History of TE: 2004

Did you know that June 2024 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Mega Man Battle Network 4? Well I did. Or at least, I had a hunch, since for whatever reason my brain has been laser-focused on memories of playing that particular game – despite the fact that I didn’t really like it.

But I’m not here to type a retrospective about MMBN4. No, sir. I already did that almost a decade ago, and haven’t revisited the game since.

Today I want to just rattle off a few interesting points about 2004. It was a big year for me! Lots happened! Firstly, there was the MMBN4 release. That was big, but not for the reason you think! See, I played the Japanese ROM for a while before the NA version came out (there was a six-month delay), and because it’s an RPG, the fact that I couldn’t read Japanese was kind of a big deal. So I started trying to tech myself katakana. It obviously didn’t really take, but I was able to learn enough to read some text in the game, and I still remember a handful of the characters to this day! I don’t think that it’s a stretch to say that the best part of MMBN4 is that it made me engage in self-improvement, in some tiny way.

Continue reading History of TE: 2004

24 Days of Quarantine Fun – Day 6: Holiday Episodes

If there’s one thing that irks me a little bit about not having television, it’s that I can’t just have a non-stop stream of holiday-themed episodes playing in my place all day long. I mean, I could, but that would require effort, and Sunday’s just not the day for effort.

Today, my suggestion for keeping yourself busy is to watch holiday episodes from a few of your favourite shows. While not every series does holiday episodes, most of them absolutely do. Probably even one per season, in most cases. So if you have a DVD collection, or a streaming service, or some kind of television thieving device, it shouldn’t take long to track some down.

Personally, there are exactly three that I like to incorporate into my festive traditions. The first is from Community, and it actually the only real holiday “episode” of the bunch, since the other two are technically specials. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” from the second season, is almost definitely my favourite holiday episode of any show. It’s almost completely done in stop-motion animation, has a mystery at the heart of the plot, and tells a genuinely heartfelt story.

My second choice is the BoJack Horseman holiday special. This one is actually a Christmas episode of the Horsin’ Around show-within-a-show, and has BoJack and Todd watching it together as a framing device. Since it’s a riff on old 80’s sitcoms, it’s a lot like they cynical holiday episodes you’ll get from those kinds of shows, but more satirical, since it’s BoJack Horseman.

Finally, we come to the Trailer Park Boys holiday special, “Dear Santa Claus, Go F**k Yourself”. Interestingly, this one is set at least a year before the TV series, so you get to see somewhat younger and different versions of the characters. Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are all the same as usual, though, and the special actually plays out a lot like a very short season of the show.

So those are my three big picks. If I had to give a general recommendation for just one? Easily Community. You don’t need to be overly familiar with the rest of the show to really appreciate it, and I think you need at least a little bit of base knowledge to fully enjoy BoJack‘s. Trailer Park Boys is a real hit-or-miss kind of thing in general, but being placed outside the show’s timeline does make it a little more accessible to newcomers.

It’s also worth mentioning that all three episodes I’ve listed above are available on Netflix. One (BoJack) is exclusively so, and the other two you could theoretically get on DVD. (Do they still print DVDs?) I don’t know where else they might be streaming.

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – September 2017

The beginning of the month was a time of plenty, with a vacation week dedicated solely to doing whatever the heck I wanted. And also getting a crown on one of my teeth, but that’s besides the point. Then the dark times came, as I went back to school, and my video game time was subsequently supplanted by studying.

~ Game Over ~

Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS) – It’s been 13 years since the last 2D Metroid. The wait was so worth it. The only thing that could make it better is if it were a Switch game.

Chicken Wiggle (3DS) – Completed all the packed-in levels, but as long as Atooi and Talk Nintendo keep making new ones, I’ll keep on playin’ ’em!

Illusion of Gaia (SNES) – I’ve been wanting to replay this for what feels like forever, and finally doing so was my birthday present to myself. A good use of my week off.

Piczle Lines DX (Switch) – For the record, I only beat the Story Mode’s 100 puzzles. There are still another 200+ puzzles to solve in the Puzzle Mode. Hooray!

PAN-PAN (Switch) – A cute little adventure game that took well under two hours to finish up. I’ve come to really enjoy short games like this, and PAN-PAN was very fun and rewarding to solve.

No More Heroes (Wii) – A replay inspired by the recent announcement of the third NMH game.

~ Now Playing ~

Hollow Knight (PC) – Not only is it a sterling example of what a Metroidvania should be, but the difficulty level is perfect. Very tough, lots of dying, but no challenge ever feels unfair.

Death Road to Canada (PC) – This weird zombie road trip roguelike came out of nowhere, and holy cow is it ever a blast to play. I’m not convinced that it can actually be won, though.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) – At this rate, I’ll never finish it. There are too many sidequests. Too many hunts. A too-big Adamantoise. Too many got-danged fish to catch.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Switch) – It’s basically a light-hearted XCOM, so yeah, it’s really good. What’s much more surprising is that it’s sort of making me like the Rabbids.

Monster Hunter Generations (3DS) – Say what you will about the MonHun grinding cycle, I find it ever so satisfying and it’s still fun after seven billion hours over sixteen hundred games.

Monster Hunter Stories (3DS) – I think it says a lot that I invested upwards of ten hours in the demo, and still didn’t finish it before the full game was released.

Splatoon 2 (Switch) – I basically just played during the Splatfest, and it was nice to see my team win again after the crushing defeat of Ketchup by Mayo. Friggin’ mayo. So gross…

Pokémon Puzzle Challenge (GBC) – How do you make me like Puzzle League even more? Throw a Pokémon skin on there. Bonus points for being Johto-themed!

Picross NP Vol. 1 (SNES) – I wasn’t seriously playing it. Just booted it up to knock out a few puzzles. As much as I love this collection, the controls are just too… slippery?

Magikarp Jump (iOS) – Might be time to stop including this and Greasy Money on the monthend list. I mean, I play Pokémon Shuffle every day, too, and it hasn’t been mentioned in ages.

TPB: Greasy Money (iOS) – Back-to-back event weekends mean I’m even more invested in this app than usual. But I’m still not going to give them any more of my money.

Rock Band (360) – Played a bunch one weekend; my left hand remained cramped for days after.

King of the Monsters (SNES) – I played exactly one round, and then quit because it was dumb. But it sure did look appealing in Nintendo Power lo those many years ago.

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – August 2017

You might think that I would have played fewer video games in August, what with all the hustle and bustle of moving last month. However, life video games finds a way.

~ Game Over ~

Super Mario World (3DS) – I’ve bought a handful of SNES virtual console games on my 3DS, but had only played Mega Man X up until now. Weird, that.

VOI (PC) – A very fun minimalist puzzle game. In a world where you can’t throw a stone without hitting a boring minimalist puzzle game, I think that’s worth celebrating.

Ever Oasis (3DS) – I’ve been letting this one simmer for a while, but it was time to finally hack my way to the finish line. It’s too bad the post-game is so grindy and not all that fun.

Team Kirby Clash Deluxe (3DS) – Done enough. Anything left to do is gated behind the paywall/waiting for daily gem apple harvests. And that’s a load of crap.

Candy Thieves: Tale of Gnomes (PC) – Lame tower defence game that parents might put on their iPads to shut up their four-year-olds. Uninstalled after ten minutes.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – August 2017

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – July 2017

~ Game Over ~

Mighty Gunvolt Burst (Switch) – I really adore this one. Played through twice now, as both Beck and Gunvolt, and then just kept playing. Also, the Ekoro DLC came out late in the month, so…

Vaccine War (PC) – I wrote a thing. Kinda meh.

Blaster Master Zero (Switch) – They’re releasing more DLC characters now so I opted to go back and play with the already-out DLC guys. Gunvolt is awesome and makes the game feel new!

Until Dawn (PS4) – I try not to use this word about video games, but I loved this one.

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES) – The Netflix series and a nice My Nintendo discount inspired me to try one of the few ‘Vania games I’ve never played. Decent, but steeped in bulls**t.

Citadale: Curse of Darkness (WiiU) – Second chapter in the trilogy, solidifying the Casltevania “homage” by using an exact Castlevania subtitle. Perfectly average in all ways.

Super Mario 64 (N64) – I did something new this time and finished the game in a single sitting. Only to the requisite 71 stars, but hey, I’m not some kind of superman.

Tales from the Borderlands (PS4) – I wasn’t impressed with Episode 1, to the point where I was calling it Tales from the Snore-derlands. However, it got so much better once Gortys showed up.

BioShock Infinite (360) – A significantly more interesting tale than the original BioShock, but for some reason the gameplay still feels hollow to me, and I can’t figure out why.

Azure Striker Gunvolt (3DS) – Bought this in August of 2014 when it originally launched, haven’t played it until now. Massive oversight. It is excellent, but very difficult to actually be good at.

Resident Evil HD (PS4) – You know, initially I figured I’d do a one-sitting run of this. And then said run took nearly two months to complete. Damned distractions.

Red’s Kingdom (PC) – Quit playing after 20 minutes because I wasn’t having any fun.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – July 2017

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – June 2017

It seems like I’m in one of those phases where I spend a little bit of time with lot of different games. This usually happens when I don’t have a “major” game to focus my time on. Though Ever Oasis was nearly the only thing I played for the final week of the month…

~ Game Over ~

Life is Strange (PS4) – The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. But that doesn’t make the choice any easier. Sorry, Chloe 🙁

Zoo Rampage (PC) – Barf.

ArcaniA (PS4) – By the end, I’d gotten so accustomed to the game’s jankiness that I think I was genuinely enjoying it. But man, is it ever broken. Almost Bethesda-like, to be honest.

Spooky Cats (PC) – It’s a thing, alright.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst (Switch) – A very good Mega Man successor.

Chrono Trigger (SNES) – I usually have trouble with Lavos on a NG playthrough of Chrono Trigger, but I won pretty handily this time around, despite feeling like I was ill-prepared for it.

Team Kirby Clash Deluxe (3DS) – I’ve rolled the credits, but there’s still so much more to accomplish. Is it worth the time and effort, though? I’m not really smart enough to say.

Anna: Extended Edition (PS3) – A free PS+ spook-em-up that sounded great on paper, but was more than a little lacking in practice. And yet it still lingers in my mind… how apropos.

Ape Escape 2 (PS4) – Finally completed the slog of a replay to earn the final trophy. I don’t know why I did this to myself, to be perfectly honest. Ape Escape is NO FUN.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – June 2017

A weekend of games and stuff

I hate to admit it, because I’ve been trying to diversify the ways I waste time lately, but I spent pretty much the whole weekend playing video games. Well, the time during the weekend that I was conscious. I spent way too much time sleeping in and napping, but I slept terribly last week, so I suppose that I needed it. Anyway, for some reason I feel the need to write about all the nothing I did over the weekend. Really Live Journal it.

Friday night was a blur. Because it’s already so far away, you see. But I do recall that after a long Friday at work, I decided that it was in my best interest to get some physical activity, I opted to take a short walk. Partly because I wanted to do something good for my body, and partly because I wanted to listen to the Talk Nintendo podcast special on Ever Oasis. And by golly, did Casey and Neal ever do a good job of selling that game. I was planning on skipping it, but their gushing praise started to make me reconsider my stance…

Upon returning home, I finally set aside a little time to play ARMS, which I am desperately in love with in theory, but I need a lot more practice because I am awful at it. I managed to get through the easiest level of the single-player mode, but not without some struggles. Also I need to get online and get in on that party mode. Once I was done with that, I cracked and bought Ever Oasis. In retrospect, I should have played the demo first to make sure, but in the end it wouldn’t have dissuaded me anyhow. Although the game was surprisingly small (just over 6200 blocks), the download was slow and would not finish until early the next morning.

Finally, I began playing what might be the only free PS+ game that I’ve been at all interested in since I’ve had the service: Anna: Extended Edition. It is pitched on the store as a psychological horror game wherein you explore an abandoned sawmill to discover its spooky secrets. Late Friday night is like the only good time I get to play horror games, so I was pumped. And then the game turns out to be something of a janky mess. I was so befuddled by the odd control scheme and got stuck on a stupid(ly simple) puzzle that I only played up through the first “stage” before calling it quits and turning in for the night.

The next morning, I woke up late because I had opted not to set any alarms. Then I chose to relive a ritual of Saturday mornings from last summer: watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 series) while playing Tap My Katamari. I had four episodes left to watch from season four’s “lost episodes” (not on DVD) and burned through those right quick. Afterwards, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do and curled up in bed for a quick nap.

It was after I woke that I realized that Ever Oasis was probably done downloading, and then most of my afternoon just vanished into it. Ever Oasis is a really good game. What Casey and Neal neglected to mention is that it is very slow to start because holy crap does it ever like to take its time explaining everything to you. Also, it is just as hand-holdy as the Zelda series is infamous for being. At least for the first few hours. Eventually it gives you a little more freedom, but the beginning of the game is a slow, unskippable slog. This will undoubtedly discourage replays.

I then decided that it was my mission for the rest of the afternoon to finish Anna, and so I booted the ol’ PS3 back up and jumped back into that mess. The game does have its charms once you let yourself get into it, but I maintain that it could have used a lot more polish. At least have a few of the rougher edges sanded down. Case in point: I was not interested in the game enough to care about solving its obtuse puzzles, and it didn’t take me long to pull up a walkthrough for consultation whenever I felt stuck. I cleared the game, and am weakly considering a quick second playthrough to round up the leftover trophies. On one hand, it’ll be a very easy task that should take no more than half an hour. On the other hand, I don’t really care about this game and should probably just delete it and forget it forever.

Saturday night was the usual board games party. The major difference is that when my brother and I made a trip to the liquor store, we found something highly unexpected: Freedom 35 lager! It’s the Trailer Park Boys branded beer! We were so excited that we each filled up an 8-can carrier and merrily went on our way. The checkout guy must have thought we were nuts.

Many beers led to a hearty sleep-in on Sunday morning. Sort of. I got up at 8:30, had breakfast, watched an episode of Bob’s Burgers, and played some Mighty Gunvolt Burst to grab a few screenshots for the article I wrote on it. Then I passed out again and slept until after noon.

To round out my activities, I went out for an extra-long walk/run after waking up. I was out for two and a half hours, which I think is my longest journey on record so far. Especially since it was only my second outing that included running this year. And yet it was still not long enough to listen to the regular weekly episode of the Talk Nintendo. When I got back, my legs were so done that I showered off and flopped onto bed to nap for an hour, then watched several more episodes of Bob’s Burgers. And then I ate a metric ton of food for dinner and way too much in the way of ice cream treats, completely invalidating all the exercise I’d done earlier.

Finally, I ended the evening the same way that every Sunday evening ends: laundry. In between throwing dirty clothes in the machines and putting away the clean laundry, I tacked a few more hours onto Ever Oasis. Turns out that it’s quite difficult! Monsters hit really, really hard and you can’t dodge-cancel out of attack animations, so you’ve got to be careful. It’s still limiting how far off-course I can explore, but at least it’s not pushing me along the intended route quite as sternly any more.

Alas, eventually the laundry was all done, and that’s my cue to stop whatever fun I’m having and go to bed. I think that’s probably why I hate doing laundry so much. It heralds the end of the freedom of the weekend, and the return of the dreadful work week. Ugh. So disheartening. At least I had a lot of fun over the weekend. And when put into words, it almost seems like I accomplished much more than I actually did. Hurray!

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

Greasy Money : The Liquor Guide

Hey! Let’s talk about Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money a little more today.

Actually, let’s not talk, per se. This is going to be more of a mini-guide than the usual opinion piece. Greasy Money is a fairly standard idle game, though it does have a number of bells and whistles to differentiate itself from the thousands of other idle games on the iTunes App Store and Kongregate.com. As many of those other games, it deals with several different types of currency.

First, there’s cash. It’s fun, because there’s actually a story conceit as to why you’re making millions upon billions of dollars in the game. Usually that just gets completely ignored. Cash is mainly earned from your businesses. It can also be gained by cracking open trunks, which is kind of waste, because anything else you get from a trunk will be infinitely more valuable. Literally the only thing you can do with cash is invest it back in your businesses to attract more customers, which will increase the business’ cash output. And so the cycle continues.

Next are the hashcoins. These are the premium currency, and while the game does dole out a fair amount in the tutorial seasons, you will typically have to pay real money for more. You can also find one or two in a trunk from time to time, but they’re going to accumulate very slowly. Hashcoins are spent in the in-game store to buy premium trunks, time skips, and liquor.

Speaking of liquor, that’s the final currency type. This is the semi-premium currency, in that you don’t have to buy it with your heard-earned hashcoins, but you’re not going to be earning a useable amount very quickly. Liquor also happens to be the most valuable stuff in the game, as it’s used to upgrade your businesses and characters, and to buy new cards. There are tons of ways to get liquor, but most don’t pay out very well. The purpose of this guide is to tell you all the ways to get your liquor so that you can make the most out of your time with the game.

Side note: I suppose that technically, the character/business cards are also a form of currency, but forget those for now. They are essentially just a specialized form of liquor, anyhow.

That said, let’s take a look at all the ways you can earn liquor:

Continue reading Greasy Money : The Liquor Guide

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – April 2017

~ Game Over ~

NieR: Automata (PS4) – Finished up and got that sweet platinum trophy. Loved every minute of it. I laughed, I cried (multiple times), and I have to say it’s a worthy follow-up to one of my favourites.

PaRappa the Rapper Remastered (PS4) – Yeah, I bashed my head against this wall long enough to get to the end, but I doubt I will ever truly understand how to play well.

Blaster Master Zero (Switch) – What a stellar game! The original Blaster Master is much too hard for me, so this reboot was a very nice way to appreciate the game without all the headaches.

The Unfinished Swan (PS4) – A weird little first-person adventure game that is constantly playing with how you get around its world. Read more here.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (Switch) – Beautiful remake of a TG-16 platformer that I didn’t realize that I already own on Wii Virtual Console. Oh well! It’s definitely worth buying again!

Pic-A-Pix Color (WiiU) – Honestly, I’m as surprised as you are that I’m playing a Wii U game. But then again, it’s picross, so maybe not. Also it’s crossbuy with 3DS, so I’ll likely play it again soon!

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – April 2017