Friday Favorites: Single-Player Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Today’s post goes along with our #GamingTogether posts that we put up on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, with the question regarding single-player games. With eSports and online play, single-player games tend to be pushed aside for multiplayer experiences, yet single-player games tend to have more flushed-out stories.


Core Pokemon Games

While I admit that I was disappointed at the co-op mode in the Let’s Go duo, the core Pokemon games are tons of fun as a single-player. Exploring the vast regions and befriending Pokemon while crushing your enemies opponents in battle has always been one of my favorite pastimes.

Legend of Zelda series

While I have a blast playing with Rachel in Four Swords Adventures, the majority of the Legend of Zelda titles caters to single-players. I adore the stories, generally the same at their core, but always carrying surprises and twists based on the world that you’re controlling Link in. Breath of the Wild and Twilight Princess are a couple of my top games in this franchise.

The Sims

My favorite installments of the Sims games are Sims 3 with Sims 4 being a close second. Considering most video games are about saving the world or vanquishing some enemy, playing simulator games like the Sims that have the purpose of creating your own story and world is always refreshing.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Is anyone who’s been following this blog for a while surprised at this? I’ve sung the praises of Mario RPG for the SNES ever since Rachel and I started this blog. It’s always been my go-to game for a relaxing, nostalgic experience with great characters and game mechanics.

What are some of your favorite single-player games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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How We Play The Sims

How We Play The Sims | The Sims 4 | PC Games | Gaming | Video Games |

The Sims is a widely known series. With now 4 generations in the franchise, people seem to find bigger and better ways to play the game. When it comes to playing The Sims – or playing God – we tend to have our own styles of keeping track of our many families and their neighborhoods. Then, of course, you have the various challenges that people create and try out as well.

I think Rachel and I both tend to start off with sim versions of ourselves, which is something that we both have in common. I do, however, enjoy using mods in my games, mostly ones that tend to have to do with enlarging the amount of playable sims in a household or catering more to showcasing the sims’ personalities with their traits. While I enjoy Sims 4, I do miss the amount of traits that Sims 3 had incorporated with their game engine.

I enjoy using that cheat to add more to the family as well. Sometimes I like to have a lot of kids and it’s just unrealistic (these days) to have them move out right away. I like seeing them all together in one household and get frustrated when there’s too many of them for me to control. Lately, though, I’ve been trying to play without the cheats. I’ve been making my sims do things the hard way and learning skills as they do them instead of having them read books while I fast forward time and type “max motives” until their skills are maxed out.

I try to play mostly without cheats as well, but I’ve been known to let my sims get ahead a little in their skills when I first start playing a new game. Starting my new sim at level 3 of cooking and logic isn’t cheating too badly, I don’t think, haha. In Sims 4, I also like to cheat to give my sims an extra trait or two to help round out their personality, especially since personality and emotions are supposed to be one of the main focal points of that game.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yeah, that’s totally fair. I’ve noticed I experiment more with The Sims 4 though. I used to always create myself, max out my skills, and then just write books all the time. Then I’d get jealous of my own Sim and stop playing for a while. Since you can actually go to work with your Sims with certain careers, I like to do that as well. I love the detective field since that’s what I wanted to be when I was younger. Now I write murder mysteries. So it’s fun to play as a Sim who can solve cases with you… even though it’s nothing too elaborate.

I like to play out the careers as well, but I’d rather manage a household full of sims with different careers. The “rabbit hole” careers — where the sims just go to work and disappear for a few sim hours — are great to me since I can just throw some sims at work while focusing on the others for a while. I personally always liked the self-employment careers, like writing, painting, and gardening, so I always had a goal to work towards with my sims.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree with that as well. It depends on how many people you have. If you’re just playing the one character though, it’s great to go to work with them so you’re not just sitting there. Then again, you can work on the house a bit. Either way, the possibilities to play the game are endless.

By the sounds of it, Rachel, you play a little more by the book, so to speak, with a sim and their family. I tend to throw a bunch of friends together and see what kind of chaos happens with the mods and cheats! And this doesn’t even touch on all the sim challenges that are on the Internet!

How do you usually go about playing The Sims? Which version is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Storytelling in Video Games

Being November, it’s National Novel Writing Month! For those of you who may not be aware, Rachel and I also write novels, and we ramble a lot about them on our personal blogs. Because we enjoy writing, we both have been participating in NaNoWriMo for a few years now, and we thought we’d extend that enthusiasm to gushing about video games’ stories.

Writing and video games are two major passions we both share. That’s partly how this blog came to be in the first place. We wanted to combine the two. We read a lot and there are some amazing stories out there, but some of the most amazing ones are in video games.

Sure, there are a few predictable stories, such as the recycled story of the Mario Brothers saving Princess Peach (when she doesn’t save herself, of course), but then there are others like the Legend of Zelda series. An entire franchise revolving around the legend of chosen ones by the goddesses, forever doomed to be reincarnated and repeat history as two oppose one for peace and domination.

The Legend of Zelda is the legend of stories (sorry, I had to) in the video game world. Yet, some stories are complex such as that series or as simple as Luigi’s Mansion. It’s almost the same as most Mario games, but there’s a different hero. Those slight, simple changes make for fun stories as well.

Excellent example! One of my favorite story lines has to be Ace Attorney series. The first trilogy surrounding Phoenix Wright was especially well-written. Each episode not only has its own story, but many of the episodes have ties together, such as in Trials and Tribulations. The characters have fantastic developments throughout the stories and I get warm, fuzzy, writerly feels just thinking about it!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’ve been trying to think of awesome storylines and there you go, mentioning Phoenix Wright. The Ace Attorney series was the inspiration for my own series of mystery novels. The way the games tell a story is brilliant and I’ve incorporated a similar way to tell the stories in my mystery series.

Then there are games that allow players to develop their own story lines, like the Sims franchise and even Pokemon games. While Pokemon tends to have a plot in the games, it’s pretty open-ended with how you play, and it inspired people to create their own challenges and stories, like Nuzlocke and Type challenges. These story lines grant the players to open their minds to creativity and it’s amazing.

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There are games like the Legend of Zelda that have amazing storylines and then there are games as simple as Pokemon or Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon that have no “real” plot to it. Video games can be simple or complex, but they tell unforgettable stories nonetheless.

What’s your favorite aspect of video games? Let us know in the comments! 

Friday Favorites: Sim Expansions

Double Jump Kris MiiAnyone else around here write? Rachel and I are avid writers as well as avid gamers. This month is Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the challenge to write 50k words (be they for a novel or a script or whatever) in a month. I’ve been doing well with mine but, well, I did something silly recently — I started playing the Sims again. Anyone who plays this franchise knows how addicting it can be! So, today I will be talking about my favorite expansion packs for the games, most of which are generic and have had some reincarnation for each of the Sims versions.

4. Seasons

Although sometimes the rain and snowstorms made the games run a bit slow, the season expansion packs were always a great addition to the games. The weather was a wonderful addition and, with Sims 3, the new social interactions and seasonal sports was awesome.

3. Nightlife/Late Night/Get Together

These expansion packs were lots of fun basically for the added content they gave the game. The new outfits were great, and they usually involved musical instruments as well. The band interactions were one of my favorite parts of Late Night for the Sims 3! More social interactions are always a plus in my book.

2. Ambitions

This Sims 3 expansion pack is near the top of the list mainly for the extended list of jobs that your sim could do. I wasn’t too thrilled with the “professions” aspect of the game, where you follow your sim around for their job rather than them disappearing into a rabbit-hole location, but the self-employed option was fantastic. I could have my sim-self be a successful writer instead of needing a desk job!

1. Pets

Anyone who knows me understands my four loves in life: writing, video games, chocolate, and animals. The Pets expansion pack for the Sims games were always my favorite if only because I could have adorable puppies and kittens to wreck havoc in my sims’ homes. Horses in the Sims 3 Pets expansion pack was an amazing bonus! Sims 4, I’m expecting great things from your Pets expansion pack!

Do you play the Sims? What’s your favorite part of the games?

Pro-Diversity in Sims 4

Double Jump Kris MiiThe Sims franchise has always been a favorite of Rachel’s and mine ever since an old coworker years ago had let me borrow her collection of Sims 2 games and expansion packs to try it out for myself. Since then, we had been hooked.

Now the Sims 4 have been creating more and more customization and expansions, and I believe this latest update is one of my favorites…

Way back in February, Rachel and I did a post detailing our first impressions of the Sims 4 games by Maxis. While Rachel really enjoys the game, I wasn’t as enamored with it as I was with Sims 3 for a variety of reasons. With the new update that was released just a few days ago, my respect for the franchise has grown.

This update unlocks all of the gender restrictions in the Create-A-Sim mode.

That means every female hair style can be placed on male sims, the male voices can be used for a female sim, every type of clothing, walking style, and physique is shared between the two genders. It’s a fantastic step forward in not only customization but also representation. Considering my country at the moment is arguing over who can pee in which restroom, I’m all for it.

If anyone has glanced at my personal blog, usually used for writing and reading, they would know that I’m a fan of We Need Diverse Books, a campaign dedicated to promoting diversity (ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) in books. Considering how influential books are to the masses (seriously, how many movies nowadays had started out as books?), having a wider range of representation of people is needed.

Diversity is needed in other forms of media as well, like movies and video games. People, especially the younger generations of the world, now more than ever are coming out with their gender and sexual identities, and the world needs to hear. Hindering representation and those who identify as anything other than “the norm” is only going to hurt the future.

There is nothing wrong with gender not being as black and white as it was before, and I’m glad that a huge franchise like the Sims can support that.

Just Like A Sim

Rachel Mii Double JumpHello, everyone!

If you’ve played any of The Sims games then I’m sure you’ve realized that we’re all a little bit like Sims in our own way.


Two days ago Kris and I became aunts. It was a wonderful experience and we’re delighted at the newest member of the family.

When the baby was born, however, Kris and I ran around like headless chickens.

We’ve never been aunts before, as our sister has never been pregnant. We didn’t know what to do, we didn’t know what to think.

In the Sims, when someone has a baby, the other Sims in the house usually gather around and panic while watching the birth.

Kris and I might as well have done that same thing except we were in the waiting room and not watching our sister deliver the baby.

But we did panic. There was lots of panicking.

The last two days have been a whirlwind of emotions. We’re all exhausted, mentally and physically.

So last night I didn’t want to do anything but watch TV and that’s just what I did while, ironically enough, Kris played The Sims on her computer.

I wanted some coffee. I got up from the couch, left our office, walked across the hall, and entered our bedroom.

No, we do not have a coffee maker in our bedroom.

I stood in doorway looking around my dark bedroom wondering what I was doing and why I was in my bedroom.

It took me a couple minutes to realize what exactly I was supposed to be doing. If I wanted coffee I needed to go down the stairs and into the kitchen. Not my bedroom.

You know when you cancel an action on your Sims and then they just stand in one spot and kind of stare off into space? Yeah, that’s how I felt.

The past two days happened unexpectedly since our nephew decided to arrive early. So I’m hoping to get back into some sort of routine next week.

Then maybe I’ll feel less like a Sim.

What are some of your Sims moments?

First Impressions: The Sims 4

Hey everyone! Kris and Rachel here with another joint post! This week we’re going to rant and rave about the Sims 4. Both of us have been fans of the franchise for many years, with my favorite installment being the Sims 3 and Rachel loving the Sims 2. As for the Sims 4, I have to say… it’ll take some getting used to on my end.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I absolutely love it! I skipped over the Sims 3 because I just couldn’t get myself used to it. It wasn’t a bad game, I just preferred Sims 2. So playing Sims 4 is a huge step up from Sims 2! Though I know some others seem to think it’s a step down from Sims 3…

Well, not a step down, necessarily. Like most of the Sims installments, each expansion pack is like a piece of a puzzle, and EA is only giving us a few pieces at a time. They’ve been throwing quite a few stuff packs around to milk the cash cow when many of the items could have been used to bolster the few expansion packs they have out already. The franchise is enjoyable, but pricey.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Pricey or not, I still love it. My favorite part of the game is the emotions addition. I love making my sim feel inspired to write a new book or making her take a “steamy” shower and then watch her make a fool of herself as she flirts. Though, the flirty and playful emotions help a lot. I’ve only played for a couple of days, but she’s already engaged and he’s moved in with her.

Haha, the emotions part is definitely a plus! The sims have more realistic reactions to their environments and other people. I do wish that we were able to choose more traits and aspirations. Three traits to create a person isn’t enough to fully explore the possibilities of the emotions. I know that sims can earn traits, but having a wider range would be nice. I think the traits are what I miss the most from the Sims 3.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree, I do miss having more than three traits. I had a hard time picking just three out of all the options given.
But… I do love how there is no “environment” on the mood thing. I always felt forced to add wallpaper and such to my houses and they always came out ugly. My house in the Sims 4 isn’t decorated at all now because I don’t need to worry about it. It’s ugly, but at least it all matches.

On the flip side of that, it feels as if there’s also too little when it comes to being able to customize your sims’ world. It’s great that I’m not spending two hours to create a sim or house, but there is that lack of being able to truly create your own style. I’m sure more sets — clothes, hair, furniture, all that jazz — will be added as more expansion packs become available, but that goes right back to my point about missing puzzle pieces and money.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, I understand what you mean. Though I don’t think that bothers me all that much. I’m sure the more I play the game I’ll end up getting bored with the same stuff and want more down the road. Then I may have something to complain about. But at the moment, I don’t have too many concerns with this game.

I believe that’s the difference in our playstyles. I prefer the creating and customizing, while you enjoy making your sim actually live her/his life. Despite my cynical-ism, I am having fun with the Sims 4. It’s something new to explore and the game’s speed and processing is fantastic. Loading screens may be back, but they’re not on the screen for long!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The loading times are Heavenly compared to what the Sims 2 was like. Then again, we also have a new computer. I’m sure that helps!
On that note, I’m sure we’ll discuss The Sims 4 again at a later time. Maybe we’ll even have pictures of our wonderful Sims living their lives!

Like pictures of Rachel’s sim catching herself on fire (twice), haha!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
(It was actually three times…)
To be continued!

How are you enjoying The Sims 4? What’s your favorite Sims game?