Friday Favorites: Sonic the Hedgehog Songs

Double Jump Kris Mii Hello, hello! Thank God it’s Friday!

Rachel and I are going away next week with the family, which is great, but we’ll also be stuck in the car for the better part of the day. Normally I don’t mind being in the car for that long since I have my music, many of which are from video game soundtracks. While the games sometimes can be lacking, Sonic the Hedgehog titles can come out with some pretty good tunes, especially with Crush 40 at the helm!

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Never Turn Back

The closing song of Shadow the Hedgehog, “Never Turn Back” combines rock with beautiful piano keystrokes for a song about moving forward.

Supporting Me

I love the dark tone of this song, especially the version from Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. Being used during the Biolizard boss fight, it amped up the tension and focus for the battle.

Open Your Heart

Sonic Adventure DX was one of my younger game self’s first foray into Sonic the Hedgehog games — the only experience we had with the original Sonic games was from an old arcade cabinet our dentist office used to have. This song, both in the opening and as the final boss’s theme, is cemented in my head with happy nostalgia.

What I’m Made Of

Sonic Heroes was not a great game, but I love the soundtrack! What I’m Made Of was an amazing final boss song, one that made me want to take on a thousand bad guys barehanded.

What are some of your favorite songs from the Sonic the Hedgehog series? Either lyrical or instrumental?

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Of Art Books and Collections

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday!

Aside from collecting the actual games, Rachel and I enjoy collecting other aspects of our favorite games and franchises to celebrate them. Rachel, for instance, loves to collect Pokemon cards. For me, it’s all about the art books and posters of my favorite games.

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You know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” No one listens to that when taken literally. Everyone judges books by their covers, as they are the first aspect of a book that will potentially snag a reader’s attention. It’s the same with video games.

Aside from box art — which, considering the digital age of gaming nowadays, may not exist — the art style and graphics of a game are one of the first impressions a game makes to a potential player. Screenshots and trailers are shared before the game is officially out to entice gamers, and I for one Google games before buying them to see if I can gauge how well I may like it, art style included.

Graphics are one of my favorite aspects to gush over when it comes to games and I am forever amazed at the designers and animators. So when Nintendo announces books dedicated to the art of some of their most popular games, I’m ready to say, “Take my money!”

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Take the Legend of Zelda series alone. We have the history collection — Hyrule Historia, Art & Artifacts, and Encyclopedia — along with the Creating a Champion coming out in November. There’s also The Art of Fire Emblem: Awakening, which looks gorgeous. Honestly, with the popularity of Octopath Traveler and its art style, I bet an art book for that game won’t be far behind. They have posters for all the main characters, which I would love to collect.

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I would love to collect these books and posters dedicated to the art of some of my favorite games and franchises. For now, though, Nintendo, space and money is a bit of an issue.

Do you enjoy collecting the art books or posters for video games? What are some of your favorites?

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Friday Favorites: Pokemon Challenges

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

Did everyone see the newest Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee! trailer? We’re super excited for these games! Honestly, we tend to get excited for most Pokemon games. The core series are some of our favorite games, but we’re always interested in switching up our playthroughs rather than the standard “become the very best” story lines. Here is a list of some of the challenges we like to do.

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Nuzlocke

The Nuzlocke Challenges is a classic. The two most important rules are to only catch the first Pokemon you encounter in an area and to release any Pokemon that faints, for once it faints it is considered dead. A little morbid, perhaps, but it makes you think more about your choices. The next most popular rule is to nickname your Pokemon to help develop a stronger bond. The stronger your bond, the more it will hurt when your Pokemon dies.

One Pokemon Run

A one Pokemon run is exactly how it sounds. Pick a Pokemon and use only that Pokemon in battle. It will be a little difficult in the beginning, with the need to grind and obvious type differences, but it certainly is fun to demolish your opponents later in the game with your inevitably-overleveled Pokemon!

Type Specialist

Like many of the NPCs, this challenge is to focus on using just a type or two for your main team. With over a dozen different types Pokemon can be, there are plenty of combinations for different runs.

Color Run

A color run is when you plan your team of Pokemon around a color. Pokemon are categorized by color on Bulbapedia, and think of how pretty your team will look when they’re all coordinated by color!

Do you have a favorite Pokemon challenge?

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Sims 4 Seasons Expansion Review

Double Jump Kris MiiHello, everyone!

The Sims franchise is a favorite of mine ever since a coworker back from college let me borrow her collection of Sims 2 expansion packs. Sims 2 turned into Sims 3, which I still have installed, before Sims 4 came around. Sims 4 is how I find myself wasting and enjoying time nowadays, especially with the newest expansion pack, Seasons.

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The Sims 4 Seasons expansion pack came out a couple of weeks ago on June 22. Being a Sims expansion pack, I bought it for myself just in time for Camp NaNoWriMo, a monthly writing challenge, and I’ve been playing it as a reward for whenever I reach my word count goal for the day.

The Pets expansion packs always tend to be my favorites, because who doesn’t love virtual dogs and cats? Aside from that, though, Seasons is right up there as it gives so much more variety to the world that you’re playing in. The temperature changes, holidays, the new clothes and accessories for the sims, Seasons was always a coveted expansion pack for the Sims.

The Sims 4 Seasons comes with all of those. The temperature changes bring about new deaths and interactions for the sims, depending on how hot or cold the weather is. A thermostat is a new item for homes and businesses, allowing sims to make the temperature inside the house comfortable… supposedly. I still had my sims automatically dress up in their outdoor winter gear around the house in the colder weather despite the thermostat being set to warm (not to mention a fireplace or two in the house).

Holidays were interesting, especially since you can create your own. A calendar button is included in the interface, allowing the player to see the coming seasons and holidays in the next couple of weeks. Each holiday has “traditions” that you can assign it, actions that your sims can take in order to really celebrate the holiday. For example, Lovefest is the Valentine’s Day equivalent, and traditions can include gifting flowers to someone or going on a date, while Harvestfest’s main tradition is eating a Grand Meal. A sim’s personality traits also effect how they feel about the individual traditions. A romantic sim loves the idea of going on a date during Lovefest, while a loner sim ignores the same tradition. It’s pretty interesting to play around with, creating your own holidays as well as being able to plan events like birthday parties in advance.

The biggest addition to Sims 4 Seasons is the Gardening career. The gardening skill got an overhaul, making plants seasonal, while also adding the Flower Arrangement skill. With the Gardening career, you can either become a botanist or florist. Botanist focuses more on research and the gardening skill, while florist utilizes the flower arrangement skill as well. Gardening is the type of career that allows you to work from home if you wish like the careers from City Living, or you can create your own retail store for your floral arrangements if you have Get to Work.

One of the disappointing aspects of the expansion pack, in my opinion, is that there was no beach world or beach area to allow the sims to swim in the ocean or just hang out, really. Imagine being able to have a 4th of July-based holiday on the beach or just a beach party to go with Seasons. In Sims 3, with its open world, being able to swim in the ocean was a major development, and I feel that Sims 4 is missing out on this.

Still, there are plenty of extra activities, such as rollerskating, ice skating, beekeeping, having snowball and water balloon fights, along with the new holidays and Gardening career to keep you entertained should you choose to purchase the expansion pack. If you’re a big fan of the Sims and have the cash to spare, Seasons is a pretty good expansion to add to your game.

Do you play the Sims 4? Have you gotten the Seasons expansion pack? What do you think of it?

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Friday Favorites: Simulation Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

One of the last few game reviews Rachel and I did was for Game Dev Tycoon, and it reminded me of how much fun I have with games in the simulation genre. This Friday celebrates some of my favorite simulation games and franchises.

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Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon franchise was probably my first foray into the simulation genre. Valuing hard work and fostering healthy relationships with the community are key aspects in the game, and I enjoyed the virtual farm life with the animals. I definitely prefer some of the older games to the newer games, but the Switch’s Light of Hope seems to cater to some of the more nostalgic story and controls from the older titles.

Stardew Valley

Another farming simulation game, Stardew Valley is similar to Harvest Moon but with a few fantasy twists, such as defeating monsters in the mines, along with the ability to date whoever you want regardless of gender. The co-op mode is another plus to this game! Rachel and I are looking forward to giving it a go!

Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon is so much fun! The strategy needed to develop good games against the clock with the story events constantly evolving makes the game addicting. It’s a game I’ll keep going back to, and I’m on the hunt for more business-like tycoon games, if anyone has any suggestions!

The Sims

The Sims franchise is horribly addicting. Every time I turn the game on, it’s hard to want to do anything else in my free time. Recently, I’ve been testing the newer Sims 4 Seasons expansion pack, and I’ve been having a good time. With the expansions and free reign to act out whatever kind of stories you want, the Sims probably won’t be getting deleted from my computer anytime soon.

What are your favorite simulation games?

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The Digital Age

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy July, everyone!

Recent news about game stores and physical games have made me come to a realization, one that I’m a bit bemused by…

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Fairly recently, I read a couple of stories about how GameStop is in buyout talks and physical copies of Fortnite are being sold for hundreds of dollars, and it made me realize something…

I’m old.

Not really, but considering how fast technology has grown during my lifetime, it makes me feel a little old. For example, I know that the “save” symbol in Microsoft Word is based off of a floppy disk. My cousins, who are about half of my age, have never seen a floppy disk nor do they even use Word anymore — it’s all Google Docs, which I have yet to fully figure out.

I have lived during the release of every Nintendo video game console with the exception of the original NES. I have seen Blockbuster at the height of its business as well as when they closed their doors for good. Guys, I’m as old as the World Wide WebAnd now nearly everything is at our fingertips — video games, groceries, clothes, these can all be bought at the click of a button and be delivered to your house if not able to be downloaded right away. I’m totally guilty with that too. I download games way more often lately than I do buy physical games, and if I do get a physical game, it’s probably ordered from Amazon.

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On a side note, Whose Line is it Anyway? was a fantastic show.

It’s amazing how many strides video games have made during my lifetime, from the NES’s blocky cartridges that only supported two players at most to being able to play with multiple people around the world while online to even virtual reality. These innovations are being programmed rapid-fire and, while feeling old is still there, I’m also excited to see how much farther programming and coding can leap while I’m alive.

Are you “old” like me? What are your favorite advancements in the digital age?

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Flashback Friday: Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards

Double Jump Kris MiiThe year is halfway over! Panic in the streets!

Okay, not really, especially since we have so many good titles being released during the second half of the year, but it’s insane how quickly 2018 seems to be going.

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Pretty sure our copy of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was accidentally stolen from a friend.

On that note, Kirby 64 was Kirby’s only appearance on the Nintendo 64 (unless one counts Kirby’s appearance in Super Smash Bros.), being released way back in 2000. The game was a side-scrolling platform like most of the Kirby games at that time, with Kirby strolling along and sucking up enemies for their powers to get through the level. Kirby travels through six planets this time while on a quest to defeat the big baddie named Dark Matter.

Dark Matter had invaded a planet that was populated by fairies for their powerful Crystal. One of the fairies escapes with the Crystal and finds Kirby, but the Crystal shatters. Kirby and the fairy team up to find the rest of the shards while gaining enough power to defeat Dark Matter. Other allies in the game include Waddle Dee, Adeleine, and even King Dedede as you go through the game.

The game was generally received favorably, with mostly good reviews. While Kirby looks kiddish with its bright graphics and cute characters, it allows the player to create power combos with Kirby’s copy ability, which most critics seemed to enjoy. The game was re-released on Nintendo’s Virtual Console about three years ago.

This was actually the first Kirby game that I ever got to play. I knew Kirby from Super Smash Bros., having played that game before The Crystal Shards, but borrowing and apparently keeping this game gave me a taste of the Kirby franchise. It wasn’t bad at all, but I was definitely more interested in the adventures of the Legend of Zelda games!

Have you played Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards? What did you think?

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