Character Spotlight: Hau

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Tuesday!

It’s the end of another month, so I have another Character Spotlight for everyone. I’ve decided to showcase a character who I recently fell in love with.

 

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Hau is a brand new character to the Pokemon world. He was introduced in Pokemon Sun and Moon, which came out November 18, 2016, by Nintendo for the 3DS. Hau is the grandson of Melemele Island’ Kahuna, Hala. He’s your friend and ally as well as your rival.

He’s energetic, friendly, and pretty optimistic. While the two of you don’t travel together, you meet up quite a lot. He helps you along the way by telling you where to go next, healing your Pokemon, giving you various items, and is overall just supportive encouraging.

As your rival, you obviously battle quite a bit with him. I don’t know how he reacts when you lose to him, but he’s still positive when he loses. Some rivals in past games are sore losers (Barry from Diamond and Pearl kind of was…), but Hau just keeps complimenting you and strives harder.

But that’s the thing about him. He wants to be the strongest trainer, but overall, he just wants to have fun and enjoy the time he has with his Pokemon as well as the journey, sights, and sounds around him.

Honestly, I think everyone should be like Hau.

What do you think of Hau? Let me know in the comments below!

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Of Avatars and Self-Inserts

Double Jump Kris MiiOne month down… Eleven to go! I hope everyone’s January went as well as it could as we start to head into February.

With every new year comes another chance for people to better themselves and to plan where they want to be in the future. Many people vow to better themselves, to give up bad habits, to help friends and strangers alike… Almost as if one was playing the hero in a video game.

One of the best aspects of playing video games is picturing yourself as the hero. As the player, you control the main character, the avatar, throughout the adventure. Everything hinges on your decisions, your actions, your choices, but more often than not, the avatar has his or her own name and destiny in the world. You’re just a person behind the screen tagging along for the ride.

Many video games take this one step further by allowing the players to recreate themselves in the video game’s world as an avatar character. Sure, plenty of games let you customize the main character’s name, but a few even give you your own character to not only help influence the game but to also form deeper connections with the game characters.

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Our Sims 4 Selves!

The Sims franchise lets you take this to a whole other level, of course, allowing you to create whoever you want and make them live out their life however you want. It’s the ultimate God Mode.

With the two latest generations, the Pokemon games have been allowing players to choose different skin tones, hair and eye colors, and entire outfits for their avatar. The Fire Emblem games Awakening and the Fates trio also have you customize your character, including some choices for battle stats and plenty of class options, to be the pinnacle character of the games themselves. While Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword also gave you an avatar character, it definitely wasn’t as interactive as actually being a character on the field of battle.

With Virtual Reality on the rise, players can be more immersed than ever in video games. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how VR will play out — imagine a VR Pokemon or Fire Emblem game!

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“Falcon PUNCH!”

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We gush a lot on this blog about characters that we love and admire from our favorite video game franchises. Yet, a rite of passage for a gamer is rage-quitting a game over a level, a bad game mechanic, or an awful character. So, Rachel, if there was a character you could punch in the face, who would it be?

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Winston Payne. I love to hate the default prosecutor from the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series. His voice alone is enough to make me cringe (though it makes me laugh and I love to mimic it) and his hair bothers me. He’s a great character, but he’s the type that you love to hate.

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His name, along with his brother’s Gaspen Payne, is fantastic, though! There’s not too many characters that I would actually like to punch, but there is one from the Zelda franchise that annoys and, frankly, creeps me out a bit… Tingle. Sure, he helpfully sells you maps in Majora’s Mask, but he’s not the kind of character that I want to regularly interact with.

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I forgot about Gaspen, actually… Tingle is a good one. I never really liked him, no matter how helpful he was. He was always annoying to me. You know who else I would love to punch in the face? Wario. I know there are so many people who like him, and I don’t mind him, but he’s just the type of character that could use a good smack in the face.

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Yeah, Wario definitely was never my favorite either. Sometimes I think he’s the kind of character that people love to hate, even if some of them aren’t villains. In fact, there are villain characters that I enjoy beating to save the day — like Ganondorf, antagonist teams from Pokemon games, Bowser — but none that I particularly want to punch. Except Lusamine from Pokemon Sun and Moon. That crazy woman just needed a beat down.

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Lusamine is crazy, I agree. I feel like there are a lot of video game characters out there that are kind of crazy in that sense. Like Ghirahim from Skyward Sword, for example. Except I love that guy. I don’t want to punch him in the face.

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Why would you want to punch someone who dances so fabulously? Most of these characters that we have mentioned aren’t the actual villains of the games, and I find it interesting that video game characters have enough depth to make us want to punch them in the face despite that they aren’t the designated villains.

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I actually like most of the villains, though… Except Ganondorf. He’s weird. Either way, you like who you like and sometimes you just love to hate people.

Are there any gaming characters that you hate or love to hate? Let us know in the comments below!

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Flashback Friday: Fire Emblem Sacred Stones

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday, everyone! The first month of 2017 has come and gone… How’s everyone’s resolutions doing?

Considering the hype that’s been buzzing around for the new Fire Emblem games coming this year, I figured this month’s Flashback will be dedicated to my first Fire Emblem game, the Sacred Stones.

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Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones was localized in North America on May 23, 2005, the second in the Fire Emblem series to do so. In Japan, the Sacred Stones is the eighth game in the Fire Emblem series. While not the most popular game of the franchise, it received good reviews, receiving an average rating of 85 from Game Rankings.

Like the previous Fire Emblem games, the Sacred Stones is a tactical RPG, whereas the player controls an army of characters fighting against monsters and opposing soldiers alike. The stages are maps, generally having the condition to win be to rout out all of the opposition, with a few other conditions as well. The player must use strategy and be mindful of the magic and weapons triangles in order to perform the best attacks.

The Sacred Stones revolves around the royal twins Ephraim and Eirika, each going on their own journey to resolve the mystery surrounding the sudden appearance of monsters on their world as well as an invasion by a country they had believed to be their ally. The story progresses in chapters, with one battle map per chapter, and is split in the middle of the game between Ephraim and Eirika. The main protagonists eventually reunite with their armies to take down the final boss.

One of the best aspects of the Fire Emblem game is the perma-death for characters — if a unit’s HP falls to zero, that unit is dead for the rest of the game. There are no revives, and those units that you spent such care leveling up are easily lost with just one wrong move. It’s a great challenge to win each battle without losing any units.

If raising a character’s level and skills isn’t enough of a reason to keep them alive in battles, this game also has support conversations between characters. By supporting another, characters get stat boosts by being next to one another in a battle, as well as having conversations to further their development (and, possibly, relationship).

The Sacred Stones holds a special place in my heart for being my first Fire Emblem game. I can’t tell you how many times I used to reset stages just so I wouldn’t lose any units! It’s been a wonderful introduction to strategy games, and I’m looking forward to the new additions of the franchise later this year.

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ThinkGeek: Gifts for Gamers

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday!

Guys, I found something really cool and I just had to share it with you all.

 

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I found this cool website called ThinkGeek. It has merchandise from various different things such as books, movies, and of course, video games.

They have a category for Pokemon, Minecraft, Mario, Zelda, and much more.

They sell a wide variety of items such as shirts and jackets, collectibles, cookie cutters, bags, jewelry, lamps, rugs, mugs, pc gaming accessories, and so much more!

I have yet to buy anything from the site (I said “yet”) so I have no idea how good quality it is, but it looks pretty good. The prices aren’t that bad, either, I have to admit.

Also, they have stuff on that website that I haven’t seen anywhere else, which is cool. It’s like a whole new world.

Definitely check it out if you get the chance. I plan on working on my wishlist in prep for my birthday… Which is about eight months away. But, it’s never too early to start.

Have you heard of ThinkGeek? Did you ever get anything from there? Let me know in the comments below!

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Pokemon Sun and Moon

Pokemon Sun and Moon Game Review

Title: Pokemon Sun and Moon
Company: Nintendo
Console:
3DS
Release Date:
November 18, 2016
How we got the game:
We pre-ordered them.

This post may contain spoilers.

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Well, after avoiding the demo versions and trying to ignore spoilers all over the Internet (it was quite a workout), we finally beat the main story line of the newest generation of Pokemon games! While we each have a copy of each version, but Sun was what Rachel chose to play first while I played Moon. I must say, the Alola region was definitely up to par with the previous generations!

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When I first saw the trailer and various leaks from Nintendo about these games, I have to admit I was a bit nervous. No gyms? Weird versions of Kanto Pokemon? What was Nintendo thinking? But, then again, it’s Pokemon. How can you not enjoy the games? I loved them and here’s why…

gameplay

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As far as gameplay goes, Sun and Moon play very similarly to the previous generations of Pokemon games. As the protagonist, you explore a region while catching a handful of creatures with powerful elemental abilities to join your party for the adventure and battles. While most of the gameplay formula is familiar, Nintendo did add some new twists.

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The biggest difference, in my opinion, were the multiple islands and the trials. You’re no longer confined to one large region, but to four small(ish) islands. Most Pokemon are exclusive to a certain island or two and most of the islands have certain climates. For example, Poni Island is mostly rocky, mountain, desert area with a small village by the docks. Melemele Island, on the other hand, is filled with lush grassy terrain with a few small beaches here and there and a small city.

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Rather than the usual eight gyms followed by a Pokemon League, there were trials and Island Kahunas to defeat after you passed the trials. The trials were unique, ranging from hide-and-seek like tasks and quizzes, with them ending with a battle against a powered-up totem Pokemon. The controls for the game stayed the same as the previous generations, for the most part, but there were a few new quirks. For example, the battle screen showing which of your Pokemon’s moves were effective against an opponent and helpfully tracking the stats changes of the battling Pokemon.

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I especially loved that feature along with Pokemon Refresh, where you could feed and pet your Pokemon to interact with them. You could also give them a bath which would take away most status conditions. Can we say, money saver? Seriously, paralyze heals, burn heals, and the like get expensive quick. Another fun feature was Poke Pelago. You’re able to grow your own berries and have your PC Pokemon go on adventures and exercise. I love the idea of knowing my Pokemon in the PC are out and about having a fun time rather than sitting in a box the whole time.

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Those were definitely some fun extra gameplay features. There were also the Z-Moves, which… Honestly, I really don’t think were needed. They were interesting, sure, but we had just gotten Mega Evolution in the previous generation. It’s curious that they would forgo that until after the main storyline for a souped up type move that can only be used once per battle. The Z-Moves weren’t too bad. They just weren’t too impressive to me.

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I always forget to use my Z-Move because I try to save it and then before I know it the battle is over. I do think it was cool concept though. However, the Mega evolution was overlooked, even though you can get it after the main story. I also like how they got rid of HMs. I like the concept of riding Pokemon since we were able to ride some Pokemon in previous games, but they gave that a whole new meaning. Except Machamp… I don’t understand why he has to hold us while he pushes boulders. That one is strange to me.

graphics-music

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When you play Pokemon Moon, you’re twelve hours behind the clock. If it’s daytime outside, it’s nighttime in the game. With that said, I was beyond impressed with the graphics of this game, especially with the night sky, stars, and dark waters of the sea!

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Since I played Sun, my game was set during the day. Except I always played at night in real life, so my game was based at night for the most part. Day or night, the graphics was gorgeous. The characters were so animated and unique from one another, it was amazing. My only complaint was that you yourself was stiff as a board… But seeing the trainers in the background of battles and watching them command their Pokemon was definitely cool.

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Yes, the nearly perpetually smiling protagonist was a bit… creepy. Other than that, though, the graphics were wonderful. The landscapes, the characters, the Pokemon’s battle moves, I loved it. The only slight problem I had was that the frame rate definitely dropped a few times with the heavy graphics of Z-Moves or Double Battles.

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They added a lot for the 3DS to handle, but it did very well 90% of the time. As for the music, I love all Pokemon songs. However, I found myself picking out favorites from this game. I felt as though the music was more upbeat and fun this time around. I certainly love Team Skull’s theme and also Vast Poni Canyon at Poni Island. It’s so funky!

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My favorite themes had to be the Elite Four and Ultra Beasts tunes. High energy, high stakes and risks, I loved them! The music was definitely a huge highlight from these games! They really helped the mood of the story line.
story

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Out of all the Pokemon games, I think this story line is my favorite. It wasn’t just about a team trying to take over the world or anything like that, there was a deeper plot between Lillie, Gladion, their mother, and mystery Pokemon called the Ultra Beasts. The characters really made the story, too. Team Skull were fun (and funny) opponents and Gladion made a great anti-hero.

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It definitely was a bit different from the normal “take down the opposing bad guy team.” Team Skull were amusing, especially since half of the citizens didn’t even take them seriously! Lusamine was an intriguing villain — I loved to hate her, especially after the way she spoke of her children and Pokemon. The story of Lusamine and the Ultra Beasts were entwined with the usual goal of defeating the strongest trainers around the region and challenging the Elite Four. Pokemon Sun and Moon did not change that, but they did add in extra little stories, if you will, post-game.

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I’m glad that they created an Elite Four and Champion even though they took away the gym badges. Then you continue the story as you defend your Champion throne instead of re-challenging the old Champion over and over again.

replay-value

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With that said, like most Pokemon games, you can definitely continue playing even past the main story line. Sun and Moon have plenty of other challenges for you to take, such as defending the Champion throne, capturing the Ultra Beasts, and even simply just exploring the region to fill up your Pokedex.

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I will be playing this game for the rest of my life. I’m halfway through filling up my Pokedex and I know there is so much more to explore. This game was awesome!

Pokemon Sun and Moon gets…
5-lives5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Games I Have To Finish

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Tuesday!

With the Nintendo Switch coming out right around the corner, I’ve come to realize that I’ll be spending all my time playing new games.

Yet, there are so many other games that I’ve started, even reviewed on here, but have yet to complete them.

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1. Yoshi’s Woolly World

Kris and I have been playing this game together. We bought it with a love of Yoshi deep down in our hearts. And what’s better than a Yoshi? A plush Yoshi! This game was so much fun and adorable. However, once we posted our review of the game, we stopped playing to play some other games for review. It’s been a while and I would love to get back to it for some casual play.

2. Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones

Kris and I decided to “challenge” each other and picked out a game for the other play. A game we wouldn’t normally play. She chose Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones for me. I enjoyed the game and got about halfway through it (I think), but our deadline got the best of me and I have yet to complete it. I still plan to finish it in the near future. The game is hers, but it’s still mixed in with all my handheld games.

3. Mario Party Star Rush

This isn’t exactly a game you can “beat,” though I do want to do some more exploring of it. I also want to try my hand at the multiplayer mode because I think that would me much more fun than playing alone. I’ve played through all the boards and such, which is why I stopped playing. It was beginning to get repetitive and, in turn, boring. However, before I write my review of it, I want to play through as much of it as I can.

There are plenty of other games that I need to play through and beat, some that I haven’t played in a while (meaning, before we started this blog a year ago), but for now, these are the top three that I hope to finish soon.

Are there any games that you started and haven’t finished yet? Do you plan on beating them soon? Let me know in the comments below!

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