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Outside Games

24 Days of Quarantine Fun – Day 7: Make a Snowman

Okay, so, this one may or may not be viable depending on where you live or the current weather situation. For me, there’s barely been any snow, so a snowman isn’t really an option. Also I don’t have a yard or anything so I’d have to go out into a park or something to make a snowman. Which I maintain that I would do under the correct circumstances, but again – there hasn’t really been a good amount of snow yet.

My grand plan was to make a small snowman on my balcony, posed in a way where he’s leaned up against the window, trying to get inside. I don’t know that I’m a skilled enough snowman-crafter to have pulled it off, but the dream was nice. Maybe I’ll still try it once we finally get some snow.

I did make this little snowman out of marshmallows, though. That counts… right? Lookit his li’l chocolate chip eyes.! So cute! UwU

Ryan’s Big Weekend Adventure!

You know what I didn’t do over last weekend? Study enough.

“Well duh” you all say.

What I did do, however, was all sorts of other things. I want to write about them briefly.

Saturday I got a haircut. There’s a story there, but it’s probably fairly embarrassing for a party who is not me, which makes me feel like I ought not to tell it. So I won’t. Sorry for the tease.

After breakfast I did some coursework for a while. Good old responsible me. I took a break after a couple hours to go visit with my grandparents. They gave me several tins of baking and couple jars of soup. Nice! There’s another mildly embarrassing story here that I don’t think I’m entitled to tell to the internet at large. Aren’t you upset that I’ve gotten so considerate in my old age?

I went back home to do some more book learning, which lasted about an hour. All in all, I made it through about a quarter of the homework questions assigned in a cumulative three hours. That’s not great. I hate school and cannot wait for it to be done forever.

Over the course of the weekend, I “snuck in” just enough video games time to finish playing the Squaresoft PS1 classic, Threads of Fate. You’ve probably never heard of this game, because Squaresoft put out like a billion RPGs on the PS1, so a few of them had to fall through the cracks.

Threads of Fate is an alright game. It’s a dual-protagonist game, and the plot isn’t the most creative, but it’s fun. One character has you working towards world domination, while the other is searching for a way to revive his friend. The characters are mostly archetypes, but they have big personalities and a really good script, so I ended up liking most of them quite a lot. Also the soundtrack is darn good, and the graphics are top-tier for a 3D game on the original Playstation.

However! The gameplay is… questionable. The controls, physics, and hit detection are all just a little bit off. This makes any precision-platforming sections much harder (and frustrating) than they ought to be. Combat is mostly a non-issue, but several bosses are stupidly hard until you figure out the right rhythm to beating them. Overall, it’s not a game that needs a remaster so much as a tune-up.

I also frittered away a whole three hours on Pokémon GO on Sunday, as it was January’s Community Day. Got a whole stable full of shiny Piplups, and that’s really about all. While I was out, I also got to try all of the fancy new “dream donuts” that Tim Horton’s is currently selling. I’ll type up a full thing about them (probably), but the TLDR is that they were not so good that I was able to justify having eaten three donuts in a single sitting. Oink oink.

After all that, I ended Sunday evening the same way I always do: playing an hour of Rocksmith, then watching TV while I do my laundry. This week was devoted catching up on some AGDQ runs, while at the same time trying to fill out a little bit of my Pokédex in Pokémon Shield. I’m at 387 of 400. Almost there!

And that was my weekend. If you think I sound like an incredibly boring individual… you’re right! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Remembering the Cottage: Part 2

Happy Canada Day! To celebrate, let’s go way back and take a look at something that was an integral part of Canada Day for me for many years. Yes, that’s right, it’s finally time for the long-awaited Remembering the Cottage: Part Two

I have been slowly writing this article since 2007, which is not the longest that I’ve ever procrastinated on writing something, but it is a concept so close to my heart, so important to the foundation of who I am, that I feel terrible for not having finished writing it at some point in the last eleven years. During that time, many details have certainly been forgotten and memories jumbled up, so this is definitely not going to be as historically accurate as it should be.

To help illustrate, in the time since I posted Part One: two generations of Nintendo consoles passed; Obama’s tenure as US President began and ended; smartphones replaced flip-phones and human-to-human contact; I purchased two homes; I met a girl who I dated, married and divorced; and I bumbled my way into a job that eventually led to what darn well better be my career at this point.

I don’t know how long this article is going to go on for, but if the previous part is anything to go by, it’ll be a whopper. You all know the story anyway, and if you don’t, maybe go check out Part One and then come back. So let’s just skip the formalities and head right in, yes?

Continue reading Remembering the Cottage: Part 2

Happy Bornt Day to me!

I’m gonna get drunk as f**k and eat chicken fingers!

But that’s for much later this evening. The big event for my birthday this year is… football? My dad procured a couple of tickets to this year’s “Banjo Bowl,” which I gather from stray bits of conversation in past years, is some sort of big deal. I don’t really know why, but I’m excited!

Full disclosure: I was interested enough after that paragraph to actually do the research. What I’ve learned is that there’s a rivalry between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders, and they have apparently created a tradition of two back-to-back “event” games. The first being the Labour Day Classic, always played in Regina, followed the next weekend by the Banjo Bowl, which is always played in Winnipeg.

I still don’t really understand why these two games mean anything more than any other football game. The closest I’ve come to an answer is simply, Sports: Who F**king Knows?

Bounce and throw

So, I bought a basketball two weeks ago.

Yeah. I know. It’s weird.

I went out to throw the ball around a bit by myself that weekend, and had a pretty good time having finally found something to do while being outside (that isn’t walking around aimlessly). Then last Saturday morning, my dad, my brother and I all went out to “shoot hoops” for a couple hours. I learned to play Horse and had so much fun. I literally did not want to leave the court when it was time to go.

It’s really weird. Don’t worry, we’re on the same page there.

I know I like to project a “sports are the worst” kind of image, but that’s really not me. I like sports. I just can’t be arsed to follow professional sports. I don’t give a flying flip about players or stats or championships or maniacal fans who devote their entire lives to their team. But I like going out and doing the things. At least, to some degree.

I’m still a lazy, overweight, out-of-shape slob. So typically I can’t sustain that kind of physical exertion for long. But basketball -or at least just shooting around for fun- doesn’t require me to push myself too hard, so it’s basically the perfect way to get into being more active. I’m outside and off my butt and actually being engaged in something, which is exactly what I need.

I’m lobbying to make Saturday morning basketball a regular thing, though my suggestions have been met with grumbled maybes. I’ll still go out by my lonesome if it comes down to it, but it’s nicer to have a couple people to share the burden of chasing after a stray rebound.

How long will this new hobby last? To be honest, probably just for the summer. I am not exactly renowned for my sticktoitiveness. I have a definite tendency to get all worked up about something for a while, then drop it completely when some other shiny, new thing comes along. Especially since there’s that big ol’ “winter” thing that will completely kill any momentum for a good six months. But we’ll see!

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – May 2017

This may be the longest list to date… I don’t know quite how it happened, seeing as I feel like I’ve been playing far fewer video games than usual. Ack! Maybe it’s time to start logging playtime?

~ Game Over ~

Bye-Bye, BoxBoy! (3DS) – Is it the Best Box Boy? Yeah. Yeah it is. They’ve definitely pushed the series as far as it can go, and I’m glad it’s (ostensibly) being retired before it loses its lustre.

KAMIKO (Switch) – I thought “This looks neat, I’ll buy it off the Japan eShop because there’s no way it’ll ever come out in North America” but was stymied because the Japan eShop doesn’t accept my MasterCard. And then it came out in North America the very next week. Welp!

ABZÛ (PS4) – Something about a diver saving an underwater ecosystem from the ravages of machines. I don’t really get it, but it was super pretty. Also, so many cool fishies!

Blazing Star (Switch) – A NEO-GEO shoot-’em-up that is visually amazing (duh). It also taught me what separates a good shmup from an annoying shmup: enemies that soak up bullets. Also most of the playable ships are kind of terrible. Windina is always the way to go.

Stardew Valley (PC) – We accomplished everything that isn’t a horrible slog. Once we acquired the Junimo Hut, it just seemed like there was nothing else worth doing. And so it’s finally over.

Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical (Switch) – The title gives away that this is not your average Legend of Dark Witch game. In fact, it is instead a weird rhythm game that demands nothing less than perfection. Despite that, I still kinda liked it.

Destroy All Humans! (PS4) – Bought the PlayStation Humble Bundle just to replay this. Honestly, a little underwhelming on the gameplay front, but I loooove the B-movie aesthetic/plot.

Snipperclips (Switch) – Chopped my way to the end of the single-player levels. It’s a very clever game, but is so much more fun when you’re working with other players. And I say that from experience, having previously solved all the multiplayer stages with a full four-person team.

ARMS Global Testpunch (Switch) – Okay, so I didn’t really “beat” it because it’s just a demo… But I really wanted to list it because it absolutely sold me on ARMS. Of course.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – May 2017

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: May 2014

May came in like a lion and… well, it was pretty heavy on games I wanted to play throughout. A stark contrast to an April that saw almost no new games and gave me ample time to work on my enormous backlog. Luckily, most of May’s releases were cheap Virtual Console Mega Man games, so I didn’t have to choose between video games or paying the bills.

But yeah, May 1st saw one of the best eShop updates in a long time, and then the new Kirby and Mario Golf came out on the second. Also there was that massive Humble Store spring sale. Needless to say, I’ve been keeping very busy, which is great because the wait for Smash Bros would be killing me if my 3DS (and PC, I guess) weren’t so jam packed with games I want to play.

~ Now Playing ~

Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS) – I never got into Mario Golf on N64, but I played the stuffing out of the GameCube entry. I waited very impatiently through several delays for this one, and it was so worth it. The Castle Club “story” mode is a bit confusing and overcomplicated, but a free play mode exists, so ignoring that business is pretty easy.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: May 2014

Filler time: Articles for grown-ups

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me: I’m a child living an adult’s life. I appreciate a lot of things that people my age aren’t supposed to, if advertising and demographics have anything to say about it. Marketing is all a big load of crap, anyway.

I guess the point is that I don’t have any ideas in my head at the moment, and I don’t have the gumption to type up the weekly Dark Souls entry. Wait, no, that’s what I wasn’t supposed to say. I’m supposed to make it seem like I’m doing something inspired.

Anyway, I type about a lot of goofy things that are emblematic of childhood. Cartoons, Nintendo games, candy. If you scroll up from the bottom of the article list, you’ll see that it takes a long time to get to anything very grown-uppy. Or at least, that’s my interpretation of it. So that’s why today, I’m going to link you to a small selection of old articles that stand out as somewhat more mature among the sea of childish crap that I’ve written.

28 Days Later (2003) – The first movie I ever reviewed, and it’s a scaaary one. Probably because it’s one of the first (if not the actual first) movies with fast zombies. So it turns a kind of slow, tense staple into something much more fierce and immediately frightening. Please note that I have not watched this movie since then.

Catherine (2011) – Undoubtedly a truly mature game, as it deals with many very grown-up themes. Also there are boobies and monsters, but the heart of the game is literally about growing up, accepting responsibility, and figuring out what you want to do with your life.

Chicken Wings (2005) – Chicken wings are undoubtedly a fun finger food, which is pretty child-like, However, wings are most prominent where? Bars, that’s where. Kids don’t go to bars. They’re also one of the staple foods of sports-watching, or so I’ve been told, and sports-watching is a pretty grown-up kind of thing.

Mate1.com Hates You (2006) – To date, still the most popular thing I’ve ever published, if fan e-mails are anything to go by. Mate1.com, if you’re not already aware, is an online dating website. Those are most definitely not for children. It’s not really for anybody, as far as this article is concerned.

Remembering the Cottage (2007) – Yeah, it’s an article entirely about childhood memories, but that in and of itself makes it kinda grown-up, right? I mean, kids don’t reminisce. You have to be old and at least a little world-weary before you really understand nostalgia. Some might say that I’m not old enough to say something like that, but I respectfully have no comment.

True Crime: Streets of LA (2003) – The first video game that I wrote about that earned an M rating from the ESRB. I guess that’s all I really have to say about that. I haven’t written about a lot of games that feature non-laser guns.

That sinking feeling

I went out and bought a Wii Fit Meter the other day. I know, you’re thinking that’s pretty nuts. Just hear me out: There’s a Wii Fit U demo on the eShop, which is the full game, but it’s only good for 30 days. After that, I’d have to pony up $50 for the full version of the game. BUT! Buying the silly little trinket on its own for $20 and syncing it up with said demo actually unlocks the game for unlimited use. And we all know that I was going to buy Wii Fit U at some point anyway, so I actually saved $30 by buying the Fit Meter. Score!

Also I bought it with a gift card so I didn’t actually spend any money.

Not that I know anyone who owns a Wii U (heathens), but this deal is only good until January 31st, so if you’re at all interested, now would be the time to take the plunge. Of course it’s not a great deal if you don’t also already own a Balance Board, but them’s the breaks.


Anyway, the Fit Meter is basically a repurposed and repainted Pokéwalker. Actually, I think it’s exactly a repurposed and repainted Pokéwalker. The two gadgets are identical, as both are just glorified pedometers. The Fit Meter has some extra features tucked into though, those being an altimeter and a thermometer. It’s also apparently smart enough to know when you’re driving, so as not to count false steps.

You cannot, however, use it to catch Pokémon. Which is a missed opportunity, but I’ll let it slide..

The pedometer and thermometer seem to be pretty on the level, as those have maintained pretty accurate numbers as far as I can tell. The clock is a few minutes ahead and I can’t change it, which bothers me but I guess I’ll just have to live with it. It’s the altimeter that I question.

The altimeter is there to measure your change in elevation as you move around, which will affect how many burned calories it’s calculating. Thing is, the altimeter is set right now at -135m, even though the city’s general elevation is roughly 235m, but that one can be written off as a poor initial calibration.

What really troubles me is that the altitude graph showed a steady decrease on my ride to work this morning, and continued to decrease even while I was at work, despite the fact that I climbed three stories to get to my desk. Looking back even farther, the altitude graph is showing that the Fit Meter thought it was descending overnight, while it was sitting still on my nightstand.

So either the thing is buggy or my entire city is rather quickly sinking into the Earth. I don’t hear any panic in the streets outside, so I’m inclined to believe it’s not the latter.

On the other hand, having even a piece of Wii Fit tagging along in my pocket all day seems like it’s going to be a pretty good incentive to keep using the actual software. At least I’m hoping that’s the case, as I do want to drop a belt size or two, but can’t be bothered to keep myself motivated enough to actually keep exercising. Also that whole “eating right” business, but that’s a totally different beast that I’m going to tackle once I’ve got this regular exercise thing down.

Because that totally happens

An excerpt from the Zoo Rules page on the website of the city zoo:

  • The following items are NOT PERMITTED and should be left at home:
    • Pets *
    • Roller blades, roller skates, heelies, skateboards, child scooters
    • Bicycles, tricycles, and unicycles
    • Balloons of any kind
    • Straws
    • Balls, Frisbees, flying discs, etc.

And now I’m imagining a gang of punks on unicycles causing all sorts of mischief in the zoo.