Bananagrams [Game Review]

Bananagrams | Board Game | Gaming | Doublexjump.com

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When we went on vacation with the family at the end of July, we knew board games were going to be a way to bond and pass the time with everyone else. At one point during the week, one of our cousins bought Bananagrams, a fun little game that has no board. Instead, it’s a little banana-shaped pouch filled with letter tiles reminiscent of Scrabble.

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We used to have this game though I think we got rid of it when we went through all our old board games a long time ago. We were at the bookstore and, for some reason, Bananagrams was on a shelf. Our cousin grabbed it and it was the main game of the week. Our go-to games have always been Monopoly, Code Names, and Headbanz, but Bananagrams was the family favorite this year.

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If you haven’t played Bananagrams before, it’s a quick-thinking game where one needs to create words intertwined together like on a personal Scrabble board using all of their letter tiles. All of the letter tiles start face-down in a pile in the middle of all the players. Depending on the number of players, everyone would start off with 15 to 21 tiles, only flipping the tiles over to start creating words when the game begins when someone says, “Split!”

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If you can’t fit a letter into your board, you can exchange that one letter for three in the middle of the pile. If you manage to fit all the letters you can say, “peel” and everyone, including yourself, will have to take one letter from the pile. Once there aren’t enough letters left in the middle for everyone to “peel,” then you can say, “bananas” and claim your win.

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I don’t know why everything is banana-themed — who decided bananas were the best theme for this word game? — but it was still a great time all around. We managed to get everyone in the household playing a couple of games at least, and I cannot decide whether it was easier to create words by starting out with more letters or fewer.

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Bananas is a fun word to say and the pouch is easy enough. Not to mention there’s also a game called Apples to Apples, so they couldn’t do that. I would love to try to play the game with double the letters. I believe there is a deluxe version, if you will, that doubles the letters so you can play with more people and have longer games. There was, at one point, when we split all the letters up. There were four of us playing and we each got 36 letters with none left over and we played like that without swapping tiles out at all. Whoever used all their letters first, won. Which is another nice thing about the game is that it’s your personal board so if there’s a letter that you need to fit and can’t, you can rearrange the other words to make it fit.

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Having twice the letters would definitely be more interesting and chaotic. We were amazed at some of the words that the rest of our family came up with, too. Being the writers and bigger readers of the family, Rachel and I thought we would do pretty well conjuring up words, but some of the words that our cousins came up with — dandelion, homicide, bigger words than we usually came up with — were great to see.

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Oh, please. I played the game and instantly forgot words existed, tried to make up words, and forgot the concept of spelling. Most of my words – it, them, dog, happy – were short and sweet. I did come up with a couple of good words here and there, though every game was different. I’d love to play again and try to do themed words. Like words related to video games or something. That’d be difficult, but a lot of fun.

Have you ever played Bananagrams? Let us know about them in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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When to Play Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

We’ve done #GamingTogether for the past couple of months on our social media channels. Today’s question just reminded me of how my gaming habits have switched as I got older.

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Do you typically play games when you wake up or before you go to bed?

As a kid, before school, you would find me in the basement with Super Mario RPG on the SNES and my cereal and cocoa right next to me. I used to get up early enough to play a good chunk of whatever game I was into at the time before school. The anticipation of advancing in my game before heading off to school woke me up better than any alarm clock.

Nowadays, sleep is more important to me in the morning and sometimes it takes me a few minutes longer than it should to drag myself out of bed and into the shower. If I get a chance to play video games, it’s usually in the afternoon after my day job and any other work I need to get done. Video games are a reward and a chance to relax (aside from the ones I can get away with calling “work” for this blog) sometime after dinner if my mind isn’t too tired after the day job.

Thinking on it, if I could, I would totally play video games in the morning. Waking up to explore a new world, fight some bad guys, or solve some puzzles would be fantastic in jogging my brain to get ready for the rest of the day. While playing games before bed is relaxing, I have found it a little difficult to turn my mind off when bedtime inevitably rolls around and I need to shut down the console for the night.

Granted, I’m not that picky about when I can reach for my video games. What I can’t stand is only being able to play my games for brief periods of time. I need the time to actually immerse myself in my game.

When do you prefer to play games? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Future of Content Creators

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

This post is a little jumpy with me trying to articulate my thoughts regarding the main topic. I certainly hope you share your thoughts on this as well, as I’m curious as to what other people think.

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I need a Grandma Rocking Chair so I can use it whenever I start writing a post that begins with, “Back in my day…”

So, back in my day, video games weren’t as social as they are now. If you got stuck on a part in the game, hopefully you either knew someone else who could help you or you could buy a strategy guide. Like, a physical book. (R.I.P. Prima Games.) Once the Internet was a little bigger, you could search for online guides as well. Then YouTube appeared and now there’s a good chance you can search for a video for the spot where you’re stuck and figure out how to get yourself out of it.

I remember about five or so years ago when Rachel and I really started watching YouTube. I was amazed that people were able to make a living off of creating videos for the website, mostly videos based on their love of video games. I grew up with the mentality that video games were a nice hobby, but playing them wasn’t going to help in “the real world,” then people started doing Let’s Plays on YouTube.

Fast forward to now, and people are putting “Live Streamer” on their resumes and folks like Ninja are being paid $1 million dollars to stream certain games. I was a little baffled at seeing EA pay Ninja (and other streamers) so much to stream Apex Legends for a day, but thinking further on it, it’s a typical marketing move. Instead of saturating television channels with commercials on the game, EA spends the money to let streamers advertise for them. Considering how much traffic Twitch gets in a single day, seeing a load of top streamers spending their time playing just one game was bound to help EA’s sales.

Streaming is something else that Rachel and I are balancing with this blog. To us, our Twitch channel is another way to reach out and connect with fellow gamers, to have real-time conversations. We’re lucky in that we were able to reach affiliate status with the channel and, admittedly, we’ve wondered what would happen if we somehow were able to make a living through streaming.

With how quickly technology and consumer want grows and changes, will streaming continue to grow or will it fall to wayside in favor of the next technological shift? Will streaming still be a feasible way to advertise or make a living ten or twenty years from now? People went from reading the evening newspapers to having all the news at their fingertips with the help of phones that rarely use their original intended purpose. I’m curious as to how content creators will be affected in the future.

What kind of creator are you? How do you believe the future and technology will affect the way you create your content? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Save the date! We’re doing a special Twitch Stream to celebrate the Nintendo Switch! You can learn more about it here.

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Words with Friends [Board Game Review]

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Words with Friends is actually the board game version of one of the many games that was on Facebook. I assume the game still exists on Facebook, but I honestly haven’t logged on in ages. Words with Friends is based off of Scrabble and was an interesting game to go back to for us.

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Words With Friends is a popular mobile game, one that I used to play endlessly with friends and strangers. I love Scrabble though never played it much because I was never any good at it. We’re playing the Words with Friends version because our Scrabble is the original edition and the game is totally falling apart.

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The game is fairly simple. Using the random tiles you pull from the bag — starting with seven — you create words on the board. Your word must branch off of the tiles of existing words already on the board, and you tally up the points of your word using the numerical value on each of the tiles. The more common a letter — such as A or S — the less points it is. Letters such as J or Q are worth more.

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There are a certain amount of each letter in the game as well. For example, there are 12 E tiles but there’s only one Z tile. This is depending on how often a letter is used in words. We played two games – one we totally fudged and changed the rules halfway through. Admittedly, we’re rusty on the actual rules and ended up making rules up as we went along because… why not?

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The important thing is we had fun! Seriously, we were trying to determine how to add up the score of the words, be they acronyms, additional words that were made with whatever word we were adding to the board, math in general… It was a bit of a mess. Our second game was, admittedly, more fun since we decided to have the words be game-centric.

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Apparently, you’re not supposed to have acronyms but we did it anyway because they were in the dictionary. So… right or wrong, we played it our way. The second game was more intense. We wanted gaming terms and it was definitely hard to get started. Once we did though, the game sort of breezed through and, if I do say so myself, we did a pretty good job.

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I think we did a good job as well. At the very least, we were more creative with our words, even if we did get a little silly at the end of the game. In the beginning, I was so close to having the word “Nintendo,” but I was missing a couple of tiles and there wasn’t a spot on the board for it, so I had to abandon the idea. Rachel, on the other hand, was able to use all of her tiles for the word “unlocked,” which was great!

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Kris was kind enough to let me put down “unlocked.” There was one spot on the board I was able to use it on so I could use the letter “D,” which was already on the board. She was able to take the spot, but I went into the fetal position and she gave it to me. Thus, the rest of the game was filled with cheating because whenever she needed a certain letter, I just found it in a bag and handed it to her. Still, it was a lot of fun and we definitely need to play Scrabble more often.

Words with Friends gets a rating of…
Skip It | Try It | Buy It

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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D&D Adventures 1: Intro

D&D Adventures 1: Intro | Dungeons & Dragons | RPG | Tabletop Games | Tabletop Role-Playing | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

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Way back last April, I did a quick post on how Rachel and I were starting to get a little more interested in giving Dungeon and Dragons a try. While we both are avid writers and have done some role-playing on forums in the past years, we’ve never actually played one of the most popular tabletop RPGs. Recently, however, we discovered that a couple of friends from our writers’ group were dabbling in D&D as well and, long story short, we were able to get together with them for an actual D&D session last night. We had a blast!

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Our original plan was to create our own characters, but time got away from us. Our DM was our DM because she does it for the kids at the library where she works. One friend has some experience playing in another group so she had her own character while Kris, myself, and our third friend had pre-made characters. The one-shot was pretty laid back because we made all our characters ridiculous and most of us didn’t know what we were doing. The ones who do have little knowledge. So it was a learning experience for all of us.

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The pre-made characters were from the D&D Starter Set, so our friend was the Human Fighter, Rachel was the Dwarf Cleric, and I was the Halfling Rogue. The friend who had her own character was a Half-Elf Bard, so we were a well rounded group. Our one-shot campaign, as unorthodox as it was with our shenanigans, was a success. One of my favorite parts of the campaign was when three out of four of our characters intimidated some enemies — the fourth of our characters had tripped and faceplanted on the ground — into trying to give us information. Unfortunately, the enemies couldn’t understand the languages our characters could speak, so I used my character’s high performance skill to mime the questions we wanted answered. And our DM actually had me mime and gesture out the questions!

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We got ourselves out of lot of jams “cleverly.” And what I mean by us being clever is that we thought out of the box in ridiculous ways. For example, my character, Vistra, knew the spell light which could turn an object basically into a glowstick for an hour. One of the lizard enemies, instead of fighting them, I made one glowing making it dazed and confused. But we were able to see around us in the cave we were in!

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Considering our attack rolls were atrocious, we had no choice but to be clever. Actually, I believe Rachel’s character landed the most hits against the enemies. I was fairly half and half when it came to actually being able to hit the enemies, but we were all awful when it came to attacking the boss. One of our friends couldn’t hit with her weapons, so she used a shovel from her inventory system. At one point, I threw an oil flask from my inventory and drenched the boss, and another friend and I used our shortbows to shoot cigars that we had found in the dungeon to set the boss on fire.

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Yeah… I’d like to see Hollywood make a movie out of that adventure… that was crazy, but it was a full night of lots of laughs. We’re hoping to make this a monthly thing. We’re going to create our own characters and next month do another one-shot with those characters for some more practice before attempting to do a longer adventure.

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Now that we understand a bit more about the skills and stats, I’m excited to work on my own character. I’m thinking of making a Ranger, although I did get pretty attached to my Rogue, even if everything about her was pre-made. I may keep the basics of the character and rework her for my own. What about you, Rachel?

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I’ll most likely make some sort of wizard or something. Though I didn’t mind being a cleric, that was pretty good. I just definitely want something that can do magic spells. I’m looking forward to giving this a try!

Have you ever played Dungeons and Dragons? Let us know in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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R.I.P. Wii Shop Channel

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

Honestly, there are probably a couple of blog posts out on the Internet with this title with the news that had surfaced last week. It definitely seems appropriate.

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Last week, it was announced that the Wii Shop Channel was taken offline, and I was oddly sad about it. Granted, we haven’t turned on our Wii in quite some time — pretty sure the last time we actually played a game on it was Mario Party 2 a few years ago with some old friends — but it was the earliest version of the Virtual Console. The games we found on there were tons of fun, ones that made us feel nostalgic and ones that were brand new to us.

Aside from Mario Party 2, Rachel and I downloaded our favorites from previous consoles immediately, Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG respectively. It was great to return to those games, as well as Ocarina of Time from the Legend of Zelda series. Majora’s Mask was also a title we downloaded with the idea that I would officially give it a try… I did, getting as far as the second dungeon, but ultimately not being interested enough in it for the long run.

Pokemon Puzzle League and Donkey Kong Country were also two great older games that we added on there, enjoying playing them again considering our Nintendo 64 and SNES weren’t in the best shape just from being loved too much as we were growing up.

From the Wii Shop Channel, we also discovered the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney original trilogy, cementing us as lifelong fans of the series. Not only did the Wii Shop Channel introduce us to such a fantastic series, we also used to play them with our older sister. Considering the last time she had played video games with us like that was way back with the original Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong games, it was fantastic to spend more time with her trying to figure out how to piece together evidence to prove who killed whom in Ace Attorney.

It was definitely a shame to hear that the Wii Shop Channel was closed, especially since it doesn’t sound like we’ll be getting a replacement Virtual Console — aside from the Wii U’s at the moment — any time soon.

Did you download much from the Wii Shop Channel? Do you think you’ll miss it? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Yours, Mine, & Ours

Yours, Mine, & Ours | Borrowing Games | Gaming | Video Games | DoublexJump.com

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One of our #GamingTogether questions on our Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr this week was, “Do you let friends borrow your games?” Kris and I went through all the games we own fairly recently and realized that some of them were not originally ours. We had borrowed them from a friend or our uncle and never returned them. Which made us wonder if we’ve ever let our friends borrow games.

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While I don’t recall ever letting a friend borrow a game, I do remember giving one of our younger cousins a Pokemon game. I believe it was Pearl, so she could try her hand at Pokemon with Rachel and me one year while we were all on vacation. I did buy myself another copy of Pearl so I wouldn’t miss it, but I was probably stingy when it came to letting someone else borrow a game.

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I’ve never liked anyone borrowing anything from me – especially games. I’m a stickler when it comes to that kind of stuff. Even letting our cousins or anyone close to me borrow things now, I always give it to them with some kind of warning or deadline of when I want it back. With that said, I don’t recall ever letting anyone ever borrow a game from me. I gave a game away once, but that was a gift, so I guess it doesn’t count.

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It probably helps that most of our friends growing up weren’t gamers like we were. My high school friend group only had one or two people besides me who actually owned consoles. Us, on the other hand… I’m certain the three Final Fantasy games that we have for our old, original Playstation used to be our uncle’s. Think we have a copy of Donkey Kong 64 that was probably swiped from his old collection as well.

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It’s funny too, because those older games I always thought we owned. There are a lot of games I remember playing, but we always played them at a friend’s house and never owned the. Here’s a question – do we have any games from Blockbuster that were never returned?

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Oh, Blockbuster, how I miss thee… Not that I know of, actually. Pretty sure we’ve returned all our Blockbuster games. That would have been a good idea, though. Not that I condone stealing but, honestly, I wonder what they did with all those games and movies after they closed.

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I know I’ve seen people with the Blockbuster sticker on some of their games. I think the store was closing so they just never bothered to return them. What was the store going to do? Either way, I don’t think I would ever let people borrow any of my games – especially if I wasn’t sure when I’d see them again. I don’t mind borrowing from others though… On the other hand, most games are digital now anyway so you can’t really pass them around.

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I think I’d be paranoid about friends accidentally overriding my save files or such if I let them borrow games. Then memory cards became a thing, then games were saved right onto the consoles or on accounts that were on said consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch. You’re right about everything being digital nowadays… borrowing a game now would be like borrowing someone’s account, which I doubt anyone would want to do.

Do you usually let friends borrow your games? Let us know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Friday Favorites: 2018 Games to Finish

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Did everyone have a good new year’s? It’s hard to believe that we’re in 2019 now! This is a time that most people try to finish up tasks that they’ve accidentally left behind so they can start the new year with a clean slate. Going through our 2018 Game Reviews page, I’ve realized that there are a few games that I started last year that I would love to finish up.

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Undertale

I know the story of Undertale, I know the gameplay and probably many of its secrets. I’ve watched quite a few playthroughs of the game through YouTube and Twitch, after all, playthroughs that prompted me to try it myself. Yet, while I’ve played and completed Deltarune, the “sequel” of Undertale, I haven’t finished a playthrough of Undertale just yet.

Batman: The Telltale Series

I’ve finished the first two episodes, I believe, of this game, and it definitely held my interest to want to play the rest. Considering the game has a sequel, I would love to finish the next couple of episodes before exploring the next one.

Octopath Traveler

This is a major game that I want to finish. Honestly, with the other newer Switch games out, I cannot remember where we’re at in this game. From what we’ve played, it’s one of my favorite games from 2018, with its gorgeous graphics, music, and battle system, but we’ve yet to finish it.

Stardew Valley

Although this isn’t a game to actually “finish” considering how open-ended it is, I definitely would like to return to the world of Stardew Valley. I’ve accidentally abandoned my farm on our Steam account, but I’m also hoping to rope Rachel into doing a co-op farm with me at some point in the future.

What are some 2018 games that you’re looking to finish?

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Codenames [Board Game Review]

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krismii
Codenames is a team-based word association game for two or more players wherein the teams must work together to beat the other team. You have at least one person as the spymaster and the others as the field operatives. Each round is set up with word cards and the spymasters must use the key to give their field operatives clues to guess only the words on their side.

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The spymaster is only allowed to give one-word clues plus a number to let their teammate know how many words there are that go along with that clue. For example, if the words are “crown, queen, and castle,” you can give the clue, “royal, 3.” The clue word can not be any of the words that are on the board.

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If the field operatives guess a word successfully, the word gets covered with your team’s respective color cards. If the field operatives guess a neutral word — one that isn’t for either team — the word is covered with a civilian card. There’s also a black X spot on the key, which is the assassin space. If a field operative guesses the assassin word, the team automatically loses.

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There are a ton of cards and blue and red squares that can be used to play a million different games. No two games are ever alike – even if you use the same words. Also, mixing and matching teams is an option as well. There is also a double agent card – one side if red and the other side is blue – because the squares are uneven. Sometimes there are eight words for one team to guess and nine words for the other team to guess. We always let the team with the extra word go first, though I don’t know if that’s the actual rule for the turn order.

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I actually think it is an actual rule. There’s also a timer that comes with the game but we honestly have never used it. There’s also different variations of Codenames, such as Disney, Marvel, Harry Potter, and even a version that’s not completely safe for the kids. We’ve always had a great time playing Codenames with our friends and family, finding it amusing how well we know (or don’t know) how each other thinks.

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Codenames is one of our go-to games when we go away for summer vacation with the rest of the family. We mix and match teams but, honestly, there are certain teams we tend to stick with because we work so well together. It’s a great family game and fun for all.

Codenames gets a rating of…
Skip It | Try It | Buy It

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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Thank You!

Thank You | Thanksgiving | Video games | gaming | blogging | community | gaming community | blogging community | DoublexJump.com

It’s around Thanksgiving time here in the United States, and we thought it a perfect time to give our own round of thanks.

Thank you to the gaming community we’ve encountered. We’ve been playing video games since we could hold controllers and, while we’ve been lucky to have each other as a gaming buddy, it’s been great finding amazing fellow gamers that we can beat play with thanks to the wonderful thing that is online play. It’s been tons of fun and we’re looking forward to more games with you!

Thank you to those we’ve met through Twitch. We’re still getting used to streaming, although we’d like to think we have most of the bugs worked out. We’ve met some fantastic people through the chats while we sit there like dorks and play some games, and we’ve always had great conversations.

Thank you to the blogging and writing community. We communicate with so many of you through your wonderful comments on our posts, your thought-provoking posts on your own blogs, and our Twitter conversations, no matter how silly they may seem. We write to communicate with others and this brilliant platform has helped us connect with so many people.

We hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! Thank you all for your support!

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