Splatoon 3 Is A Bunch Of Wholesome Joy

In the days since Splatoon 3 came out (keep in mind I write these a week before they post), I’ve played the game more and less than I expected to. The relatively smooth and straight-forward nature of the game lends itself to pick-up-and-play gaming, with me fitting in a couple matches by myself or some time working through the challenges in story mode into whatever spare fifteen minutes I have. At the same time, the often-times frustrating nature of repetitive losses or getting stuck on a challenge that requires a level of skill you just don’t have can make the game incredibly easy to put down. Over all, though, I’d say the fun, light-hearted nature of the game and relatively swift matches tips the scales so that I find myself enjoying my time with the game far more fequently than I find myself putting the game aside in frustration. In my experience with online, mostly player versus player games, that’s about as good a result as you could ever hope for.

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A Splatfestival Of Friendship

I spent almost 12 solid hours on Saturday the 27th of August playing Splatoon 3’s free demo with two of my friends. I’m talking maybe 30-ish minutes of breaks in there, though there was a bit more downtime considering the average queue time for a match was about 45 seconds and I kept getting booted out of matches right around the top of the hour. Any match that started within 2 minutes of a new hour, before or after, would end prematurely with me getting kicked out due to a communication error. It was too dependable to be an internet issue on my end (not to mention my voice call didn’t drop once), so it was clearly some kind of odd communication bug. Aside from that and the way that Team Scissors got absolutely massacred by the unbalanced Tricolor Battles, it was an amazing and fun experience.

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On Break From Cult of the Lamb

So, I spent a lot of time playing Cult of the Lamb. I even wrote about it last week. Unforuntaely, I got about halfway through the game (by my estimation, anyway. It might be longer than I think it is or shorter than I hope it to be) and a series of bugs rendered my save file almost unusable. Tack on constant performance issues, rituals failing to execute after selecting them, stuff disappearing from the game when I save and reload or between game launches, and various combat-related bugs that are responsible for all but one of my deaths, and it becomes clear that this was ready for cross-platform release. Also making it super clear is that many of these problems still exist on the PC version of the game, but with nowhere near the level of severity or consistency. I don’t know if I’ve ever played a game that felt as low-priority when it comes to console adaptions.

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I Tried Counting Sheep To Fall Asleep The Last Few Nights, But There’s Only One In Cult Of The Lamb

One of the reasons I’m taking it easy this week is because I’ve been short on sleep every single night since I got home from visiting a friend. Nothing’s wrong, I’ve just gotten completely absorbed into playing Cult of the Lamb every night. Sure, I’d probably be cutting myself off long before 1 or 2 in the morning if I had the chance to start playing before 1030 and wasn’t a little desperate to do anything enjoyable and relaxing with my evening. I’ve had errands, laundry, and Dungeons and Dragons games every night since I got home from visiting a friend, and while Dungeons and Dragons is enjoyable, it isn’t relaxing. It takes real effort and focus to run a game and while I don’t regret my decision to run a session this week, I do wish I was better rested going into the week. I would feel a lot less like rubbish if I was. And who knows, maybe I would have actually followed-through on my decision to “just play a bit” of this addictive combo rogue-lite and management sim instead of losing track of time until I started nodding off at 1 or 2 in the morning.

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Fire Emblems Warriors: Three Hopes Is More Than The Sum Of Its Parts

I’ve been playing a lot of Fire Emblems Warriors: Three Hopes lately. It has been a lot of fun, since it combines one of my favorite entries in the Fire Emblem series with a style of game I’m fairly new to (at least in terms of the lifespan of the game type) but definitely enjoy. I was introduced to the Warriors style of game by the IP crossovers they have been doing lately (again, an incredibly subjective term), namely the previous Fire Emblem game and the two Legend of Zelda entries, but I’ve never really finished any of them. I think I’ve gotten through the plot on one of them (the original Hyrule Warriors game), but I also didn’t play that one alone. My roommate and I took turns playing through it and I doubt I’d have made it through to the end without a friend along for the ride. I genuinely enjoy the games since a relatively mindless beat’em’up style game appeals to me when I’m tired or not terribly interested in being challenged, but I’ll admit the previous games didn’t really catch my attention in a way that made me choose them over any other game.

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Video Games: The Only Entertainment I’ll Let Frustrate Me Repeatedly

I’ve been getting back into a few games I started earlier this spring and thenfell off of either when new games came out or I hit intense periods of stress that drove me from new experiences to old comforts. I’ve never finished Pokémon Legends: Arceus or Horizon: Forbidden West, for example. I hit a point with both games, stopped playing, and never quite got around to playing either game again despite having enjoyed my time with them. The same is true of the new Pokémon Snap game. I got a ways into that, a new game came out, and I set it aside because it wasn’t a game that I could fall asleep to. That and getting up to change games in my Switch a whole bunch has never been fun when I’m trying to calm down for the evening.

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I’m Tired and Sad, So Let’s Talk About The Legend of Zelda: Episode 16

It has been one fuck of a past 10 or so days for me (as of writing this) and I just need something enjoyable to focus on. So, instead of continuing to reflect on my traumas, things adjacent to my traumas, or traumas I’m starting to realize are becoming more and more common, I’m going to write about a game I’ve played many different times throughout my life and had a different reaction to every time. That’s right, I’m writing about The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening!

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Stardew Valley Lets You (Metaphorically) Kill An Effigy Of Capitalism And I Just Think That’s Neat

I played a LOT of Stardew Valley last year. I got into playing it on the Switch with a friend of mine, but I’d bounced off the game a few times on the PC previously so I expected to only enjoy playing it as a means of socializing with a friend who lived far away. After all, I hadn’t disliked the game, I’d just gotten distracted and busy with other things. Playing with someone made it a lot more enjoyable, thanks to the potential for splitting up the daily tasks, but I’ll admit I struggled with how quickly the days pass when you can’t stop the clock during dialogues, cutscenes, or even the moments of transition between screens. Fishing also becomes nearly impossible because of how quickly the clock moves when you’re catching a single fish.

Eventually, I got tired of asking my friend questions about the game, of always feeling behind and uncertain of what I should be doing or preparing for in the coming days of the game. I decided to try playing solo again, in order to figure out how the game works, improve my farming efficiency, and really dig into the systems of the game on a deeper level than I could during multiplayer. Which is a great way to play the game if you understand the systems or are willing to let yourself be carried by your other player(s), but it’s not great for learning how the game works at any kind of speed since it doesn’t let you stop and think without the day passing you by. I figured I’d get maybe a year into my singleplayer game’s calendar and then fall off again. Instead, I wound up doing an entire year in the two weeks before I played with my friend again and then turned our fun, relaxed farm into an efficient, artisanal-goods-producing machine. Which was, you know, still fun. Just also incredibly profitable in a snowballing kind of way.

After getting into year three of my solo file, I fell off the game. There was still stuff to do, but I was working on increasing my understanding, efficiency, and planning. I was still experimenting with how to automate things, how to get enough of the resources I needed for stuff, and finding new things to explore in the wider world of Stardew Valley. I didn’t really get bored so much as the easy work was finished and I decided I needed a break because my nights were filled with hazy dreams about watering cans, tile selection for tool usage, and the constant grind of swapping out things being processed as they finished. If I ever go back to the game for solo play (which I probably will do, thanks to the expansive nature of the game and the creator’s penchant for continuing to release new content), I’ll probably start over and use what I’ve learned from my solo game to get optimal efficiency in my first year so I can knock out all the achievement type stuff right away and focus on the exploration, fighting, and end-game aspects. And the island. I never quite made it there, though I was right on the cusp when I fell off.

My friend and I don’t play much anymore. A mixture of increasingly busy schedules, her recent homeownership, our stress levels, and just a level of distraction with other things means we haven’t played in more months than I can easily recall. I’ve talked with other people about getting a multiplayer Stardew Vallet game set up, but it never seems to pan out. It seems like it has been difficult to find time to do such things with people lately, as everyone tries to fill out their schedules to either take advantage of the looser restrictions or fill up their evenings with entertainment as they continue to isolate from the on-going pandemic.

Which is too bad, because I could really use the escape the game offers. After all, the idea of leaving an office job behind in order to go live in a quiet little town full of interesting people who all seem receptive to newcomers (with a couple exceptions) and live off the land is incredibly appealing to me. I’d love to just check out of capitalism entirely, but the game is actually pretty reliant on capitalism since you gotta sell all your farm goods for money if you want to make any kind of advancements in the game. There’s no real bartering or community supply options.

Which, honestly, is pretty good for a video game, you know? That its only major failing is that you can’t destroy capitalism. You can destroy an effigy of capitalism though, so that’s neat. I ALWAYS pick that option. I couldn’t stand to play the game knowing I’d sold out a local community to a faceless, shitty corportation if I somehow went that route. Too real.

I’m Tired and Sad, So Let’s Talk About The Legend of Zelda: Episode 15

Things have been rough lately. I’ve made some personal gains, but it frequently feels like the world is crumbling around us as violence, hatred, and complicit indifference take center stage to the exclusion of mere decency and tolerance. I don’t have a quick answer to those problems, I don’t have the ability to make great change by myself, and I can barely get past my own anger and trauma enough to work on taking what are (in my opinion) the bare minimum steps a decent person can take in response to the world we find ourself in. What I can do, though, is provide a small escape. So today, when I’m tired and sad because of the world we find ourselves in, let’s talk about the power of the horizon in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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I Just Love Kirby Games So Much

I beat the main portion of Kirby and the Forgotten Land over the weekend. The game has stayed just as enjoyable throughout as it was at the start, which is pretty great considering how many games I play that feel like the beginning got way more work than the end. There’s a “post-game” section to play through that I’m spending my time on these days, but it doesn’t really feel like it’s “post” anything. It feels like the final act of the game, despite it being pretty clearly the post-game section (all but named as such by the NPCs in the game), and there isn’t all the much new content, so I can’t really argue with it being called that.

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