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.

Why do you play video games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Simulation Games I Want To See

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Tuesday!

Let’s talk some more about simulation games. Specifically, let’s discuss some simulation games I would love to see.

Pokemon Simulation Games I Want To See | Video Games | Gaming | Simulation Games | DoublexJump.com

Pokemon Ranch upgrade

Does anyone remember this game? It came out on the Wii Ware back in March 2008. It was a wonderful game – even though there wasn’t much to do in it. You transferred your Pokemon from Diamond and Pearl (not Platinum for some reason) and that was about it. Your Pokemon had a hub world to go to so they could play and explore. The music was relaxing and I often had it up on the TV while I worked. The Pokemon derped around, sometimes playing (or getting into fights) with one another. It was fun for me.

I’d love to see another Pokemon Ranch. In fact, that’s what I was hoping Pokemon Home would be. (Home on the Range, anyone? No? Nintendo, you missed an opportunity here.)

The downfall of Pokemon Home is that once a Pokemon go in, they can’t go back. They can be transferred to the most recent games but they can’t go back to where they originally came from. I don’t know why this decision was made, but Pokemon who aren’t in Sword and Shield yet are now stuck in limbo in Pokemon Home.

In that case, it would have been awesome if Pokemon Home was it’s own game and mimicked Pokemon Ranch. That way you could still visit your Pokemon. Pokemon Home/Ranch could have been the equivalent of Pokemon Camps from Sword/Shield. It’s all been done before. We just need to throw it in a pot and mix it up.

Pokemon Ranch and Stardew Valley crossover

This may be cheating since I’m piggy-backing on the fact that I want more from Pokemon Ranch. Why not have a crossover between Pokemon Ranch and Stardew Valley? Farming games are all the rage as is Pokemon. Who wouldn’t want to grow a farm – berries, poffins, apricorns – and raise Pokemon? It can be farm animal-like Pokemon such as Mareep and Miltank or it can be all the Pokemon. Different types will have different stables.

In addition, you can add onto your farm to make work stations to make pokeballs from the apricorns or you can sell the apricorns as is. Berries can be sold or can be used to feed your Pokemon.

The many regions of Pokemon have plenty of caves to explore and bodies of water to surf, dive, and fish from. The possibilities are endless here. I don’t know why no one has thought of it before.

Pokemon and Animal Crossing crossover

Similar to crossing Pokemon Ranch and Stardew Valley, why not throw Pokemon in an Animal Crossing village? Sentret can be the new Tom Nook! Hoothoot can be Blathers. I mean, come on. These ideas are gold here.

One of the things I had hoped to see in Animal Crossing New Horizons was different biomes to expand our village. Instead of having one area, have different sections – east, west, north, and south. This has been done before with the town being to the north of the village and a camp being to the east or west. A new area to expand your village can easily be made. The seasons will still be present but you can have randomly generated biomes such as a desert, tundra, rainforest, etc. The types of animals the villagers are based off will live in their respective biomes. (See? Learning experience for kids!)

Taking that idea and warping it to Pokemon – you can have different areas for different types of Pokemon. I’d live there.

I may be the only one to play these games

I realize Nintendo hasn’t hired me yet because I tend to think of games that only I would play. I’d be surprised if people wanted a Pokemon Ranch upgrade. I also realize I’m on a Pokemon kick right now. I had to change the title of this article because I didn’t originally intend it to be mostly Pokemon related.

Oh, well. I can dream.

(By the way, Happy Mar10 Day!)

Are there any simulation games you’d love to see (Pokemon-related or not)? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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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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Why I Love Simulation Games

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Thursday!

We love the simulation genre so much that we decided to dedicate a month to it. There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to simulation games and, for some reason, there’s just something so special about them.

Why I Love Simulation Games | Gaming | Video Games | Simulation Genre | DoublexJump.com

What exactly is the simulation genre?

Simulation games mimic activities from real life. You can create your own person and have them live their own virtual life, such as in The Sims. You can take care of virtual pets, have virtual jobs, go on a virtual vacation… the possibilities are endless. There’s just something so exciting about a simulation game. You can do everything in the game that you can do in real life but it’s faster and cheaper. We all want an alternate reality where we can do the things we normally do but at an in-game price.

The simulation genre is pretty vast too. There are plenty of subgenres such as dating sims, life sims, business simulations, medical simulations, vehicle simulations, and so many more.

For me, I personally tend to gravitate toward life or dating simulation games. That is until I get jealous of my character and stop playing for a little while. Either way, I love pretty much all simulation games for a couple of different reasons.

They’re relaxing

I don’t think it’s much of a secret that I’m not great at video games. There are certain games I love but I’m just bad at them. Platformers, especially. Simulation games allow me to go at my own pace and do what I want. Sure, there are some simulation games that you can “lose” or get a “bad ending” but the journey is relaxing anyway… for the most part.

They’re the kinds of games that you can pick and play as you go. There’s no heavy story you need to pay attention to. There are no deadlines. I mean, there are some games that have deadlines or have stories, but for the most part, most simulation games are pretty chill.

I can collect things

I love collecting things. I don’t know why. I have no clue where this fascination came from to collect everything. Maybe I can blame Pokemon for this, but if I have one thing of something, I have to get them all. There are a lot of simulation games that have things for you to collect.

I think this is why I love Animal Crossing so much. Between the fish, bugs, fossils, furniture, clothes, and everything in between, there are a lot of things to collect to grow your catalog. It’s relaxing to spend a day fishing and it’s also a bit of a challenge. Animal Crossing, for example, is based in real-life time so there are certain bugs and fish you can’t get in certain seasons or weather. It keeps you busy for a long time.

I can keep going and going and going

You don’t normally play a simulation game once and never go back to it. No, you’re always going to keep playing the game and each time you play, you’ll play a different way. Or maybe you’ll do what you did before but still somehow get a different outcome as slight as it may be.

I can play Animal Crossing for years and still be collecting things, trying to get new villagers to move in. I can play The Sims for the rest of my life and build all the houses I want, create all the families, kill off those families, what have you. I can play Game Dev Tycoon and have a different outcome every single time based on the cards I’m dealt with.

Overall, simulation games never get boring. There’s always something to do. There are some simulation games I’ve played that just isn’t good – and I mean they’re pretty bad. For the most part though, most simulation games I fall in love with and will go back to all the time. It’s a well-rounded genre that will never get old.

Do you love simulation games? What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Celebrating Simulation Games

Video Games | Gaming | Simulation Games | Genre | Doublexjump.com

krismii
It’s a new month in the year, and this March we’re thinking of celebrating one of our favorite genres of video games. Simulation games have become some of our most played games recently, with games like Stardew Valley and the Sims franchise. The new Animal Crossing game is coming out this month, Rune Factory 4 was just recently released, and there are plenty of dating sim games to explore.

rachmii
Simulation games are so much fun. Especially since you can have the kind of life you think you deserve. The possibilities are always endless in what you can do in a simulation game and you can spend hours and hours playing one specific game.

krismii
I enjoy trying to reach my own goals, be they specific to the game like a business management simulation or character-driven goals for your avatars in life simulation games. Simulation games have been getting a bit of a boost with virtual reality these past couple of years as well, such as games like Job Simulator and the Iron Man VR.

rachmii
Right, you feel like you’re accomplishing something even though, in real life, it’s not doing much for you. Still, they’re fun nonetheless and we’ve decided to talk about it all month including a new challenge.

krismii
The new challenge has to do with one of our favorite games, Game Dev Tycoon. As a refresher, Game Dev Tycoon puts you in the position of CEO of a budding video game company. Throughout the game’s years, consoles will come and go, gaming trends will happen, and you’ll do your best to make your company a success. I believe we’re mainly just going to see who can have the most money by the time the game’s years are up, right Rachel? Or is there any other criteria that you want us to judge?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, more Game Dev Tycoon! I believe we’re going to see which company comes out on top, yeah. I think the game runs for 35 years so by the end of that, whoever has the most money wins. I plan on keeping a list of my games so we can compare ridiculousness as well.

krismii
Keeping a list of games will be good too, yes! I know the game, at the end of the 35 years or so, gives you a list of stats of your company over the course of the game. We should try to screenshot and print those for the heck of it. Did we want to do the standard game length or adjust it for the shorter or longer game?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Might as well do the standard game length. Go big or go home! In the meantime, while we build our virtual gaming companies, we’ll be playing and talking about some other simulation games, so stay tuned!

Do you enjoy simulation games? What are some of your favorites? If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Monday Memories: New Genres

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

Have you ever thought of how you were introduced to certain game franchises that you continue to play today? Or how they may have shaped your gaming preferences over the years? That’s what this Monday Memories is about.

Video Games | Genres | Simulation | Sims | The Sims | Sims 2 | Doublexjump.com

While I don’t remember how exactly we got on the topic of Sims 2, one of my managers from a previous job — my job that I had probably about ten years ago now — mentioned how she had nearly every Sims 2 expansion at the time. I had heard of the games but never played them and she offered to let me borrow them.

Color me surprised when she came into our next shared shift with a giant garbage bag filled with these boxes of expansion packs that had about two to four CDs worth of programming in them. I cannot remember how long it took me to install every CD that she had onto my computer, using the key codes to ensure that they were legitimate copies and all that fun stuff. Pretty sure I did not have enough time to actually play the game that day before everything was installed!

Once I did start playing the game, I was hooked. Creating your own characters, building houses, and essentially playing God was amazing. Before Sims 2, I had never really played many simulation games. Really, the games I mostly played were RPGs or adventures with a bit of platforming thrown in here and there. Not having a definitive story in a game was a foreign concept to me, as most of my games have end goals. Some weren’t as definite, no — such as the difference between Ocarina of Time’s endgame to, say, Harvest Moon games were the goal is simply to have a thriving farm — but there was always something to reach for in them.

Sims 2 basically threw me a digital dollhouse, complete with cheats and mods crafted by brilliant people, and said, “Have at it.”

Sims 3 eventually came along and I jumped on it, being just as much in awe — if not more than — of it as I was of the Sims 2, and Sims 4 has been great fun as well. The simulation genre of games has evolved into one of my favorites, with me enjoying games such as Game Dev Tycoon and Tomodachi Life. I’ve even gained more of an appreciation for the Animal Crossing franchise. Harvest Moon games are arguably simulation games as well, yet the later ones became gimmicky enough with quests and stipulations to further the gameplay that the Sims series was refreshing.

It also went hand-in-hand with my writing. In the Sims series, I’ve always been able to create my own characters with personalities and quirks, watching them react to each other and giving me ideas on how the characters can interact in my stories can be insightful to my writing.

To think, this love of a video game genre started with my manager delivering them all to me in a garbage bag.

What game started an appreciation of a new genre for you? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Top Tuesday: Favorite Simulation Games

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Tuesday and happy March!

I’ve been playing a variety of games lately – some new, but mostly old. I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite genres and decided to break them up into favorite lists.

Top Tuesday: Favorite Simulation Games | Video Games | Gaming | Nintendo | Pokemon | DoublexJump.com

The Sims

This is certainly no secret that I enjoy The Sims. I stream it often and I love living a different life than my own. I can create myself and either pursue what I’m trying to accomplish in real life (and get jealous of my sim when she becomes more successful faster than me) or I can become something I’m not or something I’ve always wanted to be. Or I can create someone random and live an unrealistic life of goofing off. This game is a time-sucker and makes real life time seem to go as fast as the in-game time goes.

Game Dev Tycoon

This game is a gem. It was an accidental find on Steam and once Kris and I started playing it, we couldn’t stop. You play as game developer starting off in your garage. Once you get successful enough you can move into a small office and hire one or two people. Then you keep growing from there. It’s a rabbit hole kind of a game. Once you start, it’s hard to find a spot to save and stop playing for a while. It’s another time-sucker and I wish making games were this easy.

Animal Crossing

Do I really need to explain this one? Animal Crossing is one of my all-time favorite games. Being able to live in a small village, paying off my debt, and making friends with the various villagers, all the while redecorating my house and collecting random objects and items, it’s a lot of fun. This isn’t as much as a time sucker because it’s based on real-life time so you’re limited throughout the day sometimes. Still, it’s a great one and a lot of fun.

Catz & Dogz

This an old PC game that Kris and I used to play all the time. You could adopt cats and/or dogs and bring them home where you could play with them in the back yard, living room, feed them in the kitchen, and bathe them in the bathroom. The later games, Catz 5 and Dogz 5, I think it was, you could take them to visit other places where they’d play mini games and you’d earn item such as toys for them. You could also breed them and have puppies and kittens. Another mindless game, but so much fun.

Pokemon Ranch

I don’t think this game was too popular. It was a digital download for the Wii and I can’t remember if it was free or if we had to pay for it… but it was Pokemon so naturally, we got it. This was when the Sinnoh region was popular. Pokemon Ranch was a simulation ranch where your Pokemon could hang out and have fun. Haley was the main rancher but you could add your Miis to be ranchers as well – Kris and I were ranchers. I believe we added our other sister Lisa. We also added Raph, Donny, Mikey, and Leo, the Ninja Turtles. (Yes, I made Miis for them. I’m pretty sure I maxed out the amount of Miis we could have on the Wii.) You could hook up your Diamond and Pearl Pokemon games (not Platinum, sadly) and input your Pokemon from the games to the Ranch and take them back out and put them back into your game. The more Pokemon you had in the Ranch, the more rewards you’d get such as expanding the Ranch or Haley gifting you a Mew! I always loved having it on as background noise watching the Pokemon play together. I wish they would make an updated version for all the new Pokemon and the Switch.

What are some of your favorite simulation games? Let us know in the comments below! If you like 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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