Posted in Game Lists

A Hobbit’s Quirks: 5 Weird In-Game Habits

Recently I have been delving back into my adventure in Greece with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and as I have been playing, a recurring quirk that I noticed made me think that it might be fun to write about some of the strange habits I have whilst playing all manner of games.

If you think that you have some habits of your own to add, feel free to comment below, or even write your own post detailing these habits if you have quite a few!

1. Dry Feet

Starting off with what might be the weirdest habit here … I am pretty sure this is my subconscious and not done on purpose, but whenever I traverse a game world, I seem to do so in a way that keeps my character from needlessly getting those toes wet! By no means do I avoid water segments in games, this quirk only seems to affect things like puddles in the street, running through the river instead of alongside it, things like that … I told you this was a weird one.

2. Hoarding

Wow, a potion! This is sure to come in handy later! But when exactly is later? The next boss fight? A tough random encounter? The final boss? These items are here to help us, to ease our gaming journey. But will I use them? No! Because I am crazy apparently. My Pokemon don’t get revives, potions, ethers. My Final Fantasy party doesn’t get a hi-potion. One day perhaps, I will have a bag of items which I will put to use freely, without concern that “this just isn’t the time”.

3. Did I save?

I’m pretty sure that this dates back to my childhood playing Pokemon (possibly Gold or Silver) where I thought I saved but actually didn’t … hours of gameplay vanished, by the flick of a switch. I never forgave, and I never forgot. DID I SAVE?? Save it again, and a third time if you’re really not sure. But what about autosaves and quick-saves? I just can’t bring myself to trust them, I’m not ready for that level of commitment. I will almost always open the load screen just to make sure that this alleged autosave has actually got my back, to make sure that the quick-save has indeed finished saving, and that it will not throw a royal tantrum when I return to the game later.

4. Get Out Of The Way!

I think I’m too polite for my own good. This is another one that is most predominant in my Pokemon playthroughs. I don’t like to be “in the way”. If I heal my Pokemon, access the PC, enter/exit a building, I don’t like to then start fiddling about with menus or anything like that. I actually step to the side so that the completely imaginary populace of the world around my fictional character can go about their day without me standing in their way. Also, shout-out to the fact that I hate running into people as well! Some games you just have to breathe in the vicinity of an NPC and they fall over … it makes me feel guilty! Yes, I know they’re not real people – stop giving me that look!

5. Skill point build-up

Skill points are a funny thing … first you end up not being able to decide which of your desired skills you should invest in first, until eventually you get all the skills that you had your eye on, and then you don’t know what to spend your points on. What will be most helpful? What if you choose something that ends up being a wasted skill point? It doesn’t take me long to build up a reserve of skill points, and there is usually some sort of HUD notification that follows, reminding me that I still need to pick something …

Posted in Game Lists

Animal Crossing New Horizons: A Hobbit’s Dream Neighbours

Today I want to talk about my to 10 favourite Animal Crossing villagers, and seeing as New Horizons allows you to have 10 villagers on your island, I guess you could say that these are my ideal neighbours!

Please be warned, after whittling down my choices I have discovered that I love cute, fluffy villagers with excellent style and personalities. In other words, no cranky or jock villagers!


Erik

If you’re afraid of wolves, don’t go to the woods.

Oh let’s not pretend that you wouldn’t have a reindeer as a neighbour if you could! Plus, we actually have a lot in common. We both love the snow, have a passion for knitwear jumpers, and we’re always thinking about food!


Sprinkle

Frosting is just the icing on the cake.

As a general rule, I always love the penguins. I love real life penguins anyway, and most of the penguin villagers are pretty sweet. Sprinkle really takes the cake though. I mean, look at her. How can anything possibly be so adorable? Her little phrase is “frappe” … she just oozes cute.


Cleo

There’s something lovable in all of us.

Look at those eyes. Look at those eyes and tell me you don’t love Cleo! She takes her name from horseback rider Cleo Ridgley, a rather touching tribute! As a snooty villager, Cleo brings a touch of class to any town that she moves to, and don’t let Victoria know I said this but … she is definitely the best horse. (Sorry Victoria!)


Audie

Be the kind of person your future self won’t regret having been.

Another stunningly stylish villager on the list, Audie is an adorable wolf villager (although her colour scheme suggests she is actually a fox) who is supposedly named after 87 year old Audrey Buchanan who put more than 3500 hours into her New Leaf town. I really hope I can get her to move to my island one day soon!


Zucker

There’s no such thing as luck.

Zucker is one of the villagers who is portrayed as food, and frankly one of the best. I love the octopus villagers, look at their cute little tentacles and suckers! I always thought that he was supposed to be some sort of chocolate pudding, but he is in fact takoyaki, a savoury dish that often has octopus as a filling … slightly macabre huh?


Marina

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

So adorable. So pink. So cute! I love her and I need her. I’m not sure if I can add anything else to this.


Julia

Cut once, measure twice… Wait- reverse that.

Julia is an ostrich villager, but her design makes her quite obviously a peacock. I challenge you to find a more flamboyantly stylish villager. She is currently a resident on my island, and that is actually the first time that I have seen her – I’ll make sure she sticks around because I have really come to like her. (Plus she sends me nice presents)


Tangy

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!


Tangy was my SALVATION. I had two villagers I couldn’t stand, I had my full town of 10 villagers, and I was desperate to get rid of at least one of these villagers. I waited and waited and waited … my campsite was empty for so long, with only occasional visitors who didn’t leave a great impression on me. And then she appeared. Tangy arrived with all of her peppy sass, and I knew instantly that I wanted her to boot out one of my troublesome neighbours.

Molly

Like water off a duck’s back.

Molly is an incredibly sentimental villager for me. I got her as an original villager in my first town on New Leaf. She was my favourite villager out of anyone else in the town, I definitely spent the most time with her, and in the end she became the first villager in any Animal Crossing game to give me their picture. Because of this, Molly will always be a special villager in my mind, and there will always be an open plot for her.


Goldie

A little bit of happiness is better than a lot of anguish.

The year was 2006. The game was Wild World. The villager was Goldie. She is the one, the only, the best – the absolute BEST villager! I have not had the fortune of running into her again since my Wild World game, but I am confident that I will find her and bring her to my island. I will rescue her from whatever impoverished lands she is currently enduring, and I will give her a home that is worthy of her. I owe it to her.


Posted in New Games

Final Fantasy VII Remake

I almost can’t believe that it is finally here. I have waited so long — we have all waited so long! But finally the Final Fantasy VII Remake is upon us, and personally it’s more than I could have ever hoped for! I will try to keep this mostly spoiler free, but for those of you who have not yet played and want to jump in with nothing spoiled at all, I suggest you put off reading this for now!

As most of you will know by know, this is only the first release of what will be an episodic remake of VII, and it is based on your time in Midgar (which in the original game was just disc 1 of 4!). It feels so good to see so many of the places we know so well get a full makeover, fleshed out and teeming with life! Many new aspects have been added to the game to achieve this including new places, people, plot points, mini games and features.

We will get to meet all the existing characters who we are already so fond of, as well as a whole host of new characters, all of whom fit into the world we know so well.

One of the biggest changes between the remake and the original is the battle system. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the original, Final Fantasy VII was before the time of active battles in the franchise, and so it worked on a turn based system. This meant choosing whether to attack, cast a spell, use an item etc. once each party member was ready to do so. But now, everything has been totally revamped to fit in with the current style of the franchise. This means totally active battles, controlling only one character (but being able to switch between your party members), moving around the battlefield, dodging, parrying, experiencing a true battle. So where do spells and such come into it? Well, as you battle your party will each have an ATB gauge that fills overtime. The gauge is split into segments, and these segments are used to perform abilities, and use your spells or items. No more spamming potions and phoenix downs! You’ve now got to have your characters be strong enough to survive taking a few punches if you want to heal up in a dire situation!

One of the many things that the Final Fantasy franchise is known for is have beautiful soundtracks. FF7: Remake is absolutely not an exception to this rule. The original game has some iconic tracks itself, and of course we will have to wait for future episodic releases before we can hear it all, but what I have heard so far is exceptional. A perfect balance of nostalgia from the redesign of existing tracks, and pleasure of experiencing the new tracks for the first time. Besides the actual background music, there are also CDs to be found around the world, all of which have a retro/nostalgic feel whilst also having their own themes.

There were many pivotal moments for me whilst playing – meeting the characters that I already knew so well and seeing them truly brought to life, being surprised by how much I suddenly adored characters I already knew and didn’t care about (shout out to Jessie, Biggs and Wedge), and seeing iconic scenes and places from the original.

I won’t forget the moment Aerith was revealed after her makeover any time soon.
Jessie, a character I never cared about. The Remake has changed my opinion entirely.
Almost every interaction with Aerith feels so meaningful – also her garden is stunning.

So of course, being the same game but remade, the plot is virtually the same … right?

You are of course following the same characters and the same story, but it is not entirely identical. In fact, I noticed some key additions (and even differences) as I played. How about the mysterious ghost-like entities that seem to harass the party at pivotal plot points? And Avalanche … weren’t they just a tiny group? Now apparently a small delegation of a much larger group? And Aerith … I don’t know about the rest of you that have played, but something feels different. Of course, she is much more fleshed out just like everyone else, but in a way that just makes it more obvious. It’s almost like she has an awareness of some sort. I have a theory in mind, but I’m not going to get into that here.

So in short, Final Fantasy VII Remake really is everything that I hoped it would be, and that much more on top of that. I totally recommend it for anyone who enjoyed the original game, and for any RPG fans who never got a chance to play the original! In fact, the game is so good that I actually payed full retail price for it just because I wanted to get it as soon as it came out. Trust me, that almost never happens.


  • Platform: PS4
  • Release Date: 10/04/2020
  • Genre: Fantasy RPG
Posted in Gaming Journals

Vinland: A Hobbit’s Tour

Like so many others, I have been playing an awful lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons during this strange period. After all, wouldn’t we all like to go outside and see our friends right now? Animal Crossing has been an interesting placeholder for that, especially seeing as my friends can actually come to my island.

And as it is the first Animal Crossing game in the franchise that has allowed you to decorate and terraform your island as you see fit, I have of course been very busy building an island that I would be please to call home.

Now I would like to take you on a little tour of my fair island, so please sit back, relax, and enjoy your virtual trip to Vinland.


Welcome to Vinland!

Vinland – an island where community and nature come together. Although most of the island has been transformed into a friendly town, there is still much of the island which has been left to nature.


Vinland’s central plaza where locals gather to chat or meet visiting vendors.
Take a walk through the central district to see Vinland’s vibrant flower fields.

We have large fields of blooms which attract all manner of insects, as well as provide a colourful view as you get around the island.


We’re lucky to have a beautiful shopping district.
The shopping district is split on both sides by stunning waterfalls.

Our shopping district is never far away, no matter where you are on the island. You’ll find Nook’s Cranny, Able Sisters, and even some amenities along the streets. A waterfall sits besides both establishments, providing the district with a natural border.


We have beautiful beaches for you to relax on.

Vinland has a number of beaches for you to enjoy, but the most popular is just by the gorgeous tulip field, with a great view of the planes as they come to and from the island.


Take a walk through our shell path to our public park.
The park is a great place to pass the time.

We are proud to boast a spacious park where everyone is welcome to meet up with their friends and unwind on the various toys available. And once you are done there, you can take a short walk through the shell arch pathway straight to the beach.


We have a clifftop nature reserve with some stunning scenery for you to enjoy.
Enjoy the sea view, head down to Redd’s cove, or climb further up.
See Vinland’s water source and how far it stretches across.

We have a number of different natural areas for you to explore. You can take the clifftop pathway by the flowing river and watch the waterfalls on the cliff, head down to Redd’s Cove for a quiet moment of peace, explore the source of the river and hop over the waterfalls, or walk through our wild lily field whilst helping yourself to the native fruits.


Feel like visiting? Come and stay in our campsite, located in our oriental district.

Our oriental district spans the eastern edge of the island, you’ll think you have taken a trip to Asia with out bamboo groves, the blooming azaleas, and the beach-side rock pool. Why not bring a tent to stay the night in our peaceful campsite where you can listen to the sounds of the bamboo and the beach with the scent of the hyacinths in the air.


We have residences set up in our busiest areas.
And our more quiet areas.
Vinland residents are often out and about, enjoying their wonderful town.

Our residents live all over the island, but distance is no matter as everyone likes to visit their island neighbours and explore the island.


Coming soon, Vinland’s natural outdoor concert arena.

Vinland’s latest attraction (nearing completion) is our exciting outdoor concert arena! Just head down the steps from our clifftop walk to find yourself in this tiny valley, and you just might be treated to a concert with the best acoustics you’ve ever heard, and even a sea view while you enjoy the show!


Posted in Game Lists

Have You Ever? Gaming Edition

Check out A Geek Girl’s Guide original Have You Ever? post! If you feel like joining in, feel free to copy and paste the questions at the bottom of this post.


Rage quit a game

To the best of my memory, I can only recall doing this once. Earlier in the year I bought the Kingdom Hearts collection as it was in the sale, and the series has been heavily recommended to me by various friends … After playing through the torturous tutorial and then being beaten by the boss at the end of it (after seemingly making no impression on him at all) … I decided enough was enough and quit with a lot of annoyance and disappointment.


Earned all achievements in a game

I think there are quite a few that are missing an achievement here and there, but there is one title where I managed to snag every trophy – Dragon Age: Inquisition. This was before the DLC however, and I haven’t quite picked up all of those, just the odd one or two missing.


Pulled an all-nighter gaming

I have actually never done this. It’s not irregular for me to stay up quite late, I’ve got no problem with that – or even with getting up early … but for whatever reason, I have never stayed up the whole night gaming.


Livestreamed your gaming

Never, but I do watch quite a few livestreams. I have often thought that it looked like a lot of fun, but I’m not totally sure. What would I play? Would anyone watch? Is it complicated to set up? I think I’ll stick to being an audience member for now.


Pre-ordered a game

I don’t often pre-order, I usually prefer to wait patiently for a sale (not like I don’t have plenty of other games to sink my teeth into), but every now and again there’s a title which I don’t mind paying extra for, just so I can have it as soon as possible! The most recent example being Animal Crossing: New Horizons.


Bought a game and never played it

Far too often. Disturbingly often. Problematically often.


Been jumpscared by a horror game

Oh yes. All the time! That’s just part of the fun when you’re playing horror games.


Had a set squad for a specific game

Not really … although I guess I do have a group of friends on Animal Crossing, we visit each other’s islands, buy gifts for each other, confer turnip prices … that sounds like squad activity … right?


Bought a game on multiple platforms

No. Of course not. That would be absurd and wasteful. Who would buy Skyrim on PS3, PS4, and PC?? Only a fool, that’s who! … Okay, okay, it was me! I’m the fool! On the plus side, all three purchases were cheap offers.


Got a console for the games specifically

I guess the Nintendo Switch would be the best example of this. Lots of games and franchises I love that I would only get on the Switch!


Want to do this tag? Just copy the prompts below!

Rage quit a game

Earned all achievements in a game

Pulled an all-nighter gaming

Livestreamed your gaming

Pre-ordered a game

Bought a game and never played it

Been jumpscared by a horror game

Had a set squad for a specific game

Bought a game on multiple platforms

Got a console for the games specifically

Posted in Game Lists

Pokémon Generations: A Hobbit’s Ranking


Towards the end of 2019 I took part in Adventure Rules’ Charming And Open project, where we each offered the other a question which had to be answered in the form of a blog post. My question to the blogger was what his thoughts were towards the designs of the different generations of Pokémon, and his thoughts in the ideas behind them.

Reading his response got me thinking about my own thoughts on each generation, so of course I felt I should share!

So without further ado, here are the Pokémon Generations Ranked By Me!


#8 – GENERATION 5 – UNOVA

Unova … Generation 5 was a bold attempt at a completely fresh Pokedex, no previously encountered Pokémon were found in Black and White. To Unova’s credit, there were a lot of ‘Mons that I thought had strong designs behind them, some that I instantly liked – but Unova is at the bottom of this list because of the sheer number of Pokémon that I specifically do not like in this generation.

So, starting with the starters – I would have to say that these are the most lackluster of all the starters we have seen so far. I have to admit that I hold a bit of a personal grudge against Tepig – He was the third consecutive Fire starter to take on Fighting as a secondary type. The third one. Who could have possibly thought this was a good idea? It’s something that has always annoyed me, and to make matters worse, I didn’t actually like the evolutions of Tepig anyway, so there was no saving grace. Snivy and Oshawott I actually have no strong feelings about, good or bad. They simply are what they are.

As for the box legendaries, Reshiram and Zekrom? Honestly, the less said here, the better. I don’t think they look good, I don’t find them appealing to use in any way, and I didn’t really enjoy any part that they actually played in the game at all. Without a doubt they are some of my least favourite legendaries.

There are actually a lot of Pokémon that I really like in Generation 5. There are plenty that I could show you, but I have chosen the best of the best below.

And now for the worst of the lot – these are the Pokémon that I simply cannot abide. These guys are the reason for Unova being at the bottom end of this list for me, with a special mention to Conkeldurr, Scrafty, Vanilluxe and Klinklang.


#7 – generation 4 – sinnoh

Sinnoh brought us over 100 new Pokémon to add to the Pokedex, and there were definitely some solid designs in there! But for me, it wasn’t all good.

The starters were good, with excellent themes being used. Turtwig would grow to be Torterra who clearly takes inspiration from the “World Turtle” concept, Chimchar was an adorable little fire monkey who would later become Infernape, possibly inspired by characters from Asian myths and legends, and Piplup who evolve into Empoleon, quite clearly representing Emperor Penguins and the famous Napoleon Bonaparte. My only complaint about these starters is the fact that this was the second generation in a row that we were given a Fire/Fighting starter. While I do love Infernape, I felt like this didn’t do the ape any favours.

The Legendaries of this generation for me were ….okay? I don’t dislike them by any means, but I don’t like them a huge amount either. I thought that the Time/Space theme was good, but I just don’t see it.

There are more than a few Pokémon that I really like in this region, and here are some of my favourites from the lot.

There were a lot of new evolutions of already existing Pokémon that arrived in Sinnoh – while I personally felt like some of them were simply not needed or well designed, most of them I think were fantastic! Below are the evolutions which I felt really stood out, with my personal favourites being Weavile and Gallade.

Sinnoh finds itself near the bottom of this list as there were so many Pokémon that I just didn’t like. The worst offenders here would have to be Wormadam, Lickilicky, and Probopass, but you can see some of the others that I disliked below.


#6 – generation 7 – alola

Alola saw us going to more tropical climes on our Pokémon journey, and also found a number of ways to challenge the conventions that have been held sacred by the main games of the series up to this point.

The starters were a great bunch for me, I really liked all three (but Rowlett and Litten have the edge over Popplio) but one of the things that set them apart from the others is the unique typing! Rowlett becoming Grass/Ghost, Litten becoming Fire/Dark, and Popplio becoming Water/Fairy. And all three reflected these types in their designs superbly.

The Legendary Pokémon, Solgaleo and Lunala … ehhh? While I liked the Sun/Moon theme they display, that’s pretty much all I like about them. There’s not much else I can say about them, I just don’t find them very memorable or iconic, unlike so many Legendaries that came before this pair.

Alola had a lot of tropical Pokémon to show off, some of the designs were really enjoyable to see.

Alola was the first region to introduce regional forms! A number of Pokémon originally from Kanto were revitalised with these new forms, and these are my favourite of the bunch.

There were only a small number of Pokémon from the seventh generation that I didn’t really like, and here they are.


#5 – generation 8 – galar

The most recent generation, as I write this, Galar took inspiration from the country that I call home, the United Kingdom. I simply love some of the designs that can be found in this generation!

Galar’s starters boast an interesting theme, Grookey representing musicians, Scorbunny representing football players, and Sobble (eventually) representing secret agents.

Possibly one of the biggest reasons for Galar being so low on the list, Zamazenta and Zacian just … were’t my cup of tea (couldn’t resist the phrase here). When I look at some of the Legendary Pokémon that we have had in the past, I can’t help but feel like although the story behind them was fleshed out and interesting, the actual design of the pair was found lacking!

Although I found the Legendaries to be disappointing, there were plenty of regular Pokémon who left a lasting impression on me, here’s a few examples!

Not only did we get a whole host of new Pokémon to feast our eyes on in Galar, but also a few Galarian forms of Pokémon we already know and love! The list of these new forms is quite small, and if I had to choose the best of them I would go with Rapidash, Farfetch’d and Corsola.


#4 – generation 3 – hoenn

Hoenn being a tropical region brought us lots of exotic Pokémon, and the designs of these new Pokémon definitely reflect that, with a truly exotic feel to them.

The starters for this generation were quite strong, but only two of them kept my interest for the whole evolution line! Mudkip was the only one whose evolutions I did not particularly like.

The legendaries were particularly strong in Hoenn, Kyogre holding dominion over the seas, Groudon over the landmasses, and Rayquaza being the neutralising force who can calm them both.

So let’s take a quick look at the best of the designs found in Hoenn, according to me.


#3 – generation 6 – kalos

I really liked a lot of things about the sixth generation, I would say that there was an incredibly solid design behind most of the new additions to the Dex. And of course, Pokémon X & Y and Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire brought us more than new creatures, it also brought us Mega Evolutions! This new feature revitalised some of the older designs, meaning that some old favourites had newfound viability on the competitive battling scene.

The starter Pokémon had a really strong theme behind them which I thought was quite imaginative. They were based on typical classes found in Fantasy RPG genres, Warrior, Mage, and Rogue. But although I liked the idea, I didn’t like all of the starters. I didn’t like the Chespin line, I loved Fennekin and Braixen, but not Delphox. However, Froakie’s line I thought was great at all three stages.

I also thought that the legendary Pokémon of Kalos held a very strong theme, life and death, and particularly liked the design of Xerneas, clearly representing the iconic idea of a “Life Tree”.

As I said before, there are plenty of Pokémon that I want to point out for their designs, so let’s have a look at them!

And I have to include the Mega Evolution designs here, here are my favourite Megas.


#2 – generation 1 – Kanto

It’s probably not a surprise to find the original 151 so high on this list! These guys are of course very nostalgic to me, I was around 6 or so when I was first introduced to Pokémon Red. I didn’t understand an awful lot of what was going on, but I loved the Pokémon I was seeing, and a bit of patience led to me eventually getting the hang of it!

There are some here and there that I don’t much care for in the original 151, but on the whole I think the designs that have been used here are pretty phenomenal.

The starters are absolute classics – I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t love a good Charizard! And Mewtwo? Can you really get any better than the original legendary Pokémon found after a grueling trek through Cerulean Cave?

There are many Generation 1 Pokémon worthy of some attention, and I could list so many more than what I have. Instead of just showing you a filled out Pokedex, let’s look at a small selection!


#1 – generation 2 – johto

There’s no doubt in my mind about Johto being my favourite generation. I’ll admit that part of this is down to nostalgia, I can still remember the excitement of finding out that the games that I had instantly fallen in love with were getting a sequel! And that there were going to be another 100 Pokémon? Amazing! I never would have guessed that the franchise would grow as much as it had done, but I couldn’t be happier to say that it has.

The second generation was a total success in my eyes – The starters are without a doubt my favourite from all generations, Chikorita and Cyndaquil in particular, and I feel the same way about the legendaries – Lugia is one of my all time favourite pocket monsters.

And there are plenty of regular Pokémon besides who I feel need to be mentioned, so here are some of the stand-out examples!


Posted in Personal

My Life In Lockdown

So, my fellow Brits will know this already of course, but for those of you further afield, the UK is currently in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As I write this, I believe it is day 52 (or thereabouts).

So I thought maybe I should write about how life has been in this time, how I have been coping, what I’ve been getting up to. If it amuses you, or gives you an idea of something you could do to make this time a bit easier for you, then I’ve accomplished something worthwhile.


Video Games

So let’s get the obvious out of the way first. With all this time away from work, I have had much more time than usual to catch up with my growing backlog. And yet, I have only ticked one game off of that list!

I finally got round to playing Man Of Medan, which had been sitting on the shelf patiently for some months … but why is that the only backlog game I have taken care of?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become a welcome part of my daily routine. Fine-tuning my island layout, seeing my animal friends every day, making money to pay off my loan and buy new furniture and clothes, sending my friends who own the game things that I think they would like, and of course hunting down new bugs and fish to add to the museum.

I just can’t get enough of it, you get a real sense of serene calm as you play. It has certainly helped to keep me relaxed, having this as part of my routine, even though I don’t spend longer than an hour on it each day.

Final Fantasy VII Remake was of course recently released, and although I originally intended to wait for it to come down in price, but then figured that that wasn’t going to happen for a very long time – so I ended up buying it on release day!

There’s no doubt that this kept me busy for quite a bit of time! I fell in love with it instantly, so it was easily the only thing that I played (besides my designated Animal Crossing time). I had heard that people generally took around 37 hours to complete the game, so I did drag it out somewhat. Enjoying the views, finishing all the side quests, and trying not to miss any treasure – I believe my final time was around 44 hours?

Fallout 76 has had a rather timely update which has attempted to revive the struggling MMORPG by adding the NPCs that it so desperately craved. I was more than happy to give it another chance seeing as I had just finished FFVII, and I was rather surprised to find that I really enjoy the game now. So much so that the new character I created is already level 50 …

The last gaming entry is stepping away from consoles – Medieval Total War 2 on my laptop. It’s another strategy game that I love, but besides that, there are some excellent mods available for it. I took the time to download the Hyrule Total War mod (which I haven’t played for years) and it has been a pleasure to rediscover after all this time. And it certainly isn’t without it’s challenges! Would you want to be surrounded by hostile Stalfos, Gohma, Goron, and Zora armies? Trust me, you wouldn’t.


Reading

My life isn’t all about video games! I’ve also been taking the time to catch up with my reading material.

First on the list was my Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess manga. It was a sensational read, and such an interesting twist on the existing TP storyline. It was a real delight to read and the artwork was just amazing as well.

What I am currently reading is the Pokémon Adventures manga, and once again, a superb read with fantastic artwork! I haven’t quite finished it yet, I’m currently reading volume 5 of 7.

Once I have finished that, the next thing for me to tackle will be something a bit more monolithic… George R. R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire collection! No doubt, lockdown won’t last nearly long enough for me to finish reading those!


Sketching

Sketching is something I used to do many years ago, and I really loved it as a hobby. I attempted to get back into it last year, but I think I only managed to do two sketches that I was happy with. I’m pleased to say that with all this free time, I have been able to really throw myself back into it, and I’ve been so happy with the work I’ve done! Some has been for me, some has been requested by family and friends, but all of it has put a smile on someone’s face at least, so I’ll share it here in the hope that it puts a smile on your face too!


Baking And Cooking

Another thing I love to do is bake. It’s just such a fun little hobby, with the added bonus that you end up with lots of sweet treats hanging around the house! And I’ve enjoyed having the time to put more thought and time into my cooking as well.

I feel like I have baked about 100 different things, but I’ll let you have a look for yourself at the things I’ve been making!

I would like to give a bit of a shout out to an Instagram page which has given me a lot of inspiration in the mornings. What I Ate For Breakfast has been something of a Godsend! This account posts every morning showing off what they have made, and how to make it yourself. I have tried a few of them out and they are just delicious!


TV etc.

In the modern day of demand TV, it is so easy to get behind with all the great shows that you want to watch. Me and my ever-growing watchlist are all too aware of this. But I have made good progress with a show that I have been desperate to watch, The Crown on Netflix! If anyone hasn’t seen it yet, then I definitely suggest you give it a go and see what you think.

We have also been treated to Studio Ghibli films finally arriving on Netflix this year, truly perfect timing! Some of my favourite films are by Studio Ghibli, and they’re definitely worth having a look at if you haven’t seen them before.

Besides Netflix, I have also been watching my favourite Youtube channel, so get ready for another shout out! Outside Xbox and Outside Xtra are two sister channels which have provided me with unending entertainment! they both do a show every week where they discuss what they have been playing, and game news in general, as well as various playthrough videos and livestreams, and some rather amusing list features too!


ENjoying the scenery

On my daily walks, I have been trying to pay more attention than usual to the surrounding scenery. It’s far too easy in our fast-paced lifestyle to walk past beautiful sights and views without even realising they are there. When you take the time to pay attention to the places around you, you will probably be shocked by how many things you could have missed out on.


So that’s the main bulk of what I’ve been getting up to. How is everyone else coping? What are you doing to pass the days? Feel free to leave a comment down below and let us all know how you’ve been!

Posted in Nominations

Real Neat Blog Award – Part 2

I actually received two nominations for this award, so a big thank you to DanamesX from Tales From The Backlog! Please take the time to check out the blog and all the awesome posts you will find there!


The Rules
  • Display the logo
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog
  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate 7-10 bloggers
  • Ask these bloggers 7 questions

Questions And Answers
Yes or No?

Well, the positive person in me says “Yes! Always yes!” But the cautious part of me is eyeing up that “No” as well …


Do you experience any aches or pains in your body?

Luckily not, I’m fairly active in my day to day life, so it’s not often that I am struck down by any aches or pains. I do seem to feel the cold a lot more than most people though, and that can often feel like an ache for me!


If you could create a new type of sport, what would it be or similar to?

This is quite tricky … I’m honestly the least sporty person you will ever meet. However I did used to love playing Blitzball on Final Fantasy X (even though it is just football but with swimming). I reckon the leisure industry could do worse than adding Blitzball to the list of competitive sports!


What is a game that is generally received as bad but is your guilty pleasure?

This question is driving me crazy – I can’t think of anything I play that people don’t like! How about Fallout 76? Generally considered something of a failure, but since the huge update I have been enjoying it a lot!


Do you prefer writing with a pencil, pen, or keyboard?

Well, as a left handed writer who has spent most of his life finding that one brand of pen that is comfortable and doesn’t smudge … I’m going to say keyboard. Faster, clearer, neater, easy to go back and change things, what more could the smudging leftie need?


When was the last time something made you laugh so hard?

I’m fortunate enough to be able to say that recent days have been full of laughter for me. These are strange and uncertain times, but family and friends are the key to working through it! I’m lucky enough to be blessed in both of those departments, and my next laugh is never too far away.


Do you play an instrument? If so what is it? If not, do you have an interest in learning how to play one?

An ocarina – badly. I really want to learn how to play it properly, but besides that I have absolutely always wanted to learn how to play the piano! So many of my favourite soundtracks have excellent piano pieces, and I often daydream about lazy Sundays in my PJs, tickling the ivories with whatever tune pops into my head!


My Nominations
  1. Brink from Brink Of Gaming
  2. Pieterjan from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog
  3. The Gaming Diaries
  4. Shoot The Rookie
  5. Mid-Life Gamer Geek
  6. Thero from A Reluctant Hero
  7. Jack from Screen Streams

My Questions
  1. What is you favourite video game franchise?
  2. What was the last video game to really tug at your heartstrings?
  3. Is there a hobby you wish you could get into?
  4. Would you say you are more introvert or extrovert?
  5. What’s your guilty gaming pleasure?
  6. If you had all the resources and manpower you could possibly need at your disposal to make your own video game, what genre would it be?
  7. Do you have any surprising/useless talents?
Posted in Nominations

Real Neat Blog Award

A big thanks to Kelly from Why We Play Games for the nomination! Please take the time to have a look at her blog to see all the fun things she writes about.


The Rules
  • Display the logo
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog
  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate 7-10 bloggers
  • Ask these bloggers 7 questions

Questions And Answers
What is your favorite video game genre?

My immediate thought is that this is going to be a bit of a draw. I have always been a sucker for Fantasy RPG games for the heavy story elements and the wonderful worlds. But the simulation genre has also been one that has stuck with me for a long time! There is something strangely satisfying about the genre … especially considering that menial tasks often play a big part of the games in this genre.


What is your favorite music genre?

I absolutely adore 80s pop music, if I put music on then the chances are it will be something from my 80s playlist. I like the odd modern pop song here and there, and some alternative, but for the most part I’m not overly keen on modern day music.


What games do you play when you want to relax?

I have to admit, I can’t think of a single title. I think for me gaming as a whole is a relaxing hobby, regardless of what it is that I am playing. Actually, I take that back – I probably wouldn’t put Until Dawn or any of my other horror games to relax!


What are your favorite hobbies?

Gaming is of course the obvious answer here, but that’s not the only thing I get up to. I love to bake, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried my banana bread. Reading is also something I absolutely love, and I have recently started getting into manga. And then there’s sketching (sometimes I post my sketches on my twitter) – a bit of a lost hobby for me which I have recently taken up again!


What shows or movies are you watching right now?

First and foremost is The Crown on Netflix. Haven’t seen it yet? GET ON IT. And I’m also loving the fact that Studio Ghibli films have finally made their way to Netflix.


What is your favorite video game and/or TV series?

This is such a dangerous question. I could literally go on for ages trying to debate this! If I don’t think about it too much, the first thing that starts floating around my head is The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. It may not be the perfect game, but I get too lost in everything amazing about it to notice that. Even after all the time I have put into it, there are still plenty of new places for me to thoroughly explore and secrets for me to discover. In fact, maybe I should have given BOTW an honourable mention in the earlier question regarding which games I play to relax. A gentle piano soundtrack accompanying me across a hauntingly beautiful landscape with stunning visuals… Perfect.


What helps you feel calm?

Self-care is very important, and I believe I have perfected an art here! Hot bubble bath, hot chocolate (the sweeter the better – I’m thinking …white chocolate and strawberry), sweet treats (homemade preferably – feels more satisfying), a mellow playlist to listen to, and PJs/blankets/woolly cardies. Oh yes, I am absolutely a 90 year old man in a 20-something year old’s body.


My Nominations
  1. Anna from The Reel Anna
  2. Rachel and Kris from Double Jump
  3. Stephen from Honest Gamer
  4. The Elder Blogs
  5. Jett from In Third Person
  6. Adventure Rules
  7. Kim from Later Levels

My Questions
  1. What is you favourite video game franchise?
  2. What was the last video game to really tug at your heartstrings?
  3. Is there a hobby you wish you could get into?
  4. Would you say you are more introvert or extrovert?
  5. What’s your guilty gaming pleasure?
  6. If you had all the resources and manpower you could possibly need at your disposal to make your own video game, what genre would it be?
  7. Do you have any surprising/useless talents?
Posted in Recent Games

Fallout 76 – Wastelanders Update

Like so many other fans of the franchise, I was eager to buy 76 when it was released. While I did enjoy it for a while, it ultimately got boring fast, for the very simple face that it wasn’t a true Fallout game. A vast open world … with no NPCs? No quirky characters or bizarre storylines, just endless fetch quests given to you by robots, or triggered by holotapes.

Sadly, this was never going to be a hugely popular design choice, and my interest soon disappeared. But not all was lost – a few months ago I heard that a free update would be headed our way, the Wastelanders update. NPCs would return to Appalachia, bringing factions for you to interact with, new storylines to take part in, all of which has been carefully intertwined with the existing story to allow both new and old players to take part.

Without a doubt I am grateful for the attempt to rescue this game, as I really did feel like it could have been so much better than it was. By no means is it anywhere near perfect at this point, but it is a whole lot more playable. It feels much more like a true Fallout game at this point, and by extension it feels much more like it was meant to be experienced solo. Unfortunately I think there is a real lack of proper quest-sharing which makes playing as a team rather difficult and ultimately uninteresting.

Sadly, there does still seem to be a lot of instability in Fallout 76. I have found that it is not uncommon for the game to suddenly crash, particularly while I am trying to take part in public events. Of course, being completely online means that nothing is really lost, so I don’t hold too much of a grudge against it.

Let’s not forget that this is a Fallout game at the end of the day, and that means that there are still lots of good things about it. A lot of adaptations had to be made to the usual Fallout style of gameplay to make it work as an MMORPG, and I think they did a pretty good job of that. The core mechanics of the game are the same, but with some serious changes to what happens when you level up, changes which I actually prefer to the usual format. And we have a whole new region of the wasteland to explore, Appalachia. I’ve always loved seeing the fictional nuclear wasteland in the Fallout franchise – the level of detail and design is a testament to the imagination and skill of the team behind it, not to mention a cautionary tale for us to bear in mind.

I’m hoping that we will receive more gradual updates that might offer a bit more stability to the performance of 76, as well as a few more content updates. But for now I’m enjoying coming on each day; completing daily tasks, taking part in events, building my C.A.M.P up a bit more each day, and taking on tougher challenges each day as my character levels up.

I would recommend that players who bought this and abandoned it ought to come back and see if they like the changes that have been made, but if you don’t have it already … maybe wait until it’s in the sale.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 14/11/2018
  • Genre: MMORPG