Flashback Friday: Fire Emblem

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

These past few months have been spent trying to find comfort with some favorite games, both old and new alike. While I haven’t found Animal Crossing New Horizons to be too bad so far, I’m finding myself drawn right back to some old favorites.

Fire Emblem | Video Games | Gaming | Nintendo | Doublexjump.com

When Super Smash Bros. Melee first became a thing, there were a couple of Japanese-speaking characters that rose in popularity. Marth was a favorite fighter of mine and Roy was Rachel’s, with me favoring the speedier characters and Rachel enjoying the stronger attacks Roy had (and fire). Meeting these characters in Melee made me interested enough to find our more about the games they came from.

Fire Emblem was a series that used to be only available in Japan because of the difficulty level. Being a grid- and turn-based strategy game that pit two armies created with characters of various fantasy classes that included permanent death for fallen units, it wasn’t a series that I would have picked up myself had I not been intrigued by Marth and Roy. Sacred Stones was my first Fire Emblem game — I distinctly remember finding it amid Toys R’ Us’s much smaller video game section at the time — and it hooked me onto the series.

I was still interested in playing the installments that touched upon Roy’s and Marth’s history, but considering not many of the Fire Emblem games had been localized in the west, Sacred Stones was my best option at the time. The game simply titled Fire Emblem in North America existed, of course, but it was a difficult game to find.

Against all odds, my parents found a used copy of Fire Emblem but, unfortunately, the game’s internal battery was dead, not allowing me to save any of my progress. Years later, the game became available on the Wii U’s virtual console and I had restarted the game while waiting until Rachel and I could get a Nintendo Switch. It was great to go back to the game, but once we did get a Switch about a month later, I forgot about it.

My love affair with the Fire Emblem series has not waned, especially with me still putting hours into Three Houses. Considering how much I enjoy the series, I’ve realized that there are a couple of Fire Emblem games — aside from Three Houses — that I still need to finish. It may be time to turn my Wii U on again and finally finish Fire Emblem.

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Friday Favorites: Rune Factory 4 NPC Characters

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Rune Factory 4 Special Edition was released for the Nintendo Switch a couple of months ago. I have the game for the 3DS and I enjoyed it enough to justify buying it again for the Switch. It was great to re-meet some of the colorful characters in the game! This Friday Favorites is dedicated to my favorite NPCs in the game.

Video Games | Gaming | Friday | Rune Factory | Rune Factory 4 | Doublexjump.com

Illuminata

I adore Illuminata’s design! I want her hat. Aside from her design, she has a fun personality. Running the flower shop as her day job but being a detective at heart, her mind is always on the move. I always found it fun to run around with her trying to solve nonexistent cases, especially when she refers to your character as her “Watson.”

Bado

Bado amuses the hell out of me. The resident blacksmith, he looks like one of the strongest guys around, but he’s also one of the laziest. There is plenty of evidence that proves he would go out of his way to give anyone a hand that needs it, but it was always a bonus if he could make an easy paycheck.

Blossom

I always seem to have a soft spot for the older characters of games (like Evelyn in Stardew Valley and Wendy Oldbag in the Ace Attorney games). Blossom is no exception. The sweet old lady makes the town feel just a little more homey, and I enjoy her relationship with Doug, especially when she scolds him for his recklessness when she used to be just as reckless!

Volkanon

Butler characters are always cool. Alfred Pennyworth, anyway? Volkanon is an excellent butler, being an expert in all sorts of areas, while never being afraid to show a more tender side to those he cares about, complete with manly tears.

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Don’t Read the Comments

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

This post was actually an idea about a month or so ago. I figured that now is as good of a time as any to hit “publish” and share my thoughts on a piece of advice that is generally given to every content creator on the Internet.

Comments | Blog | Blog Post | Video Games | Books | Internet | Doublexjump.com

Published near the end of this past January, “Don’t Read the Comments” by Eric Smith is a story about navigating the harsh online world of harassment and doxxing while also showcasing how beautiful online friendships can be. It was a decent, cute story. There will be no spoilers here, and I hope there will be no spoilers in the comments.

As bloggers, comments are our main way of interacting with readers. However, don’t read the comments is a common piece of advice for those who put themselves out on the Internet, mainly while streaming or on YouTube. Let’s be real, everyone reads the comments. So why does that piece of advice — to ignore the comments, to be blissfully ignorant of them — stand out?

The advice at its simplest is to prevent your feelings from being hurt. Don’t engage with the trolls. They’re looking for a rise out of you. Just ignore them. They’ll get bored eventually.

Sounds a lot like the advice you give your kid on the playground when someone else’s spawn makes fun of your kid’s shirt, doesn’t it?

don't read the comments
There used to be a Twitter account dedicated to this.

Giving the human race the benefit of the doubt, the majority of people in the comments and reply sections are polite, courteous, perhaps interested in healthy debate, and it’s one of the best ways for people to communicate and reach out on the Internet. But then there are those trolls, people who argue for the sake of arguing and wish to use their words to hurt the author. Most of the time, it seems to “merely” be online. Yet, other times, it’s physical threats.

Gamergate, a movement that literally forced women gaming journalists and developers out of their homes due to rape and death threats. Bianca Devins’ murder just last year. Check out all the angry, anti-feminist tweets from boys complaining about women-driven movies like Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, and Birds of Prey. As a woman, this is what I mainly see, and I know that people who identify as anything other than female are not safe from disparaging comments either.

With all that said, it just highlights even more how thoughtful and kind comments can make a creator’s day. Mental health awareness is more prevalent than ever, and it is not a coincidence that this awareness has risen in accordance with how much of our lives is spent online. While negativity stays with us much longer than positive interactions, since our brains are wired to do so — it is one of the many reasons our brain alerts us to danger, to try to keep us out of harm’s way, but it can still suck — a positive comment or helpful critique allows us to retrain our brain to pump out endorphins.

So, since everyone reads the comments, try to be that person that is helpful to the creator. We’re all fighting our own battles.

Let me know what you think of this post in the comments below for irony’s sake! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Would You Rather: The Sims Edition

Would You Rather | The Sims | Gaming | Video Games | PC Games | Doublexjump.com

krismii
Considering our celebration of simulation games this month, we figured playing “Would You Rather” with an emphasis on the Sims franchise was appropriate. With everything you can do in the Sims games, there are plenty of ideas and what if scenarios for it. Starting off simple, Rachel, would you rather play the Sims by recreating yourself or creating brand new characters?

rachmii
I would rather create myself. I like to give myself the life I believe I deserve which is an insta-writer and I can be a hermit. Kris, would you rather play the 100 Baby Challenge or challenge yourself to create every kind of ghost in The Sims?

krismii
I would go with the 100 Baby Challenge. Unlike most Sim players, I don’t particularly relish in the idea of killing everyone off on purpose, haha! That does sound interesting, though, to be honest. Rachel, would you rather play the Sims 3 with all of the expansion packs or just the base game of the Sims 4?

rachmii
Um… I love the expansion packs, but there’s still a lot to do in The Sims within the base game. I think I would rather stick to The Sims 4 over The Sims 3. Similarly, would you rather only play The Sims 2 for the rest of your life or The Sims 4?

krismii
That’s actually a tough one. I enjoy the more controlled aspects of the Sims 2, but the Sims 4 definitely has more options when it comes to your sims. I think I would choose the Sims 4 as well, with its additional mechanics. Would you rather always have to find a creative way to kill your sims as soon as they become elders or would you rather be forced to finish playing only as them until they die naturally?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’d rather play with my elderly sims until they die from old age… or they accidentally electrocute themselves. I’d rather squeeze as much gameplay from each of my sims as possible. Finally, if you were to get sucked in a Sims game would you rather be aware of it and be controlled by the player – whoever that may be – or would you rather be unaware that you’re living as a sim being able to make some of your own decisions but still being controlled by someone else for the most part?

krismii
Oh, God, that sounds like some sort of horror movie. I would probably rather be unaware and blissfully believe that I’m in control of my own life. It sounds rather much like today’s world, anyway, with my job and such, haha!

What are your answers? Do you have any other questions for us? Let us know about them in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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To Be In Control

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

I apologize for no solo posts last week. This whole virus nonsense has been throwing many people — myself included — for a loop, particularly where my day job is concerned. Diving into video games has been my go-to coping method.

Video Games | Simulation | Gaming | Control | Escapism | Doublexjump.com

When Rachel and I decided to do a themed month of posts for March, the simulation genre was picked because it is genuinely one of our favorite genres of games, especially since we started Double Jump. Considering what state the world is in right now, it seems particularly fitting.

One of the reasons that people enjoy simulation games is the fact that you are in control. In the Sims, you micromanage everything about the little avatars’ existences, from who they fall in love with to when they’re allowed to use the restroom. Business simulation games — Game Dev Tycoon or Rollercoaster Tycoon, for example — allows you to create the business that you want. Sure, you may have to bow a bit to the customers, but once you gain enough money from your venture, you’re pretty immune to criticism.

Capitalism at its finest.

We see evidence of this need to be in control happening all around us right now because of a super virus that is sweeping across the globe. Store shelves that used to hold toilet paper are bare because people are panic-buying up the supplies and, honestly, it baffled me as to why toilet paper of all things was being snatched up. I’m starting to understand that, perhaps, it’s not because it’s toilet paper — it’s because this panic-buying gives people some semblance of control. Attempting to be prepared for a month’s isolation, or longer, is the only way that some people can feel like they’re in control of something, that they’re able to beat back this virus.

Escapism is also a reason as to why people play video games, particularly simulation games. I have poured more hours these past couple of weeks into Stardew Valley than I ever have since first getting the game. With the coronovirus in the air, daily life has been odd. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what’s going on. Let me dive into a world that does not have super viruses and where I’m able to control the environment around me.

Last week (which is really weird to say, because while this virus has been a thing for the past couple of months, it has only hit my city and state within the past couple of weeks), my day job has had little containers of hand sanitizer on the counter for both ourselves and our customers, particularly since we handle cash on a daily basis. There have been too many people asking where we found the hand sanitizer because, “it’s like liquid gold!” and we’ve been fortunate that people take it to heart when I tell them that, “You can’t steal it, you need to share.”

Because, like buying 96 rolls of toilet paper and the entire meat section in the local supermarket, this is something that we can control. Help each other out. Share resources. Check in on your neighbors. Be conscious of both social distancing and if there is anything you can do to help and share compassion.

The world may be going to Hell in a hand-basket but we’re all here together on this ride. Let’s try to remember that.

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D&D Adventures: The End of Our First Campaign

D&D | Dungeons and Dragons | Campaign | Role play | roleplaying | tabletop rpg | rpg | doublexjump.com

krismii
Considering the holidays in December, we picked our campaign back up in January. Our January session of our campaign had us leaving Cragmaw Castle. We did not explore the whole castle since we, you know, somehow found what we needed within our last session quick enough. Since we didn’t fully explore the place, our DM threw a couple of random encounters at us to help us get some more experience points. We diplomatically avoided a fight with a few hobgoblins and wolves, haha, but we had to fight an ogre so we could level up. From there, we gathered up a few supplies and made our way to the next — and potentially last — leg of our journey to Wave Echo Cave.

rachmii
Wave Echo Cave was certainly an interesting place. My character isn’t particularly brave and the one time she decided to “take one for the team,” she ended up poisoned. Our group ended up in a mushroom room. Like idiots, instead of turning around, we tried to figure out how to go through the room. Eventually, I had Sapphire attempt to jump on top of a large mushroom so she’d be out of the way of the poisonous smog. Of course, I didn’t roll well and… she got poisoned.

krismii
It was a bit of a mess, that room. Our cleric ran through after Sapphire, helping her through the room while managing to avoid being poisoned himself. My ranger was able to just leap majestically across with her high dexterity roll, and our dragonborn rogue rolled high enough (and was tall enough) to avoid the poisonous fumes while carrying our two wolves through the room. I believe our bard managed to avoid getting poisoned as well. After that interesting room, we continued to traverse through the cave and eventually went through a tunnel to stumble down a ravine.

rachmii
Sapphire was the only one who got poisoned… then we went onto the boss fight for the session where Sapphire got poisoned again. The boss was a spider guy with spider minions – totally gross. While Sapphire kept getting poisoned, she was the only one who didn’t get caught up in the spiders’ webs.

krismii
For being probably one of our smallest party members, Sapphire was a beast when it came to avoiding the spider webs that the Dark Elf’s spider minions kept throwing at us. That boss fight was ridiculous, with half of us being stuck to the floor and the wolves just going around trying to help get rid of the webbing. We spent the fight trying to rescue Nundro, the brother of our original dwarf contract, and when we beat the rest of the bad guys, he attacked us. We figured he was possessed and left the session with him tied up, planning on exploring the rest of the cave while trying to figure out how to get him in his right mind again.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Except when we went back to the campaign at our following session, we explored the cave a bit, fought some owlbears, and then found a dwarf… who happened to be Nundro. Apparently, we had rescued a doppelganger instead of Nundro. But it all worked out because we threatened the doppelganger to leave and got the real Nundro to safety.

krismii
The conversation between our party members and the doppelganger was ridiculous. It started off with our bard — who apparently had been suspicious of this creature since we met it disguised as a drow at the previous ravine — intimidating the doppelganger enough to try to get some more information regarding an alchemist that we were trying to find. Said alchemist apparently didn’t exist, which we realized later thanks to our cleric’s patron god, but it didn’t stop our questions to the doppelganger going from, “Who are you working for?” to things like, “Where did you come from? Would your parents approve of this lifestyle?”

Rachel Mii Double Jump
After a weird conversation, we let the doppelganger go. Hopefully, he won’t cause anymore trouble. We made our way back to town and received our share of the dwarf mines for saving everyone. Then the campaign ended on a somewhat cliffhanger since the starter campaign mentions an alchemist who runs away and is never seen again. But hey, we got our money. So our crew was happy. Thus, ends a year-long campaign. On to the next one!

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Friday Favorites: Harvest Moon Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

The Harvest Moon series — rather, Story of Seasons as it’s called now — was probably my first dip into the simulation video game genre. While I’ve definitely turned my attention more towards Stardew Valley than this series, plenty of Harvest Moon games still hold a special place in my heart.

Harvest Moon | Video Games | Gaming | Simulation Games | Farming | Doublexjump.com

Animal Parade

I honestly haven’t played this game too much, as I prefer my Harvest Moon games on a handheld rather than a bigger console, but I did enjoy what I did play of it. The style of the game is cute and the cast of characters were great. My favorite part of this game? Your marriage and children actually have a bit of substance. Your spouse can help out on the farm or with other chores, and the children actually grow and have some personality.

Island of Happiness/Sunshine Islands

While technically two games, I feel like Sunshine Islands was developed to right all the issues that Island of Happiness had. These games have my favorite cast of characters, and Island of Happiness would have been on this list alone had its controls not been the horrendous touch-screen things. Sunshine Islands wasn’t too bad either, but the plot of raising all the islands was a bit annoying.

Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning

This installment in the series deserves a place on this list due to how much time I sunk into it. It was addicting trying to revive the whole town while also being given free reign as to how the town was designed. Being able to move buildings wherever you want, both for the town and the farm, was a great mechanic. This game also had a good online mode as well — it was simple and enabled players to help each other with quality animal products and gifts.

Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town

While Friends of Mineral Town was my first foray into the Harvest Moon series, I enjoyed the female version of the game. This game was just fun in its simplistic way. The only goal was to create a thriving farm and, if you wished, to make friends with the rest of the townsfolk. It was the perfect, no-stress, chill game.

What are your favorite Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Monday Memories: Game Start

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Welcome to the first Monday of 2020! I’m being a little nostalgic today, mostly due to the new year and the fact that my birthday is coming up. I started thinking about where my love of gaming all began.

Games | Video Games | Nintendo | Game Start | Gamer | Doublexjump.com

I’m going to be 30 years old this year, at the end of the month, actually. I’ve literally grown up with the internet and video games before me, and I was thinking about when it all started. While I never thought I would outgrow video games, I never expected them to take as much of a priority in my life as they do now.

I’m certain no one in my family thought that, least of all my uncle that mainly introduced me to gaming. Poor Uncle Ricky enjoyed his video games, mostly around the SNES and Nintendo 64 era, and he was probably amused when I used to watch him play games like Super Mario RPG and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He probably regretted introducing me to gaming when I used to bother him to play, particularly when I would “accidentally” wake him up during his napping for his third-shift at his current job.

(Eight-year-old me thought I was being clever, sneaking up to his room to see if he was awake, but making just enough noise so he’d stir.)

I did learn patience, of course, tending to wait until he was actually awake to play until his job and schedule changed. He wasn’t at my grandparents’ house during the usual hours I was there as often and, like most young men, he had a social life. My mother says I was a bit put off when he started getting serious with my now-aunt. Suddenly there was someone else vying for his attention and supposedly I wasn’t thrilled.

I never hated my aunt, obviously, but my older sister didn’t play many games and Rachel wasn’t old enough to have a steady grip on the controllers just yet.

It was around that time, though, that my uncle gave me the Super Mario RPG game, encouraging me to give it a try on my own. There were parts of the game that I was always nervous to try, restarting the game over every time I reached those certain parts until I learned to have the courage to push past those obstacles, and I try to apply that knowledge, that proud feeling of achievement that little-me had when I beat that game on my own.

He let me play Ocarina of Time at my grandparents house, using his nearly complete file so I could spend my time riding Epona through the vast (to child-me) Hyrule Field. Because of that, I went from the Hyrule Field on the N64 to Breath of the Wild’s expansive world on the Nintendo Switch, and I’m not slowing down anytime soon.

Due to my birthday coming up, the fact that gaming has been a major part of my life is cemented in my mind. Unlike video games, this is my one life, and I’m glad I started down the path I’m on. Being a gamer has done nothing but bring positivity to my life, and it’s only helping me further with my creative pursuits.

Who’d have thought it would all start with me being a little nudge-of-a-child and bothering my uncle to play “the Mario game with the guy in the cool cape?”

What started you on your gamer journey? Are you grateful for that start? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Life with Pets [Board Game Review]

Games | Board Games | Life | Pets | Life with Pets | Review | Doublexjump.com

krismii
The board game Life was a staple in our childhoods. While I don’t remember playing it as often as Monopoly or Clue, it was a fun game with the spinning wheel and the random “life” events as you traversed the board. We recently found a slightly updated version of the game that includes pets.

rachmii
Yes, we came across this interesting edition of Life when we went to the store with our friend during a weekend getaway. We splurged on the game because… well, who doesn’t want to add pets to their family? By pets, I mean strictly cats and dogs. Don’t think Life has allowed you to add fish or turtles. (Maybe someday.)

krismii
It really wasn’t anything special, though. At the beginning of the game, you choose a car and the little peg that represented you to “drive” said car around the board. With the Pets edition, you also just added a cat or dog peg to join you for the ride from the beginning. After that, you decide if you want to enter the workforce immediately after high school or if you want to take the college road to begin the game.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Then you go along the board doing what the cards tell you to do. School, job, house, marriage, kids… other than our initial dog or cat at the beginning of the game, none of us got any other pets. There were spots on the board that allowed us to get another pet or two, but our rolls skipped right over them. Which is fine in a way because the cars weren’t any bigger than they are in the original edition of the game.

krismii
The object of the game is to reach retirement with the most equity with your house (or houses, if you happened to have the money to buy more than one), your job’s salary, how many kids you had, etc. It was fairly straightforward with each of us taking turns spinning the wheel and moving the number of spaces, obtaining money, cards, and kids. I’m pretty sure we lamented a couple of times about how simple it was to get money in the game, wishing that real life worked that way, too.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if real life worked that way? The game is exactly how I remember it being. Except it was less fun. I don’t know if it’s because I know what real life is actually like and it was more fun when I was younger and to imagine my life actually going the way it did in the game. However, I felt as though the game overall was kind of boring.

krismii
I actually didn’t mind the game, but that could also be contributed to the good company I had when playing it (and, also, I believe I won). I liked the idea of the random careers and houses to choose from, as well as the different life events that the board had. In a sense, it felt like the game had more potential and I enjoyed what it could have been if it was executed better. As a simple board game where you spin the wheel and move your car around, it was okay.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I still like the game, of course. I just meant that I feel like it was more fun when we were younger. I think real life ruined me. Of course, we all know in real life our cars would be filled with more pets than anything else.

Life with Pets 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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Gaming Goals for 2020

Gaming | Goals | Resolutions | Video Games | 2020 | Doublexjump.com

krismii
Considering the past couple of months have kind of been a blur with holidays (and, admittedly, being low-key obsessed with Pokemon Sword and Shield), I’m looking forward to setting some gaming goals for 2020. There are some games we’ve missed from the past couple of years that I want to try as well as expand the kind of games I play.

rachmii
2019 was a great year for gamers, but not necessarily for me. It wasn’t kind to my mental health and I went into a long gaming slump. That spark was brought back when Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokemon Sword & Shield were released. There are so many games I’m looking forward to in 2020 and games I missed that I still want to give a try.

krismii
We definitely did fall off the wayside when it came to gaming for a while. To be honest, though, despite all the games that came out this year, there’s not too many that I was really eager to try, aside from Pokemon and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’m not sure if my memories are muddled because of how quickly 2019 went by, particularly this summer and the holidays, or if there really wasn’t anything that tickled my fancy. What games did you miss out on that you still want to try?

rachmii
I still want to play Cadence of Hyrule, which is the main game that sticks out in my mind. Also, Celeste. I know that’s not a 2019 release, but that game has been in the back of my mind for quite a while. A lot of games that I was truly interested in didn’t come out until the end of the year. Ring Fit Adventure, for example. I just got that for Christmas so I’m a little late with it, but I have it at least.

krismii
I completely forgot about Cadence of Hyrule. Looking up a list of 2019 game releases, I’m remembering how I wanted to try Anthem and Planet Zoo, to name a couple of games. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 was up there as well, but at least I received that for Christmas, so like you with Ring Fit Adventure, at least we have it. I’m a bit disappointed that I have yet to beat the other routes for Three Houses, as well. For 2020, there are plenty of games on my radar and I’m hoping to be able to play more than what I had in 2019.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, yeah. I forgot about Planet Zoo as well. That seemed like it would have been interesting. 2020 seems like it’s going to be a pretty interesting year for gaming. I feel like I already have a backlog of games for the year. Kris, do you have any special goals or anything you’d like to accomplish when it comes to gaming?

krismii
As contradictory as this may sound, I really want to relax and enjoy the games I play this year. While we try to do game reviews a couple of times each month, I don’t want to feel rushed when playing video games. Taking more time to really enjoy the games is going to be a priority so I can improve my writing when it comes to creating blog posts. Basically, take my time with games as much as I can and improve the quality of my writing. What about you, Rachel?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree with that. I more or less just want to get back into the routine of playing games again. On the flip side, I’d like to find a balance between old games and the new ones coming out. I don’t want to rush the games either, but I’d like to play through a lot of older games and maybe even go back to some I’ve played and loved but haven’t been able to play again.

krismii
Playing more in general is a good goal, haha! I agree with finding a balance between old favorites and new games. It’s easy to get burned out by playing only new games since each has a learning curve and challenges. While those challenges are hopefully fun, taking breaks with familiar games is a good way to take care of yourself as well.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Exactly. I’m looking forward to Animal Crossing New Horizons in the coming months and would love to play the old games again. Also, Paper Mario. I haven’t played Paper Mario for a long time. Regardless, I think 2020 will be a great year for gaming.

What are your gaming goals for the new year? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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