The 15-Year Reconciliation

Do you remember way, way back in the “early” days of this website, when I used to get really excited about finding and reviewing surprise bags? Honestly, the only reason I don’t still do it is because I haven’t seen a good surprise bag in ages. But that’s besides the point.

One of the most memorable things I’ve written (at least to me), was a review of a nondescript surprise bag that I found in a local dollar store in a nearby city. The variety of items contained in that bag was wild and shocking. Well-aged Spanish Tic-Tac knockoffs. Dubious “Dubu” gum. Some trading cards and stickers from a movie called Baby that I’d never heard of.

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PZ35/21 – April check-in

So things slowed down in March. I only got through one Zelda game (Majora’s Mask), but also I played it twice, so… Do I get extra credit? The Wind Waker is chugging along at a nice clip, and as long as I make it to the end before April is over, I’m still on schedule. But the games are getting longer, and we’re in Monster Hunter Rise season now, which is probably going to be the focus of most of my video game hours.

Next on the list is Four Swords Adventures, and I’m thinking about cutting it out. It’s just not very fun to play alone. And getting a group together that is actually going to commit to completing the game seems like an impossible task. Plus… it wouldn’t be recorded anyway. So I could just write a story about how I got a bunch of people together to play it off-camera, and you’d never know if it were true or not anyway.

Also, skipping FSA will get me to The Minish Cap faster, which I actually do want to play.

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: March 2021

~ Game Over ~

Control (PS4) – 100% trophies for main game and DLC expansions. Super great game. Strongly recommend, would play again. Probably should continue playing, because there are still incomplete missions…

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (3DS) – I was enjoying the original so much that I decided to revisit the remake that I’d never finished. Good call, me! MM3D is an incredible remake and I want so badly for a Switch port to free it from the teeny-tiny confines of 3DS Jail. I even went for the 100% clear, which I never do for MM. Too many mini-games; it’s really my only major complaint with this one.

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One Step Forward…

I’ve typed a heck of a lot of words about Five Nights at Freddy’s VR over the last few months, and to date, most of those words have been very positive. Unfortunately, today I have to put some words to page that veer just a wee bit in the other direction.

I think it was late December when FNAF VR’s expansion, The Curse of Dreadbear was released for Oculus. Right around Xmastime. For a Halloween-themed DLC pack. Maybe not the most timely of releases, but holding it back for another year to release around Halloween would have been silly. Might as well make those bucks. It’s not as if there’s a whole lot else to for people to buy in the Oculus store. (Zoom!)

But Dreadbear’s issues only begin with the late release. Having been totally obsessed with FNAF VR at the time, I was keeping a close eye on news of when that DLC would drop. Then it did, and the bad reviews piled up quickly. Well, maybe not bad reviews per se, but a lot of complaints in the reviews section about how buying and installing the DLC would wipe your save data. Having a completed save file, I opted to wait it out until there was a patch that would stop the save deletion.

January rolled around, and I checked in from time to time until finally I saw that comment I was looking for: Steel Wool Games had released a patch, and downloading Dreadbear would no longer delete your existing save file! I immediately purchased and installed the Dreadbear DLC and… my save file was gone. All progress: vanished, never to return. I’d have to somehow survive that impossibly hard Funtime Foxy minigame again. So much for the patch.

But worse things could happen. After all, FNAF VR is a heck of a lot of fun, so having a reason to play through it again was actually kind of welcome… is how I looked at it after forcing myself to take an optimistic point of view. When I actually started playing, though, something was off. It didn’t quite hit me until I won my first “food” prize, though, and I was barely able to make out what the item was: after installing the DLC, most of the textures in the game -the entire game, not just the DLC parts- had gone to absolute crap.

While FNAF VR was never going to look as good on Oculus as it did on PC-powered VR systems, it was certainly passable. Things were a bit smudgy here and there, but none of it was outright bad. Now, though? Now it looks awful. And this is coming from me, a guy who really doesn’t care all that much about graphical fidelity. But the downgrade has had a major effect on my enjoyment of this video game, since all I can think about now is how much worse it looks. Suddenly that Funtime Foxy level doesn’t seem so bad, because it’s all pitch-black most of the time.

I don’t think that the grossly deteriorated textures will be a long-term problem during main gameplay, as I’m sure I’ll just get used to them. But it’s a really weird thing that happened, and I can’t fathom why Steel Wool Games would have changed them in the first place. Maybe they needed to scale down the texture resolution to keep the file size under some arbitrary limit? The game didn’t have any major performance issues before the DLC, so I doubt it has anything to do with that. It’s mind-boggling.

All that said, I’m going to continue playing FNAF VR. I mean, I haven’t even started on that DLC that I paid for yet. I’ve just been playing the main game again to restore my completion percentage to 100. It’s still a lot of fun, and I still can’t play for more than like 10 minutes at a time for fear of my heart exploding. It’s just too bad that the experience had to be soured a bit.

New-ish Territory

Did you know that hamburgers are probably my favourite food? There’s so much delicious food out there, it’s hard to really narrow it down to one absolute favourite. If nothing else though, I eat hamburgers more than anything else. Lately it’s become something of a Friday night ritual for me to scour my food delivery apps and order a burger from a restaurant that I haven’t tried before. Or just BK. It’s quite often BK.

Despite this, I’d never actually made my own hamburgers until last week. And of course, that was the perfect opportunity to try doing something totally new for my YouTube channel. Did it work? Ehhh, not really. You couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a better way to spend fifteen minutes. But at least I’m trying new things! Both in the kitchen and on the interweb. So that’s like a twofer right there.

Quantity Over Quality

Here’s a fun fact: I have now recorded and posted 70 Pop-Tarts review videos on the internet for the general public to watch. That’s a lot!

If nothing else, doing so many of these has slowly helped me to get better at it. Through making all of these stupid Pop-Tarts videos, I’m building skills that might help me to create something that is genuinely good someday.

Or maybe not. I’ll probably just keep making mindless trash like this until I get bored of it.

The Banana Splits Movie

I don’t know about you, but I’d never heard of The Banana Splits until recently. I guess maybe, for once, I’m too young.

For the uninitiated, it was a live-action variety show produced by Hanna-Barbera in the late 1960’s that starred four large, costumed animal characters. It lasted two seasons but stayed in syndication until the 80s. Last year, somebody turned it into a horror-comedy movie. This movie (and the franchise in general) was only brought to my attention about two months ago, when I watched a YouTube video comparing it to Willy’s Wonderland and how the latter looked like it would avoid a lot of the problems that The Banana Splits Movie suffered from.

Thank goodness I watched that video, though, because my soul would be so much emptier without having ever seen The Banana Splits Movie.

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PZ35/21 – March check-in

I scratched The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Oracle of Ages, and Oracle of Seasons off the list last month, which is pretty good, I think. That puts me about a month ahead of my timeline, and that’s important. The more Zeldas I can carve my way through before the release of Monster Hunter Rise, the better.

I’ve still been recording my playthroughs, though they’re getting to be quite a bit longer now. OoT actually should have been fairly quick, except I played the randomizer, which led to lots and lots of wandering and backtracking. All part of the fun, though! And at the current rate, we’ll be seeing A Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening running in parallel throughout March, so the OoT videos won’t even start going live until April comes around. I’m probably going to have to start publishing three Zelda videos a week to get these all out by the end of the year.

An interesting little oopsie that I made was placing the Oracle games before Majora’s Mask. I cold have sworn that Wikipedia told me it was that way when I was checking the timeline, but that is not the case. Majora came first. Oh well. It’s not like anything important was actually hinging on me playing these in perfect release order.

Now that the rambling’s done, I think I’m through enough games now to start ranking them. I don’t really expect my top four to move all that much, but it’ll be interesting to see how the the less-beloved entries stack up after playing them all back-to-back-to-back-etc. I’ll probably add narrative at the end of the year, but for now, it’s just going to be a list. Watch the darn videos if you want context!

  1. Link’s Awakening
  2. A Link to the Past
  3. Ocarina of Time
  4. The Legend of Zelda
  5. Oracle of Seasons
  6. Oracle of Ages
  7. The Adventure of Link

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: February 2021

~ Game Over ~

Vader Immortal: Episode 1 (Oculus) – It’s cool to hang out in the Star Wars universe for a while, but there’s not a lot to do there, and the combat isn’t terribly satisfying. Which is a problem when 95% of the game is 40 levels worth of combat challenges.

Contra (NES) – Would you believe that I’ve never played this game before? And that it took me about 50 lives to get to the end. Thank goodness for that Konami code. Fun game, though. I see why it’s so highly regarded.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Wii) – Have I mentioned enough times how much I like this randomizer?

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Bad Movie Nights

I may have over-done it during the ‘Ween and ‘Mas seasons, as for all of January and half of February, I did not watch a single film. I watched a couple speedruns that were longer than films, but that’s totally different.

However, a couple of movies recently came out that I’ve been really excited for, so I’m sort of getting back into the world of movies. Also, I was pretty sure that both of them would be terrible before watching them, but one is based on a video game franchise that I adore, and one of them is a plot strangely reminiscent of a video game franchise that I adore. Were they actually bad? Let’s find out!

~ Willy’s Wonderland ~

I had no idea that Willy’s Wonderland existed until I saw a Tweet with the trailer roughly a month before release. I don’t remember why I even watched the trailer, but once I realized what I was seeing, I knew then and there that I needed to watch this movie.

See, a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has been “in the works” for years now, and keeps getting delayed and scrapped and restarted for various reasons, and I’m at the point where I don’t actually believe that it’s real or will ever happen. But I still desperately want to see a FNAF movie, no matter how terrible it might be, so I was elated that someone else decided to step up and make their own legally distinct film about possessed animatronics. And to have it starring Nicolas Cage is just gravy.

There are two important takeaways here: Willy’s Wonderland isn’t a good movie. It’s clearly a tongue-in-cheek, low-budget cheese-fest, but that doesn’t necessarily excuse it for being kind of bad. Knowing you’re making a bad movie doesn’t absolve your movie of it’s badness. That said, I think it’s still an entertaining movie. At least, I had a lot of fun watching it. Though I can’t confidently say how much of that was genuine, and how much was due to my desperation for a FNAF movie.

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