Reality is Broken

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

It’s the end of the first month of 2018. I hope you’re all doing well and that everything has been working in your favor so far. Here’s to the rest of the year!

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A book I’ve been reading lately is Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal. It depicts why video games are important in today’s society and how they aid us in being happy and fulfilled with our lives. While the book was published in 2011 and, thus, is a little out of date at this time, it has made me think about my love of games.

Think about why you play video games. Is it because of the challenge of saving the world? The relaxing atmosphere of caring for a virtual town? The social aspect of online video games? No matter your reasons, you wouldn’t be playing video games if you didn’t enjoy them.

There’s a particular quote near the beginning of the book that McGonigal put in from Brian Sutton-Smith, a psychologist of play: “The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.”

Depression often gives people a sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity. Games, on the other hand, give us a sense of being able to overcome obstacles, an endorphin rush when we focus on our energy on achieving a goal. By gaming, we’re focusing on an activity that we’re good at and enjoy.

In other words, McGonigal claims, “gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.”

The key ideas of being happy include satisfying work, the experience or hope of being successful, social connection, and meaning, or “the chance to be part of something larger than ourselves.” Gaming gives us all of that. Rather than using games as a way to escape reality, gamers are actively making their real lives more rewarding by playing.

I’ll be honest. My day job is not at all what I want it to be. It’s stifling and not creative at all, in my opinion. Sure, my co-workers are fantastic and the job itself pays well with good benefits, but it feels like more of a chore than anything else. I’m working there to survive, not to live.

Reading this book just kind of made everything click into place. Video games were always a way for me to help save the world and pour my creativity into, such as writing a blog about gaming. I’ve met some wonderful people along the way, and gaming has opened up a few connections that I never would have had otherwise. It’s rather amazing to think about, isn’t it?

Have you read this book? What made you start to play video games?

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Confession: I Don’t Like Z-Moves

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy New Year, everyone! May 2018 treat you even better than 2017 did!

We’re going to dive right into my perhaps controversial thoughts regarding a major feature of the latest generation of Pokemon games.

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The Pokemon franchise has always been a favorite of mine ever since I got my first GameBoy Color and the trio of the first generation games twenty years ago. It’s been an amazing ride seeing how the series has evolved, with the creatures, the stories, and the technology of the games. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed seeing the improvement, but there are sometimes new aspects of the latest games that make me scratch my head in confusion.

In the case of the Alola games, I don’t know why the Z-Moves exist.

The graphics for the Z-Moves are great for the handheld systems, but… I don’t understand why they are needed. Perhaps Nintendo had wanted to do epic graphics for every move but, due to time and technology constraints, could only do so for one to two moves per type? The little dances done for the Z-Moves were cute the first couple of times I’ve seen them, but I’m more interested in getting back to the battle rather than watching my character look a little silly for a minute or two.

Power-wise, it makes sense that a Z-Move can only be used once per battle. If that’s the case, then, what’s the point? I generally forget to use the Z-Moves because I tend to try to strategize my Pokemon’s attacks rather than use one all-powerful move as a cop-out. That, or I try to “save” my Z-Move for when I need it but it doesn’t work out that way. At the very least, with Mega Evolutions from the Kalos region, you were able to keep a Pokemon in their Mega form for the duration of the battle.

Speaking of Mega Evolutions, what happened to those? Nintendo had introduced them in the previous generation only to drop them in favor of Z-Moves. I would rather explore the world searching for Mega Evolution stones for my team than collecting Z-Crystals as makeshift gym badges from trials. I wonder if Z-Crystals were partly created to try to ease the players into the idea that gym battles were not part of Gen. 7, a little token that had more of a role — however small it was — in battles instead of a pixelated gym badge.

This is all just my opinion. Perhaps disliking one of the major new features of the latest Pokemon games is a sign that I’m starting to get old, haha!

What do you think of Sun and Moon’s Z-Moves? Are there any other new features that you like or dislike about the newer Pokemon games?

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Gaming Confession: ARMS

Happy Tuesday!

I felt like talking about a game that’s been pretty popular. I talked a lot about it before it came out, but haven’t really talked about it since it came out. And that would be ARMS for the Nintendo Switch.

ARMS is a fun game that came out for the Nintendo Switch. In a way, it’s kind of like Super Smash Brothers, but it has its own original characters and it’s motion-controlled with the Joy-Con. You throw real punches rather than just pushing the “A” button.

I was so excited when this game was first announced. I was eager to play and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

We played the test version of the game and I fell in love. It was an easy game, but hard at the same time. Especially depending on who you were up against online.

I couldn’t wait for the test track and then when that ended, I couldn’t wait for the physical game. If I remember correctly, we got the game right when it came out. We might have even pre-ordered it.

There were a few other games that were begging to be played though. So we didn’t open our copy of ARMS right away.

When we did, we played it for just about an hour or two and then hopped back to Hyrule in Breath of the Wild.

And we never went back to it.

I had planned on writing a review with Kris about it. I had planned a couple of Top Tuesday ideas for it. But we only played that once.

The game has been in the back of my mind. I’ve been wanting to play more, but there are always new games that want to be played.

We have so many games at home. Some we haven’t tried yet, some we just haven’t beaten yet. This is because a new game (or a new console) comes out and then we get distracted with the latest.

New games come out on the Nintendo Switch eShop all the time, every day it seems like. Then there are just older games that you get in the mood to play. We’ve been playing a lot of games on Steam recently as well.

I recently watched the Nintendo World Championship 2017 (late, I know) and when they played ARMS I was shocked. Not at them, but at myself because honestly… I completely forgot the game existed.

And it’s a great game. I had a lot of fun with it. But for some reason, it hasn’t been one of those go-to games for me for the Switch.

I plan on getting back into the game soon and exploring it a little more. You know, once I widdle down this large queue of games Kris and I have somehow racked up… this just goes to show that there are too many games and not enough time in the day.

Do you play ARMS a lot? Has there ever been a game you’ve looked forward to and then just got distracted with other games? Let me know in the comments! 

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I’m Missing One Pokemon Game

Happy Tuesday!

There are a million Pokemon games out there and I have just about all of them. Sure, I’m missing a few side games here and there, but as for the main games, I have them all.Except one.

Except one.

I didn’t start playing the Pokemon games myself until the Johto region. When the Kanto region came out I was too young to play the games properly.

I watched the anime, of course, and I watched Kris play through her Red, Blue, and Yellow games. Yet, I still didn’t fully understand the concept. Even when I started playing Johto I had no idea what I was doing.

But that’s where I started and that’s when I began my Pokemon collection. Gold, Silver, and Crystal.

It wasn’t until many years later that I realized I had never played the original games. I ended up getting a hold of Yellow through the Internet. I won a bidding war on Ebay for Blue and got it for $8.

But no Red.

Red has been on my Amazon wishlist for years now. It’s never available (or the price is $600). I’ve checked Ebay here and there, but have never gone for it because I know it probably doesn’t work anymore.

Technically, I do have Red. I downloaded the virtual console along with Blue and Yellow onto my 3DS.

Still, I just want the cartridge for my collection. I mean, I gotta catch ’em all.

Do you have the full Pokemon game set? Let me know in the comments below!

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Dream Harry Potter Game

Double Jump Kris MiiIf you’re a Harry Potter fan, guess what? It’s Harry’s birthday today!

Besides gaming, I’m also a big reader, and the Harry Potter series is a favorite of mine. There’s a television channel called Freeform that never needs a big excuse to run a Harry Potter movie marathon. It tends to play at our house whenever the marathon happens, usually in the background in the kitchen, and it’s the kind of series that makes my family feel warm and fuzzy inside, no matter what medium it’s in.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is massive. Everyone knows who Harry Potter is. The series spans across so many mediums — the books, the movies, toys and, yes, video games.

Most of the Harry Potter video games are the usual licensed games, the ones where you control the main character through the story, sometimes with glitches or weird controls. People eat them up enough, though, if only to get that taste of performing magic at Hogwarts.

With Virtual Reality becoming a main form of gaming on the market nowadays, I’m curious if franchises such as Harry Potter will ever reach that platform. The game would be massive, of course, even if it only allows the player to go through one year at Hogwarts. A Choose Your Own Adventure type of visual novel, if you will, it could start off with a small quiz (or choice) to allow the character to get sorted. Classes can be small mini games, allowing players to level up with their magic, with a larger plot looming in the background. There can be key main NPCs that your character interacts with, his or her or they’re choices affecting how well you maintain your relationship with the NPCs.

Perhaps we can’t all be Harry Potter, but I wouldn’t mind playing a character that joins Dumbledore’s Army and defends the Wizarding World against Death Eaters.

It’s just a thought. Whenever we do get a chance to purchase a decent Virtual Reality system, the Harry Potter world is definitely a place that I want to visit.

Do you enjoy Harry Potter? What kind of series or world do you think may adapt well to Virtual Reality? Anyone know if this will be an actual thing one day?

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Confession: Physical Games

Happy Thursday!

I thought I’d elaborate a little more on why I love digital download games.

This isn’t exactly another reason, but more of a regret.

I have a small barrel that sits atop my dresser in my bedroom. I don’t know why, but I use that to hold all my handheld games.

I have my Gameboy Color games, Gameboy Advance/SP, DS, and 3DS games in it.

Every single one of these was, of course, a physical copy. In the drawer next to my bed I kept all the covers.

That is until the drawer was too filled to keep anything else in there.

I thought, why keep these when they’re just sitting in a dark drawer not even holding any of the games they came with?

So, I regret to say, I threw them out.

One day I would love to have tons of bookshelves to display my games, but I don’t have the room now and, at the time, I hadn’t even thought of that.

Needless to say, I don’t have very many covers to my games anymore. I was thinking about it the other way and I’m sad I made the decision to get rid of them. I love the cover art and feel bad for throwing something like that out.

Maybe, if I ever win the lottery, I’ll rebuy all the games just for display purposes. In the meantime, I just have a barrel full of games.

Do you keep your games on display? Let me know in the comments below!

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Save and Continue?

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday!

I’ve seen many a play-through on YouTube of games. And most often than not, they never save their game for fear of the footage getting corrupted. They want to be able to go back and try it again.

I’m here to say that I don’t know how people can do that.

When I play a game, I can’t begin to count how many times I save, if I can. It always bothers me when a game only allows you save at certain points in the game. Then again, if I can save whenever I want, I abuse that power.

Take Paper Mario, for example. You only come across save blocks in certain parts of the game. Because you can’t save that often, every time I see one, I immediately stop what I’m doing and go hit that block.

I’ll save, then go into the Toad House to heal, maybe buy a few items, and then save again. Because I’m that paranoid.

Then you’ve got Pokemon. I can save whenever I want, but I’m not really in any “dire” situations through most of the game. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t save right before a gym battle. Or, sometimes, right before a wild Pokemon encounter.

Then you’ve got a game like Ace Attorney. Kris and I are working our way through Spirit of Justice, and the other night I can’t begin to explain how many times we saved.

We were both tired, and I’ll admit that neither one of us was doing well at solving anything the game threw at us. Because of that, we were unsure of every move we made. So we saved the game probably every 2-3 minutes. Even on a good day, when we’re sure of ourselves, we still save right before answering because we’re afraid we’re going to get a penalty. We have five chances, but we like to be perfect… Edgeworth taught us that way back when.

And don’t even get me started on saving and then wondering, “Did it go through? I better save again just to be sure…”

Do you constantly save as I do? Or do you like to live dangerously and chance it? Let me know in the comments below!

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