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 Games To Binge Play

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Tuesday!

While there aren’t enough hours in the day and there’s always something that needs to get done – work, cleaning, socializing, what have you – there are definitely some games I would love to sit and play all day long.

Top Tuesday: Favorite Games To Binge Play | Video Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

Paper Mario

Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64, my all-time favorite game. This is a game I could sit down and play for hours on end. The love the overall aesthetics, especially the music. I could hum along with that music any time in any situation. It just makes me happy. Paper Mario, unfortunately, does have an end to it though. I’ve played it so many times that I practically know the game by heart. The last time I played it took me about 24 hours to get through the main story. If I could do that in one sitting, I totally would.

Pokemon

I feel like I don’t really need to explain this one. The main story doesn’t typically take too long, but the collecting? Oh, yeah. I need to catch ’em all and it’s so easy for me to get sucked into the Pokemon world and play for hours at a time. I remember, when X and Y came out, I beat the main story in two days. I got the game for Christmas and spent Christmas evening and the following day playing all day long.

The Sims

Time in The Sims goes by super fast. I feel like one hour in The Sims is about a minute – maybe two – in real time. It’s so easy to spend a lifetime in The Sims and know you’re not wasting too much time in real life… until you look at a real clock and realize the sun had set already. If I could spend a day or two just living as my sim, I totally would.

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a tricky game to play all day long. With its real-time mechanics, the shops have an open and closing time and the villagers do sleep. So, there’s only so much I can do in a day, but if I could, I would play that all day long as well.

What are some of your favorite games to binge play? Let me know in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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Throwback Thursday: Playing The Sims on Playstation

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Thursday!

If you know me, then you know I love to play The Sims. I started off playing The Sims 2 and for a while, I thought that was the first Sims I ever played. But I realized the other day that I had played The Sims on the Playstation 2.

Throwback Thursday: Playing The Sims | Playstation | TBT | Video Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

Eons ago, I remember going to my friend’s house. She’s not a big gamer, but she did enjoy games like Just Dance and that was something we used to play together all the time. However, the first game we ever really played together was probably The Sims.

I have to be honest, I don’t remember too much of it (seriously, I probably say this in every Throwback Thursday post) but she put on The Sims on her Playstation 2 and we sat in the living room for a good few hours playing. We created a female who lived alone. From what I remember of the game, it was dark and the graphics were terrible.

What did we do? I don’t remember that either. We just fooled around and had fun taking turns with the controls.

What I do remember is that the house caught on fire.

We told our sim to make herself dinner and she set the house on fire instead. Now, we all know that sims are pretty stupid without their “God” to help them out. In The Sims 4, they’re a lot smarter and will do simple tasks themselves if they really need to. This includes either running out of the house if there’s a fire or pulling out the fire extinguisher and putting out the fire themselves. Of course, having a fire alarm helps as well so the fire department automatically gets called.

Well, our sim didn’t have a fire alarm. The only way to get the fire department to come was to call them. The only way to call them was if the sim was far enough away from the fire, the sim needed to be “safe.”

Our sim was stupid. I recall spending at least a good 30 minutes trying to get her to call the fire department. She refused to run out of the house. She only wanted to stand directly next to the fire. When she did listen to us and go outside, before we were able to tell her to call the fire department, she was running back into the house in a panic.

You know how some sims feel the need to panic right beside the problem, point to it, and yell, “OMG! FIRE!” and not actually do anything productive about it?

Yeah. That was our sim.

We even paused the game once we got her outside at one point, cancelled her “panic” task, and ordered her to call the fire department. When we unpaused, she stood like a dope, and then ran back inside to panic some more.

We did eventually save her and the fire got put out. It was shortly after that we saved the game and never went back to it. We were too frustrated with her at that point even though we were laughing hysterically the entire time. Though, I think we were laughing because otherwise we’d be crying.

Now that I think back on it, I wonder if we were missing something? Maybe we had forgotten to give her a phone or something. I don’t know. Still, it was quite the adventure.

Do you remember playing the original Sims game? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Sims Freeplay [Mobile Game Review]

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Thursday!

Last month I said I was going to start playing more mobile games and do “mini” reviews on them. So, here’s the first one.

Mobile Game Review: The Sims Freeplay | iPad Games | The Sims | Game Review | Video Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

The Sims Freeplay is a free mobile game developed by EA Mobile. It was originally released for iOS on December 15, 2011. This is a game that I had originally discovered on Facebook. I was in my second year of college at the time and I used to play it in the library on campus when waiting for my class to start or simply waiting for my friends to get out of class so we could go home. Overall, the Facebook game was a much simpler version of The Sims Freeplay… even though The Sims Freeplay is already pretty simple.

When it comes to game play for The Sims Freeplay, there’s not much to it. Once you open the game, there’s a tutorial that takes forever to get through. It’s such a simple game and most people have played The Sims, that I think we’d be able to figure out how to make our Sim go to the bathroom. Once you do get through the tutorial though, there’s not too much to do in the game. The tutorial maxed out your Sim’s needs and already had you build a new house and a career area.

The map, or neighborhood, in The Sims Freeplay is fairly big. Nothing is build and you have to do it all yourself. However, each building – which can be houses, careers, or general places such as a park or pet shop – needs to meet certain requirements. Every building costs a certain amount of money and you need to have a certain amount of Sims in your town in order to build it. Plus, some don’t unlock until you get to a certain level. Also, by building you up the worth of your town as a whole. This means, anything else you build after that, will go up in price as well the amount of Sims you need, etc.

This makes sense and normally wouldn’t be a problem, but everything is so expensive too. You start off with one Sim and even if you give them a job, they don’t make nearly enough money to save up. So, you create more Sims. But, of course, creating more Sims means more money to build houses. I ended up creating lots instead of houses because they were the cheapest. I had all my Sims at one house and bought a bunch of beds so they were “unofficially” moved into their friend’s house. It saved me a decent amount of money, anyway. Also, you can only build one thing at a time. Lots were the fastest because they were the cheapest so I was able to play longer.

Building takes time – real life time. So, if you want to build the Stadium so a Sim can become an athlete for a career, but you need five Sims in town, then you need to build a house first which could take a few hours. Once you get that, building the Stadium will take even longer.

In fact, everything in the game is real-life time. If my Sim needed to go to the bathroom, it took about six seconds. Not bad, right? But if they were hungry, it would take them 20 minutes to cook a hamburger. The more food they learned to cook, the longer it took. Eating the food afterward took 10 minutes. It got to the point where I’d have them do something and then I’d exit out of the game to play something else. I barely played at all.

When the Sims go to work, which they have to because I already talked about how expensive everything is, the time various from six hours to ten hours. Yes, these are normal work hours in real life, but… really? I guess I could send my Sim to work at the same time I go to work, but what about the weekends? The game count real life time but not real life days. Days don’t exist in The Sims Freeplay. There’s no day and night cycle – they go to sleep when they’re tired and I tell them to (sleeping varies from eight to 11 hours as well). So, if they get home from work, the game will wait a few hours and then the work button will continuously blink telling you they should go to work. It’s annoying.

Despite all this, I wanted to get far enough in the game to have two of my Sims get married, have kids, and get a pet. Well, The Sims Freeplay has “quests” that you need to download. You need to complete these quests in order to unlock certain things your Sims can do. So, even though I had spent money on building the Pet Shop, when I tried to get a pet, the game told me to download a certain quest, complete it, and then I would be able to use the Pet Shop. It was the same thing when I tried to romance two of my Sims.

The downloads are free, but takes up so much storage space. The game, without the quests, takes up a good chunk of space as well. With the other games and work apps I have on my iPad, I really didn’t want to download the various quests. I thought of doing one or two for the sake of this review, but… I really didn’t care enough to. Because honestly, as soon as this review goes live on the blog, the game is getting deleted from my iPad.

The Sims Freeplay gets a rating of…

Play It | Download It | DELETE IT

Overall, The Sims Freeplay isn’t a bad concept. I know things are limited for a mobile game, especially when it’s free. However, the game play was too minimal for me and the things I were able to do were too constricted. It was because of this I wasn’t able to have fun with it.

Have you played The Sims Freeplay before? What did you think of it? Let me 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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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.

frifavessingleplayer

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 | DoublexJump.com

rachmii
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.

krismii
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.

rachmii
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.

krismii
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.

krismii
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.

krismii
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

krismii
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.

rachmii
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.

krismii
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.

rachmii
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.

krismii
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.

krismii
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.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
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!