Friday, April 29, 2016

Blog: Favourite YouTube Videos (Volume 129)

In this volume of my favourite YouTube videos, we pull out or magnets, bang our air drums and then try to catch them all.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Blog: Favourite YouTube Videos (Volume 128)

In this volume of my favourite YouTube videos, we figure out who we are, why Yoshi is cool and why you should be careful when you're feeling fancy.

  • First, Micheleh takes a few minutes to look at who he is through the lens of media and passes on some very sage advice at the same time. Then stick around for his DVD extras, where he rants (very well) about "Content" and why it's a useless and insulting term.
  • Next, Josh talks about how Super Mario World is Really Freakin' Clever. He touches on how Super Mario World has a lot of flexibility (more than many of the following Mario games) and how Yoshi is integral to how we understand the game (and how he's an aspect of the game, not just level design). He also talked about how easily Mario game communicate what the rules of the game are and I was reminded of this video from Jamin from PBS Digital Studios Game Show.
  • Finally, if you need a little dose of weird this week, Pomplamoose, covered "Puttin On The Ritz." Remember folks, always keep your trip hazards under control or the lemons won't stop singing.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Blog: Favourite YouTube Videos (Volume 127)

In this volume of my favourite YouTube videos, it's a music volume with space ducks, menu songs and one take feelings.

  • First, Caitlin and Vaughan are taking ducks to space, with their cover of The Moon Level from Duck Tails.
  • Next, Mr. Smooth McGroove is ready for a fight, in the menu (from Super Smash Bros. Melee).
  • Finally, from their Season 2, Pomplamoose cover James Brown, "I Feel Good" and it feels good.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Blog: Video Games of March 2016

I seem to have split my time a little more between a few games in March than I did in February. Partly at least because I finished XCOM and really didn't feel like picking it up again and partly because most of the other games I was playing really limited the amount you can play at a time.

My top five games of the month (by play time) were:
  1. Stardew Valley - I resisted playing this game because I usually end up feeling a little empty after playing any of the open farming kind of games, and also because I tend to play games like this a little too intensely (cough, 17 hours in 7 days, cough). But a few friends were interested in it and I watched how excited ProJared and Pushing up Roses were about the game and I somehow found myself buying it.

    Down on the farm, where the cat watches all.

    So far I've really enjoyed it. I think it has a little more to it than the Harvest Moon games I've played over the years and I think it also smooths out some of the hichoughs that most of the Harvest Moon games have too. You can see the amount of care and polish that went into the game and continues to go into the game.

    I've also tried to play the game in a very gentle way. I try (although I don't always suceeed) to keep the play sessions short and I've also worked to avoid min-maxing any aspect of the game. I'm working on roleplaying just a guy who needed a break from life and got a farm and I have to say I think it's really helped me relax while playing. My only real complaint with the game is that there's no save option except over night, which occasionally makes me keep playing after I'd really rather stop.
  2. Super Mario Maker - I really hadn't expected to play this much Super Mario Maker. I spent quite a bit of time (for the first 3/4 of the month) playing a little bit each day. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make better levels and I think I'm getting better. The problem is that it's so difficult to get your levels played by anyone that you end up shouting into the void.

    The levels from Nintendo are also usually really great to play, here you played the same level 3 ways to get the three starter pokemon.
    I finished my "First World" with 1-3 and 1-4 (completing 1-1 and 1-2) and I think they're okay, if not great. The did inspire me to start trying to do things in a more creative, less linear way and so I came up with I Ain't Afraid.

    I've also been playing a bit more and I think that's helped improve my platforming and it's been fun (for the most part) too. I think the new components Nintendo has been introducing are pushing people to create levels that are more playable and less kaizo or automatic. Also, I think it stands to reason that at this point people who really like making levels are the ones still playing.
  3. Final Fantasy VI (or 3) - I finished it. Finally. I'm working on a thoughts on post on the game. I enjoyed it over all. I thought the story was interesting and it has a lot of interesting types of game play.

    I'm not sure what it is, but we're fighting it. Also Setzer? Really? - From GameFAQ's user KeyBlade999

    Sadly it also has combat, and that's the thing that makes this game a real slog. I think my play-time was totalled at about 60 hours and much of that was trying to wade through the combat to get the right spells on the right person at the right time. It's still worth it, but I'm glad there are newer games that are a little easier to play.
  4. Marvel Puzzle Quest - So, usually the casual games don't make it this high on the list, but between trying to keep up for the Alliance and the fact that the revitalized the progression system, I've managed to play quite a bit of Puzzle Quest over the last little bit.
    Match 3. Punch Robots. (or Ninja or Purple Guys or Melty Guys, or Soldier Guys or ....)

    I'd hit a point where I didn't want to play that much since I wasn't playing enough to get the high level characters, but they changed the way you level characters up and now it's been worth while and more fun. So one bus ride at a time I've manage to rack up the time on this one (it's also my game with the most play sessions for the month by a wide margin).
  5. Europa Universalis 4 - So ... I started playing this again. Um, I guess my ill feelings faded and both Extra History and Hardcore History have been talking about the Middle East and it left me feeling like it was time to try to lead the Ottomans to glory again. At least I seem to have my play times down to a more manageable length of time.

    It's not that we're the centre of the world. It's just that we're the centre of the world.

I also started to play Mass Effect again this month. I was a little influenced by all the talk about Andromeda, and it's also just been a really long time since I played. I only played a few hours (since the game is much much slower than I remember). I'm still finding some of the charm that I remember from the first time(s) I played the game, but it definitely hasn't aged as well as I'd have hoped. My last play through I played he-shep Calrin, so this time I thought I'd play fem-shep Maria (who looks really unfortunately exactly like Ashley). I also had forgotten how bad the character models were for the first game in the series. Still it does feel a bit like home after all's said and done.

That's my Normandy. Also how effing hard is it to take a screen shot Mass Effect?

I think that tracking my play time has been good. I think I've been more mindful about what I play and how I play it. I think I've also felt a little more comfortable playing less, which is good since the next little while is going to be pretty busy.

Here's my total play time for games in March:
And here's my total number of play sessions:
Finally, here's the graph of my play time / day:

So it turns out that google is really weird about exporting charts. I'm not just bad at it.