, but honestly, I’m still not particularly happy with either:

I’m really struggling trying to figure out what to do. I just don’t feel very inspired :/ While also feeling too overwhelmed at the same time.

As mentioned, we had the second garden event with Lottie:

While I still had a little more trouble than I would’ve liked with the final bats, the rates were SO much better with this event and I’m glad they listened to feedback. I think the only disappointing thing for me is I wasn’t really fond of most of the items. Pretty much everything I would’ve preferred in other colors (please give me a Sweet Lolita version, Nintendo). I liked the red roses a lot though.

I also ADORED Lottie’s dress.

I would love if they made a pink version instead of black that we could wear.

I will admit I didn’t expect this for the end scene with our character playing guitar though”

This time, I made sure to record the end cutscene at least:


Which means I can stop checking the shops until they get new stock as now I’ve bought everything from them at least once. This took waaaay too long.

Speaking of clothes, the Villager customization finally came out. It’s cute, but I don’t think I’ll use it much. I did like giving Merengue a tiara though:

I’d like to do this with all my favorite villagers. When you don’t get the twin animation thing though, you get to see the villager model by themselves:

And speaking of villagers, with the more recent updates, they also can ask for flowers now. It seems to be pretty rare when they do, but I’m not super fond of it as I struggle with gardening enough as it is. Not to mention if you don’t have any onhand, it’ll take too long to grow a flower before they leave. Sure, you can skip them now, but it’s still disheartening. They at least only ask for the ones that can be bought though and the bonus events are cute (and seem guaranteed if they ask for flowers).

I just wish we could buy flowers from people because I’d love to never garden again.

So, I’ve spoken about my hate for gardening enough, but lets talk about my issues with this “lovely” Slot Machine now:

I actually tend to find slot machines pretty fun. This one works on a timing mechanic which means if you tend to be good at timing games, you can win pretty easily. While the reward is usually rather small, you randomly can get one of the bigger bonuses to give you 30 or 50 tokens instead for winning.

The thing is, to get all 5 unique items from this minigame, it costs 15,750 tokens. I have plenty of Flower Powder (The one good thing about the Garden events honestly), I’m great at timing events, but the minigame is so boring that I’ve genuinely found myself dozing off to it after a while :/ I’m generally the type of person who likes to knock things out in one go so I don’t really want to portion it off, but it sucks. I wish I could buy tokens with Leaf Tickets or something because the game just feels exhausting. I don’t know when I’ll find the time to get enough, but between this and the gardening, I’m wondering if I should give up on my catalog dreams.

Other new features that are slightly more fun are dropped items being in the game. You can find them while out and about or a villager could prompt you to go find it:

For the record, the funniest part about this is Pietro is right–he didn’t tell me. At the time, I didn’t even know they COULD tell you. And I found it completely by accident. I saw a tiny fish in the ocean and was very confused as the smallest size there right now is just a small fish and I thought maybe new fish had been added–but nope! Just a bottle. I’ve had fun collecting items though.

Oh, Bob, you have no idea.

Finally, currently there is the Crystal Event which will be ending in a few days. I really adore the items from it a lot:

I’d like to do more with it, honestly. I just wish the outfit was pink instead of blue. It’s a really pretty dress.

The Camp Scenery update also happened and…I wish I liked it more.

Besides just not being too fond of the options right now, it feels really expensive :/ And nearly all the options are Leaf Tickets rather than feeling more balanced. I hope a lot of nice ones get added in the future.

SPEAKING OF THE FUTURE… I’ll be talking a bit about the recent datamines, so if you’d like to stay spoiler-free, don’t read below :P

It seems we’ll be having another Event–a third Garden event no less (though, it was already hinted officially)–shortly after the Crystal Event ends. And I’m just… so frustrated. A break would be so nice. A little over halfway between, we’ll get more villagers AND a new essence type (Harmonious) and then right after this gardening event ends, a Mario collaboration event will start (I’m guessing we may also see Animal Crossing items in Super Mario Run). And I just. It sucks. I want a break so badly and sure, I could just take a break, but I also know me and I know if I miss anything I want, I won’t play anymore. And depending on the connectivity, that could even mean any Animal Crossing game permanently.

I wish we could sell anything to each other. I wish we could help each other more. I wish the game didn’t feel like such a chore.

I think the worst part is I’m REALLY excited for some of the items. The Harmonious essence brings the Lotus Pond–one of my favorite Public Work projects from New Leaf + favorite item to use in most of the Zen houses in Happy Home Designer. It also has a gorgeous fountain amenity and I really need to decide which Amenity I’ll be switching out for it… The Cute Tent or the Natural Picnic Table? (Seriously though, if anyone has opinions or suggestions about this, I am opened to them)

I’m going to guess the “sub-essence” for the final tier will either be Rustic again, like the Hip items, ooor Natural. Which after Hip, are the two I’m lowest on. Balancing is getting harder in the game too.

We’ll also be getting another special NPC item with Celeste’s Telescope and Celeste is one of my favorite NPCs so really excited for that too. I hope I will have enough Leaf Tickets for it.

Meanwhile, Leif’s Garden Event not only has some adorable flowers, but new pathways, a lovely swing, AND WATERWAYS. YOU CAN MAKE MOATS. I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE THOSE AS ACTUAL ITEMS. I WILL USE THOSE LIKE CRAZY IN A MAIN ANIMAL CROSSING GAME.

I just hope I can get a lot of them because anyone who knows me well knows how excited I am for those kind of things.

But despite how much I adore those items, part of me just wishes we had a break more than anything. I’m trying so hard not to get burnt out, but I don’t know how much more I can stand this. I have enough things I have to do without feeling like I need to check this app 24-7.

February 11, 2018

On game events…

I spoke about it briefly on my Twitter, but I really wanted to talk about it a lot more.

One of the things I’ve noticed a lot of games will do, especially mobile games, is essentially barring things off to a later time. You can only do so much a day and need to wait another day to be able to continue. And I… kind of hate this. A lot of people chock it up to impatience, but personally it’s more about the general stress of constantly feeling like I’m going to run out of time and that is not a feeling I enjoy. Most of my stress and anxiety comes from the idea that there is only so much time to accomplish anything. And especially with recent events in games, it’s a lot more highlighted.

I’ll talk about a few recent games I’ve played that have brought up this system in a few different ways. For starters, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (I promise an entry about Lottie’s Event and the new villagers + essence will be coming soon). The game works almost entirely on timers which isn’t necessarily terrible for the most part, but it is a large difference from a more traditional Animal Crossing game where you essentially have the full day to work towards things rather than worrying about missing out because you didn’t check every 3 hours.

While I’ve gotten a bit more used to the requests and quarry and rarely use my tickets to speed up much there beyond getting newer villagers in, I still tend to freak out a bit with amenities as if I don’t manage to build a tier fast enough, I could end up maxing out a villagers’ level too quickly and lose out on getting them up.

Those who know me know I kind of hate games where I need to balance resources a lot. It’s very tiring to me as it’s just too repetitive gathering the same stuff over and over. And while I wouldn’t mind as much if there wasn’t a limit so times where I DO feel like roaming around and catching as much as I can could work out, constantly running into inventory limits (and yes, I maxed out my space with Leaf Tickets too….) is pretty discouraging and means once I’ve done my requests for that time table, I don’t have much of a reason to keep playing.

With the events especially, there’s a lot of waiting around. Waiting for things to craft, waiting for new requests, waiting for flowers to grow… And then the RNG plays a part in those latter two activities to see if you even manage to get what you need. And the problem here is that the only way to really speed things up is paying. While the Gardening events have been kind enough to give a good amount of Flower food, I can say that not only have I completely used up all the flower food I had, but I also ended up using Leaf Tickets as well due to that same feeling of worrying I wouldn’t have enough time.

Even if I calculate the entire probability of everything, it doesn’t always lessen that same worried feeling and when it comes down to it, some times even if I know how much I can do a day, I can’t always manage that. Some days maybe I can go 18 hours with no breaks dedicated into something, but other times I’m lucky if I can even log in for the day. This also makes things like with the Gardening Event where half the event is locked until a few days before the event ends especially frustrating. There’s no guarantee I’ll be up to it and there’s less time to hope to be.

Things happen. Whether it be an issue with other things I was working on or something more personal, I can’t guarantee I can put work in every single day of an event which is my other big issue with barring things off. When I was still in school, I missed roughly 35 days a year. That is a lot of absences–7 weeks of school. This was due to a combination of my own health (Allergies can vary anywhere between a mild cold to a severe flu in just how bad they are) and my own family’s with sometimes, nobody feeling up to actually being able to take me.

Despite this, I always made up my work and I always got straight A’s on my tests. I had perfect grades outside my attendance and always completed my homework. I’m a quick learner and a quick reader so despite being absent, it was very easy for me to take care of. While this wasn’t as big of an issue in Elementary School, Middle School was a bit harsher about absences, and High School flat out didn’t want to let people graduate if they didn’t have a certain amount of attendance–despite my grades, which lead me to do homeschooling and take my GED instead. Because I was smart enough, I just couldn’t always make it there.

And that’s part of what makes barring off event progress so frustrating. While the idea is to get people to keep logging in, it’s honestly stressful to the point of completely contradicting the reason for mobile games–to relax and take it easy.

Abyssrium as well has done quite a poor job with their most recent event with it requiring you to check in every 3 hours along with spending 500 event currency OR spend $10 to check in every hour and deal with their huge RNG game in hopes to complete a special coral before time runs out. I think the Valentine’s Day Coralite is really beautiful and I do like the idea, but I think the execution is terrible. Trying to keep up as much as you can when even a minute can throw you off sucks. Similarly, the RNG is a pain. I have all the Valentine fish from last year already so it’s very frustrating when one comes up instead of, well, something I actually need. It’s tiring and very repetitive and incredibly expensive to speed up and you could still fail.

That said, as mentioned, this isn’t something entirely done on Mobile games, but also other games as well that may be considered more relaxing. One thing that’s happened more often with PC games are patches/updates that implement timed events. And I don’t mean things like Overwatch where sure, I can buy some, but I can also put in a lot of time playing to hopefully earn a bunch of boxes too, but things like Slime Rancher’s Christmas event. They had a different ornament each day that could be found in boxes. I’m… pretty directionally challenged in games, to say the least so whenever I play Slime Rancher, even with the new map system, I tend to get very lost.

I spent a few hours the first day where I could, but I wasn’t able to find a single box to even try. And I didn’t have time many other days as December is a pretty crazy month for me. In the end, I gave up without getting any ornaments and as someone who loves the Holidays and Christmas, it was pretty discouraging.

And the thing is, the more I miss because of the stress of events, the less likely I am to keep playing in the first place. There’s not really a good reason to bar people off. If someone wants to spend 10+ hours on your game working hard at the event, they should be allowed to without being punished for it or having to pay because they didn’t “wait”.

Some people just want to relax. It shouldn’t feel like a job they constantly have to check into.

January 21, 2018

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Event Complete… only for another to start?

So, somehow, this second part of the event managed to be even worse between the ridiculous low percentages and trying to get the new flowers while also sometimes getting the old. I have over 140 Blue Dahlia seeds now. It took me so long to even get some of my first White Dahlia Seeds and then adding on the bad catch percentages (Often, I failed every single one), I just want to thank everyone who kept giving me Butterflies because this would’ve been impossible otherwise.

I know there was still time left, but I’ve been so incredibly stressed because of this, it’ll be nice to just take a moment to breathe again.

I will say the scene for completing it is genuinely really cute:

If I wasn’t so frustrated and had been better prepared, I would have loved to record it. I’m glad I at least took lots of screenshots.

During this second part though, Clothing Crafting finally came! I finally have a dress I really like:

Can’t decide what shoes I like more. I need a cute hair accessory too. I also love the different boxes and how who you’re calling changes based on what you’re crafting.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much time to relax with it being announced that an event will be starting when Rover’s ends… And it’s… exhausting. I want a break. I’m so scared for this event. It sounds like it’s a more crafting focused one, but I’m just so tired. I expected Rover’s event to be sometime in Spring–like March… and this upcoming event, maybe late June, but more likely February.

Now I’m just expecting a Valentine’s Day event too and it’s just… it’s too much.

January 17, 2018

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Rover’s Event

So, the next part of the event starts in about 30 minutes, thus, I figured I’d finally get this entry done. I’d been planning to write it since the event started last week, but haven’t been… in the best mind space so to speak. Before we get into other Pocket Camp things, I just genuinely want to talk about the event for a bit first. And honestly, I kind of hate it.

Despite finishing the event about two days after it started, I’ve found it very stressful. Even ignoring my general hate of gardening features due to finding it waaaay too monotonous, I just constantly felt I wouldn’t hit the numbers. And honestly, without so many people who shared butterflies with me, I don’t think I would have as I had some awful luck with actually catching them, often being lucky if I caught even 25% of the butterflies that were given out (and yes, that includes when I had butterflies on all 20 flowers).

If you haven’t been playing or maybe just want a quick overview, this is how the event works:
-There are special Dahlia seeds that can be planted that may cause butterflies to show up when they bloom. You can buy blue ones from Lloid ooor you can earn them from doing requests from villagers. You will only get the Red/Diamond Butterflies from the Blue Dahlias. Red Dahlia seeds are gotten rarely from villager requests and mostly from helping friends (which I’ll get to shortly). You will only get Yellow/Topaz Butterflies from the Red Dahlias.
-There is no guarantee a butterfly will be on a Dahlia when it blooms (Unless it is a + seed which also grow faster. Thus far, there’s been no way to get them besides Rover’s initial tutorial).
-Similarly, there’s no guarantee you will catch the Butterfly in the first place. While sometimes I get super lucky (Which is getting a catch rate of about 50% or higher), I mostly found myself failing which just… sucks.
-To get the items, you need to catch a certain amount of each color of butterfly. You need 80 Diamond ones for all the Diamond Butterfly requests and 60 Topaz ones for all the Topaz Butterfly requests. If the datamine continues to be correct, you’ll need 40 each for all the requests for the Winter and Gold Winter Butterflies. I’m personally petrified of how they may be gotten and how to get White Dahlias in the first place. There is no cross breeding with Dahlias.
The counter only counts Butterflies you catch. Giving them away does not make the counter go down. This is one of the few things I really like about the event and it means you can help your friends out with no worries. Share the butterflies with your friends. There is literally no purpose for keeping them otherwise as they will turn into bells at the end of the event. Butterflies can be placed on ANY bloomed flower–even if they aren’t Dahlias, so always keep some flowers blooming for friends.
-As mentioned, Butterflies will only show up when a flower initially blooms. They will not show up otherwise unless a friend shares with you, so harvest Dahlias as much as you can to trade in for some nice items.

I will say the rewards are pretty great though. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Rover, there’s great opportunities to earn lots of essences and materials thanks to the rewards along with some Potted Dahlias to remember the event as they are pretty nice flowers.

My main issue with it is, besides the monotony and RNG of it all, is that it’s super stressful for me. I find myself constantly wanting to check in to make sure I can get butterflies out as fast as I earn them to help others and also not miss a chance at earning more butterflies (though, at least now that I’m done, that’s sort of more relaxed) from people. Like when the event first started, I find myself checking at least every 3 hours at most and it’s really hard to relax and enjoy it when I just constantly am stressing out. And Animal Crossing is supposed to be a relaxing game so me feeling like I don’t have time to do anything else besides check in on Pocket Camp isn’t good. (If you’re wondering why there hasn’t been another Style Savvy part, this is why)

Besides my insane suffering for the event and dreading that the next part will start in 20 minutes and worrying how that may go, I still have been doing my best to accomplish things in my game.

Such as getting the four newest villagers in:

Sprinkle is one of my favorite penguins so I’m happy to see her in. I’m not too fond of any of their level 15 items, but I have them all in my camp site for now. I’ve gotten over 100 of each type of essence now and due to finishing the Rustic Amenities, I’m mostly just doing a combination of “villagers who aren’t level 15 yet” and “villagers close to level 20”. Once I have everyone maxed out, I’m probably going to organize it for the best chances to get a good amount of essence + materials and just change it up based on what essences I may need more of at the time.

I really like the Rustic Balloon a lot:

Another reason I wish we could place more amenities. The fact that villagers will wave to each other is my favorite part:

Going back to the event, I did my best to at least have fun with some of the Rover items (okay, so just the top but):

I really want to re-do my camp a bit, but I’m still working out what I want to do.

I also love the Rover RV:

I don’t think I’m going to get it (not really my colors), but the style of it is really cool and I hope we’ll see more uniquely shaped RVs in the future. Hopefully in colors as great as my pink lace-y one.

I also noticed the tree colors changed recently so I feel weather will be switching up again soon:

There’s a lot of great new features planned and while I’m still impatiently waiting for new clothes, I can’t wait to be able to change the background of my campsite especially.

Anyway, I’ll end this off with fun pictures I’ve taken from the event:

Now it’s time to suffer during part two of it…

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