Friday Favorites: Simulation Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

One of the last few game reviews Rachel and I did was for Game Dev Tycoon, and it reminded me of how much fun I have with games in the simulation genre. This Friday celebrates some of my favorite simulation games and franchises.

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Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon franchise was probably my first foray into the simulation genre. Valuing hard work and fostering healthy relationships with the community are key aspects in the game, and I enjoyed the virtual farm life with the animals. I definitely prefer some of the older games to the newer games, but the Switch’s Light of Hope seems to cater to some of the more nostalgic story and controls from the older titles.

Stardew Valley

Another farming simulation game, Stardew Valley is similar to Harvest Moon but with a few fantasy twists, such as defeating monsters in the mines, along with the ability to date whoever you want regardless of gender. The co-op mode is another plus to this game! Rachel and I are looking forward to giving it a go!

Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon is so much fun! The strategy needed to develop good games against the clock with the story events constantly evolving makes the game addicting. It’s a game I’ll keep going back to, and I’m on the hunt for more business-like tycoon games, if anyone has any suggestions!

The Sims

The Sims franchise is horribly addicting. Every time I turn the game on, it’s hard to want to do anything else in my free time. Recently, I’ve been testing the newer Sims 4 Seasons expansion pack, and I’ve been having a good time. With the expansions and free reign to act out whatever kind of stories you want, the Sims probably won’t be getting deleted from my computer anytime soon.

What are your favorite simulation games?

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Game Within a Game

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday! Is everyone ready for the summer?

Here on the east coast in North America, we’ve been getting… interesting weather. Nothing too fancy, just the temperatures going up and down like a roller coaster lately instead of the warmer weather that so many people like about the summer. Summer also generally means vacations and breaks from everyday life. Some video games do something similar where they put a “game within a game.”

Double Jump | Video Games | Super Mario | Mini Game
Beetle Mania from Super Mario RPG

There are plenty of video games out there with little mini games or “games within the game” to help break up the monotony of the story line or actions of the main game. Some mini games have relevance to the original game at hand — such as Final Fantasy’s VII chocobo racing — but others are there just as Easter Eggs or for fun.

One such game is Beetle Mania in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. For five hundred coins after the Marrymore section of the game, Mario can buy a Game Boy from a Toad child at the Mushroom Kingdom Inn. The game is simple enough in which you control a little beetle at the bottom of the screen and shoot little stars at falling red koopa shells. The koopa shells explode for points and, if they are near other koopa shells, may start a chain reaction for higher points.

Beetle Mania has absolutely no relevance to the plot of Super Mario RPG, but it’s a fun break from chasing after Star Pieces.

The original Animal Crossing also had a bunch of classic NES games that you could decorate your house with and play, such as Balloon Fighter and Donkey Kong Jr. Math. New Leaf also included a couple of new games, such as one based off of Panel de Pon titled Puzzle League. Likewise, the popular Stardew Valley also has a couple of arcade games that one can play while hanging out in the Saloon.

What other “games within a game” can you think of? Any favorites?

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Rainway App

According to Nintendo News, there’s talk about this new app called Rainway for the Switch console. With this app, players will be able to stream their PC games directly onto the Switch console. There’s not much information regarding the app, but I thought it was an interesting find nonetheless. We’ve been getting into PC gaming a bit more lately, having a nice desktop and an almost-never used laptop for our PC games, but the thought of playing something like Stardew Valley on the Switch’s portable screen sounds like an interesting development.

Considering how heavy most gaming laptops are — as beautiful as they can be with their lovely graphics and sound systems — creating an app for the Switch that’ll showcase it’s portability seems like a good move by Nintendo. Rainway definitely seems like something we should keep our eye on. Not only that, but being able to dock the Switch and play the games on a larger television? That sounds good to us.

What do you all think of this idea? Are you excited about the prospect of playing PC games directly on the Switch, or are you good with your beloved gaming PC? If you don’t play PC games, does this kind of news think maybe you’ll start?

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Steam Haul

Double Jump Kris MiiWe’ve been getting so much snow this past week! I hope everyone else who may be getting hammered with snow are staying safe and warm.

On the bright side, snow days are one of the best excuses to play video games!

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My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and I was graciously given a few gift cards for Steam, a platform that delivers tons of PC games right to your desktop. It’s a great place to find new games to try, with plenty from indie developers and a good handful even free to play. With the gaming laptop that we had bought off of a friend a few months ago, we figured it was about time to really get used to Steam.

I used up my gift cards to get three games that I’ve been looking forward to playing for a while now. The first was Batman: The Telltale Series which, lucky me, was half off for the weekend. Yay for video game sales! I haven’t tried out the visual novel just yet, but I’m excited to find a good hour or two to really get invested in the story.

The second was Stardew Valley, finally! The entire game — art, music, mechanics, characters, plot — was created by one person, and it utterly blows my mind. I played up to about a game’s week, and I’m enjoying the simple farming game. It’s reminiscent of the older Harvest Moon games, the ones where all you had to do was take care of and raise a farm, maybe get married if you wanted. The newer Harvest Moon games, while still enjoyable, are more goal-oriented, such as restoring entire towns and islands. Stardew Valley brings me back to the fun, simpler games that originally had gotten me into that franchise.

The third game is Death Road to Canada. It’s a zombie apocalypse survival game where the player controls a car full of people with different quirks and strengths on their journey from Florida in the U.S. to Canada, the last country standing against the zombies. Rachel and I made ourselves and, while we didn’t do too badly on our first run, we did end up dying before reaching Canada. I died first, then Rachel, and eventually the random NPC that we had picked up and a dog character croaked as well. It was entertaining!

Do any of you use Steam? Any favorite or recommended games? Have you played any of the three that I’ve mentioned above?

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Games I Want To Play

Rachel Mii Double JumpYou know that thing called “time?” You know that thing called “money?”

Yeah, they get in the way of my video game playing sometimes.

It’s annoying.

Stardew Valley

This game is very similar to Harvest Moon in which you inherit a farm, grow crops, raise animals, and mingle with the townsfolk eventually marrying and having children. Harvest Moon isn’t something I normally play (I’m more of an Animal Crossing person), though it’s always been on my list.

Stardew Valley was created by one person and was put onto Steam in February 2016. It was picked up right away and seemed to instantly become popular. It’s about $15 on Steam and something I was to try, but I don’t have the money to be spending on a new game at the moment. I already have so many games to play that I already own.

But, it seems like Stardew Valley will be coming to the Wii U by the end of the year. Maybe I’ll get it for a Christmas present?

Pokemon GO

I think everyone is playing this game except me. I was super excited for it when I first heard this was going to be a thing.

But… on my cell phone? I would download the game in a heartbeat if this was on the e-shop for my 3DS.

While I will download it in the near future to try it out (because it’s Pokemon!), I just don’t have the time right now. I don’t want the game draining my cell phone battery and I don’t want to get addicted to it because I know that’s all I’ll do if I get the game.

Plus, I don’t want to find a Pokemon in the parking lot at my work and have to walk away from it because otherwise, I’ll be late.

I’m sure there are plenty of other games out there that I really want to try, but these games are the ones that popped into my head first. I mean, I can’t even walk into a Gamestop because I’ll feel guilty just browsing.

What are some games you want to play, but just can’t at the moment?