Friday Favorites: Sword and Shield Features

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

How is everyone enjoying Pokemon Sword and Shield? I’ll be honest, it was hard to tear myself away from the games in order to write this post! Despite the internet backlash that these games were receiving, I’m very much enjoying the games. Here are just some of my favorite features so far.

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Camp

Camping with your Pokemon in routes is wicked charming and a simple way for your Pokemon to grow more friendly towards you and get some experience points to boot. Being able to play with your Pokemon and seeing them play with each other is fun, and cooking curry isn’t too bad either. It’s fun to discover recipes and it doesn’t take too long to make the dishes, so I’m hoping it won’t become repetitive too quickly. Seeing others pop in and out of your camp is unique as well!

Raid Battles

I’ve always wanted a sort of open concept for a Pokemon game, one where Rachel and I can both go on the Internet and see each other wandering around as we went on our respective journeys, perhaps even join each other with battling wild Pokemon and NPCs. The wild area and raid battles come close, and it’s awesome seeing my sister’s and friends’ avatars right there with mine.

Gyms

I so missed the traditional gyms when our Pokemon journeys took us to Alola. The trials and totem Pokemon weren’t as challenging to me. I think the Galar gym challenges take the best of both worlds, giving the players a little mission reminiscent of Alola’s trials while finishing up with epic battles.

What’s your favorite part of Pokemon Sword and Shield so far? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Byleth Should Have Been a Student

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Amidst Zelda Month and Pokemon Sword and Shield hype, I’m still enamored with Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Yet, I’ve been thinking more and more about Byleth’s position in the game.

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Byleth in Fire Emblem: Three Houses should have been a student. I honestly believe there still would have been as much potential for the game had Byleth been a student rather than a professor.

When it was announced in the beginning of Three Houses’s life that your main character would be a professor, the idea was intriguing. What wasn’t intriguing was the idea of romancing those who were your students, even if the option of marriage wasn’t a thing until after a time-skip that conveniently ages said students appropriately. The idea of a teacher/student relationship was always off to me, no matter how much I enjoy the characters.

Because, let’s be real, even after the time-skip, the majority of characters still treat your character as their professor. Maybe it’d be a bit more tolerant if the characters treated Byleth as an equal after the time-skip, rather than still calling them, “Professor.”

Being a student within your favorite house would have avoided the teacher-student dynamics. The activities during the Exploration option wouldn’t change at all, and you can still be Rhea’s favorite, for story reasons. During the class and lecture parts, your skills and goals could grow with your classmates’, and you could join the partnered weekly activities for support bonuses. The options of changing the other characters’ goals can stay the same as well — or, if you’d rather go a step further, being able to “persuade” your classmates’ goals can be something you can do only after you have so many support and friendship points.

“But, Kris!” I hear you say. “Who would be the professor of your class?”

Make Jeralt be the professor of your class! I know he’s supposed to be a knight rather than a professor, but having him be the professor of your class may make his death more meaningful whenever it happens. Or, hey, make his death happen during the battle right before the time-skip. At this point in the Fire Emblem franchise, having the main character’s father, or last remaining family, die for the emotional feels is a bit of a cop-out.

Or if we want to keep Jeralt in his regular position, make Seteth be the professor. Obviously the monastery is short-staffed since they made a random, young mercenary the professor of a class — and, yes, I realize there are story reasons for it too — and Rhea can totally say, “Go forth, Seteth, and impart your wisdom to the students.” Considering Seteth is suspicious of Byleth in the first place, maybe he’d want to be in their house to help keep an eye on them, and having Flayn join later could bring some other interesting dynamics into the game.

“Okay, fine,” you may say, “but what about romancing the other teachers after the time-skip? Wouldn’t that be the same problem?”

It would be, if the other teachers were just as important as the student characters. In my first route, the only teacher-like character that was in my army was Seteth, because he was recruited automatically. I more or less forgot about the other teacher and knight characters at that point since I was so focused on the story and the student characters under my care. Considering there are only a handful of teacher and knight characters compared to the plethora of student options, paired endings with them could be out of friendship or the characters could be considered a parental-figure to Byleth.

(Isn’t that what a couple of same-sex options are for male Byleth, anyway? Forgive me, I haven’t played as male Byleth to figure it out.)

Honestly, after the time-skip, not much would have to change if Byleth was a student instead of professor. Byleth would still be a central figure for the war because of story reasons, and can still take charge in the lecture halls. Just take out the “Professor” voice clips, and you’re good.

I don’t believe Byleth needed to be a professor or a figure of authority to the student characters in Three Houses. Being an equal to them, despite — and especially because of — their birth circumstances, would have done just as well in a game that centers around wars that are about morality, revolution, and finding the truth.

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Friday Favorites: Ice-Type Pokemon

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

To go along with the cooler weather coming up where I am and the fact that Pokemon Sword and Shield will be released in a week, I am celebrating with a list of my favorite Ice-type Pokemon! Admittedly, I don’t use Ice-types often in the games. I’ve only recently started enjoying their prowess. Maybe that’ll change with the next generation?

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Glaceon

I love Eevee and its evolutions. It’s no surprise that Glaceon would make my list of favorite Ice-types. Its design is sleek and reminds me of the angles and shapes that snowflakes take. Glaceon, when it first appeared in Gen. IV, had a one of the most unique ways to evolve as well. As out of the way it seemed, I found it interesting that Glaceon evolved via level up at a special location.

Dewgong

I was always amused by Dewgong in the anime. Its smile was always kind of goofy and the way it said its name just made me laugh. The seel-like Pokemon were always designed well, in my opinion, and Dewgong happens to be my favorite out of the lot.

Alolan Ninetales

Who doesn’t love Ninetales’ majestic design? They doubled down on it with Alolan Ninetales, combining the Ice and Fairy types to make such a beautiful Pokemon. Fairy is another type that I don’t use often, but it was great to see the two types’ power combined with Alolan Ninetales.

Alolan Sandslash

Like Ninetales, the original Sandslash was on one of my first teams and I loved it. I was curious about its Alolan form and, despite how late in-game you can catch him, he was an awesome addition to my team against the Alolan Pokemon League. Admittedly, I caught him for nostalgia purposes and for his part-Steel typing, but his Ice-type moves definitely came in handy!

What are your favorite Ice-type Pokemon? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Monday Memories: Legend of Zelda Fanfiction

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

It’s NaNoWriMo — or National Novel Writing Month — an event that happens every November where writers attempt to write 50k words of a new story. Spending time on my novels reminds me of my old fanfiction that got me into writing in the first place.

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Anyone remember FanFiction.net? It still exists, of course, but I don’t hear too much about it as often as I hear about Archive of Our Own nowadays. FanFiction was one of the first writing sites that I joined, mainly so I could share some Legend of Zelda stories that I had created.

I was fourteen years old back then… damn.

If anyone’s curious, this was my FanFiction profile, last updated nine years ago today. Back then, we didn’t want our actual names on the Internet — which is vastly different from today, isn’t it? — so I merely went by “Krista” and Rachel went by “Sapphire.” The profile picture of Sheik was an old sketch of mine, as well. The solitary story that’s still up there hasn’t been updated in over ten and I still have the composition notebook that has the draft of the story.

As awful as my stories were sixteen years ago, they helped me to start this creative journey and allowed me to join my love of gaming with a newfound love of writing. The stories and characters in my favorite franchises are what keep me playing, and I discovered an outlet that let me stay in those worlds even after the credits rolled when I finished a game.

Looking back on that story at this point, I am both pleased with myself and cringe at the old writing. I’ve improved so much from ten years ago. And it all started due to me wanting to stay in the Legend of Zelda world past the end of Ocarina of Time.

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Friday Favorites: Asexual Characters

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Asexual Awareness week was October 20 – 26 and, as some of you may know, I identify as asexual. Representation of any kind of diversity has always been important to me, even before I realized my sexuality. In a belated celebration for Asexual Awareness week, this Friday Favorites post details a few characters that I headcanon as asexual.

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Lukas (Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia)

Cool, calm, and collected, Lukas is a soldier of the Deliverance who invites the main character Alm to join the cause. While he ended up being a favorite for his personality in the game, there was a specific DLC support conversation he has with Python where Lukas confesses that he doesn’t feel the same kind of “fire” that Clive and Mathilda — the resident battle couple — has. That little nudge towards not experiencing that longing cemented Lukas as a favorite.

Miles Edgeworth (Ace Attorney series)

I adore Edgeworth’s character arc throughout the Ace Attorney series. Considering it’s canon that he’s not interested in marriage and turns down dates, he’s always been one of my favorite characters to headcanon as asexual. Focused on his work and his tight circle of friends (despite seemingly grumpy at times when he has to deal with them), Edgeworth is a character I can relate to.

Cyrus (Octopath Traveler)

Cyrus was the biggest dork in the bunch in Octopath Traveler, and he ended up amusing me to know end with his love of learning and absolute obliviousness to all the women trying to flirt with him. He was an easy character to headcanon as asexual due to said obliviousness. Even though romance wasn’t really prominent in any of the eight main characters’ paths, it was still rather nice to see a character who had no romantic inclinations whatsoever.

Do you have any diverse headcanons of game characters? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Interactive Storytelling

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

One of my favorite genres of video games is RPGs, mainly due to the storytelling elements and the choices I get to make while exploring said story. Interactive storytelling is on the rise in other mediums rather than just video games.

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Has anyone ever read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury? It’s about a “fireman,” whose job is not to prevent fires but to burn books. One of the mindless ways of entertainment that is described in the book are these parlor walls, giant televisions that span across entire walls. The main character’s wife in particular really enjoys the programs, particularly some family sitcom-like shows that the viewer “participates” in by reading from a script at designated moments in the show.

I was reminded by that detail of the book when I saw that YouTube debuted a trailer for “A Heist with Markiplier,” an apparent choose-your-own-adventure YouTube series that will start streaming this week. Markiplier has reportedly done other choose-your-own-adventure series on YouTube, and I know Netflix has series as well that use the viewer’s input to help determine the course of the story.

Interactive storytelling is popular in its own right, and one of the reasons why I adore video games, even in games where the plot is fairly linear. To see that method used outside of video games — and the book series’ that made it popular — is interesting, especially with television. A click of a button to make a choice and alter the outcome of the show is something that I believe will become more popular as time goes on. Nowadays, people want the interaction and to be part of their favorite universes.

Still, I find it odd regarding television shows, as there’s not much for the viewer to do other than clicking a few buttons and making a choice here or there. Case in point, Rachel and I did a short review on Minecraft Story Mode last year for Netflix. It… wasn’t that great, but it could have been due to the story aimed probably at younger viewers than ourselves. We found it a bit boring and redundant with the choices, even if we admit that was well-done for the medium.

With that said, I suppose one could say the same for the visual novel genre of video games, a genre which I generally enjoy. It’s also probably why I’ve been enjoying Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a wonder what other kinds of shows that both YouTube and Netflix — and, presumably, other streaming services — will imbue with interactive storytelling in the near future.

What do you think of interactive storytelling in television and movies? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Flashback Friday: Ada Lovelace

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

I’m doing a little something different this month in regards to Flashback Friday. Instead of celebrating an older game, this post will be about a person who has influenced the history of technology with her contributions in the field.

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Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace — also known more simply as Ada Lovelace — was a woman born in 1815 and only lived until 1852. She is often credited with creating the first computer program, creating an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine.

Ada’s father, the poet Lord Byron, disappeared out of her life only a month after she was born, separating from her mother. Considering Lord Byron fled from their family to sire more children — and having fathered one, most likely two, other children before Ada with other women — Ada’s mother was bitter and encouraged Ada’s love of mathematics and logic to steer Ada away from Lord Byron’s way of waxing poetics. Despite this, Ada still admired her father’s work, requesting to even be buried next to her upon her death.

With her skills and learning in mathematics and logic, Ada’s studies helped her meet fellow mathematician Charles Babbage, who is considered the father of computers. Indeed, he created the first Analytical Engine, piquing Ada’s interest. Babbage’s notes had fragments of programs, but Ada’s was the first complete algorithm to be written and published.

Aside from publishing the first program, it is also written that Ada was the first person to see greater potential in the Analytical Engine. Rather than just performing logical equations and math, it was Ada who expressed that the Engine could potentially create music and art with the right programming. Considering the major steps programming and computers have taken within the past couple of centuries, Ada Lovelace was definitely ahead of her time. Can you imagine if computers and algorithms were mainly used just for number-crunching? How video games would have been affected?

Due to her feats in this field, every second Tuesday of October is Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of women and their achievements in the STEM fields. I am sad to only have just discovered this. To see an event that promotes women in typically male-dominated fields and, in turn, tries to encourage more girls to join these fields and helps to sponsor them.

I remember vividly in college that I was one of only two woman in most of my computer networking class. While the majority of my classmates weren’t bad, there were a couple of instances where it was joked that I did well on a project here or there because I was a woman and the professor was male, a suggestion that may not have been made had the men known about more women in technology fields. I hope that Ada Lovelace Day, which is only a decade old, continues to reach, support, and encourage people — women, men, and others alike — in the coming years.

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Fanart Friday: Shadowball

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

For a while now, I’ve always wanted to do more art, especially for my favorite video game franchises. While I’ve always done more traditional art — sketches, colored pencils, markers — I’ve wanted to practice more with digital art recently. Figured I may as well start now!

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As a kid, drawing was one of my favorite pastimes. I had no problem spending the day sketching out an image and using colored pencils to bring it to life. After a few years, I discovered oil pastels in one of my high school art classes, which just opened up another side of the world of art for me. I have a large container full of art supplies in our closet, from sketchbooks to several packs of colored pencils and pastels to art instruction books.

Unfortunately, my practice with art has waned over the years with my schooling focusing more on computers and math, despite my love of writing and drawing. Yet, art has always been in the back of my mind and I have made (and broken) promises to myself to start practicing again. I need to be more disciplined about it and, one way to keep myself accountable, is to show a picture here or there on the blog.

To go along with October and the theme of spooky stuff, this month features a Gengar using Shadowball, created with my Wacom tablet and Paint Tool SAI. There were about three layers of sketches done to try to get most of the proportions right and to warm up a bit with digitally drawing. I drew the lineart on a separate layer — neglecting to realize that there is a specific layer tool designed for lineart to help keep lines smooth, but I’ll remember that for next time — before adding the colors. I enjoyed trying out the different tools for the shading and was probably a little too enthusiastic with the blur tool on the Shadowball portion of the picture.

Here’s hoping you enjoy my little interpretation of this Pokemon! Any kind and constructive criticism — especially with using Paint Tool SAI, as I’m still new to it — is appreciated.

FanartShadowball

Do you create fanart? Do you have some favorite artists? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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N64 Breath of the Wild 2 Trailer

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday!

This is a little something I found recently while hanging out on the Internet, as one does. I’m still really excited for Breath of the Wild’s sequel, and I’m eager to hear more about it!

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Everyone remember the Breath of the Wild 2 trailer that was showcased at E3 earlier this year? We’re still super excited about it, and love seeing all the fan speculation surrounding the less-than-two-minutes trailer (especially “Hydrated Ganondorf”).

Earlier this month, there was a fanmade trailer for the Breath of the Wild sequel. The YouTuber actually specializes in making low poly models in the style of the N64 era, and seeing their talents in this mock Breath of the Wild sequel trailer is awesome. Quite a few of the comments on the video mention how the N64 graphics and music made the Breath of the Wild 2 trailer much creepier than the real trailer, comparing it even further to Majora’s Mask.

I found the trailer to be pretty impressive, especially since there’s a small gap in the trailer that the YouTuber created themselves so it better fit the timeframe. I hope you enjoy this as well!

What did you think of the fan trailer? Any predictions for the Breath of the Wild sequel? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Friday Favorites: Dark-Type Pokemon

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Last week was about Ghost-type Pokemon, and this week I figured I would give one of my favorite types a little more attention. This does not include any of the revealed Galar Pokemon just yet, although I’m looking forward to seeing them in action when Sword and Shield are released!

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Umbreon

One of the first Dark-type Pokemon that I ever trained, Umbreon was always one of my favorite Eevee evolutions. True, it’s not the strongest of the evolutions, but the design was on point and I love the glowing rings, both with its normal coloring and its shiny state.

Mightyena

When I first saw Poochyena in Ruby and Sapphire, it reminded me of a scrappy little mutt, and its evolution became a staple in my Hoenn teams. It’s always been a powerhouse amid my other Pokemon with its sturdiness, and it always reminded me of a wolf, one of my favorite animals.

Scrafty

Seeing this guy classified as the “hoodlum” Pokemon always made me laugh. With strong attacks from both its dark and fighting typing, Scrafty was one of my favorites in the Unova region. The loyalty that many of its dex entries describe was always endearing, as well.

Houndoom

Despite their prowess, Fire type Pokemon were usually passed over on my teams for other favorites, like Ground, Flying, and Grass. Rachel was enough of a pyro for the both of us, I figured, but Houndour and Houndoom, especially, were great in my Johto teams. Their designs were always a favorite!

What are some of your favorite Dark type Pokemon? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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