Returning to the Mines

After a little bit over two years, I returned to Minecraft. Even though I played back in mid to late 2020, I didn’t really get into it much. One of my friends wanted to run a server and wound up setting up a huge number of automated farms to generate pretty much every type of material we could want, all the resources we could trade for, and so many XP farms that we never ran into issues when it came to enchanting things. We even cleared The End and got everyone on the server kitted out with Elytra (a cape that lets you glide or even fly if you use fireworks while gliding) so that travel become easy and safe. Except in the Nether, where there was lava everywhere and one false step could not just kill you, but destroy every item you had. Which, you know, falling to your death in The End could also do, since that’s above a massive, endless void, but you usually had time to save yourself if you were flying when this happened.. It was a lot of fun, but it took a lot of the procedural joy out of the game, when everything became easily available.

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Returning to Animal Crossing New Horizons

As I’ve struggled with falling asleep at night, I’ve returned to one of the games I used to soothe my anxiety during the peak of the pandemic: Animal Crossing. I bought a digital version of the game at some point last year, to ease the disruption I felt during the cold winter evenings when I was forced to leave my cocoon of blankets in order to change the cartridge in my Switch, and then wound up not playing it much more than I had previously. It turns out that even removing the one incredibly minor inconvenience preventing me from playing the game wasn’t enough to get me back into it in a dependable manner. This time, though, I swore it would be different. This time, I needed the calm music and friendly NPCs to soothe my spiraling mind.

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My Video Game Schedule Is Full Through Next Winter

I played a lot of video games during my two-week vacation over the winter holidays this year, but I feel like I barely scratched the surface of all the games I got and want to play. This feeling isn’t entirely based in reality, since half the games I currently want to play are games that I don’t own. I put a bit of an embargo on buying things in the latter half of the year, specifically on games I would be alright waiting to play but definitely wanted to play eventually so I’d be able to give people ideas for what to give me as a gift. Now that the holidays are over and I’m not expecting any more gifts, I’m looking to buy everything I wanted and didn’t get. It’s not a huge amount of games, to be sure, but it’s enough that I’m probably going to be busy for months, especially with all the other games coming out this year.

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My Pokémon X-perience Is Kinda Forgettable

I’ve been doing a replay of the Pokémon franchise over the past year or so (very casually, mostly while riding my exercise bike or for a few scattered minutes here or there) and I started Gen 5 a month ago with Pokémon X. Now, I’ve never actually finished Pokémon X before. I’m not sure I’ve even gotten to the point where I’d fight or capture the titular legendary Pokémon in either of my past play-throughs. I honestly can’t remember how far I got in any of my previous runs because they were all fairly focused play-throughs that happened with multiple years between them. I think I did my last attempt at beating the game in the months before Pokémon Sword and Shield came out, and the one before that was in the year or two after the game originally released. Long enough ago that I don’t remember exactly when it happened.

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Spending Christmas In Valheim

The time has come for my yearly return to Valheim. There’s a new major patch, I’ve got some amount of time off coming up that is pretty much unclaimed due to the world shutting down for a holiday I don’t celebrate, and I have a huge backlog of podcasts since I spent the last three or four months doing a re-listen of the entire Sci-Fi side of Friends At The Table in preparation for the upcoming new season. Now, all I need to do is figure out how to get my friend who hosts the world to leave his computer on so I can play while he’s busy with family. Then I’ll be set to build the new base we’ve been discussing and maybe go on a bunch of hunts to finally have enough feathers so I’m not constantly rationing all of my arrows. He’s the tank and I’m the DPS, so I have been running out super quickly now that we’re in areas that take some real work to deal with all kinds of more-mobile enemies (the plains are full of smaller enemies that really just love to change their movement direction the instant I loose my arrows).

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Bad Parents, Video Games, And My Search For Catharsis

Spoiler warning: the following post contains major plot spoilers for God of War: Ragnarok and Pokémon: Violet/Scarlet. They’re in the next paragraph and form the majority of it, and they don’t show up any less the further down you go. You cannot escape them unless you leave this post now and only return once you’ve had am opportunity to beat those games to your satisfaction. I don’t really go into specifics in terms of how things happen, but there are secrets and conclusions to things that get revealed, so maybe bail out before you read those if reading them will negatively impact your gaming experience. Since I’m out of other stuff to put here, to push the spoilers further down the page, I’ll let you go with a final admonition of “you’ve been warned” and hope that you are making good choices for yourself.

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The Latest Update to Splatoon 3 Looks Pretty Chill

A new season has begun in Splatoon 3. I haven’t been playing the game much lately, and the idea of new stages, game modes, and weaponry doesn’t really appeal to me in the “let’s try out some new cool stuff!” kind of way, but it might just get me back into the game anyway. After all, it’s always been fun when I haven’t been getting disconnected and put in time out as a result. The core gameplay loop is pretty fun and fairly low-stakes since the matches only last a few minutes, so the only thing that ever really gets on my nerves is the communication issues. Sure, there’s still some issues that the game’s creators need to address by improving communication overall, but my ISP also shares some of the blame at this point and there’s not much I can do about it unless I want to call so I can get sales pitches thrown at me for an hour while I get transferred between various departments multiple times before someone just as tired of the rigmarole as I am finally confirms that they don’t offer any service plans that include what I want. And I would rather do just about anything else with my time than that.

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