Outward scribbles of inward messages.
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Since launching last year, the Switch has enthralled me. Never before have I been so happy with a system, its handheld nature and power perfectly matching what I've always wanted from a games console. It naturally found itself as my console of choice, leading to the repurchase of many games already owned on other systems. Be it Skyrim, The Binding of Isaac, or Stardew Valley, each of these purchases felt valuable and worthwhile, the new life provided by portability serving well to justify their often inflated prices. With little control on my purchasing habits (and a little help from a certain friend intent on feeding me the highest quality trash), I find myself with a staggering 64 titles on Nintendo's latest system. It's a bit ridiculous, even by my standards. With this in mind, I wanted to do something with these games beyond just playing them.
And so here we are! Welcome to the first of however many blog posts it takes for me to cover each of my purchases. I plan to provide a short overview of each game, with reasons why I might have bought it, and why sometimes, you'd be best not repeating my mistakes. With university now over, I also find myself with a plethora of free time, so if any of the games mentioned interest you beyond my limited description and you want a full review, let me know and I'll get to it when I can!
This first post will cover the games that started my library, those acquired within the first few months of launch.
There's a fun story behind this one. It's actually the first game I ever played on the Switch. Yep, even before the brilliant Breath of the Wild. Ever since its reveal in the Nindies Showcase before the Switch launched, it had me captivated. A magical girl on a motorbike; the concept still stands out to me as brilliant. It had the potential to be a fun take on the Pilotwings formula, and in some respects it succeeded. Controls are fluid once you have a good bike, and it's great fun to fly around the maps presented to you. I'll also give it credit for its use of HD Rumble in mimicking the feel of a motorbike engine. That's about where my recommendation ends. This isn't a good game. If it had adopted the Pilotwings formula of small missions across large maps, I may be singing a different song, but there's just not enough content to justify the purchase for your average end user. With eight maps and no objectives beyond flying through rings and reaching the goal, I doubt you'll be around for more than an hour. For the masochists among us, there are achievements to collect, but even those essentially boil down to monotonous grinding of the same level.
I feel like this of all games needs no introduction. I'm sure it's the reason many of you bought your Switches, and to some extent, it was the reason I bought mine. The mere idea of an adventure of such scale and grandeur being available wherever I was; the concept blew my mind. Just a year later, it's strange to think how used to this idea I've become. Something like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 no longer surprises me, it just feels like the Switch being the Switch. Until it hits me, that is. Until I remember this is a little tablet. Back on the topic of Zelda, it was radical. The weekend this came out, myself and a housemate spent almost every moment playing the game. Myself heading towards the desert first, and him to the north, we were blown away by just how different our experiences were. The world was unknown, brilliantly baffling, without any way of finding help online. It's a magical time you just don't see often enough. The open world nature of the game never felt particularly revolutionary, nor did it need to be. It isn't without its flaws, but along with its continued support via two DLC packs, it's managed to stay relevant and fresh.
After the last two games, I forget the order in which I bought them, but I do remember Puyo Puyo Tetris to be one of my earlier purchases. Having originally played the Japanese version on the PS Vita eons ago, I found it to be an incredibly enjoyable means of playing Tetris, and it is ultimately still very much that on the Switch. Bright and colourful with a great soundtrack, as well as a distinct lack of the EA trash that has found its way into traditional Tetris releases, it's probably the best way to play right now. Now this obviously isn't just Tetris, Puyo Puyo is a fantastic game in its own right, but it's one a little beyond my way of thinking. It requires far more planning and forward thinking than I am quite frankly capable of, often leading me to frustration. It's a shame, because a good deal of the game's brilliantly written story requires you to play Puyo to progress, and every so often, I'd just hit a wall. I got around this wall using an in-game cheat code to unlock every level, but I couldn't help but feel cheap in doing so. If you're thinking of picking this up, consider taking the time to do what I didn't. Get into the tutorials and you'll have one heck of a good time.
Unlike the previous games, I was rather on the fence when it came to buying The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+. Having owned the game on PC, I knew it was something I could get into any time. The Switch version also included the game's latest DLC pack, and with it, Greed Mode—the place I ended up spending most of my time on PC. It was portable, it was the complete experience, and the Switch's screen size felt great for it. But it was also $40. That is a lot. At the time, I'm not quite sure what swayed my decision, and I can't quite say whether it was worth it. Ultimately, it's exactly what I expected. It's Isaac, you know what you're getting. Each playthrough it random, each playthrough it fun. I can get really into it for a week, then not play it for a month. It is definitely a sterling game, but I question whether the $40 would have been better spent, and whether I should've just stuck to its PC release.
That's all I have for now anyway. Four down, 60 to go. Yeesh. I tried to put together little banner images for each game mentioned too, but forgive my lack of graphical prowess. Maybe I'll improve in future. Until then, ciao for now folks ♪
Good morrow, good day, good eve!
After having to write a rather irritated letter to Royal Mail following their lack of compensation for losing my parcel, I find myself once more in the mood to scrawl my thoughts onto this lovely canvas. I'll apologise in advance for what I assume will be a strewn together assortment of words, but what must be said should be said.
To start from the beginning, I'll introduce myself. I mean, I'm starting from the very beginning here. I realise I never used the Introductions section despite quizzing new people rather thoroughly in my boredom, and it feels too late now to enter that realm. Here is probably the best place for it. I'm Scarlet! That was easy! I'm a games programming student in England constantly looking for something to occupy my time. I have a short attention span, and as such get easily bored. On top of that, I also struggle with things that do interest me because of a thirst for perfection. Well, maybe not quite perfection... When you're writing something and know there's a perfect word to get across your thought. I find those dilemmas distracting me from what would otherwise be a simple task, unable to continue knowing what follows would be a lesser version of what could have been. It's something I need to work on. I hope at least the things I write reflect the time taken to do so. Anyway, I used to come on Temp back in 2011 or 2012 back before the days of FileTrip to upload game saves. Not really sure what pushed me to do that, but the idea struck me as interesting at the time. I'm pretty sure my saves are still somewhere on FileTrip since it all got migrated. God only knows where that account is now. I only really started using the forum when Gateway announced their 9.0 support. Shocker, right? That being said, I don't think I've actually asked for help regarding that... I don't really remember why I signed up to be honest, but I'd like to think I've come a long way in the two and a half years I've been here.
I view myself as quite an unknown amongst the standout members here, and that's fine really. I don't often interact with the depths of EoF, nor to I really interact with many people around the site. Honestly, it's a miracle I have friends on here, but I really am grateful for them. For all the drama people cling to regarding Discord, it's done me good in easing interaction with people I otherwise wouldn't have found myself talking to.
So that's me, an introduction. Onto the present I suppose. GBAtemp is a site I've truly come to love, and in the past year, the steps taken towards its growth truly put a smile to my face. The Patreon, the new site theme, the revival of the Twitch channel. Some of them controversial in their own special ways, but ultimately all do good for the site. I think where I'm going with this is a simple thank you. It feels a little anti-climactic after what I've written, but I can't think of a better way of putting it. Thanks to the admins for pushing change, and embracing new systems to keep the site alive. Thanks to the mag staff for constantly driving Temp forwards as a source of quality reviews and news (and for letting me do a few of the reviews, they've really been fun!). Thanks to the mods who delve through hideous reports with only the money of the patrons as incentive. And thanks to the members of this site for keeping me interested for a solid two years. It's longer than I've stuck around anywhere else, so something must be right here.
Here's to more years of discussion, of homebrew, and of GBAtemp.
also yes, i was joking when i said the mods have patron money as incentive, those guys work for free. i dont get why, but like, they kinda deserve some respect for all the time they put into the site
Upon my return to university, I decided I wanted to stock up on easy meals that could stay in the cupboard as long as they needed to. Naturally, my first choice would be the instant noodle. A personal favourite food of mine, ready in just three minutes, and generally rather filling. My issue came in deciding exactly which flavours I wanted. Spoiled for choice on my favourite oriental food site, I made a bold decision. "I shall order three of each, and sample their flavour", I proclaimed to the heavens. Now here I am, forty-something packets of noodle later. The purpose of this blog will be to keep track of my tastings, and serve as a guide for future purchases for myself. I figured if it'll be useful to me, others may appreciate it. If not, well... It's still useful to me lol
Do pardon my lack of photographic prowess. I understand it isn't my strength, but I wanted to include pictures to simplify things for myself.
Artificial Pork Flavour (8th Sep 2017)Spicy Seafood Flavour (11th Sep 2017)Thai Tom Yum (13th Sep 2017)I'll update this blog post with more noodles as and when I eat them. Stay tuned!XO Sauce Seafood Flavour (14th Sep 2017)
It's rare I find myself in a mood as I am now, somewhat empty and void of emotion. I don't believe this is sadness, rather a lack of happiness. I apologise if this sounds particularly odd, I don't often write like this, however with the nature of my memory, I suppose I'd simply like a document of my current state. To the me of tomorrow, I existed as I am now, and I likely will again.
Small things drive me forwards, and keep me going. Something as little as sending a letter to a friend, or sending a packet of sweets. The small joys stand out to me as the most important, and I feel it's often forgotten. I'd like to think these acts do make an impression as they would unto me. I'd like to think a suffering friend's day can be brightened by something so simple, but it's difficult to truly see whether my efforts leave any impact. I can never see whether I'm doing enough because I only have my own eyes to look through, and it tears me apart at times. I have no right being sad over another's struggles, knowing their pain exceeds mine tenfold. Even so, I carry on. I do what I can, and simply have to hope it's enough.
To the me of tomorrow, never forget the small acts of kindness. To do so would be to forget yourself.
I've never really taken the time to properly review games. My only real attempt at it had me taking notes as I played as to keep every element of the game fresh in memory. That works for some people, and it helps to create a full, overall impression of the game - but to me, it takes away from the gameplay experience. This blog looks back at games I've played in the past, and the impression they've left in my memory. This might not be a full review, and I'm sure I've missed some of the best and worst elements of the game - but this is what's stuck with me. And I think that's a really important aspect of games people too often overlook.
Harvest Moon DS (HMDS) stands as my first look into the Harvest Moon franchise - set in the world of A Wonderful Life, and building upon its predecessor Friends of Mineral Town. If I had to summerise it to somebody unknowing to the game, I'd describe it as a quaint farming game where turnips and waifus reign supreme. Oh, and there's this witch, a goddess and a lot of small people with pointy hats.
Or thereby lack of. You shouldn't expect much in this department - and by that, I mean you shouldn't really expect... Anything. You're greeted with a brief encounter in the introduction, but I can't really say it'll stick with you. The only reason I recall it is because of the amount of time I've had to sit through that unskippable and drab sequence when starting new games. It feels like an eternity before you can actually go out and farm - but in actuality, the introduction is only a few minutes long. Witch dislikes Harvest Goddess for being a Harvest Goddess, Witch bops a spell, Harvest Goddess is in another dimension, Witch feels bad, sends the pointy hat friends to the other dimension too, she sees you, tells you to bring them back by farming. And there you have it! The start of your grand adventure in farming! ...for maybe a week.
The 8th of Spring (or was it the 9th?)
This day sticks strong in my memory (or at least those two days do, it's one of them). You've harvested your first bout of turnips, you've rescued two water sprites, and three mysterious sprites that claim to help you in future. Sure you've maybe picked up a few more things on the way, tidied up your farm? Minding your own business, you cross the bridge in the middle of Forget-Me-Not Valley and BAM. Screen is white. A sprite appears before you, but why? What great news does this angel herald?
He's the head honcho of the casino. That's right folks, this game has it all! Every element you need to become a successful farmer - a farm, a cast of adorable to-be brides, and of course, what every farmer needs - a gambling addiction. It would be no exaggeration to say 70% of my playthroughs ended here. Be it for better or worse, the casino stands as a fantastic way to kill time and earn boat loads of cash... Unless you're playing the EU version of course. You see, this was around the time Nintendo games started to mysteriously lose their gambling features. Remember Pokemon Platinum? Remember the Game Corner? Remember scrounging for coins because the game decided for you the slot machines were too much? Yeah, those dark days. HMDS was hit in this dark tide, replacing the entourage of casino classics with Pairs, Pairs, and, would you guess it, Pairs! It's not a game killer, believe me there. If you're making money in the casino, it's actually very unlikely to come from the actual playing of casino games - rather the double or nothing opportunities that come after. The maximum you can get from a game is maybe a thousand medals from your initial bet of ten. With double or nothing, I've managed ten million. These medals can then go onto purchase items from the casino shop, which can then either be utilised or sold on for a disgusting profit.
Once you've gotten over your mild gambling addiction, you might be questioning just what you'll spend all that money on. Your farm's probably still a mess because nobody really finishes tidying their farm until Winter, so that really only leaves you with one thing on the mind - home improvement! The cycle of home improvement is an odd one for sure. You call Gotz in (the burly business woodman), he builds you something, you watch the TV shopping channel, you buy more stuff for your now bigger house, you call Gotz again. This is what living on a farm is all about! Watching TV and getting some other guy to do work for you! Gotz can take a few days to get the job done, but to quote the man himself: "You will be pleased."
Birds of a Feather
So let's recap. We started out as a pure farmer, became addicted to and gave up gambling, and now have a sweet home made of Gold (we got REALLY addicted to gambling). Your next step into Forget-Me-Not Valley is to introduce yourself to the local beauties... And everybody else in this valley for that matter. Because in the time spent upgrading houses and forever stuck in a dark room of the casino, you're already in Fall and yet to talk to a single person. Don't worry, it happens to the best of us farmers. Brush the dust off your decrepit shoes and venture outside! Attracting the females in this game is a simple process. Get something they love, and give them one - and only one of them - every day until they marry you. It really is that simple. My favourite girl, the lovely Lumina, has simple tastes. All she asks is a Diamond a day! Wait, we don't have diamonds.
Into the Mines!
As a farmer, you don't simply acquire jewels and such through traders and other official means. You must take it upon yourself to dig for the glory of your woman. Unless your woman is Muffy. In which case, you should forsake farming and burn your cartridge. You are not worthy of the offerings in which this game doth provide. Mining can be a tricky beast for newcomers - balancing stamina consuming acts such as digging and breaking rocks with staying alive long enough to get something good out of them. To get those sweet sweet diamonds and other goodies (you get a freaking sword at the bottom of the second mine!), you'll have to fight through hordes of miscellaneous dark farm creatures you've never seen before - and eventually, you'll have to fight your own inner darkness. Spooky stuff.
Back to Feathers
Right! Diamonds acquired, house upgraded, we are ready for a wife! As mentioned prior, this process is relatively simple, and will further shorten your farm days! Wake up, give diamond, sleep, repeat. It's really that simple! Give it a few seasons and you'll have your brand new wife. She moves into your house, it's cute.
By this point, you've expended every other option, it's time to start farming. It's around now you realised that farm you partially cleared up has once more become a rundown hovel thanks to your months of neglect. Alas, a few days of cleaning will soon see it in great shape. Farming is fun in Harvest Moon. Heck, it's what you're actually supposed to be doing - but in my years of playing, I feel I've ruined the experience for myself. No longer is it a joyous act of sewing seeds and reaping my crop. It has become a monotonous process of leveling up turnips of all things. Did you know a single Level 100 turnip would net you 600k Gold? Well I sure did. And that thought drove me neigh to the point of insanity. The endless cycle of planting, watering, harvesting, seed-makering. There's only so much I could take. My turnips made it to Level 37, still fetching an astounding 82k each. But it wasn't enough. It's never enough.
You could also raise animals in this game. Turnips somewhat dominated my life so most of mine died. I should try a livestock-oriented farm at some point, maybe it'd help? Sheep are cute too so that's a bonus.
There you have it folks, Harvest Moon DS as told by my memory. While it slowly became a rant into my own play style flaws, I'd say it gives a reasonable insight into the game. Though I may not have shown it as well as I probably should, HMDS stands as one of my favourite games, and I really would recommend it - especially to those who played and enjoyed Mineral Town. Also I feel genuine hatred towards Guts.
Post note: Will probably update this with some screenshots if I find my cart. It's lying around somewhere...