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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Fire Emblem: Engage Is Anything But

While I did not manage to finish my most recent Fire Emblem: Three Houses play-through, I decided to go ahead and start playing Fire Emblem: Engage anyway. It had just come out, after all, and I needed something new and exciting after the week I’d had. I needed something to keep me engaged and, well, it was right there in the title. Unfortunately for me, my first evening of playing the game was marked by multiple restarts, no ability to shift the difficult up mid-game (which accounts for one of the restarts), and a whole lot of trying to figure out if the mouth movements were bad and making everything else seem good by comparison or if I just couldn’t see anything because the mouth movements for the English dub prevented me from noticing anything else happening during the dialogue and cut-scenes.

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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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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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The One Thing I Can’t Escape in Pokémon Violet

I still have a few more plot events to run through in the latest Pokémon game, not to mention about one hundred to one hundred fifty Pokémon still to catch or trade for, but I’ve put a pretty serious dent in the game’s content, met most of the NPCs, finished my classes, and at least briefly visited every major area in the game. I’ve had some fun moments spotting Psyducks glitched into surfaces, finding Garchomps flying around in mountains, discovering that my shiny Psyduck really is visually glitched and I wasn’t just imagining it being weird-looking this entire time (it’s constantly under a “bright-light-making-colors-fade-a-bit” effect when it appears in the world), and getting revenge on the high-powered trainer I accidentally ran into in my first few hours of the game (a cabbie just outside the central hub city on the path to the Elite Four is stronger than most gym leaders). I’ve had a lot of fun exploring the world, searching for new Pokémon to catch, and discovering stuff some of my friends who already finished their Pokédexes never found. It’s been fun. Mostly.

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The Latest Pokémon Game Comes With A Whole New Collection Of Fan Complaints

I played a lot of the new Pokémon game over the weekend. I picked up the Violet version of the game, agonized briefly over my starter (I wound up going with Fuecoco because his adorable empty head felt very aspirational to me as I struggled my way through the side-effects of my Covid booster), came to despise the rival-type character for her constant condescension, and got lost in exploration. I wound up collecting about 160 Pokémon in my play over the weekend and only a single badge. After all, I was too busy losing myself in classes, sandwich-based picnics, and the intricacies of locating new Pokémon to bother with pursuing badges, titans, or the downfall of Team Star (who mostly seem harmless so far). Plus, I found myself resisting my usual level of immersion and drive after spending most of the day the game came out reading about performance issues, visual glitches, and the sundry other complaints it feels like the most vocal people on the internet have raised against this game, Game Freak, and Nintendo in general. Even after several hours of play, I still feel trepidatious about investing myself in the game given all the negativity I’ve seen online. Maybe I’ve just gotten lucky, so far?

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Preparing for Pokémon and Another Splatfest

As I’m writing this, we’re a week away from the release of the next entry in the main line of the Pokémon franchise and, to mark this release, Splatoon 3 has a new Splatfest where the theme at hand is which Pokémon type makes for the best partner. The three types involved are Water, Fire, and Grass, representing the three starter Pokémon that will be available in the new game. All of which I have incredibly mixed feelings about since my usual option (Grass) is turning into another antropomorphic cat according to the recent leaks. While I know it’s possible that the leaks aren’t actually leaks but clever fakes, everyone I know has been expecting the new grass type to turn into an anthropomorphic cat this entire time (myself included), so I’m having a difficult time convincing myself that there is still hope I can cling to that we’ll get a cool tiger or something instead of ANOTHER ANTRO CAT. There’s so many of those suckers already and that sort of design doesn’t really appeal to me (though I know it appeals to lots of other people) even when it doesn’t feel as played-out as it does in Pokémon.

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Thoughts While Staring At My Reflection In A Pitch-Black Loading Screen

I don’t know why I thought that Kirby remake was coming out this month. All of the information I can find about it says it comes out in February. As I’m trying to find what I got it mixed up with, I’m beginning to wonder if it was just wishful thinking on my part that caused the confusion rather than me mixing up the release dates of two things. I can’t find anything that would have come out any time around now that I would have thought I wanted to get. The new God of War game comes out in two weeks, the new Pokémon game doesn’t come out for four more weeks. All of the other Switch games I saw don’t come out until 2023 at some point. I can’t even think of any PC games that I’m waiting for. I guess I just got the numbers mixed up when I looked at the late February release date for the Kirby game. Which is too bad, really, since now I’ve got to wait even longer for a new game. Which is probably fine. Between Cyberpunk 2077 and replaying Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I have plenty to keep me occupied these days.

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The Splatoon Comm Error Saga Continues

After spending a week struggling to find every single possible issue that could explain why I kept getting an error claiming my Switch had lost connection to my router, I spent the first twenty-four hours of the most recent Splatfest trying to enjoy myself between instances of getting temporarily banned from continuing to play. Nothing I’d done had worked. It had maybe decreased the frequencey of the issues, which was probably enough to hide the problem in the week leading up to the Splatfest, but with all of the heavy traffic and multiple hours of playing that weekend, the lost connection issues resurfaced. I spent time on Saturday doing more research, once I’d gotten so sick of being banned that I decided to call it quits for the night, but it was one of my friends who gave me the tidbit I needed to confirm the actual source of the issue.

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