Hi there, it’s been a long time! You may have thought I had given up and for a while there you were absolutely right, but it’s a new year, a new me and a fresh start. In the last couple of years a lot has happened in my life that affected my dedication to the blog, I just didn’t have the mental capacity or time to think about it any more but as time has gone by I’ve finally come to realise how much I enjoy writing and I want to open it back up again to be an outlet for that. This comes with a blog re-design and core subject changes. Don’t worry, gaming will still feature, but it’s not going to be the main topic any more.
Over the last couple of years I’ve had a few false starts trying to get to back into writing this blog but it’s never quite stuck. Eventually, I came to the realisation that I have become uninspired by the theme (gaming). It turns out that I have a select few, core games that I love, but once I’d mentioned them at least 10 times each I felt uninspired and started struggling for content. Furthermore, my style and tone of voice have changed so I don’t feel like my old posts necessarily reflect who I am and the persona that I want to portray anymore, some of my older posts really make me cringe!
What is the new blog going to be about then? That is an excellent question, and if I said ‘everything’ would that be too broad? I really enjoy writing and so I’m just going to write. It will primarily be opinion pieces and reviews of movies, games, books, TV shows, etc. but there will also be some slices of life, stories, maybe even some writing exercises that I am more proud of if my confidence gets there. I’d like to experiment and find what kind of niche I particularly enjoy and hopefully people will find them interesting, useful and amusing. We’ll see what sticks.
Going forward I will be doing some blog admin, archiving my old posts and possibly deleting some of my more embarrassing and less popular ones. I’d also love to start reading more blogs as it’s been so long that I’ve been out of the circle, if you have any recommendations for anything geeky/story based/or just anything you particularly like in general, please drop a comment below with the link!
Not long after leaving Paniola ranch behind I ran into Hau who was annoying a new character named Gladion. I’m glad it’s not just me that finds Hau’s optimism irritating, even if the other person is a fictional character. Gladion looks like that kid that desperately wants to be emo and got his mum to take him to Hot Topic one time but he’s not allowed to dye his hair yet. He will wear that Hot Topic outfit every day for the rest of his life though, dammit. He’s also got a bit of a chip on his shoulder about… Something… I think it’s about being kind of a contractor henchman for Team Skull, but not a real henchman. Two Team Skull members came up after we fought to tease him about that AND ABOUT BEING HOMELESS?! Damn Team Skull, what the hell? That was harsh, and kind of brave considering he has a freaky-ass dog-fish-lizard Pokémon that is far better than their Ratattas.
I messed up…
After Gladion was done being dramatic and mysterious I got to move on and it wasn’t long until I was in the next area and ready to start the next trial. This was the one trial I could actually remember from my previous, generic playthrough I think because I had struggled a bit with it and been surprised by it. I knew the Totem was a water spider thing but unfortunately I couldn’t remember what level it was (or called), but my team were all about level 20 and I felt confident with that. I also had a pretty heavy electric/bird team so I went in without feeling I had to do too much grinding and was feeling pretty cocky about it overall. I was in for a shock. The Totem was an Araquanid, a creepy spider with a bubble on it’s head. I sent out Chops the Flaaffy to shock it into oblivion but it hit her with Bubble, not normally a threatening move, but in this situation it was. I had to switch once it summoned a Dewpider to help it. Pom pom the Oricorio was sent out but the same thing happened, and with the Dewpider in the mix as well it just wasn’t happening. Same issue with Peeko the Wingull. Then I thought it was time for the big guns and sent out my beloved Squidward the Inkay to deal with them. Squidward is an amazing Pokémon with the Contrary feat, so if you try to lower his stats they just get higher, and some really good moves that have been making a lot of fights very easy. I used Reflect because at this point I was clucthinc at straws hoping maybe Bubble was a physical move (it’s not) and maybe it could at least lower the damage being done but it didn’t help. Then Araquanid used Leech Life… Which one-shot Squidward. I was devastated. I thought Squidward was going to go all the way to the elite 4 with me, he didn’t even get to evolve yet. I had to take a minute to process his death before I could continue the fight. I was also really annoyed at myself because I had completely forgotten that bug type is super effective against psychic type because you know, Urie Geller can’t bend spoons if a fly lands on him I guess.
At this point I was getting genuinely worried that this would be the end of my challenge, if no one could stand up to Araquanid more were going to start dying, but I had one last hope (and second favourite) : Rudy the Brionne, my starter. I sent him out and had him just use Work Up to raise his Attack and Special Attack for 6 turns so he was beefed up then struck with Icy Wind and BAM the Araquanid was dead. I felt no joy at his defeat though, there was just a hole in my team that no totem defeat, or many new Pokemon could fill…
Magikrap to Magikal
Begrudgingly, I set about catching a Pokemon in the trial area. This could potentially be the Pokemon to replace Squidward so there was a lot riding on it, I didn’t really have anything in the Box that I felt could match him. A ripple in the water, a jerk on the fishing rod and I reeled in my new team mate… Magikarp.
I was disappointed at first, they take so long to level BUT then I realised that it was a level 21, just one level away from evolution and that was a game changer! Neville the Magikarp was added to the party and put under a gruelling training regime until it evolved into a Gyarados. Now we’re talking. In my previous Nuzlocke I managed to get a Gyarados but it was defeated almost instantly so I vowed to be a better trainer for Neville.
Mandatory Battle Royal
Our next stop was the battle royal stadium where you fight three people with the first Pokemon in your party. I walked in and triggered a cutscene with Hau, Gladion and ‘The Masked Royal’/The Professor in a wresting mask (whatever he’s into I guess, no judgment) and they all decided to battle then and there with me and the Pokemon at the front of the team. Realising that Chops the Flaaffy was the Pokemon at the front of my party and also injured, I desperately tried to claw my way out of the building but the cutscene was in full flow and poor Chops was thrown out the safety of her pokeball to fight a Rockruff, Type: Null, and Torracat. I was very scared. I like Chops and the wound from losing Squidward was still sore, I couldn’t lose Chops too. I tried to be as strategic as possible and used thunder wave on Torracat in the first round. Magically, none of the other Pokemon attacked Chops in that round, which was a huge relief. Round 2 I used thunder wave again on Rockruff as Type: Null was burned but Chops took a hit from Torracat that nearly wiped her out. With just 5 hit points left I resigned myself to Chops’s untimely demise, but she was going to go out swinging! She used thundershock on the Rockruff and… it was defeated, therefore ending the battle! I didn’t realise just defeating one would end it or I would have been more aggressive, I thought you had to be the last one standing. Phew. I ran out of there ASAP knowing that I would never return while on this challenge. I do think that in a normal game it’s a fun format though.
Next stop on the journey is the volcano park for a fiery battle!
You might remember back in Chapter 1 I said how I was doing this challenge to relieve some boredom from my sofa-bound, injured boyfriend and that after each Kahuna battle we were going to battle each other. Well… That’s not worked out so much. After a week of me looming over his shoulder asking “have you beat the Kahuna yet?” in the most nonchalant way I could muster while desperately wanting to continue my own game, he finally gave me the go ahead to continue and he would ‘catch me up’. This may or may not happen but I’m going to continue the challenge myself either way. A downside to having a non-gamer boyfriend is that when he does play stuff with me he gets really into it for one or two nights then never wants to play again, which leads to a lot of frustration for my inner achievement hunter.
Ride Pokemon appreciation
After the first Kahuna I was given my very own Tauros to ride and rock smash my way through obstacles. The way this game dealt with HMs is THE BEST, It’s one of my favourite things about it. I hate having to sacrifice one of my party to HM servitude but in Alola you are given a Ride Pokemon to do what would normally be an HM move. You also get some funky riding gear that is… a look, but safety first I guess. There’s a Tauros to smash rocks, Stoutland to sniff out hidden objects, a Charizard for fly, Lapras to surf, and more.
Look what you made me do
I retraced my steps smashing through all the rocks I could find and got to a new area ‘Ten Carat Hill’ where I got a Mawile called Nancy, a Pokemon I don’t usually use but I was very curious so added her to the party straight away. Then there was the ‘Farthest Hollow’ where I COULD have got a Roggenrola, which would have been really cool, but Taylor the Ekans had other plans and 1 shot it. Taylor had become my ‘catcher’ Pokemon, what with her ability to paralyse and not hit too hard, but I guess she wanted to prove me wrong and what with this being the second time she had knocked out a potential team mate I retired her from that role with a stern warning.
Arriving in Akala
Smashable rocks exhausted I headed to the beach and surfed a Mantine to the next island, Akala. Little fact here : The only reason I got Ultra Sun and not regular Sun is because of the Mantine surfing, it’s a fun mini game and I’ve always liked surfing/skating mini games. Once we got to Akala I was greeted by the Kahuna Olivia who is VERY different to Melemele’s Hala. I have a bit of a girl crush on her, not going to lie.
Lillie wanted to go off to a posh hotel for plot reasons, you have to follow her but once you’re there she just goes “yep… this is the hotel all right!” Ok??? Temporarily unburdened by Nintendo’s albino plot device I ran to the nearest patch of grass to get my new Pokemon… An Eevee! Eevees are adorable and I was very happy. I’d found the TM False Swipe and taught it to Nancy (the new catcher of the team) so it was an easy catch and Smoothie the Eevee was mine! (It was just what I was eating at the time, I don’t know, coming up with all these names is hard). I boxed her temporarily as I wanted to plan what I wanted her to evolve into carefully. There might be a particular type that isn’t very common in Alola or my team might be severely lacking something when I get to the next trials.
The realities of food in the Pokemon world
Next stop was the Paniola Ranch so I could expect a farm-like addition to the team, though isn’t that basically just stealing Pokemon from the ranch? Seems sketchy. Anyway, after some interaction with a farmer and his Miltank I had the disturbing realisation that everyone in the Pokemon world drinks milk from Miltanks. I was then informed by my friend that there are only male Tauros and female Miltank and they can breed with each other so… Miltank provides the humans with milk and the Tauros provides them with… Steak??? That must be why they don’t evolve either, they’re primarily a food source. I guess that’s obvious but I had never thought about it and for a second it took me out of the magical world where humans lived on berries. We looked into it a bit more and apparently Slowpoke tails are a snack you suck on and slowly chew, Farfetch’d were hunted to near extinction because they taste good when cooked with their leek and Basculin is ‘remarkably tasty’. So there’s some light horror for y’all.
Any reserves I had about stealing Pokemon from a ranch were now gone (not that I really had any before) and I walked into some nearby grass to see which Pokemon I could save from the food industry and found a Mareep. I honestly did not realise until I started typing this despite all that ‘horrific realisation’ I then went totally absentmindedly went on to name the Mareep ‘Chops’ so… Yeah. Chops was saved from becoming its’ own name sake and we got out of there. Food talks aside, I am glad I got a Mareep as I think Ampharos can be a good Pokemon.
Now that I need to have a think about my Eevee, which is your favourite Eevee evolution? Or which is more useful? I’m also running out of name ideas, drop some ideas in the comments! Any comment on the food situation? What would a Pikachu taste like?
After my embarrassing performance in on Route 1 I was hoping for a better time on Route 2. A new route means new Pokémon so I set off optimistically. At the first patch of grass I came to, a man told me how when you can see rustling in the grass that means a Pokémon will run up and attack you, so rather than explore the route a bit more and select my grassy patch tactfully my dumb ass stepped right on into that first one, a shape sped towards me and it turned out to be an Ekans. I’ve never been a big Ekans fan but I’ll take it. Taylor joined the team and I sulked about untapped grassy potential a bit until I got to Sandy Cove. I thought it looked like a good place to come back to when I can fish or surf for a water type just as a Zubat threw itself at me. Has anyone ever not had a Zubat in a Nuzlocke? (Genuine question) My team was full at this point though so it went straight to the PC.
My next stop was the cemetery where I got a Driftloon, which I’ve never used before and their Pokédex entry is uh… intense.
I’m sure there are any number of cool characters that steal people’s soul in fiction/fantasy but the only thing that came to mind is that Simpsons episode where Bart trades his soul to Milhouse for some ALF pogs, so Driftloon is called Milhouse.
Milhouse died immediately. My first casualty of the game. I thought being a ghost type it might fare ok against some physical attacks but… It did not. I spent more time thinking of its name than it spent in my party. I just sent it out, watched it get hit and deflate, zooming around in the sky above me making a fart noise before unceremoniously plopping to the ground, a wrinkled shell of a balloon. You know what though? It’s fine, we’re fine, I’m fine. I could have had a Ghastly but no. Whatever. It’s fine.
The first trial is playing hide and seek with some Yungoos before taking on the totem Pokémon, a Gumshoos. I wasn’t worried really, I had been smashing through Route 2 with the unexpectedly effective combo of Squidward the Inkay and Taylor the Ekans: Squidward used reflect to lower physical damage done against the team then switched with Taylor who used Glare to paralyse the totem and its’ ally Yungoos, plus Wrap on the totem for some continuous damage, then we switched out again to Squidward to top up Reflect and then just hit them with Foul Play. I probably didn’t need to be so tactful, but I never usually am so I was enjoying feeling clever. We took them out nice and easy. I never thought an Ekans would be one of my favourites but that’s one of the reasons I subject myself to the emotional torture of Nuzlocke challenges; I’ve been playing Pokémon since I can remember yet I never bothered with an Ekans until now.
I wasn’t very worried about the impending Kahuna fight, but then I had been feeling confident about my trial with Llima and we know how that went… I knew that the Kahuna has fighting type Pokémon so I was pleased when a Spearow named Burdy joined the team on Route 3, that is until I saw his stats. His defence was shocking and I nearly lost him in his first battle, so he wasn’t even a viable option, too much of a wild card. Fortunately there was one area left: Melemele Meadows. Kind of unsurprisingly I caught an Oricorio in the meadow named Pom pom who immediately replaced Burdy as chief bird and was so much better. I think that Oricorio is actually a pretty cool Pokémon, at least early in the game. You can pick different flowers in different areas of the world to give it that turn it into a different type, sort of like a bird version of Eevee, at the moment Pom pom is an electric type but going forward hopefully I can adapt it to whatever upcoming fight we have.
I needn’t have worried really, the Kahuna fight was pretty easy, Pom pom aced it and secured a place as one of my favourites. Rudy the Poplio also evolved (first evolution) into Brionne, who looks a like a clown that wants to be a trapeze artist but isn’t quite confident enough to fully leave the safety of the clowning career yet.
That’s it until next time! Which Pokémon do you not usually use but have been pleasantly surprised by when you have? Any advice for the road to the next trial?
Hello! It’s been far too long! I’ve been suffering from writers block very badly over lockdown. Most of the games I’ve been playing are simulators (Sims, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, etc) and anything I have to say about them has already been said. I’ve really missed writing and the blogging community though and didn’t want to give up completely. Finally, inspiration struck me for a new blog series: Pokemon Sun Nuzlocke!
The idea to start this came about because my boyfriend Dexter has hurt his back and has spent most of the week lying on the sofa, he’s understandably bored and frustrated so to pass the time he has been watching Jaiden Animations play though her Nuzlocke. He mentioned how it would be fun to play one with me where we battle each other after each gym so we would be each other’s ‘rival’. I wanted to do something to help him feel less bored, that and he doesn’t usually play games with me as he’s not a gamer so I got excited and started rifling through our combined Pokemon collection, which is one of the only games he does play. Between us we have quite a few but the only compatible ones were two copies of Sapphire or Ultra Sun and Moon. We settled on Sun/Moon as I have finished Sun but only once and I wasn’t that into it so I felt that a new perspective could change my mind, and he started it but didn’t get very far.
As we were playing together, and the Alola region is a bit different to other games (trials and kahuna instead of gyms, ally pokemon, Z powers, etc) we reviewed the rules and came up with the following:
If a pokemon reaches 0 hp it’s ‘dead’ and must be released
You can only catch one Pokrmon per route and it must be the first Pokemon you encounter (if ally pokemon are summoned you can only catch the original pokemon)
The starter Pokemon must be randomised
A route is whenever the little blue box pops up to say you’re in a new area
Gift Pokemon and eggs are OK, unless you have already caught a Pokemon on the route it is gifted on in which case you have to release it or put it in the Gift Box on the PC, a thing I made up because gift Pokemon are usually babies and I feel like they wouldn’t last long in the wild, the gift box is a safer place
If I have a Pokemon that needs to evolve through trading then Dexter must also have one and agree to the trade, he has implied he might just choose not to because you know… He likes to antagonise me
You can use the Switch Pokemon setting (to be honest, I didn’t know that you could turn this off…)
No calculating damage before going into fights, this is mainly for Dexter, he loves numbers (nerd) and would do that for fun. I would not.
You can do some research before big battles to see what you’re up against and what moves they have
No legendary Pokemon
You can frontload
Daycare is not allowed
Can’t use X items
Can’t use Pokemon Care (I was upset about this as I like that feature but… fine)
We may add/remove rules as we go as well as we don’t know the game that well so we’ll see.
I Randomly Select You!
To kick everything off we randomised our starters. I was hoping for Rowlet, Dex wanted Poplio, but the reverse happened instead. Nevermind. I have nothing against Poplio I just think he looks like a clown and clowns are creepy. To get around this I named him Rudy after Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (he’s got a big red nose and will be leading my team!) That endeared me to him a lot more.
My First Catch
The part of the game I was dreading the most was the intro/tutorial. I remembered it taking forever. Unfortunately, this game is determined to have a plot and in depth characters, even if it means we don’t get poke balls for 40 mins. Finally I was able to catch my first wild Pokemon on Route 1… Drumroll… a Grubbin. I wasn’t super happy about that at first as I’d had one in my previous playthrough and it was good but it levels slowly, plus it can’t evolve into its final form until you get to Blush Mountain, and by the time you do that it kind of sucks. Having said that, as Bugsy Malone vice gripped her way to several victories I grew more confident, she’s probably one of the best Pokemon you can get on Route 1 after all. Unfortunately, Dex caught one too so I need to make Bugsy Malone the superior Grubbin.
My True Rival
In the first battle with Hau, his Pichu unexpectedly gave me a bit of trouble. Bugsy Malone was paralysed and the Pichu kept lowering her attack and hitting her with Thunderbolt but we persevered and took it out, his Litten was no trouble after that. Hau is an exhausting character with overwhelming positivity. If someone is that nice in real life they must have something to hide. He opens your first battle with “it doesn’t matter who wins as long as we both have fun!” Outside of the gaming world I wholeheartedly agree with that statement but I was raised with Gary Oak as my OG rival so I want to crush you, and if you don’t care when I do it then it takes the fun out of it for me. I really came to appreciate the idea Dex had had in that moment, my anticipation for our future battle was growing, and while I thought he would best me as I have very little experience with fighting real people in Pokemon, I was looking forward to a competitive fight. Dexter is my true rival in this game.
In the game-enforced interest of trying to get to know Lillie better we were basically handcuffed together as she dragged me round town and we ended up at the Trainer’s school where it was decided for me that I should enroll. I fought my way through the students there and was then challenged by the teacher who, in a good twist I think in Pokemon games, fought me with the leftover starter Rowlet. Bugsy took care of it but it was a bit tricky and I had to use a fair amount of potions. Then Dexter fought her in his game where she sent out Litten against his Rowlet and… HE GOT KO’d!!! We both looked at each other, and for a second I was torn between laughing maniacally or offering an out. I offered an out. That is how annoying the intro of this game is. If Dexter had had to restart the game at that point he would have had to go through ANOTHER 2 HOURS to get back to this point and we both knew he wouldn’t do it. Instead we agreed to pretend this never happened but any other KO after this would definitely count.
Despite our agreement I did tease him and acted like I had the moral high ground, but Karma is a bitch. I met Llima in Hau’oli city and was taken out by his ridiculously aggressive Yungoos. It just kept coming at me, and when it wasn’t doing that it was lowering Bugsy/Rudy’s defence. I looked at Dex sheepishly and now it was his (rightful) turn to be smug. As he had been KO’d and I’d let it pass he did the same for me on the same conditions. I do feel guilty but… I can’t do that intro again so soon guys, I can’t, and I’d got too excited about finally having something to write about to give up so we’re doing it, think what you will of me. Guilt and failure aside I thought we had bigger problems. I genuinely did not think that I could beat Llima with my two Pokemon. Neither of us expected this game to be this hard so early on. When we made the rules we had done a bit of research on Reddit and there was some dispute on what is classified as a Route. We decided to use the rule where anything classified as being on Route 1 (i.e. the beach near Kukui’s house, the Trainer school and Hau’oli city) is all one area, we had also put a level cap where you could only be the level of the next big battle’s Pokemon (so right now we were capped at 10). However, in light of the aggressive Yungoos we decided to ditch the level cap (it was getting hard anyway as Rudy was leveling so dang fast), and that you could catch a new Pokemon in any area where the blue box appeared in the bottom of the screen saying where you were. This meant I could go back and get three new Pokemon in the city, the beach and the school.
My first catch was a Wingull in the city, who I named Peeko (Sapphire throwback). Not the knight in shining armor I was hoping for. At the trainer school I caught a Meowth called Rocket, which is definitely not the best Pokemon I could have got there but it’s fine, I’m fine, we’re fine. My final hope was the beach near Kukui’s house. I had kind of given up hope at this point and had resigned myself to being a basic bitch trainer BUT Tapu Koko must have been smiling down on me. I caught an Inkay (Squidward). It did not take me long at all to realise that Squidward is KICK ASS. It has the ability Contrary which makes stat changes have the opposite effect and it knew both Reflect and Foul Play, meaning I could lower any physical damage being done to my team, then attack using the enemies’ strength against it (perfect for say… An aggressive Yungoos) AND when the Yungoos would inevitably try to lower Squidward’s defence he would just raise it instead. I sauntered back up to Llima and that is exactly what happened. I know you’re not supposed to have favourites but Squidward is currently top tier, the best, I love him. If anything happens to him I might cry.
A very bad start to my new challenge but we are both having fun so it doesn’t matter, right Hau? Have you ever tried a Nuzlocke in Sun/Moon? How did it go? Also, how are you in general if you were a previous Dragons Tea Party reader? I hope it’s been a good year for you all. Stand by for the next post where we will hopefully complete the first Island challenge!
It’s been a while since we had a Baby Challenge update. To be fair there’s only so much I can write about the daily goings on in a Sims life but finally we have made some headway and a new chapter of the challenge is underway: current Matriarch Artemis became an elder.
She had 17 children, beating previous Matriarch Gaia’s score of 14. Not only that but the final baby she had was a girl, the next matriarch: Ariadne. This is good because it meant I had all the time between Ariadne growing from a baby to a young adult to teach her the ways of the Matriarchy: charisma, cooking, repairing and something she can make money doing from home.
In the meantime Artemis gets to mentor her and enjoy her retirement… Well, sort of. I still need her to make money. Being a ‘Meme Maker’ wasn’t the best career route, you have to get 1,000,000 followers to get a promotion! That is so hard when you barely leave the house and all you do is make babies!!! Although, in reality if someone was actually attempting this challenge for real they would probably have a decent following. Don’t do it though, very irresponsible, only try this challenge in a simulated environment. I digress, back to the money issue: there’s not much of it. BUT I realised a little late that every day Artemis can use her platform to promote a product for $3,000, which is rather nice (though it doesn’t always work). She got to work and became an incredible viral granny. Ariadne will have to do something more lucrative though; we want a super big, nice house.
While the money making was going on a new curve was thrown at the challenge, because that’s exactly what it needed of course: all of the first kids (Gaia’s kids) started dying… Dropping like flies. Every day at least one would pass away and apparently, even if they didn’t know each other, all relatives get a phone call and become ‘Very Sad’. I was really upset at first, especially when some of my favourites passed on (Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Aphrodite… My babies!) but Sims (understandably) don’t really want to do much when they’re super sad and it started to stunt skill building, so my sympathy quickly turned to frustration.
The day eventually came where it was Artemis’s time. She lived for a long time as an elder actually, I was wondering if it had bugged out and she just wasn’t going to die. She was an active Sim though so I guess that explains it. I was upset, but I didn’t quite have the emotional attachment to her that I did with Gaia, she wasn’t quite as interesting a character really. I suppose Gaia was the one that had all the ‘firsts’ in this challenge so there was more of a story there.
Meanwhile, I was excited to find that Ariadne has the ‘Weak Bloodline’ magic trait which means she will be a spell caster! A Witch Matriarch! So cool! Her sisters Circe and Megara are also spell casters and I plan to have them all live together in a coven for a while until I have to kick them out for baby space. Despite my excitement in the shake up to the normal challenge routine, which was getting a little monotonous, I will admit I am disappointed with the Magical Realm expansion pack in the Sims. The actual realm itself is gorgeous, the first time I saw it I was blown away by how beautiful it is. It’s very ‘Hogwarts-esque’, there’s a school where you can learn magic from Sages, a duelling ground, magical herbs for potion brewing are scattered about, there’s even a shopping area called Diagon Casters Alley where you can buy brooms, familiars, etc. You would have thought learning magic and exploring this realm would be fun but unfortunately, the Sims seem to view it as a chore, they get no enjoyment from using magic, which is bizarre to me. Even if their aspirations are centred around learning magic they still don’t enjoy it. It’s also disappointing that other, non-magical, Sims don’t react to spells being cast around them, at all. Despite this, magic does come in handy, one of the types of magic you can learn is ‘Practical Magic’ where they can clean, repair, etc. It’s a lot faster than doing those things manually and that will be very handy for Ariadne. There is a risk of setting fire to the things you try to repair but… Hopefully we’ll be alright. Maybe she can brew up some love potions to help with the challenge.
On top of magical ability, I set about making Ariadne the chattiest, most creative kid around. Kids have 4 skills: Social, Motor, Creativity and Mental. Unfortunately these don’t become other skills when they become teenagers, they just disappear, which sucks. I read somewhere that if you make the kid skills quite high though then they will find it easier to level up ‘adult skills’ in that area in the future, so if Ariadne has high Social skills as a kid hopefully she will level her charisma up really fast as a teen/adult.
The day after Artemis’s death, Ariadne aged up into a teenager so the skills building could being properly! She got a Matriachal Makeover from this:
I love her hair (I think red hair is gorgeous).
The real skill building began now for Ariadne, she spent a lot of time chatting to herself in the mirror to get that charisma skill up. Meanwhile, her brothers and sisters were working hard topping up the cash to get a new house. I had my eye set on a 100 baby challenge house that I found in the online Gallery (that is a godsend, I hate making houses on the Sims but I love the creative ones people come up with).
We got enough cash to get the house just as it was Ariadne’s birthday. I moved her into her new house with her sisters Circe and Megara; I had a really cool image of them in my mind being a witchy coven until I have to boot them out to make baby room. It’s a really cool house but it is a little squashed… I’ll have to make sure the next one is bigger. It is however ‘on the ley line’ which means it’s way more likely that you’ll get twins. I thought that might be cheating but apparently it’s not! Wish I had realised that sooner but nevermind.
Finally, let’s take a look at the final traits for the lovely Ariadne:
She wants to be an alchemist so some interesting potions can come into play now.
The welcome wagon came round to welcome the girls to the neighbourhood and Ariadne sprang into action. The Marroquin family came to visit and Ariadne invited the reasonably attractive husband up to her room to seduce him while Circe and Megara kept his wife occupied downstairs. Scandalous… He wasn’t the most discreet, after the deed was done he walked downstairs in his pyjamas like nothing had happened and went home with his wife.
We’ll see how effective the ley line trait is next time…
Ever since the release of Spyro: Reignited I have been developing a theory about the beloved purple dragon and the world he lives in that may make you see him in a whole new light: Spyro is part of a dictatorship. Now, hear me out. This theory started off as me just messing about and kind of thinking “damn, isn’t it funny how this is a thing, and then that’s a thing…” then I started thinking about it more and more…
I’m basing this purely on the first game as that is based in the dragon’s domain where as others are a bit more all over the place.
Let’s examine the evidence.
Gnasty Gnorc is sat in his shack, he’s watching TV and the dragons are being interviewed about their realm. The interviewer mentions Gnasty Gnorc and the dragons say they’re not worried about him and that he’s ugly. This angers Gnasty who uses a hammer/wand to turn all the dragons (except Spyro) to statues. Spyro then needs to travel the realms freeing the dragons and collecting gems.
Gnasty Gnorc used to be a dragon slave that escaped. He becomes a Gnorc freedom figther leading the gnorcs that he can free to rebellion. Using the hammer weapon that he steals from the dragons he’s able to turn them to crystal and turn the dragon’s gem horde into more gnorcs to help his cause.
With me so far? Ok, well buckle up, hold on to your hats and let’s break it down a bit…
Gnorcs Are Dragon Slaves
What makes me think that Gnasty Gnorc was a dragon slave? Ever notice how the Gnorcs are usually portrayed as ‘workmen’ from soldiers, to electricians, to whatever they’re doing with those barrels on one of the last levels… They are clearly used to manual labour. On the other hand, dragons you rescue are generally kitted out in luxurious or pricey looking clothing, armour, or jewellery. They are artists, scholars, and fancy warriors, their personalities seem to revolve around their hobbies. They aren’t working, they’re doing things they enjoy and appear incredibly chilled out about the whole ordeal, but the Gnorcs’ look and personalities revolve around their jobs. I believe the dragons are the ‘social elite’, leaving the gnorcs to do the menial work so that they can live a life of luxury and leisure. For example, here we see Baker dragon and… BBQ Dragon? How much cake do you see Gnorcs eating? Not that much, if any, I’ll bet.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy_20181124113811
Spyro Reignited Trilogy_20181124113924
In fact, when you visit each world the dragons you rescue are in theme with that world but there are no other inhabitants other than the gnorcs and maybe some other enemies like wizards, strongarms etc that are more native to those particular areas. Why would they also be enemies though? Because the dragons in their area were keeping them in check and with them all turned to crystal they were able to join the rebellion with the gnorcs. You didn’t think this guy did all the manual labour in the swamp did you?
Warriors and Gems
We are told right at the beginning that Gnasty has a spell that is creating warriors from gems to ‘aid his cause’, this informs us of two things: Gnasty needs warriors, and gnorcs are (or can be) created from gems. We’ll tackle the Warrior shortage first: Why does he need to create more? Is he the only gnorc? Are there so few of them? The mountain of envelopes behind him says not. They’re also sealed with hearts: fan mail. Other than other gnorcs who would send Gnasty Gnorc fan mail? Exactly. No one. So this proves that there is a large number of gnorcs out there somewhere that are liking what Gnasty is doing. Why can’t they join his cause though? Because they are the gnorcs he’s trying to save! He needs the gems to create his band of Merry Men and save the imprisoned gnorcs.
Now we come to the gems, if gnorcs are created by gems was Gnasty a gem too once? Who would have made Gnasty? THE DRAGONS. This is why they are so protective over their gem horde and why the aim of the game is to get the gems back, it provides them with slaves and prevents Gnasty from making more rebels! Somehow Gnasty escaped the dragons, stole the magical hammer (which acts like a wand, enabling him to do magic) to stop the dragons creating more gnorcs, and started a rebellion.
The Dragons Are Overpowered
In the first levels the Gnorcs actually run away from Spyro because they’re scared, they don’t even try to hurt you. Why so scared of a tiny dragon when all the other dragons are frozen? Because even a tiny dragon is more powerful than a Gnorc, incredibly more powerful. You don’t even get extra powers in this game you just have headbutts and fire-breath from the get-go and that is the level you stay at.
Meanwhile, none of the older, more powerful dragons really help you that much in your quest. Once freed they’re generally incredibly nonchalant about their whole ordeal, some fly off to try and stop Gnasty at the final level, a bit like when you’re playing through a low-level dungeon in an MMO and some level 80 that just needs the rare loot from the boss at the end gets randomly put in your team, uses their boots of hasty assholery and runs straight there leaving the rest of the team, who are actually the right level for the dungeon, fighting goblins in the first room. In short, the dragons are really not worried about this rebellion, as if they’re used to this sort of thing happening and have stopped them in the past without a problem. They are so confident in their power they are happy to send a child to sort it out for them.
Spyro and the Dragon Eggs
Speaking of Spyro being a child, I think this is why he wasn’t crystallised along with the rest of the dragons. Despite the name I don’t think Gnasty is evil, he didn’t want to curse an innocent child, maybe he even hoped that Spyro could be saved and brought around to the ‘freedom’ way of thinking. Unfortunately for Gnorc, Spyro’s mind has already been warped. I don’t believe he is aware of the dictatorship or has considered the consequences of his actions (he’s not renowned for being a thinker), but he believes he is doing the right thing. Now stay with me, I will admit this next section is pure conjecture and I have no screenshots to illustrate this but it makes sense to me: This is why the thieves have been commissioned to steal the dragon eggs. Spyro is the only young dragon we see so baby dragons are pretty rare, Gnorc steals the eggs so that they can be raised without the privilege and power that has come so easy to the rest of the dragons, maybe so that they can fight on his side or maybe to try and bring about a new world of equality. After all, if Spyro had been frozen too then that would have been it for Dragon-kind and the world would be different, maybe Gnorcs and Dragons would have lived side by side in peace. Why else steal the eggs? Though while we’re on the subject of eggs let’s just recognise the blatant female dragon inequality. Where are all the lady dragons? If you think about it their absence is a little sinister… The eggs prove that they exist after all (unless male dragons can breed, they are fictional beings so it’s not out of the realms of possibility).
Have I convinced you? Are you helping Spyro to quash a slave rebellion, or have I gone a little over the top? Just have a think next time you play…
I am also not the biggest Spyro fan in the world so if I have missed out some essential Spyro lore please feel free to share in the comments!
There may have been a bit of a break in the challenge there for a while… Mainly because there was an incident with my PS4 involving a flying coffee table and a glass of rum and coke. After rushing it to an emergency bowl of rice and careful cleaning it’s all good, even better actually now that the fan has been cleaned but it set me back a bit.
Let’s have a quick challenge recap: current Matriarch Artemis (2nd in the line) has so far had 7 children, she’s a young adult still so we have quite a bit of time left before we switch to the next Matriarch. I want her to beat previous Matriarch, Gaia’s record of 14 children. So far it could go either way. Unfortunately, when I started playing again we were flat lining. The house is full (8 sims max) and while one child has now become an adult, I was trying to get some other kids to adulthood and out the house in bulk before Artemis got busy again. That way twins/triplets would be a possibility.
A rule I hadn’t really taken advantage of too much before is that when kids become A students, regardless of actual age, they may age up. I didn’t realise though that that doesn’t just mean doing a load of homework, they also need to get a skill to level 4. Simple right? Not really. Unless they get pretty high levelled skills when they’re children teens start with no skills, which seems a but weird to me : You could play the violin yesterday but then you turned 13 and now you have to learn it from scratch all over again? Ugh. I don’t think I have actually managed to have a child max out a skill yet so… Not a great start. As for the teens though, I managed to get Nike, Tyche and Nyx to age up to adulthood but try as I might Ares was incredibly resistant to any skill he was given, often just abandoning it halfway through and he had to age up naturally. Kids these days.
Eventually though I managed to kick almost everyone out and I was left with Iris and Dionysus. It was time to get started again. Totally coincidentally a house with 3 men had moved in right next door and Artemis got to know all three very well. I have the whole process down now, as soon as they come over they’re invited to chat in the bedroom where she has an item with the romantic aura permanently on and so far it has not failed. One of the neighbours came to visit and the challenge was back on!
Then there was a glitch… Not a terrible one but it was still annoying. Iris and Dionysus were doing very well at school and I was expecting to be able to move both out very soon once they hit A student status. Then Dionysus just stopped going to school. He was not having it. Iris could go just fine but the command for Dionysus simply did nothing no matter how I tried. I restarted the game, I restarted the Playstation, I waited overnight, I tried having him go from other lots. Nothing. There was nothing to do but have Iris age up and move out without him and just watch as his almost A student grade slid down. As annoying as it was he became the resident repairman and Nanny and made Artemis’s life way easier. He also got a job. It was actually quite nice. Then a few days later he decided he could go back to school and suddenly everyone was unhappy again and poor Artemis was exhausted trying to do everything.They were also a bit stuck for money since about 3 fires in 3 days happened (teen sims learning to cook…) and I had to replace the fridge and cooker every time so on top of constantly being pregnant Artemis was also trying to do her job (Meme Maker), it really isn’t the hardest of jobs, one of the tasks was to watch funny videos on Sim.tv for four hours, but if you think she has four hours to spare you are wrong. Once the easy task of “give an energetic speech for 1 hour in Uptown” came up I couldn’t pass it up, we needed the money… Along she goes with some of the older kids for support and she nailed it. As with literally everything in this challenge though there was a downside and right after speaking she wet herself, and passed out from exhaustion in the puddle in the middle of the square. Classy. We got a new fridge though, let’s hope it lasts longer than the previous ones. At the end of play we have an additional 4 babies to add to our list (BUT STILL NO TWINS/TRIPLETS!!!), Pan, Helios, Helen, and Atlanta. We are moving on from Gods and Goddesses to heroes now because I can’t remember what most of the children are called at this point, let alone which names I’ve already used.Finally, Artemis became a middle-aged adult, next stop: old lady. She’s had 10 kids so is very close to the goal of having over 14 kids… Hopefully we’ll find out in the next episode!
Note: As you’ll see from the date on the images I wrote this post a while ago and my island has developed a lot since then but this sat in my drafts for a while because ironically, I was too busy playing Animal Crossing and kept forgetting to publish it…
I am an Animal Crossing virgin. Technically… All I have played in the past is Pocket Camp which I don’t think is as big as any previous AC games (I could be wrong…) I managed to get hold of a Switch for a reasonable price not that long ago and after asking my friends and Twitter what I should get as my first game (Switch games are so expensive! Just going to get one every pay day or so), Animal Crossing seemed like a popular choice. I was worried I had missed the sea plane one it, but my bestie was very keen to get me set up and gave me as much as I could carry to take back to my island to help get me started. She even wrote a guide for me! Usually I am the more experienced gamer so it was a bit of a twist on our relationship, I think she’s enjoying it.
Her: “What is your island flower?”
Me: “I haven’t seen any yet unless… There’s loads of weeds, are weeds my flower?”
Her: “… No”
Prior to starting the game this was my approximate knowledge of it (thanks to Facebook and Twitter): There’s an owl who doesn’t like bugs, everyone hates the Easter Bunny, and parsnips are a really big deal but I’m not sure why.
Within the first 15 minutes of gameplay I managed to grasp the vague plot:
I signed up for this desert island getaway with 2 others (Pashmina and Goose, who is confusingly not a goose). When we get there we have a nice time setting up, I am instantly favoured by our guides, shady Raccoon Tom and his mini-mes. Then Tom starts talking about payment. “Oh no, you don’t have any bells???” You failed to take payment for a lavish holiday upfront? I think that’s on you at this point. Tom has an idea though. Nook miles! Do all the things and pay him off like that! Can’t we beat him up? There’s a crafting table right there, Pashmina, Goose and I could arm ourselves with flimsy axes or spades and launch an attack, freeing ourselves from debt. Mutiny doesn’t seem to be an option though (Animal Crossing: Pirates could have been the sequel/expansion where you can choose an alternative lifestyle and go raid other players islands, assemble a crew and build a sweet boat). Instead the idea is we peacefully learn to craft stuff and build the island into our own little town.
While the mutiny and pirate idea is far cooler in my opinion I instantly appreciated the calm, and no pressure atmosphere the game brings. You may be in debt but Tom isn’t knocking on your door in the middle of the night with a bat (not yet anyway). You go about setting up our island, exploring and building. Or, I do anyway, Pashmina and Goose are just chilling, fishing, chasing butterflies etc. Meanwhile I’m crafting stuff to furnish my tent and the surrounding area. Each to their own. They won’t be getting any nook miles that way though, better get on it or they’ll be slaves forever.
I come to realise that this is VERY similar to one of my favourite games, Stardew Valley. Plant your flowers, collect resources to craft more and more stuff, make friends with the villagers, collect things, upgrade your house, there’s even a museum where all your finds are going. Is there going to be a community center too? I’m not complaining, I love Stardew Valley, I’m glad it’s similar, I’ve played it to death though so it’s nice to have something to replace it.
I managed to upgrade my tent to a cute, little shed and was all pleased but then saw Pashmina and Goose’s, they have bigger houses. At least on the outside anyway. They aren’t even doing anything! Not fair.
My friend invited me to her island, she’s been playing since it came out so she has a lot going on. It was really fun, she gave me a tour while chatting to me on the phone, we went to the museum, and looked at all the buildings and little areas she’d made. It was like a proper day out! The only thing I was a little disappointed with was that you can’t actually go on any of the stuff like the spinning tea cups ride or even do things like have animations of you building sandcastles or playing a board game etc. I hope at least the other villagers can?
Overall, I am glad I bought the game, it is good fun. I am getting a little frustrated at the moment because I want more stuff to craft and I want to get my island going properly but I’ve only just managed to get the shop built so it’s coming along slowly. However, as frustrating as the slow pace is I appreciate it a lot. The game almost forces you to not spend hours at a time on there (unless you really like fishing), at least at first anyway, which is not something I’m used to games doing. It means it’s not dominating my time and I can switch over to what I was playing before to help tide me over until the next day if I want to keep playing games when I’m done foraging and crafting. Usually when I get a new game the ones I had on the go before it arrived will be instantly forgotten but not this time.
If you want a new island to visit hit me up! I’m happy to have visitors/be a visitor. I’m finding it really fascinating seeing what everyone has done differently with their islands. My friend had a very flowery, country village with some really random but cool bits here and there all intersecting and spread out, then I visited The Wandering Mage’s island and that’s like a little metropolis, there’s a lot of different sections (the orchard, the flower garden, the shopping centre…) all very organised and super pretty.
Weeks ago I talked about doing this PS+ challenge – where I try to work through all the free PS+ games I’ve downloaded over the year. I thought it would be a good idea while in lockdown but I really didn’t get off to a good start! I got way too distracted by my Sims 100 baby challenge and I was also inspired to play God of War again, I’m really enjoying them both so not a lot of time for much else. I did manage to get some Ratchet and Clank time in though!
This was actually played first by my boyfriend who isn’t much of a gamer but Ratchet and Clank is very nostalgic for him so he was super keen to play. I took it up a bit after and it is really good fun! I’m impressed that it was a free game actually, there’s a lot to it.
Unlike my other half, I have never played any Ratchet and Clank games so this was a totally new experience for me. I wish I’d played it back in 2002 (magical year for games) when the first one came out, I would have loved it.
I really enjoy that early 00’s quirkiness and humour that a lot of games from that era have and this was no exception, the plot is good, the world is gorgeous, it’s so colourful and creative. It’s the sort of Universe I’d love to live in, if it wasn’t under attack from dinosaur aliens of course.
I have a lot of praise for this game but, I was playing the other day, storming the ship of the bad guy and thinking I was near the end, until my other half told me that actually I was only about halfway through. Now, while I have been enjoying this I have been playing it on and off and have been WAY more invested in Sims and God of War, thinking Ratchet and Clank was more of a quick game that I’ve just been picking up for half an hour or when I want something chill. Don’t get me wrong, if I was playing it as much as I’ve played the other two games then I could have finished it several times over by now but I’m just not that invested… When I realised I was only halfway through I lost a lot of interest and I don’t know if I’m going to bother finishing it. I might, I might not. We’ll see.
When the game first started out I seemed to be having a lot more fun, the characters were funnier, the weapons were a bit more creative and fun (Mr Zurkon, the Groovitron…), it was more fun running around exploring and it seemed to be more of a chill game. Now it’s harder (I actually have to concentrate!), more serious and I think that characters have dropped off a bit. I saw how much my other half loved playing through it again though so I’m allowing my score some leeway as I don’t have that same nostalgic value with it.