Friday Favorites: Legend of Zelda Dungeons

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

To continue along with Zelda Month, this week is all about the dungeons that are showcased in the games. Which means… Breath of the Wild probably won’t be on this list, since it had a multitude of shrines and Divine Beasts instead of traditional dungeons.

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Twilight Princess’s Snowpeak Ruins

This dungeon could be a challenge on its own with just the ice-coated rooms and the multitude of puzzles, but they also added in a Yeti couple. Yeto and Yeta are the residents of the Snowpeak Ruins, and Link navigates through the manor for ingredients so Yeto can make a soup to help heal his sick wife Yeta. It’s adorable, really, even though Yeta turns into a terrifying monster after she gets possessed. But everything is okay in the end.

Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple

Returning Link to his childhood roots (pun not intended), the Forest Temple is a dungeon filled with strange rooms, puzzles, and plenty of enemies of the undead variety. The Poe Sisters are one of my favorite enemies to hunt down in the twisted, decrepit temple, and it introduces Phantom Ganon, who then goes on to make several appearances in later games in the franchise.

Skyward Sword’s Sandship

I found the Sandship to be a rather unique dungeon. Flipping between the past and the present with the help of the Timeshift stones, Link goes back and forth between a strong ship sailing on the waters and a rundown boat drowning in desert sands. I really enjoyed the battle with the mini boss Scervo, the robotic pirate captain, even if I wasn’t that great with the motion controls in the game.

What are some of your favorite dungeons in Legend of Zelda games?

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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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Flashback Friday: Dogz II

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

If there’s anything else I’m passionate about beside video games, it’s animals. One of my earliest video game memories involves a certain computer game about virtual dogs.

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Dogz II was one of the very few — if there were any others — game programs on the solitary computer in my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. When I wasn’t trying my hand at the SNES (or bothering my uncle to play said console), I was probably playing with the virtual dogs on the desktop.

Dogz II was one of the many installments of the Petz franchise developed and published by P.F. Magic back in the mid-nineties. Since then, sequels have been published, up until Dogz 5 and Catz 5. The games were virtual pets that you take care of from puppies and kittens to adults and, in the later installments of the series, you could breed and raise their offspring from newborns.

This particular installment was one of the simplest. You were able to adopt one of a handful of breeds, name them, and then care for them. Toys and food were available to let you interact with the pet, and your mouse icon turns into a hand to pet, snap to call over, and pick up your pet. Aside from the playpen mode, where your dogs are in the windowed mode of the game, you can also let them run around on your desktop.

Supposedly, you were supposed to let them loose on the desktop while you’re working, but I’d be hard-pressed to get any work done while watching my virtual dog chase my cursor, dig holes into my background, or carry around the icons. Of course, I’d never get mad at the dog — it was too cute!

Despite the Petz games being for Windows 95 or so, rather than Windows 7 or 10, I still have my CDs of Dogz II and Petz 5. For kicks, I tried to install Dogz II on my Windows 7 laptop, and guess what?

It works:

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Now I’m trying to decide if I want to dive down this rabbit hole and adopt a virtual pup or two to have running amok while I work…

Have you played any of the Petz games? What did you think of them?

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Friday Favorites: Autumn Levels

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Being the beginning of October and living in New England means that it’s around the time the tree leaves begin to change color. Red, orange, and yellow leaves make it so pretty outside… and video game graphics nowadays are almost just as good.

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Fall in Pokemon Black and White/Black 2 and White 2

I’ll admit, Unova is not a Pokemon generation that I have played through. Honestly, it’s probably my least favorite region in the core Pokemon games. However, I did like the season mechanic and I always thought that fall looked and sounded really nice in those games. That, and it was always fun to wander through the leaf piles!

Maple Treeway from Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart is a fantastic series, even if racing is not my usual genre of choice. Maple Treeway, where you race around through fall foliage and giant tree limbs, is one of my favorite tracks, both visually and as a challenge.

Akkala Region in Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever played. It’s very difficult to pinpoint my favorite area of the open world. However, the Akkala region does have some very autumn vibes. The trees have the red and orange colors and leaves decorate the ground, giving the area a striking look as you paraglide above it or ride through on your horse of choice.

What are your favorite autumn levels in 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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