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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Multi-Platform Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Being a gamer is an expensive hobby. It doesn’t help that, sometimes, awesome games are available in multiple platforms, either as updated versions or just ported to a system that may be better suited for it.

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Do you have any games on multiple platforms?

We have Stardew Valley, Death Road to Canada, and Undertale on the PC through Steam, but all three of those games are available for the Nintendo Switch as well. Fortnite is available on all consoles of the current generation (and all of them can now play together, finally). PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is also another game that crosses platforms.

Then there are ports of games — such as the Legend of Zelda: Windwaker and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — that get updated for the next generation console.

Assuming you enjoyed the original game, are you the type to buy games for multiple platforms, if you have them? Or the updated ports when they are released?

We have gotten Death Road to Canada for the Nintendo Switch when it came out, mostly to make it easier to play with friends. However, we’ve been toying with getting Undertale and Stardew Valley for the Switch as well, especially since the Switch makes it a little easier to take those kind of games on the go. To be honest, if Undertale came to the Switch before PC, we probably would have just gotten it for the Switch. Stardew Valley is in the same boat, but the PC version does have the co-op mode…

With that said, there are so many other games that we wish to play and buy that are already stretching our wallets thin. I suppose if a game we own is ported to another platform, we’d prefer if it was substantially updated to make it worth buying again.

Any games that you’ve bought multiple times for different platforms?

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Preferred Gender Tropes

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Have you ever noticed if the gender of the protagonist effects the game? Perhaps one gender has better stats or different powers or something as simple as clothing options?

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Many games, particularly RPGs, allow the player to choose between playing a male or a female protagonist. While most games tend not to have much of a difference between the genders, there are some games that can be skewed to favor one over the other.

One of the most notable examples that I’ve heard of Harvest Moon 3. While I’ve never played the game myself, I have heard that the game is cut short as soon as you marry while playing as a female. While, as a male, you get married and can continue working on your farm, as well as get a child. Granted, each gender had different perks — males tended to be better with the farmland, while females were better with the animals — but why would the game just end if you get married as a female?

Different stats in games, such as the Fire Emblem franchise, favor one gender over the other as well. Males tend to have higher strength and defense while females are better with magic and speed. In many Fire Emblem games, some character classes are restricted as well — only males can be fighters while females can be pegasus knights, for example. One of my favorite aspects of the Fates trio is that these class restrictions were lifted, and I was disappointed when Echoes brought them back.

In hindsight, being a remake, Echoes probably brought the class restrictions back in order to be as faithful as it could to the original. With that said, though, I do wish it was updated to not only lift those restrictions, but also lift the healer restrictions. In the very beginning of the game, if you are following Alm’s story and have Faye with you, she has one less class promotion available than the boys. Archer is not available for her, yet when she was introduced to the Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game, archer is her class rather than cleric.

If the female gender is favored over the male, it tends to be for aesthetic reasons. In Pokemon X and Y, the female character has almost double the amount of clothing and hair options. The Sims franchise also tended to have gender options based on aesthetics only — with jobs and skill building being exactly the same across the board — but Sims 4 took this a step forward to allow transgender sims and lift the gender restrictions on all the clothing and hair options.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of Stardew Valley is how absolutely little your gender matters. No NPCs treat your character differently no matter what gender they are and your skills do not depend on your gender. You can also marry whatever eligible NPC you want, no matter the gender.

Any games that you’ve played that tend to favor one gender over another?

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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.”

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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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