Gaming Goodie(s) of the Month: Starting the New Year Out Right!

Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe it’s 2020 already?! A new year, a new decade… hopefully lots of great stuff will happen this year! 2019 definitely had its ups and downs… I had lots of fun times with family and friends, threw my middle fingers up and walked away from a job that was awesome but had the most incredibly toxic environment I’ve ever been in, etc.! But enough about that shit, because I got some cool gaming goodies for Christmas that are helping me start 2020 out right! 😉 Let’s take a peek!

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First off, my husband got me a Super Mario tumbler, which is really cool and also works great! I took some tea to work in the morning and by the time I got home 9 hours later, it was still cold. He also got me a Pac-Man board game, which is unique and a lot of fun! He also found me an adorable Yoshi pillowcase (which is actually reversible and has Mario on the other side!).

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Next, my mom got me a few Switch games, some of which she bought in the months leading up to Christmas- she just hoarded them all to give them to me as a gift! 😉 I received Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD, Pokémon Sword, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Luigi’s Mansion 3. I got Ring Fit Adventure, which I haven’t tried yet but plan on doing so this week- hope I don’t get too sore, haha! Lastly, she got me the Pokémon Sworld/Shield strategy guide. I’m glad to see they are still making strategy guides for some games, because I love them!

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Last but not least, I received an awesome Bokoblin plush from a really good friend of mine! Now, these guys are not exactly cute in Zelda games, but this little guy is so ADORABLE!!!

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There you have it! I was so happy to receive all these excellent gaming things. Happy 2020!

Real Neat Blog Award!

Back in September, Matt over at Nintendobound was cool enough to nominate me for the Real Neat Blog Award! It’s always really awesome to me when someone takes the time to read my blog posts, and I’m always amazed when someone thinks my work is good enough to nominate me for an award! Matt and I have been following each other for a few years now, and he always writes wonderful reviews, so please go check his blog out! 🙂

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Now, normally you answer questions from the person who nominated you, but Matt chose not to ask any this time. Nevertheless, I’m happy to receive this nice little award, so thank you Matt! 🙂

P.S. This is probably my last post before Christmas, so I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful holiday!! 🙂

Book Review: A Legacy Witch By Ashley McCleo!

As always, I like to re-post my reviews for books that are so graciously sent to me for free to review! A Legacy Witch is the first book in a new series, The Spellcasters Spy Academy, by Ashley McCleo! Here’s the blurb:

Magic and espionage are in my blood.

But my parents don’t want me attending their alma mater, Spellcasters Spy Academy. They think I can’t hack it. Of course, I plan on proving them wrong.

If I can stay alive long enough.

Someone is attacking witches in my year, and I seem to always be nearby when they strike.

I swear I have nothing to do with it. Shoot, I can barely get my magic to cooperate. But convincing some people of my innocence is impossible. Like hot-as-hell Alex Wardwell, who despises me because of one dumb mistake.

So between proving my parents wrong, passing the trials Spellcasters has in store, trying to convince Alex that he has me pegged wrong, and simply staying alive, it looks like I’m going to have a busy year.

Thank the universe I’ve always been up for a challenge.

And the cover!

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Here’s what I had to say about the book on Goodreads:

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

A Legacy Witch is the first book in a brand-new series by Ashley McCleo- the Spellcasters Spy Academy series! Spellcasters draws immediate parallels to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts for me, as both schools train witches and wizards. Spellcasters is more like a college, however, and trains students to become elite spies.

The main character of A Legacy Witch is Odette, who is a first year student at Spellcasters. Though her parents both attended the school and were revered spies, they are very hesitant for her to attend school. As it turns out, they have good reason for feeling this way… but no spoilers here! 😉

When Odette first arrives, she meets Diana, the headmistress’s daughter. Diana has a huge chip on her shoulder when it comes to Odette, because Odette was the only student who chose to enroll in the academy based on her “legacy” status instead of actually testing in. Most of the other first years feel that way, too, which is not fun for Odette. She also starts out the year as one of the weakest witches (through no fault of her own) which makes her wonder if she even belongs at the school in the first place. She does make a few friends (and meets a love interest of course!) which makes her time at Spellcasters become more bearable!

During The Culling (as the first year at Spellcasters is officially called) there are two trials and one challenge that the first years must pass before continuing on to the next year. I won’t spoil any of the details of them! The ending of the book surprised me, and I bet it surprised Odette too! I can’t wait to read about her second and third years at Spellcasters! 🙂

I Took A Gamer Motivation Profile Quiz!

Back in August, Angie of Backlog Crusader wrote a post about a Gamer Motivation Profile by Quantic Foundry. Apparently you take a survey and it gives you results based on how you play games, and what motivates you to play them! I thought it seemed interesting, so I wanted to take the survey to see if it was accurate or full of shit. Here’s my results:

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So what does this fancy little graph mean? I’ll post what the website said, then add my own thoughts in bold. So let’s start with my highest percentiles and work my way down…

The Action Components (83%)

Gamers with high Action scores are aggressive and like to jump in the fray and be surrounded by dramatic visuals and effects. Gamers with low Action scores prefer slower-paced games with calmer settings.

I don’t know… I wouldn’t really consider myself an “aggressive” gamer!

Destruction (97%): Gamers who score high on this component are agents of chaos and destruction. They love having many tools at their disposal to blow things up and cause relentless mayhem. They enjoy games with lots of guns and explosives. They gravitate towards titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield. And if they accidentally find themselves in games like The Sims, they are the ones who figure out innovative ways to get their Sims killed.

LMAO… there was a couple questions that asked if I liked to blow stuff up and destroy stuff, and I said yes… I mean, part of the fun of games is seeing how you can interact with your environment! That doesn’t mean I’m always playing shooters and games like that… as a matter of fact, I don’t even really like Call of Duty much (it’s just okay to me) and I’ve never even played Battlefield! I do like to see how I can kill off Sims characters from time to time though, haha!

Excitement (34%): Gamers who score high on this component enjoy games that are fast-paced, intense, and provide a constant adrenaline rush. They want to be surprised. They want gameplay that is full of action and thrills, and rewards them for rapid reaction times. While this style of gameplay can be found in first-person shooters like Halo, it can also be found in games like Street Fighter and Injustice, as well as energetic platformers like BIT.TRIP RUNNER.

Eh… I like fast-paced games, but not as much as I used to. I have arthritis and sometimes my brain works faster than my hands, plus my hands get fatigued quicker. These games are better in short bursts!

The Creativity Components (57%)

Gamers with high Creativity scores are constantly experimenting with their game worlds and tailoring them with their own designs and customizations. Gamers with low Creativity scores are more practical in their gaming style and accept their game worlds as they are.

Scoring in the mid-range is about right for me. I like to create and customize, but I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time doing so. Unless it’s in Animal Crossing… 

Discovery (55%): Gamers who score high on Discovery are constantly asking “What if?” For them, game worlds are fascinating contraptions to open up and tinker with. In an MMO, they might swim out to the edge of the ocean to see what happens. In MineCraft, they might experiment with whether crafting outcomes differ by the time of day or proximity to zombies. They “play” games in the broadest sense of the word, often in ways not intended or imagined by the game’s developers.

I mean… I guess this describes me to a point. I do like to push boundaries and see what I can do! 

Design (56%): Gamers who score high on this component want to actively express their individuality in the game worlds they find themselves in. In games like Mass Effect, they put a lot of time and effort in the character creation process. In city-building games or space strategy games, they take the time to design and customize exactly how their city or spaceships look. To this end, they prefer games that provide the tools and assets necessary to make this possible and easy to do.

I do like to customize my characters as much as I can! 

The Achievement Components (29%)

Gamers with high Achievement scores are driven to accrue power, rare items, and collectibles, even if this means grinding for a while. Gamers with low Achievement scores have a relaxed attitude towards in-game achievements and don’t worry too much about their scores or progress in the game.

 I feel like I’m pretty much in the middle with this one… I like finding collectibles, but only to a certain extent. Like in Super Mario Odyssey… I enjoy finding Power Moons everywhere, but if one of them is an extreme pain in the ass to get, I’ll skip it and move on. It does kind of aggravate me to just leave something alone like that, but whatever.

Completion (34%): Gamers with high Completion scores want to finish everything the game has to offer. They try to complete every mission, find every collectible, and discover every hidden location. For some players, this may mean completing every listed achievement or unlocking every possible character/move in a game. For gamers who score high on Design, this may mean collecting costumes and mounts in games like World of Warcraft.

I thought my score would be closer to the 50th percentile, but whatever. I like to uncover what I can up to a certain point, but if it becomes to annoying or grindy, I don’t feel like putting forth the effort.

Power (30%): Gamers who score high on this component strive for power in the context of the game world. They want to become as powerful as possible, seeking out the tools and equipment needed to make this happen. In RPGs and action games, this may mean maxing stats or acquiring the most powerful weapons or artifacts. Power and Completion often go hand in hand, but some players enjoy collecting cosmetic items without caring about power, and some players prefer attaining power through strategic optimization rather than grinding.

This is definitely true of me with RPGs… I like to have my characters as prepared as possible for what’s coming, even if it means taking longer to complete the game. 

The Immersion Components (14%)

Gamers with high Immersion scores want games with interesting narratives, characters, and settings so they can be deeply immersed in the alternate worlds created by games. Gamers with low Immersion scores are more grounded in the gameplay mechanics and care less about the narrative experiences that games offer.

This result is actually pretty weird… So as far as immersion is concerned, I scored pretty high on the fantasy component but pretty low on the story component. It’s pretty accurate though- I like to be swept away by my games and feel like I’m “in” that world, but I don’t dig story-heavy games with a lot of dialogue. 

Fantasy (76%): Gamers who score high on Fantasy want their gaming experiences to allow them to become someone else, somewhere else. They enjoy the sense of being immersed in an alter ego in a believable alternate world, and enjoy exploring a game world just for the sake of exploring it. These gamers enjoy games like Skyrim, Fallout, and Mass Effect for their fully imagined alternate settings.

I play video games to take me away from the real world, but immersion for me is very broad. I can be immersed in a complete alternate world such as Zelda, or I can be immersed in Tetris. Really depends on my mood!

Story (1%): Gamers who score high on Story want games with elaborate campaign storylines and a cast of multidimensional characters with interesting back-stories and personalities. They take the time to delve into the back-stories of characters in games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, and enjoy the elaborate and thoughtful narratives in games like The Last of Us and BioShock. Gamers who score low on Story tend to find dialogue and quest descriptions to be distracting and skip through them if possible.

Not surprised about being in the 1st percentile here! I like the stories in games, but at the same time, I’m not a huge fan of long narratives. In fact, I’m probably in the minority here when I saw that I really don’t prefer voice acting… I just want to play the game, not hear you talk for an hour!

The Social Components (3%)

Gamers with high Social scores enjoy interacting with other players, often regardless of whether they are collaborating or competing with them. Gamers with low Social scores prefer solo gaming experiences where they can be independent.

This is spot on for me… as you can see, my score is pretty low. I prefer gaming by myself! I’ve always been that way. I enjoy playing with others from time to time, but mostly I just do my own thing.

Competition (7%): Gamers who score high on this component enjoy competing with other players, often in duels, matches, or team-vs-team scenarios. Competitive gameplay can be found in titles like StarcraftLeague of Legends, or the PvP Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft. But competition isn’t always overtly combative; competitive players may care about being acknowledged as the best healer in a guild, or having a high ranking/level on a Facebook farming game relative to their friends.

Nope. I’m not particularly competitive.

Community (4%): Gamers who score high on Community enjoy socializing and collaborating with other people while gaming. They like chatting and grouping up with other players. This might be playing Portal 2 with a friend, playing Mario Kart at a party, or being part of a large guild/clan in an online game. They enjoy being part of a team working towards a common goal. For them, games are an integral part of maintaining their social network.

Absolutely not… I don’t enjoy being part of a clan, and chatting or socializing while playing doesn’t interest me much. Does that make me sound like a loner? Oh well, haha! I’d rather just do things myself instead of relying on a team.

The Mastery Components (2%)

Gamers with high Mastery scores like challenging gaming experiences with strategic depth and complexity. Gamers with low Mastery scores enjoy being spontaneous in games and prefer games that are accessible and forgiving when mistakes are made.

This is pretty spot on as well… I am not a fan of strategy games at all! I’ve tried but I just… my brain can’t concentrate enough to think 12 steps ahead, haha! 

Challenge (12%): Gamers who score high on Challenge enjoy playing games that rely heavily on skill and ability. They are persistent and take the time to practice and hone their gameplay so they can take on the most difficult missions and bosses that the game can offer. These gamers play at the highest difficulty settings and don’t mind failing missions repeatedly in games like Dark Souls because they know it’s the only way they’ll master the game. They want gameplay that constantly challenges them.

I like to practice and hone my gameplay skills, but with most games, I don’t exactly enjoy dying over and over. There are exceptions, like with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I keep dying in that game, but it’s okay because I’m learning different ways to approach situations! But when a game is brutally difficult just for the fuck of it, I don’t really enjoy it. 

Strategy (1%): Gamers who score high on this component enjoy games that require careful decision-making and planning. They like to think through their options and likely outcomes. These may be decisions related to balancing resources and competing goals, managing foreign diplomacy, or finding optimal long-term strategies. They tend to enjoy both the tactical combat in games like XCOM or Fire Emblem, as well as seeing their carefully-devised plans come to fruition in games like Civilization, Cities: Skylines, or Europa Universalis.

Yep, I knew I’d be very low in this one… 

So, how do I feel about my results? In some cases, I agree… I don’t like strategy games much, I don’t enjoy multiplayer, and long, drawn out dialogue annoys me. However, I don’t really get why I scored so high in the action/ destruction section simply because I answered “yes” to “Do you like to blow stuff up?”

I like many different types of games and genres, and when it all comes down to it… I just play whatever the hell I want to play. I may have certain preferences (platforming, simulation, etc.) but all that motivates me to play is… well, me. I don’t need a test to tell me what I like, regardless of “market research.”

 

Gaming Goodie of the Month: Christmas Goodies!

Since it’s officially the holiday season, I figured this month’s Gaming Goodie post would be an ode to one of my favorite Christmas experiences! I’m cheating a bit this time around, because this post actually focuses on two presents that I received, but they kind of go together, so… yeah.

Anyway! It was 1995, and I was 9 years old. When I was 8, I received my own Super Nintendo and I loved it! I would often borrow some of my neighborhood friend’s games to see what I would like and then cross my fingers that my mom would buy the game for me. I quickly became obsessed with Donkey Kong Country. The characters, the levels, the music… oh man. I borrowed my friend’s game so much he should have just given it to me! My DKC obsession was so bad, I spent the night at my aunt and uncle’s house and upon learning that a kid in their neighborhood had the game, went over to that kid’s house and asked her to play it. The fact that I didn’t even live in that neighborhood didn’t matter to me, haha!

Naturally, I knew what game to ask for when Christmas rolled around. Then, when browsing an issue of Nintendo Power (probably while waiting around at the grocery store or a book store, I don’t really remember) I saw that Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest was coming out. WHAT!?! A sequel? And it looked so amazing too! Well, now I wanted that game too, dammit!

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Not pictured- me having a heart attack when I knocked down ornaments trying to get these damn games to stay in my tree.

Christmas came, and I was so excited to find that I had gotten both DKC and DKC2 as presents! Yes! I couldn’t wait to play them. I was excited that I didn’t have to borrow DKC from anyone anymore, and I was so excited to try DKC2 for myself (although I did rent it from Blockbuster before Christmas, just to check out some of the levels). I remember it was probably around midnight and I popped DKC2 into my Super Nintendo and was just so blown away! I played through the first level okay, but died on the second level and thought to myself “This game is way harder than the first one.” Haha! I stayed up as late as I could, then went to bed with happy thoughts about my new games.

Of course, I’ve gotten other games and game systems for Christmas, and I remember them all fondly! But this distant Christmas memory makes me smile every time I think about it, and when I look at those games, I still feel some of the happiness that day brought me. 🙂

End Game Thoughts: Homescapes!

Game Title: Homescapes
Platform: Kindle Fire
Hours Played: maybe an hour

About The Game

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Homescapes was released in 2017 for mobile platforms; I played on my Kindle Fire. In this game, you help a balding, middle-aged butler (named Austin) with a creepy ass smile restore his parents’ house to its former glory. I guess he moves back in with his parents and you are just some weird, unseen entity that plays a match-3 game so that the butler can earn stars that will magically pay for all the stupid shit this shitty house needs to be awesome again.

What I Liked

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Despite my crabbiness, it is kind of a cute concept for a game, and I liked the idea of methodically moving through the house and restoring each room. The house itself was pretty big, with lots of rooms to restore. That’s… about all I liked.

What I Didn’t Like

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Unfortunately, Homescapes falls prey to the typical match-3 bullshit that a lot of games seem to be fond of. There are a lot of gimmicks that quickly grew tiresome and sometimes, if your luck is shit like mine, you’ll fail the same level over and over.

Closing Thoughts

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This game definitely had potential, but really ends up falling flat. Why you have to play a shitty Candy Crush clone to restore rooms is beyond me. It would have been much better had they implemented different mini games or puzzle varieties. I wanted to like it, but after getting to Day 3 in the game, I got annoyed and uninstalled it. Sorry Austin, looks like you’ll have to find some other sucker to help you with your parents’ house!

P.S. I hope all my US friends have an awesome Thanksgiving! I’m really looking forward to it, although I have laryngitis and probably won’t be able to chat with my family much. Well, at least I can still eat! 😉

End Game Thoughts: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp!

Game Title: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Platform: Apple iPhone
Hours Played: oh lord… probably over 120 or so

About The Game

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I miss this old loading screen… the new one is ugly!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a mobile game that came out in November 2017. I was SO EXCITED for an Animal Crossing game to play on my phone- I remember I couldn’t wait to get off work so I could download it and play!

This game is a bit different from other AC games in the fact that you “manage” a campsite and invite the villagers to hang out there! You can also decorate you campsite and your rv (and later on, your cabin), collect fish, bugs, fruit and shells, and participate in one of the many events that are always going on!

Note that there really isn’t an “ending” to this game. I considered the game beaten when I invited all of the available animals to my campsite, though more animals are added into the game every so often!

What I Liked

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At its core, this game is just… so cute. Seeing so many of my favorite villagers at my campsite is awesome and I love giving them gifts and treats! The more you interact with them, the more they level up, which in turn increases YOUR overall level. As of my time of writing this, I’m at Level 142… after almost 2 years of playing, that’s not too shabby! The level cap is somewhere over 200 right now, though that changes depending on how many villagers are in the game.

I also really like the fact that there are monthly events that keep you wanting to come back and check in. The game has gone through a few evolutions since its inception, but as of now, there are 3 different events each month- a gardening event, a scavenger hunt, and a fishing tourney. These events allow you to collect themed furniture. Last month it was all Halloween furniture, which was awesome!

What I Didn’t Like

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Ha… the main gripe I have with this game? It’s a mobile game, and therefore falls into many of the same traps as other mobile games. There is, of course, premium currency (Leaf Tickets) which can be spent on premium items. At first, Leaf Tickets were pretty easy to come by, and it was easy to buy whatever you wanted. THEN they introduced fortune cookies, which can only be purchased with Leaf Tickets (although they do occasionally sell them for Bells, the game’s standard currency). To make matters worse, the item you get is completely random, so you may end up with several of the same item that you don’t want!

I want to point out that I haven’t spent a single dollar on this game. I refuse to participate in gacha type gambles with my real money, so I just earn Leaf Tickets organically as I play the game. Sure, I miss out on stuff sometimes, but oh well.

One other little thing about Pocket Camp… I kind of wish it were more like a mini Animal Crossing town. The villagers don’t really do anything but stand around and sometimes interact with items in your campsite. Even when you visit them in other areas, they are pretty static most of the time. The have little tents, but you can’t go inside and look around like you can with their houses in the core games. With that being said, I know there are probably restrictions placed on the game because it is mobile.

Closing Thoughts

Despite the fact that the gacha mechanics are absolutely ridiculous and the game can be a bit repetitive, I still find myself logging in every day! I just ignore what I don’t like about the game and I don’t feel pressured to spend money either. Animal Crossing has always been about living your life the way you want… don’t want to fish? Don’t bother. Love interacting with villagers and redecorating your house? Do it all day long and no one will try to stop you. Pocket Camp retains some of that charm and doesn’t force you to participate in anything you don’t want to. Many people have Fear Of Missing Out and have to collect ALLTHETHINGS or else their life is ruined, but not me. I’m content to check in on my little buddies, participate in events as much (or as little) as I want, and go about my day.

P.S. The only thing I HAVE to have in this game is all the animal buddies. In the past, new villagers would just randomly appear and you would have to meet them and craft their favorite furniture in order to invite them to your campsite, which was cute and fun. That mechanic has been replaced by a shit mechanic where you have to send Gulliver away for a chance to get an animal map back, and it’s a bit annoying and tedious. Patience is a virtue, though, and it is possible to do it without spending money, so I just take my time with it 😉