New Ho-RISE-ons

Last night I introduced my Switch to the new capture card – they don’t get along perfectly, but I think it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I’m also really impressed that my cheap, cheap internet has the fortitude to handle both streaming and playing online at the same time. I don’t know very much about how internets work, but I imagined that doing both at once would cause some degradation to one or the other. Doesn’t seem to be the case, though! So that’s something else I can do now.

Wherein 2021 is Productive

At least, in the sense that I have been creating a lot of product in 2021. It’s only halfway through January and I have already scheduled two videos to go live each week on the TE YouTube channel until the end of February. That probably amounts to more videos than I posted through the entirety of 2020. Not that I’m going to bother counting.

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TE’s Top Games of 2020

2020, as I’m sure you’ve heard many times, was a heck of a strange year. And to cap it off, I’ve got a heck of a strange Top 10 Video Games list for you.

Longtime readers might know that I don’t always play by the same rules for this annual listicle. The rule for candidacy this time around is simple: It must be a game that I played for the first time in 2020. That is it. That is the one and only criteria that I’m using to decide which titles are eligible. I’ve also decided to do away with the “must have beaten it” rule, because it seems unnecessary.

My selection process was this: I made a big spreadsheet of every game I played in 2020 (total of 118), removed any that didn’t meet my specification (47), and then narrowed it down to 28 frontrunners. From there, I simply looked at the list and picked the ones that I had the most positive emotional reactions to while reading their titles. By some wonderful coincidence, that left me with a clean list of 10 games. Neat!

And here are my selections, presented in the order that I played them:

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Project Z35/21

2021 is going to be a good year. Not only because it’s probably going to look that way in relation to the garbage fire that was 2020, but also because I’m going to spend it playing ALL OF THE ZELDAS.

Well, not all of the Zeldas. I’m going to skip all of the spin-offs and games that were never legitimately released. CD-i, I’m looking at you.

So, why am I doing this? 2021 marks the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, and while I’m sure Nintendo is going to put together a big to-do for it, this is how I’m celebrating one of my favourite video game series. Also I’ve had Zelda on the brain for a couple months now and I figured this is a good way to work that out of my system.

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: December 2020

~ Game Over ~

Paratopic (Switch) – I honestly have no idea what happened here. It’s roughly an hour of what I imagine a really low-key drug trip must be like. That said… I liked it. I played it a second time to see if there were different story paths, and you can diverge a bit to find some neat stuff, but it’s a really slow game, which made the replay very tedious.

Spec Ops: The Line (PC) – Pew-pew shootmans game wherein I recorded my playthrough. You can watch it here. (tldw: Game is v good, my recording framerate was v bad.)

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch) – I think that this is an overall better game than the original Hyrule Warriors, though it just didn’t quite click with me in the same way. I liked it, I really did, but mostly it just made me want to play Breath of the Wild again.

A Knight’s Quest (Switch) – An adventure that was clearly inspired by Zelda, but also had a little Mario thrown in for flavour. Buggy as all heck, but still playable and mostly fun. Combat made a hard transition from mindless button mashing to intensely frustrating near the end, and between that and one atrocious boss fight, I just about gave up on the game. The soundtrack is way better than it has any right to be.

The Final Fantasy Legend (GB) – Retro RPG where nothing works the way you expect it to. It’s that way by design, though, because this is a spiritual successor to FF2 and the first game in the SaGa series, known mostly for its obtuse mechanics and punishing difficulty. Still fun, once you figure out how all the systems work. Little bit too grindy, though.

~ Progress Notes ~

DOOM Eternal (PS4) – On stage 6.

Fitness Boxing 2 (Switch) – Achievement collection at 26%.

Witch Hunt (PC) – Defeated the second “boss”.

Picross S4 (Switch) – Mostly done with the regular puzzles.

Robo Recall: Unplugged (Oculus) – Half-done Chapter 2.

SINoALICE (iOS) – Mostly grinding the Xmas event.

Book Learning

I’ve mentioned it in passing on this blog probably many times now, but I don’t know if I’ve ever really written about how over the last five years, I’ve been oh-so-slowly working towards my Accounting certificate. You know, so that I can finally own a paper that says I’m qualified to do accounting.

And while I don’t know for sure when or how I’m going to get said paper, as of December 22, 2020, I handed in my final project and officially finished the program. Hooray me! I did something meaningful with my life!

I could probably write about the long journey, or where I go from here, but I don’t want to. Instead, I’ll just leave this little tidbit: In the last course that I took, I somehow got perfect marks on the gigantic research project. This if baffling because halfway through said project, it was already confirmed that I passed the course, so I half-assed the rest of it. Quarter-assed even, in some parts. And then I got perfect marks. INSANE.

My hypothesis on how this happened is this: The project was supposed to be a group project, but since COVID-19 forced the course to be changed to online, the project was also changed to be completed individually. I think this had the net effect of making the instructor grade the projects a little more leniently, since they were designed to be completed by a three- or four-person team. I’ll gladly accept the grade that I’ve been given, but I don’t actually believe that I earned it.

A Knight’s Quest – The Buggiest Game of 2020

Well, the buggiest game that I played in 2020, anyhow. It was actually released last year. And I have no intention of ever playing Cyberpunk 2077.

A Knight’s Quest is a game that I’d had on my Switch wishlist for a while, since it looked like a fairly decent Zelda-like. I bought it in June when it went on sale for a decent price, but then didn’t play it until December, due to an overloaded SD card. I can’t say I feel overly strongly about this in either direction. It’s perfectly fine. Kind of like what you would get if you wished for a GameCube-styled game that mashed up a Zelda knockoff and Mario knockoff.

But this isn’t a review. Oh, certainly not! This, my friends, is simply a round-up of every bug and glitch that I’ve experienced while playing this game. Let’s start!

  1. Right off the hop – you can control Rusty (the main character) during the first cutscene after the intro sequence. While an in-engine scene is showing Rusty waking up on a beach after being washed ashore, you can mash buttons to have the actual player character version of him run and jump and swing his sword. If you’re lucky, you might actually run him into the camera’s view. I’m seeing double – four Rustys!
  2. Not long after you “gain control” of Rusty, you’ll probably wade into the water and learn that he can’t swim. Like in Zelda games, he’s supposed to void out and respawn on the most recent solid ground that he stood on. Except one time when I jumped off the pier into what I thought was shallow water: Rusty drowned and voided out, only to respawn… in the water. where he drowned and voided out again. And again. And again. And probably would have continued to do so forever, until I paused the game and quite out to the main menu. It’s worth noting that the game only auto-saves, and only when you move between areas. Don’t take any unnecessary risks, kids!
  3. Sometimes if you have Rusty jump onto a weird surface, like the back of a bench, he won’t be able to find his footing and get stuck hovering over it in his falling pose. If you can’t move him off the object somehow (which is surprisingly likely), he’ll simply die and void out after a while, as if he had fallen out of bounds. Today’s lesson: don’t try to stand on the backs of any park benches. They’re apparently quite deadly.
  4. Remember how I said that manual saves are not an option, and the game only auto-saves when transitioning between two areas? Well sometimes, if you’re really lucky, the game will just crash in that transition instead of, you know, loading the map and saving. Hope you didn’t just come from exploring one of the bigger maps!
  5. You can buy or find pickaxes to mine specific rocks in the environment to gather valuable ores. Nothing new, this is video games in 2020, after all. What is new about it, is that sometimes when you mine a rock, you get nothing for your trouble but a pickae is still removed from your inventory. These rocks are supposed to give you exactly one ore per visit to that map, then respawn once you leave and return, so it’s not as if you just didn’t find an ore that time. No, sometimes the game is just bugged and steals a pickaxe (or five) from you.
  6. Occasionally, you’ll be walking along, and Rusty will sort of randomly float up slightly off the ground, as if there’s some invisible geometry below him. It also counts as unstable ground, so if you can’t wiggle him back to solid footing fast enough… see note 3.
  7. Taking damage in battle will very rarely cause certain unfortunate “status effects” like: Not being able to use magic while holding the block button. Rusty becomes entirely unresponsive until he gets hit again. Rusty goes into T-pose and can’t do anything but hover around a bit until he gets hit again.
  8. If Rusty ever takes damage from anything while airborne, be it an enemy attack or an environmental hazard, he’ll go into a ragdoll mode and flop to the ground. Several things can go wrong at this point. The funniest one is when the ragdoll physics mess up and Rusty goes flying into space as if he took a hit from a Skyrim giant. The more frustrating one is when Rusty flops to the ground and becomes completely unresponsive until he gets hit again – and if there’s nothing around to hit him… hopefully the last auto-save wasn’t too far back.
  9. At one point, textures on some environmental objects disappeared, leaving said objects covered in a grey checkerboard pattern. Fun!
  10. I don’t know if it could be considered a bug, but one of the boss fights is so poorly designed and frustrating that I can’t imagine it was made that way intentionally. Either somebody missed something during QA, or Sky9 Games just didn’t give a damn that it’s an awful experience.

This should, by no means, be considered a complete list. I’m sure that there are plenty of other bugs that I either didn’t encounter or weren’t significant enough to remember/write down. And to be fair, most of the bugs that I did encounter were mere annoyances at worst. It was only the game crashing coupled with the inability to save manually that really gave me a lot of anxiety. I was super lucky that it only happened (twice) while passing through areas. If it had happened after, say, completing a dungeon? Probably would have chucked the game in the bin right then and there.

But that didn’t happen and I played A Knight’s Quest all the way through to the end. Hooray!