Friday Favorites: Best Pokeballs

Double Jump Kris MiiI can’t believe it’s already December… Everyone else ready for the holidays?

Rachel and I are still exploring Alola in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, with Rachel being a little farther than me. While we’re both a bit more interested in the story and seeing where it goes, we do our best to try to catch any wild Pokemon we don’t have in our Pokedexes. Today is all about the best pokeballs, in my opinion, for the job!

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Dusk Ball

For the Alola generation of Pokemon games, I started off with Moon versions of the pairs. In Moon and Ultra Moon, the game is 12-hours ahead of the Sun versions (and the 3DS clock), making it nighttime when you play the game during the day. Dusk balls make it easier to catch Pokemon at night, or in dark places like caves, making them incredibly useful for me, especially this time around. Even when they were introduced in Generation IV, I used them often enough since I generally played the games later in the evenings after work.

Nest Ball

As someone who goes tends to go through the story parts of the game first then backtracks through routes to catch any wild Pokemon that may have been missed, I’m finding myself using Nest balls more often. With how quickly our parties of Pokemon grow with Exp. Share and plenty of battles, it’s easy for my Pokemon party to be too overpowered to merely weaken the wild Pokemon. Nest balls help when it comes to catching the lower-leveled Pokemon.

Friend Ball

Back in Generation II, when Happiness was first introduced, I loved being able to get Friend Balls from Kurt in Azalea Town. Even just the thought of a Pokemon being more friendly towards me when I first caught them was enough motivation for my younger self to use these pokeballs — I wanted my team to like me! They were always fantastic in helping to give Happiness a boost to the caught Pokemon.

Quick Balls

Whoever thought up of these pokeballs was a genius. Rachel and I tend to stock up on Quick Balls whenever we pass by a shop that sells them. Considering they work best when thrown at the beginning of a battle, it’s usually simple to just catch the wild Pokemon and move on, no weakening required. It’s not foolproof, no, but they work well for the most part.

What are your favorite pokeballs to catch Pokemon with? Any certain types of Pokemon that you love adding to your Pokedex?

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Flashback Friday – Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean

Double Jump Kris MiiI hope everyone who celebrates it had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And if you don’t celebrate it… Well, I hope you had a fantastic meal and good times with family nonetheless! Today’s Flashback Friday is for a GameCube game that I really don’t hear many people talk about, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean.

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Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean was released in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube, and is a role-playing puzzle game. It starred a world made up of islands in the sky thanks to an evil, malicious god sucking the oceans dry before he was sealed away. In time, the people of the world grew wings, and it is a one-winged, cranky young man named Kalas that becomes the protagonist of the story. The game also features a Guardian Spirit character who is, essentially, the player — there are times when Kalas speaks to the Guardian Spirit to make decisions and, if the Spirit has a good relationship with Kalas, the Spirit can help strengthen Kalas’s attacks. The game itself received mostly positive reviews, and had a bit of a cult following when it first came out.

The battle system consists of using cards called magnus. The cards house a variety of attacks catered to the characters, as well as having uses outside of battle to heal the party or interact with NPCs to complete quests. The deck of cards in battle is shuffled, creating random hands that the player must use for each character in order to win the fights. It was quite the challenge to create a strategy with a random set of cards!

The story itself is a giant adventure. Kalas has one natural wing and one mechanical wing, making him a rather selfish protagonist who feels sorry for himself. With a couple of companions, he accidentally releases one of the End Magnus, the set of special cards that had sealed away the evil god. The End Magnus is stolen by a hostile kingdom that wishes to use the god’s power as their own, and Kalas and company are thrown into a journey to save the world.

We bought this game purely for the aesthetics. While we never completed the game’s story, it was always one that I enjoyed because of the gorgeous graphics. The battle system was a little odd to get used to, but the music and imagery kept me enraptured while I played. In 2006, a prequel simply titled Baten Kaitos Origins was released, and I believe we made even less progress in that game. Perhaps its time to dust off the old GameCube and give these games another whirl…

Have you ever played Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean?

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Friday Favorites: Pokemon Movies

Double Jump Kris MiiPokemon: I Choose You is a movie special that came out in for limited theater times in the US to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Pokemon anime. It’s a loose retelling of the Kanto saga with plenty of references to the newest generation of Pokemon from the Alola region.

While we have not gotten a chance to see it, it is amazing to think that I Choose You is the twentieth Pokemon movie! We’ve always had fun watching the Pokemon films, even they do tend to make us cry by the end of them, haha!

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Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea

Elements from the Pokemon Ranger games were shown on the big screen in this movie, something that I always found interesting. Aside from that, this movie had plenty of adventure and suspense (even though we all knew everything would turn out okay in the end because it’s Pokemon). I enjoyed the setting and scenery, with the main setting of the movie just reminded me of The Water Temple from the Legend of Zelda series, and it was the last Pokemon movie to use traditional cel animation for the animate the movie. It helped that the legendary Pokemon that starred in this movie was the adorable Manaphy!

Pokemon 4Ever

My favorite aspect of the Pokemon 4Ever movie is that it has some really fun time-travel elements to it! I always found the plot to be interesting, especially with the fun little twist at the end, and the animation was well done. The Lake of Life and the forest scenery were really beautiful. Celebi and Suicune were always a couple of my favorite legendary Pokemon as well.

Pokemon 3: The Movie

My fondest memory of this movie is the theme song, in all honesty. The Johto region’s theme music was always one of my favorites! This movie had a bit of a creepy side to it, with the Unown dimension and little Molly’s wishes for her family to return. This movie had some pretty epic battles to it as well, which is what the series is known for.

What are your favorite Pokemon movies? Have you seen Pokemon: I Choose You?

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Flashback Friday: Five Nights at Freddy’s

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy almost Halloween! My favorite aspect of this holiday is the chocolate. I wouldn’t mind dressing up either, but store-bought costumes are too much money (and usually for not enough fabric for my demographic) nowadays. I’d much rather spend my cash on video games!

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Although not as old as most of my Flashback Fridays, I figured this was a good time as any to showcase the indie game Five Night at Freddy’s, created by Scott Cawthon.

This game first came out merely three years ago via Steam in August 2014. The series is in the Guinness Book of Records: Gamer’s Edition for having the most sequels released in a year, with games following the original title in November 2014, March 2015, July 2015, and October 2016. It has gained a large fan base since it was released, with its popularity rising due to frequently viewed Let’s Play videos of the game on YouTube. Cawthon also has a multi-book deal with Scholastic based on his games, with novels set to be published this year and next.

The original game involves the night guardsman of the fictional Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza doing his best to get through his shift from midnight to 6 am without being killed by the animatronics. Seriously. The animatronics are “free-roaming” at night to prevent the springs and gears from locking up, yet there is the rumor that they are possessed by the spirits of children that had been murdered on the restaurant’s site. If they catch the guardsman, they stuff him in a spare animatronic costume. The game consists of surviving in your office while keeping an eye on the animatronics, with a few tools and doors to aid you. You have a limited power supply and, if you deplete it, the automated doors cannot close, allowing the animatronics to capture you.

I have never played these games, nor am I inclined to, haha! Horror and suspense games were never my forte, and getting jump-scared by creepy animatronics is not my idea of fun. However, the few Let’s Play videos I’ve seen have been hilarious with the players’ reactions!

Have you ever played Five Nights at Freddy’s?

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Friday Favorites: Sonic the Hedgehog Games

Double Jump Kris MiiSonic the Hedgehog games have had a history of being either really good or really bad. Rather, the earlier games were fantastic, then they fell into a slump with mediocre games. They seem to be trying to climb out of that hole, for Sonic Mania hasn’t done too badly. We shall see how Sonic Forces lives up to the hype when it comes out next month!

Personally, I didn’t really start playing the Sonic the Hedgehog games until the 3D era. With that said, here’s a list of some of the Sonic games that I find to be guilty pleasures of mine.

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Sonic Adventure: DX

Sonic Adventure: DX was released on the GameCube in 1998. Aside from a few forays into the 2D-platform games, Sonic Adventure: DX was one of my first Sonic the Hedgehog games. I was a Sonic fan due to the comics and some of the early cartoons, and I had fun playing as most of the different characters in this game. I remember that the graphics and controls were a little odd at times, but I got through it. It helped that I absolutely fell in love with the music!

Sonic Battle

Sonic Battle was always one of my favorite go-to Advance games. Being able to customize your robot fighter and just spend the story going into battles with various characters made it easy to pick up and play in spurts. That, and Emerl the robot was adorable and fun to play as!

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

The two opposing sides of this game actually makes the story a bit tedious, to be honest, with not a lot of variety between the Hero and the Dark sides of the game. However, the two-player mode and the Chao Gardens made up for it, in my opinion. Rachel and I always had a blast playing two-player mode, and we each have our little Chao Gardens saved on separate memory cards on the GameCube!

What are your favorite Sonic the Hedgehog video games? Have you played Sonic Mania? Are you looking forward to Sonic Forces?

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Friday Favorites: Games on Steam

Double Jump Kris MiiTGIF!

Steam is an awesome digital gaming platform, and Rachel and I have been trying to get more use out of it lately. We have a handful of games on the platform that we’re trying to give more love during our down times. Below are a few of the games that are on our “to-be played more” Steam list.

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Player Unknown Battlegrounds

I do not play shooter games. Like, at all. It just wasn’t a genre that I grew up with. Nintendo, with most of its kid- and family-friendly games, didn’t have too many games in that genre available as I started gaming. However, Rachel and I found out about Player Unknown Battlegrounds through a few of our favorite YouTubers, and the fast-paced, tense, kill-or-be-killed situation looks like so much fun!

Dream Daddy

Dream Daddy is a dating sim game that is unique in so many ways. We were a bit perplexed at first when we heard that the main premise is a single dad dating other single dads, but only because it’s not a typical dating sim scenario. Developed by Game Grumps, another YouTube channel that we occasionally watch, we are in love with the writing, the graphics, the music, and the characters themselves. It also just gives me warm and fuzzy feelings to see the inclusiveness and canon gay and transgender characters in the game — those representations are so important!

Sonic Mania

The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise is one that I’ve kind of fallen out of lately. However, with Sonic Mania, it seems to be reviving and I’m definitely interested in trying out the game. The trailers themselves seem so nostalgic for the old-school Sonic games that I’m eager to see what Sonic Mania will bring to the franchise.

Lumo

A game Rachel discovered fairly recently, Lumo is a puzzle, isometric adventure game. Featuring a little wizard-looking character, you make your way out of rooms full of puzzles. The music and graphics look utterly charming, and it seems casual enough to do a couple of rooms at a time.

What are your favorite games on Steam?

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Flashback Friday: Yoshi’s Story

Double Jump Kris MiiYoshi is one of the most adorable characters in the Super Mario franchise, and with good reason. Ever since Yoshi’s first appearance in Super Mario World in 1990, the character has appeared in nearly 60 games!

This month’s Flashback Friday post is dedicated to one of those games, Yoshi’s Story.

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Yoshi’s Story was released for the Nintendo 64 in December 1997 in Japan and March 1998 in North America. A side-scroller platform, the game was released on the Wii’s Virtual Console ten years later and the Wii U’s virtual console almost ten years after that. Yoshi’s Story is actually the last main platform game starring the titular character until Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii U in 2015.

While it’s considered almost a sequel to the SNES’s Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Yoshi’s Story is more puzzle-orientated with a cuter style in both graphics and music. It’s levels appear as a pop-up storybook, images resembling materials that one would use to make a scrapbook, such as fabric, cardboard, and paper.

The game had two modes, Story and Trial. Trial Mode enabled players to pick a course to go through as often as they wanted, but they were not unlocked until the player beat the course in Story Mode. Getting a high score was the main objective of each level, with the level ending when the Yoshi ate 30 pieces of fruit to complete the border around the screen. Considering the story of the game involved the Yoshis journeying across their island in search of Baby Bowser, who stole the Super Happy Tree. By eating the fruit, the Yoshis can stave off gloominess while trying to save their island.

Before each level loaded, a Lucky Fruit was chosen at random, which earns more points than any of the other fruit. Players could also get bonus points for eating the favorite fruit of whichever color Yoshi they happened to pick or for eating the same piece of fruit multiple times in a row. Players can go through each level as quickly as possible by eating every fruit they come across, but they can unlock secrets of the courses by biding their time and exploring every nook and cranny of the level.

Yoshi’s story got mixed to positive reviews, averaging only about 60% to 70% by most critics. It was, however, the second most downloaded title on the Wii U’s virtual console during the week of its release. With that said, the virtual console version received similar, if not worse, reviews than its Nintendo 64 counterpart.

I remember this game from ages ago. Rachel and I never owned it ourselves, but instead borrowed it from time to time from our aunt. We didn’t do too much in the Story Mode, being young enough to find it rather confusing, and amused ourselves with picking and choosing courses in the Trial Mode. We were always fans of Yoshi and had lots of fun with the game, its art style, and especially the music.

And, don’t lie, you all got the theme song stuck in your heads as much as we did:

Have you ever played Yoshi’s Story? What did you think of it?

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