Monday Memories: Red, Blue, and Yellow

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

Today brings us back with another Monday Memories, this one dedicated to the Gameboy Color Pokemon games: Red, Blue, and Yellow. These games were introduced to me by a couple of close friends of mine from a couple of decades ago…

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Way back in elementary school, I was friends with a pair of twins.

Hanging out at their house, they had a Nintendo 64 hooked up to a little television in their parents’ bedroom. Thinking back on it now, I wonder if the parents had the console there due to being sure the kids wouldn’t spend too much time playing, but I also don’t remember them having any other television. That could also be due to our days — when not playing video games — being spent playing school, pool days in the summer, walking their dog, but I digress.

It was due to these friends that I was introduced to games such as Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and Pokemon Snap, along with Pokemon Red and Blue for the Gameboy Color. I was just beginning to get interested in Pokemon, not really understanding the games themselves, but knowing that there was a cartoon and fun little cards that apparently had more of a purpose than just being pretty. I got suckered into the casual fun of taking pictures of Pokemon in Pokemon Snap and started asking for a Gameboy Color from the Easter Bunny with the Pokemon games.

The next time I had a play date with the twins, I just remember excitedly showing up at their house with my own copy of the games and Prima’s Official Strategy Guide for Pokemon Yellow. My friends were impressed, claiming that the Pokemon Yellow version was the “rarer” game (which, years later, doesn’t make sense but, hey, we were in elementary school). We spent much of that day with each of us on our respective Gameboy Colors, with each twin playing either Red or Blue and me playing Yellow.

While I unfortunately haven’t been in touch with these old friends in years — since they moved away before we even reached middle school — I do credit them as part of the reason why I enjoyed the Let’s Go titles when they came out for the Nintendo Switch. The nostalgia alone of seeing and hearing Pikachu by my character’s side throws me back to those times when I was sandwiched between my friends on the floor of their living room as we cheered each other on in battles.

I do wonder occasionally how they are doing. I hope they are doing well and, maybe, if they also have the Let’s Go Pokemon titles that they’re marveling at the evolution (pun intended) of the games as well as share this bittersweet feeling about a dissipating friendship as I do.

Do you have any old friends that you connected with over video games that you may not see as much now? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Civilization VI [Video Game Review]

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Title: Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform:
PC, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Category:
Turn-based strategy
Release Date:
October 2016 (PC), December 2017 (iOS), November 2018 (Nintendo Switch) 
How we got the game:
Bought it for the Nintendo Switch

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I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this game. I heard it was a simulation game, perhaps something similar to SimCity and the like but with an empire angle instead, which is what caused me to pick it up. I’m brand new to the Civilization series and, so far, it’s been an interesting ride.

gameplayBeing a turn-based strategy game, Civilization VI gives the player the task of dominating the planet through military, technology, or culture might.

Each turn allows players to found cities under their chosen world leader. The player then cultivates and grows their empire with their citizens, making them into settlers to found new cites, scouts to explore the world, builders to craft different districts for the cities, warriors to defend the empire, and plenty more. Technology and culture trees allow your citizens to advance further in the periods of development as the world evolves around them.

The buttons aren’t too difficult to learn, but I did find myself accidentally ending my turn once in a while when I was first learning to play. During your turn, you choose everything, from what your city is currently developing to how far any citizens outside of the city are moving, from scouts to warriors. You can also communicate with the other world leaders and, depending on your friendship level, may be able to make deals or trades with them.

Or go to war. That’s a thing.

Mainly the buttons are the main A button or using the analog stick to move your citizens to where they need to go along the world map. Decisions on what your cities should develop tech- and culture-wise, as well as the number of turns they take, all need to be considered when plotting your path to world domination. It’s a lot of strategy and gives a great challenge.

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I was impressed with the graphics of this game, both with the scenery and the models of the character avatars. It was a clean, crisp looking game, especially when one considers all of the different eras that a game goes through. The world map was beautiful, making it enjoyable for me to send out scouts — with their adorable dogs — to all corners of the world to see what they had in store.

The music itself wasn’t as memorable, however. Rather, it was soft, no doubt allowing players to concentrate on making the best decisions they could for their citizens during their turn. The music and sound effects were subtle, which was appreciated. The voice acting for the avatars weren’t too bad at all, though. I was impressed at the voice acting for the most part.

storyThere does not seem to be one specific story line that this game follows. Rather, there are over a dozen historical world leaders that you can use as your avatar for your play through. With your leader, your task is to dominate the world throughout several eras of development while competing against other human or computer controlled leaders.

The story goes depending on how well you play. Want to go through the story and win with the mightiest army? You can do that. How about being the pinnacle of technology or culture? Sure. Navigating through the world and determining how you want to win depends on your actions as well as your reactions to the other players. Rival leaders may have special conditions and their A.I. may reflect some behavior that their real counterparts may have exhibited while ruling.

replay-value

Replayability is this game’s middle name. With several leaders to choose from as well as multiple ways to run your empire and interesting AI players, no two playthroughs will ever be virtually alike. One playthrough can be a bit long, however, considering how many turns are in a game, so be mindful of the clock when playing. Time can pass by very quickly with this game!

Civilization VI gets…
4-lives
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! If you like this post, please share it around!

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The Future of Content Creators

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

This post is a little jumpy with me trying to articulate my thoughts regarding the main topic. I certainly hope you share your thoughts on this as well, as I’m curious as to what other people think.

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I need a Grandma Rocking Chair so I can use it whenever I start writing a post that begins with, “Back in my day…”

So, back in my day, video games weren’t as social as they are now. If you got stuck on a part in the game, hopefully you either knew someone else who could help you or you could buy a strategy guide. Like, a physical book. (R.I.P. Prima Games.) Once the Internet was a little bigger, you could search for online guides as well. Then YouTube appeared and now there’s a good chance you can search for a video for the spot where you’re stuck and figure out how to get yourself out of it.

I remember about five or so years ago when Rachel and I really started watching YouTube. I was amazed that people were able to make a living off of creating videos for the website, mostly videos based on their love of video games. I grew up with the mentality that video games were a nice hobby, but playing them wasn’t going to help in “the real world,” then people started doing Let’s Plays on YouTube.

Fast forward to now, and people are putting “Live Streamer” on their resumes and folks like Ninja are being paid $1 million dollars to stream certain games. I was a little baffled at seeing EA pay Ninja (and other streamers) so much to stream Apex Legends for a day, but thinking further on it, it’s a typical marketing move. Instead of saturating television channels with commercials on the game, EA spends the money to let streamers advertise for them. Considering how much traffic Twitch gets in a single day, seeing a load of top streamers spending their time playing just one game was bound to help EA’s sales.

Streaming is something else that Rachel and I are balancing with this blog. To us, our Twitch channel is another way to reach out and connect with fellow gamers, to have real-time conversations. We’re lucky in that we were able to reach affiliate status with the channel and, admittedly, we’ve wondered what would happen if we somehow were able to make a living through streaming.

With how quickly technology and consumer want grows and changes, will streaming continue to grow or will it fall to wayside in favor of the next technological shift? Will streaming still be a feasible way to advertise or make a living ten or twenty years from now? People went from reading the evening newspapers to having all the news at their fingertips with the help of phones that rarely use their original intended purpose. I’m curious as to how content creators will be affected in the future.

What kind of creator are you? How do you believe the future and technology will affect the way you create your content? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Save the date! We’re doing a special Twitch Stream to celebrate the Nintendo Switch! You can learn more about it here.

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Friday Favorites: Octopath Active Skills

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Considering Rachel and I are still playing Octopath Traveler, and that there is talks of a prequel and sequel in the future for the game, I took a look at the active skills that get the most love from us when we play. Here is a list of the favorite skills we use during battles.

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Apothecary’s Empoison

Generally, if I have an apothecary in the party, one of the first things I do against a boss fight is poison the main baddie. Seeing the boss slowly lose health from the extra “hit,” if you will, has definitely helped us to whittle away their HP, especially when their shield is up.

Thief’s HP Thief/Steal SP

Technically two active skills, the thief being able to swipe back some HP and SP is extremely useful. Instead of wasting a turn with using an item, your thief hits the enemy twice with a dagger to steal a percentage of HP or SP depending on the damage. It’s a bonus if the enemy’s shield is weak to daggers, as you can get two hits in without using a boost, if you’d like. I’m also amused at needing to spend SP to use Steal SP.

Scholar’s Analyze

For the low cost of just 1 SP, scholars can reveal the current HP balance of an enemy as well as at least one — more with boost points — shield weakness. It was nice to just take away the guess work, especially for boss battles with high shield counts, while also giving us an idea as to how long the battle may take.

Dancer’s Lion Dance/Panther Dance

I definitely became more appreciative of the support buffs of many of the skills from this game, but the Lion Dance and Panther Dance became a couple of favorites. The Lion Dance buffed allies’ physical attacks, and the Panther Dance was used mostly on my thieves to help with their Divine Skill, which dealt damage proportional to their high speed.

What were your favorite skills and attacks from Octopath Traveler? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Save the date! We’re doing a special Twitch Stream to celebrate the Nintendo Switch! You can learn more about it here.

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Octopath Traveler Prequel and Sequel

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

Despite how many new games there are, we’re still trudging along with some other favorites. As a blog that does game reviews, we find ourselves sometimes rushing from game to game, but it’s always nice to take the time to fully enjoy a game that we love, like Octopath Traveler.

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Why, yes, we are still playing Octopath Traveler. Despite the Nintendo Switch RPG coming out last July, we’re still going with the game on our first play through. At the time of this writing, we only have three of the last chapters to go.

With that said, we’re excited to hear about a prequel to the game, but it’s coming to the Android and iOS. That’s not bad at all, considering how the market for mobile games is growing, but I’m here lamenting over how my Android — as wonderful as it is — does not have a big enough screen to let me properly fawn over the art style of the game. Not for the first time, I’m wondering if I should buy a tablet for mobile games.

At the moment, the prequel is slated only for release in Japan later this year — so I’m not in quite the rush to get a tablet — but judging by the popularity of Octopath Traveler, I believe we’ll be seeing an international release at some point. That’s my hope, at least, considering how wonderful the teaser trailer looks:

Not only does the gorgeous music make me want to turn Octopath Traveler back on, the updated battle mechanics look fantastic. It seems as if, instead of just choosing four people for a battle party, everyone is invited in on the fun with the opportunity to switch between the front and the back lines during the fight. I would have loved to see  something like that in the original Octopath Traveler.

There’s also talk of a sequel for the game, which I’m very excited for and hope that we see some familiar faces in it. I’d love to go on another adventure with the characters that we’ve learned to care for in the original, but I don’t think I would complain if the sequel puts us in the same location with the art, music, and game mechanics.

Are you interested in the Octopath Traveler prequel? What would you hope to see in a sequel? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Save the date! We’re doing a special Twitch Stream to celebrate the Nintendo Switch! You can learn more about it here.

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Friday Favorites: Sword & Shield Wish List

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Like a couple of weeks ago, this Friday’s Favorites post is dedicated to a wish list. With Nintendo’s latest Pokemon direct, there is so much speculation and hope about the newest Pokemon games coming out, Sword and Shield. Here is what I wish to see in the games.

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True Co-Op

I have no idea how plausible this is. However, when the Let’s Go duo was released and boasted a co-op mode, Rachel and I were disappointed at it. Granted, it was fun seeing another trainer run around with you in the over world and help out with battles, but it wasn’t what we expected or wanted. I would love to see a co-op mode where your trainer is exploring and battling on their own, but your friend’s trainer is still there in the over world doing their own thing as well. I want to experience the journey with my friend’s avatar there beside mine, even if all we get is just seeing the other avatar running around. Of course, granting us the option to do double-battles together, each with our own Pokemon, against NPCs would be awesome. We’re able to go online with Smash and Mario Kart together — why not Pokemon? (Or would this be too close to a Pokemon MMORPG?)

Pokemon Following the MC

I don’t remember seeing Pokemon following the main characters around in Sword and Shield’s footage from the direct. I understand that not all the footage was from the game and the game itself wouldn’t be finalized just yet, so I’m remaining optimistic that they keep the option of having your Pokemon follow you around as you explore the region. It was adorable, fun, and since random battles seem to be back rather than over world Pokemon, it’ll help the game seem more alive.

A Good Story

I want to be completely invested in the plot line of Sword and Shield’s adventure. I’m sure it’ll boil down to the world needs to be saved by your young MC, but still. Give me a story to truly care about. I adored the story lines involving the regions’ legendaries in the earlier generations, especially Johto and Hoenn, and I severely miss the extra oomph that the stories received in the third-tier games. Speaking of which…

A Third Game

This is obviously a long way off, but I would love it if Nintendo went back to bolstering the story lines of the games with a third game for the region. Crystal and Emerald were some of my favorites and I was seriously disappointed that Black 2 and White 2 existed instead of Pokemon Gray for the Unova region. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon didn’t bring much of anything new to the Alola region, and poor Kalos was skipped out entirely when a plot line involving Zygarde could have been created to balance out X and Y. I’m hoping Sword and Shield will break the trend of “sequel” games for the Galar region and give us a more in-depth story with a third Galar game.

Are you looking forward to Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield? What are you hoping for in the new Pokemon generation? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Save the date! We’re doing a special Twitch Stream to celebrate the Nintendo Switch! You can learn more about it here.

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New Game Radar: Little Friends Dogs and Cats

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

The Nintendo Switch is still going strong, considering its second birthday just passed! Games are constantly coming out for it, and I’ve recently heard of a new game coming out this spring that is a spiritual successor to a game I used to adore.

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Over a year ago, I did a Flashback Friday for Nintendogs for the Nintendo 3DS. It was a simulation game where one could adopt and take care of up to three, I believe, puppies (or cats, if you had that version). They were absolutely adorable and, with how much I love animals, I was smitten. Granted, there wasn’t much of a goal in the game, other than perhaps using the voice controls to teach your dog tricks and play with the agility and Frisbee competitions, but it was a chill and sweet game.

Now, there seems to be a spiritual successor in the works and slated for a spring release on the Nintendo Switch. Little Friends: Dogs and Cats sounds pretty damn close to what Nintendogs was — you adopt up to three animals, be they a mixture of species or all one species, and care for them. Judging by the trailer, you can dress them up, take them on walks, maybe even decorate your house a little bit with furniture and toys catered to the animals.

Unlike Nintendogs, which had several versions of the game with plenty of different breeds to choose from, Little Friends only has half a dozen breeds of dogs to choose from and only three breeds of kittens. Still, for a virtual pet game, it looks charming. If you’re a sucker for baby animals like me, it’ll probably be a decent game to stick on whenever you want a few minutes to relax.

Are you interested in Little Friends: Dogs and Cats? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Save the date! We’re doing a special Twitch Stream to celebrate the Nintendo Switch! You can learn more about it here.

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