Posted in Uncategorized

A Hobbit’s Update

All my devices are telling me that it’s now June (well, June 5th), and I can’t help but feel like they’ve all got together to play some prank on me. Is it seriously halfway through the year already? Well I’ve been thinking about a lot of things that I want to write about, but I thought that maybe before I do any of that, I could write up a general update.

Life continues to be as strange and surreal as ever. I do my best to keep up with the news each day just the right amount – enough to be informed, not so much that I get dragged down with the sorry state of affairs. I think in the current climate, it would be all too easy to be dragged down – and my policy is that positivity is always best! It is my genuine hope that you are all keeping safe and looking out for others, and hopefully others are looking out for you too.


Gaming

So what have I been up to in the games department? Well the main feature has to be Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. I have already put so much time into this playthrough, and I believe I am nearing the end. My previous save didn’t even reach halfway through the game before I got distracted by other things, and it eventually got buried. So it was a real joy to start afresh, catch up with the story that I had completely forgotten, and once I passed the point that I had reached previously, it became so clear to me how much of a mistake it was to have got distracted before. I already knew that Odyssey was a great game, but I didn’t put enough time in to see that it is a fantastic game. I am absolutely gripped by the story, I’ve been shocked by the things that have happened, and can’t wait to see how it will conclude!

I have also purchased the DLC Season Pass as the PS Store had it on sale, so no doubt once I have finished the main story, I will have a look into that.

But I have also been playing other games here and there. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still a regular part of my daily ritual. I feel like I’ve gotten to a part where playing has become a gentle unwind. I have villagers that I like, so no need to try and get anyone replaced. I have pretty much finished decorating my island to exactly how I want it. All I’m missing is a few hybrid flowers, and that will come with time. I have completed the museum’s fossil collection, as well as having donated all the available bugs so far. The only thing I’m a bit short on is fish. June brought us plenty more species to catch, but on the plus side I have already caught all the shark species that were introduced this month. My house is fully upgraded and the mortgage is almost totally paid off. Once it is, I guess I’ll just have to spend all my bells on clothes … actually, I do that anyway. My main goal at this point is to befriend my lovely villagers and get their precious pictures. I talk to them every day, give them gifts, do their favours, and also my friends who have the game as well come over and I go to their islands too.

There has been the other odd game here and there that I’ve been occupying my time with. Prison Architect, Long Live The Queen, and Graveyard Keeper are all games that I have been playing here and there for a bit at a time.

Prison Architect is an old favourite that I just got the urge to go back to, but the other two are fairly new entries to my Steam library. Long Live The Queen is … an interesting one. It’s a sort of fantasy political simulator I suppose you could say, The premise is that you are a princess, and the Queen has died. As a 14 year old, you are too young for a coronation and will have to wait for your 15th birthday. So you have to survive until then. And trust me, that is not easy. As for Graveyard Keeper, think Stardew Valley, but instead of a farm, you have a graveyard. And it’s a lot kookier. And darker. I’ve only put 4 hours into it so far, and I wouldn’t say that’s enough for me to have a solid opinion yet. Seems good though, so I look forward to diving deeper into that.

I’m also looking ahead to what games I will tackle once my largest time-sink (AC: Odyssey) is out of the way. The most likely option is Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which I bought for a very decent price in the PS Store sale, and if it is anything like Odyssey at all, then that will be a real treat. Plus I find Egypt and their Gods and mythology incredibly interesting, so that will be a real treat. I also need to return to Luigi’s Mansion 3 – I have put so much time into Animal Crossing that none of my other Switch games have been getting much of a look in.


Blogging

I’ve also been thinking about the content I want to get started on, and I have had various things in the back of my mind. I have plenty of drafts to start working on, all at differing stages of completion. I’ve got plenty of my favourite games that I want to offer my thoughts on, but also some series as well. My Nuzlocke challenge on Pokémon Shield is patiently waiting for me to return to it, and I actually started a Stardew Valley journal series – only I haven’t posted anything for that because I had PS4 troubles shortly after I got the first two posts finished. Lastly, I’ve been quietly brainstorming what other kinds of posts and series I could put together. I have really enjoyed writing the latest posts that I have produced, which have been quite different to my usual review format. It’s been very satisfying to scratch that creative itch by thinking of different writing angles. But then I guess I have been in a more creative mood than usual – writing, gaming, reading, sketching … you could say that my imagination has gone into overdrive somewhat!

So we’ll have to see what I come up with, but I definitely intend to return to the Nuzlocke series sooner rather than later. It’s about time Lockie ended her break and jumped back in to her high-stakes Pokémon career!

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 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!