Preferred Gender Tropes

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Have you ever noticed if the gender of the protagonist effects the game? Perhaps one gender has better stats or different powers or something as simple as clothing options?

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Many games, particularly RPGs, allow the player to choose between playing a male or a female protagonist. While most games tend not to have much of a difference between the genders, there are some games that can be skewed to favor one over the other.

One of the most notable examples that I’ve heard of Harvest Moon 3. While I’ve never played the game myself, I have heard that the game is cut short as soon as you marry while playing as a female. While, as a male, you get married and can continue working on your farm, as well as get a child. Granted, each gender had different perks — males tended to be better with the farmland, while females were better with the animals — but why would the game just end if you get married as a female?

Different stats in games, such as the Fire Emblem franchise, favor one gender over the other as well. Males tend to have higher strength and defense while females are better with magic and speed. In many Fire Emblem games, some character classes are restricted as well — only males can be fighters while females can be pegasus knights, for example. One of my favorite aspects of the Fates trio is that these class restrictions were lifted, and I was disappointed when Echoes brought them back.

In hindsight, being a remake, Echoes probably brought the class restrictions back in order to be as faithful as it could to the original. With that said, though, I do wish it was updated to not only lift those restrictions, but also lift the healer restrictions. In the very beginning of the game, if you are following Alm’s story and have Faye with you, she has one less class promotion available than the boys. Archer is not available for her, yet when she was introduced to the Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game, archer is her class rather than cleric.

If the female gender is favored over the male, it tends to be for aesthetic reasons. In Pokemon X and Y, the female character has almost double the amount of clothing and hair options. The Sims franchise also tended to have gender options based on aesthetics only — with jobs and skill building being exactly the same across the board — but Sims 4 took this a step forward to allow transgender sims and lift the gender restrictions on all the clothing and hair options.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of Stardew Valley is how absolutely little your gender matters. No NPCs treat your character differently no matter what gender they are and your skills do not depend on your gender. You can also marry whatever eligible NPC you want, no matter the gender.

Any games that you’ve played that tend to favor one gender over another?

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Octopath Traveler Flaws

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Octopath Traveler is such a fun game in our opinion, if you couldn’t tell from the posts we’ve been writing about lately, haha! Still, most of the posts have been praising Octopath Traveler and everything about it. Today, here are a couple of things I’m not too fond of when it comes to the game.

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We’ve been gushing about Octopath quite a bit on this blog, from the music and the graphics to the characters. There are a few aspects of the game that leaves us feeling a little disappointed, though.

I play RPGs mainly for the stories and the characters. I mean, those two elements of a game are arguably some of the most important aspects of an RPG, right? The characters of Octopath are great, there’s no dispute about that, but I do wish their characterization went deeper, especially when it comes to each other.

The “party banter” interaction is wonderful, but I definitely want more of it. Rachel and I, while playing the game, go through each character’s chapters by imagining how the rest of the party would be reacting to the events going on. For example, in Tressa’s chapter two, there’s a rival merchant who outsells her. We’re sitting on the couch mentioning how Cyrus would probably be lecturing about good sportsmanship while Therion would be stealing the rival’s goods before he could sell it all.

Obviously, programming more in depth interactions between all the characters would be difficult with the myriad of parties you can create, but a little more than the party banter would have been nice.

Going along with that, we feel that Octopath Traveler holds your hand during much of the stories. There’s a little map on the bottom right corner of the screen and, if you can get rid of it, we haven’t figured it out yet. While the map is useful, your next step is always in green, as well as the speech bubbles of NPCs that you need to speak to next. There’s usually a line of text on the top of the screen telling you what you need to do, as well. It really doesn’t leave much room for mystery or exploration when it comes to the chapters.

I really think Octopath’s main strengths are its music and graphics, as well as the battle system. Its characters are wonderful, and the stories aren’t bad, but the way the stories are executed with the hand-holding… They leave a little something to be desired, in my opinion.

What do you think of the way Octopath Traveler does the chapters for its characters?

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Friday Favorites: Octopath Characters

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

We’re still going strong with Octopath Traveler, and we hope those of you who haven’t finished are enjoying it too! After playing further into the characters’ stories, there are a few that are clear winners to me. Although I enjoy all the characters, these four are right at the top of the list.

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H’aanit

Hunter and ranger characters are generally some of my favorites. Bows are a favorite weapon of mine in most games, despite how awful my aim can be — seriously, you should have seen me trying to shoot enemies in Breath of the Wild, Rachel had a great time making fun of me — as they usually can be so versatile. H’aanit has one of the better stories in my opinion as well. She’s off in search of her missing master with a trusty animal sidekick. The only aspect of H’aanit I’m not completely on board about is her dialect. The Shakespearean way she and her people speak isn’t bad, but I’m positive some words were just made up or slapped with prefixes and suffixes that don’t really work to make her way of speaking more “otherworldly.”

Primrose

My heart broke during this lady’s chapter one. Not for the revenge angle, since tons of fantasy characters’ motivations seem to stem from the murder of their loved ones (especially fathers, for some reason), but for where she found herself while searching for her father’s murderers. I loved to hate the boss of her chapter one, and her motivation for moving forward really captured me. Her story so far is one of my favorites. Her voice actress also does a phenomenal job, in my opinion.

Alfyn

As soon as Rachel and I heard Alfyn speak, we cooed over how adorable he sounded. While a couple of other characters have similar, “we’re off to see the world,” story lines, Alfyn was the first character we collected to have that particular plot. His movepool is more of a smorgasbord of other characters’ — a bit of healing like Ophelia here, some ice moves like Cyrus there, shares the hatchet with H’aanit — but he also has the fun Concoct skill, where he puts together herbs to create either healing or damaging items. I love his poison skill too!

Therion

If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll know that I’ve always had a soft spot for thief and rogue characters. Stealth and speed are attributes to most of my favorite playable characters — Sheik in Smash Bros., Fire Emblem characters in the thief class — and it’s a bonus whenever they use daggers as weapons. Therion was the first character we picked when starting Octopath, and his dialogue, mannerisms, and voice acting is spot on. His story isn’t too bad either, one where he’s in it for himself, but trapped in a deal that’s taking him on a journey dangerous enough to need allies. We’ve gotten a few “party banter” dialogues between Therion and a few of the other characters, and we’ve been enjoying his personality and interactions with them. We’re just hoping for so much more!

Who are your favorite Octopath characters?

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Friday Favorites: Harvest Moon NPCs

Double Jump Kris MiiTime for another weekend!

Per Rachel’s and my last debate — Harvest Moon vs Animal Crossing — this Friday is dedicated to my favorite NPC characters of the franchise, minus the characters that are eligible to marry.

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Felicia from Island of Happiness/Sunshine Islands

Felicia is one of the “moms” of the setting in these games. She has a sweet disposition, helps with the shipping so you can turn a profit and, in the case of Island of Happiness, treats you like family almost immediately due to being shipwrecked together. Being one of the first available NPCs, and with such a kind nature, helps ease you into the game.

Hana from A New Beginning

Hana is the little old lady who runs the General Store in A New Beginning. She’s adorable and is quick to become friends with you. If you find and talk with her on rainy or stormy days, her dialogue is cute as she mildly scolds you for being out in the rain just to check on her.

Bo from Animal Parade

Bo is the quieter of the two carpenter apprentices, and his chill personality is one reason why I like the NPC. The other reason is that I find it funny how exasperated he can become — going so far as to even apologize for — the antics of Luke, the other carpenter apprentice!

Gotz from Friends of Mineral Town/More Friends of Mineral Town

The carpenter from the Mineral Games, Gotz is a bit gruff, but softens up once you befriend him. Like many of the other Mineral Town characters, he has a deeper backstory, one that I enjoy learning about whenever I play these games, as sad as it is.

 

Have you played any Harvest Moon games? What are your favorite characters from the games?

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Friday Favorites: Pokemon Moms

Double Jump Kris MiiThank God it’s Friday!

Mother’s Day is this weekend, everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful mother figure to celebrate it with! When playing video games, mothers of the protagonists tend to… be nonexistent. If mothers existed at all, they tend to be part of the protagonist’s tragic backstory by being dead. In the Pokemon core series games, though, your mother is always present. This Friday, this is my personal ranking of the Mom character from the Pokemon games.

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7. Mom from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire

The Pokemon Mom from Hoenn really doesn’t do much. Aside from giving the player the Running Shoes, like the majority of other Pokemon Moms before it became an automatic mechanic, and revealing that the protagonist’s father is a gym leader, she hangs out at home. Where she doesn’t even have her own room. Which isn’t even in the same town as her husband’s gym. Why did she move you guys to Littleroot Town again?

6. Mom from Black/White/Black 2/White 2

I’ll admit, the fifth generation of the Pokemon games are the ones that I’ve played the least. Unova did not capture my attention as well as the other regions had. The Mom from Unova likewise did not seem memorable, except for the Running Shoes, although I do know she had a bit more of backstory than some of the other Pokemon Moms. I found it a little interesting that she had been a receptionist working with Nurse Joy in the Unova sequels. Sure, she gave you the Xtransceiver, but I never remembered it existed until the story made it ring automatically from the NPCs.

5. Mom from Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon

Despite being the latest Pokemon Mom, the Alola Mom doesn’t even have a name nor the productivity to even fully unpack after moving to the island region. She has a nice personality and her backstory with being a Meowth trainer gives her a little depth, but it’s not much at all. With all the new aspects of the Alola region, Mom seems fairly forgettable, which may have been done on purpose. She seems to serve no other purpose other than to be the token adult figure that brought the protagonist to the region.

4. Grace from X/Y

Considering that the Kalos region didn’t have sequels or a third-tier game, we didn’t really get a chance to really meet Grace, the mother from X and Y. I enjoyed finding out that she was a Rhydon rider, and I would have loved to see a side game where there was a race, perhaps with Grace being a fellow competitor. Grace has a lot of missed potential, and I’m sorry that she wasn’t a bigger part of the protagonist’s story.

3. Mom from Red/Blue/Yellow/LeafGreen/FireRed

The original Pokemon Mom, the Mom in Kanto definitely stands out just for being the first. She doesn’t do much other than remain at home and quietly support you, healing your Pokemon if you ask. Still, she was one of the first introductions to the Pokemon core series, which have become such a staple to my video game collection.

2. Johanna from Diamond/Pearl/Platinum

The Sinnoh Mom has a name. This is the first Pokemon Mom to get her own moniker, and she has a much more active lifestyle than just chilling at home while you’re off on an adventure. She actively participates in Pokemon Contests, which I always thought was a nice touch. I’m a sucker for minor or side characters having their own lives that don’t revolve around the protagonist.

1. Mom from Gold/Silver/Crystal and Heartgold/Soulsilver

While all the Pokemon Moms are supportive of your character, I feel as if Johto Mom is one of the most useful. When I was younger, I wasn’t thrilled with her taking some of my money, but in later play throughs, I found it definitely helpful. It kept me from spending all my money on decorations on my own — if Mom bought them, it was fine, haha! That, and with Crystal being one of my favorite games, it was nice to finally have a mom character to support my female protagonist.

Which Pokemon Mom is most memorable to you? What are your favorite video game mothers?

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Dungeons & Dragons

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Dungeons & Dragons was always something that was at the back of my mind, but it wasn’t something that was popular — that I knew of — around where I lived. Most of my friends weren’t exactly into video games like Rachel and I were, so I didn’t have as much hope for D&D.

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Dungeons & Dragons has existed since 1974, which sounds wild considering how little I had heard of it growing up. Of course, the few times I had heard of it was due to how “nerdy” the game was, even compared to video games.

For years, Dungeons & Dragons wasn’t really a thought in my mind until I realized that it was fairly popular with a couple of YouTubers that Rachel and I watch. Rachel and I spend what little downtime we have trying to catch up with “Dice, Camera, Action!” while now trying to stay up-to-date with “Trapped in the Birdcage.” The players in both those groups are fantastic, as are the Dungeon Masters with their storytelling abilities and antics.

For my birthday, Rachel got me the D&D Starter Set and, while it’s brilliant, I’m not sure where to start. It’s fun to go through and imagine different scenarios with characters I’ve thought of but haven’t fully fleshed out with character sheets because I don’t fully understand the character sheets, and… yeah. The dice are a really pretty blue!

Rachel and I are hoping to, sometime soon, have enough time to each make a character or two and just have a practice session, if you will, between the two of us. We both love creating stories and D&D seems to be another fun, creative way to do so.

Then, of course, there are all sorts of D&D video games to check out…

What do you think Dungeons & Dragons? Have you ever played? Any advice for new players?

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Switch Smash Characters

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With the latest Nintendo Direct making the Internet go crazy with the Smash Bros announcement for the Nintendo Switch, there have been plenty of speculation about what characters will be featured in the fighting game. We can make out a few characters from the silhouettes about the characters that will return to the game, but I’m sure we’re going to get plenty of spoilers as new characters are slowly introduced before the game comes out.

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Then, of course, there are the characters we want to see in Super Smash Bros. Some are practical, some not so much. Still, it’s fun to dream and think about various characters trying to fight each other. Kris, who do you want to see in Smash this time around?

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Geno was always my number one character to see in this game. Hell, I’d love to see Geno in any other game considering how awesome he was in Super Mario RPG! I think his attacks are versatile enough for a fighting game and his Final Smash could have something to do with the stars, such as a meteor shower or something. Seeing as we’ve had Cloud from Square Enix, perhaps they could also add Geno…? What about you, Rachel?

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Geno would be awesome, of course. I want to see Phoenix Wright or Godot or any of the Ace Attorney characters. I know Phoenix is technically in his own fighting game, but that’s all the more reason to add him. He has experience.

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Phoenix would be fun, or Professor Layton, too! In cut scenes on a few of his games, we’ve definitely seen Layton defend himself well. I’d also like to see Chun Li in the series. Street Fighter was a series that was fun for playing once in a while to me, but I think Chun Li would be an awesome addition as a female brawler. Considering Ryu was put in the series, it shouldn’t be a stretch to add Chun Li.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, yeah. It’d definitely be nice to see another female thrown in. I think they’ve done a pretty good job keeping a balance though. Another character I would love to see is Professor E. Gadd from Luigi’s Mansion. He could certainly use the Poltergeist 3000 or 5000 (or whatever number he’s on) to his advantage. Similar to Kirby, he could suck his opponents up and spit them out without taking their powers. Some of the ghosts from the mansion can be used as assist trophies or items as well. Or the ghosts can be his final smash.

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He would certainly be an interesting addition! Does Luigi do anything with ghosts or the vacuum for his moves? I can’t remember. Speaking of assist trophies, I think it’d be great to see the Breath of the Wild Champions appear. Since the silhouette of Link in the direct seemed to be of his Breath of the Wild counterpart, having Urbosa show up with her lightning attack or Mipha doing a bit of healing to those who called on her would be a treat!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I don’t believe he does. Having the champions thrown in would be amazing. That could be Link’s final smash. He could call all four of them and just destroy everyone on screen!
I would also love to see Toad. That is all.

What characters are you hoping for in Smash Bros for the Switch? Let us know in the comments below!

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