Friday Favorites: Versions of Hyrule

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

World building is important to me in video games. I love being invested in the land and the people in it whenever I play. The Legend of Zelda games tend to take place in Hyrule and there are plenty of fantastic versions of the land.

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Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule

Mainly for nostalgia purposes, Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule is one of my favorites mainly because it was my first introduction to the world. I was amazed at the different races of people and monsters that populated the land, as well as all the different landscapes and dungeons that were available to explore.

Skyward Sword’s Hyrule

Technically speaking, Hyrule doesn’t really exist just yet in Skyward Sword’s time. Instead, it’s called the Surface (or Grooseland, according to one character) since the kingdom isn’t established. I was in love with the graphics of this game and seeing the potential kingdom was fun, even if there were parts of the Surface that I wasn’t too fond of.

Twilight Princess’s Hyrule

If the competition between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess still existed, I would be on Twilight Princess’s side. Twilight Princess probably has some of my favorite graphics when it comes to the Zelda games, and I loved the expansive world I could explore while riding around on my horse. Twilight Princess probably also has one of my favorite versions of Kakariko Village — it’s sparse, but I adore the NPCs.

Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule

A desolated version of the kingdom, Breath of the Wild’s enormous map ensured that there was always plenty to explore and discover, especially with all the Easter eggs from previous Zelda games. It has one of my favorite endgames as well. True, the final boss was a tad easy, but it was in proportion to how hard you worked in helping the rest of Hyrule. The more Divine Beasts you freed, the more help Link had from the previous Champions in defeating Calamity Ganon. The more shrines you discovered, the more stamina or hearts you had for health in the final battle. The better prepared you were, the more skills you practiced, the easier the final fight. Jett, I wish I had this answer when we were talking about it during my Deltarune stream!

What is your favorite version of Hyrule?

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Friday Favorites: Super Mario Party Features

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Last Friday, Super Mario Party was released for the Switch, much to everyone’s excitement. Rachel and I streamed it last Friday night on our Twitch channel, having a great time exploring the game and being thrilled that it seemed to go back to its roots with a few of the better updated features from the more recent Mario Party games.

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Character Roster

Character rosters are usually a hit or miss for me. Fire Emblem Warriors, despite my love of the franchise’s characters, has too many sword users and Mario Kart 8 has too many clones — Pink Gold Peach, all the baby characters, the Koopalings — for example. Super Mario Party has a great character roster with a fantastic balance between the hero and villain characters. While I’m still on the fence with Bowser being on the roster, since I’m used to him being more an antagonist (as much as you can be an antagonist in a Mario Party game), I can’t deny it’s amusing seeing him marching around the board!

Special Character Die

Mario Party games are usually all about luck when it comes to going around the game boards with a bit of skill for the mini-games. With each character having their own special die, it brings a bit of strategy to going around the boards. The standard die allows you to move one to six spaces. Some characters have die that help you gain or lose some coins while giving you a chance to move more spaces than the standard die. There’s a risk with every die, but plenty of chances to get ahead if your plan pans out.

Allies

The allies is a feature that was first showed in Star Rush, which… wasn’t the best Mario Party game. I did enjoy the way the allies were featured in Super Mario Party, allowing you to use their specific character die as well as giving you an extra move or two. Some mini games also include your allies to give you a helping hand. It’s also just really amusing to watch a parade of Mario characters going around the board as your allies follow you!

Mini Games in between Turns

Having the mini games after every turn on the boards is back and it’s amazing! That feature is what defines the Mario Party series for me and I’m excited to see it back. That, and the mini games that we’ve played so far have all been pretty fun. I haven’t had a complaint about any of them yet!

What do you like best about Super Mario Party?

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Friday Favorites: Schools in Video Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Where we’re from, school just started for the kids yesterday. I don’t miss going to school at all, mostly because schools in video games seem to be a lot better than schools in real life!

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Themis Legal Academy in Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

We’re absolute suckers for the Ace Attorney series and Dual Destinies was no exception. In Turnabout Academy, Phoenix Wright and his assistants are invited to Themis Legal Academy to give a lecture on law, only for teacher to turn up dead. A law school that has Phoenix Wright as a guest speaker sounds awesome to me! I could do without the murders, of course but, hey, that’s what the kids are learning about, right?

Knight Academy in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Who doesn’t want to be a knight? Especially one in a place where you get your own special animal companion in the form of a giant bird? With Link as your classmate? I totally wouldn’t mind going to Skyward Sword’s Knight Academy, especially when you get to fly around the skies. My only wish for that game was that the sky had more areas to explore.

Asagao Academy

Asagao Academy is the setting for a visual novel/dating sim with the popular YouTube groups Normal Boots and Hidden Block. We greatly enjoyed the writing, graphics, and music of the game, and the school setting seemed to be a lot of fun. Not only was there a tournament hosted in the city for video games, most of the hints of schoolwork were also game related.

Honorable Mentions

Most of the Pokemon core games had some sort of school in one of the first cities or areas, giving a refresher on basic aspects of the game, such as status inflictions and held items. Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series is also a great school, but I have had a difficult time finding a game that truly captures that magic.

What are your favorite schools from video games?

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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: 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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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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Friday Favorites: Video Game Dads

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

Father’s Day is this weekend, so I thought I would use a post to celebrate some of the best video game dads. I hope everyone else is able to celebrate with their father or someone close to them this weekend!

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo | Father's Day | Dads | Dream Daddy | Legend of Zelda | Twilight Princess | Super Mario | Bowser

Rusl from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Rusl is the father of Colin, the shy child who finds his courage throughout the game, from Twilight Princess. Rusl is the character from Link’s hometown, the swordsman, seemingly the guard of the village that most likely helped Link hone his own sword skills. Besides being a father figure to the hero of the game, Rusl is also a critical member of the resistance, saving Link during the attack on Hyrule Castle.

“Dad” from Dream Daddy

Dream Daddy is a visual novel where you play as a customizable dad and were able to romance several other (mostly) single dads. While your choices were crucial to the ending of the game, the player’s “Dad-sona” had an awesome relationship with his daughter Amanda. The interactions with her ranged from goofy and casual to affection and, well, fatherly. Their relationship is probably one of my favorite aspects about the game.

Bowser from the Super Mario series

Okay, we all remember that Switch Parental Control video, right? The adorable one when Bowser was the Most Responsible Parent of the Year because he was being sure his son Bowser Jr. was playing games that were appropriate for his age? Bowser is also a father figure to all of the Koopalings as well, allowing them to help him with his work and always very encouraging while doing so. Not only that, his motivation for kidnapping Peach in Super Mario Sunshine was literally just so Bowser Jr. could have a mom. Cool motive, still kidnapping, but the thought was sweet.

What are your favorite video game dads?

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