General Gaming

Final Fantasy IX – The Cute Effect

I was dubious about starting this game. After having fairly recently played Final Fantasy X and (shudder) X-II, did I really want to start another 300 hour adventure where I don’t know what’s going on? As I watched my other half play it though I slowly realised that yes, I did want to play it! I actually wanted to play a Final Fantasy game! My reasons for this are a little unexpected; My main reason is that I really like the graphics. Yes, they’re not realistic looking or cinematically breathtaking like recent Final Fantasy games but… I kind of like that, in fact I prefer it. I’ll delve more into why a bit later. The tipping point was the introduction of an unexpectedly adorable character:

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Picture credit to Maye1a from Deviantart.com

He is the most adorable little mage I have ever seen and I love him. He also has one of the best Final Fantasy name so far… I think so anyway: Vivi. It’s not over the top and it’s not too boring. I may name a future pet after him. Not only is he adorable and named well but he also has a heart wrenching back-story which I am absolutely hooked on, more so than the main plot. *Brief spoilers for the rest of the paragraph * He finds all these mages that look like him and he’s all excited but then they’re basically robots and don’t acknowledge him, when he gets attacked though they all go in front of him to protect him and then they get thrown over the side of the ship and it’s so sad… I felt tears welling up, how can things that only have eyes be so expressive??? Then everyone is so mean to him because they think he’s the enemy! Now all his mage friends have joined the dark side… If anything bad happens to little Vivi I don’t know what I’ll do.

On to what I was saying about the graphics: I think one of my big issues with modern Final Fantasy is that it’s these super epic looking games with incredible graphics, huge weapons and battles of epic proportions etc… Then you actually play and the battling is… Well it’s just so boring. They stand there looking so badass and cool and you have to wait for what seems like forever while their ATBs charge then finally they move… Then go back to standing…  Wait… Then move again… It’s an unrealistic element in a graphically realistic looking game and it always bothers me. As the graphics are so different in IX though I don’t mind it, it feels more normal. It reminds me a bit of Pokémon which is the only other turn-based game that I play regularly.

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Look at Lightning slacking off in the corner “You’ve obviously got this Vanille, I’m just gonna stand here and chill for a while”

Something else that I am pleasantly surprised by, and which I did not expect to happen at all, is that I actually know what is going on. A time may come where it gets overly complicated but for now it’s perfect.

My only critique is that Garnet and Zidane’s relationship and places in the story are very similar to Tidus and Yuna from FF X where we have a male character who the game is trying to convince me is the protagonist while there is a female character painted as the love interest/damsel, but the plot is actually revolving around her. It’s a little frustrating, I would like to play as Garnet/Yuna, I feel like sometimes it would make more sense… Maybe that wouldn’t have gelled so well with their target audience though. I also feel a bit weird reading about Zidane’s womanising ways… He’s 16?! Like hell he’s done half the things he’s talking about, and even if he had are we supposed to be charmed by that? “Oh, he’s such a bad boy!” I don’t think so.

Speaking of inappropriate things, it’s butt appreciation time starting with Garnet: She was obviously the most liked character from the developer side what with her butt being the most lovingly rendered thing in this entire game:

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Backing this up there’s this creepy moment where the text flashes by so quickly you’re not quite sure it happened…

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I had to Image search this because I couldn’t get a screenshot in time. Ah, non-consensual groping, the way to every girl’s heart.

There’s the all-female army, the higher their rank, the more clothes they wear (and they become brunettes too, obviously).

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Then there’s this dude who is literally a walking butt… To be honest I thought he was a girl until I was told otherwise. I found the slender waist, thong thing, and long hair a bit misleading, plus I’m envious of his eye shadow. Anyway he must be pretty cold.

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Finally, best butt of the game (so far): Quina (or Quinoa as I’ve named him/her). I mean it’s not as obvious as the rest but look at him/her. There is something keeping that dress in that shape is all I’m saying.

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To finish this post I had a little fun naming some of my team so I thought I’d share a few with you: I was immediately disappointed that I couldn’t rename Saiyan reject Zidane as – what I thought was hilarious – Zig-a-zig-aah (come on, it would have been funny), 8 characters max! I re-named Steiner as Potato so that he’s referred to as ‘Captain Potato’ throughout the game, I know how to have fun. Finally, I gave Princess Garnet this perfect fake name for her ‘common’ alias: Garnot. No one will ever know…

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Have you played FF IX? What do you think about the difference in graphics between the older games and newer games? Which do you prefer?

Vivi

 

 

 

 

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General Gaming

A Game with Heart and Soul

One of the best feelings in the world is when you find a game that you don’t just play, you experience… That sounds like a corny motivational poster but if any sentence deserves to be stuck over a picture of a sunset it’s that. When you can’t wait to play the game again because you’re just excited to be back in that world, you feel like you are genuinely part of the story rather than someone controlling the main character, you don’t necessarily want to progress all the time because you are enjoying yourself so much, and the best thing (for me anyway) is when you know just from playing that this game was created with love. It’s almost more like reading a book than playing a game in a way: brilliant characters, wonderful plot, engaging dialogue, I just want to know what happens next!

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What’s brought all this on? Well I’ve been playing Undertale and it’s incredible, I can’t believe I never played it before. As I write it is the day after I finished my first run of the game (those that follow me on Twitter may realise that I finished it a long while ago now but I wrote the post and then just had it as a draft for ages!) and I can’t stop thinking about it. The ending… Oh my god the ending… It was incredible. As a quick summary of the way I played it (for those of you that don’t know, it can be played in different ways) I killed a couple of things, only 2 or 3 though to see what it was like but then quickly realised I found it more fun to use the ‘Act’ option and try to diplomatically get out of a fight instead. I got a neutral ending and damn. It took me a while to get past Mettaton (who I love by the way and is one of my favourite characters) and even longer to get past Asgore but I finally managed it and then (won’t say too much in case of spoilers) the ending was INSANE and I loved it. I was then asked to restart the game and do a pacifist run where the goal is to not kill anyone.

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Why would I attack this guy?! He’s adorable

The annoying thing is that in the past I had kind of heard little things about Undertale from here and there, then a couple of years ago I watched a play through of it by Steam Train. I didn’t know that I would like the game so much and watched them do both the pacifist and genocide run so I know what happens, which is a shame. I wasn’t going to play it at all because I thought knowing would spoil it but then it was on sale in the PS4 store and it’s pretty cheap anyway even without the sale, so I thought “why not?” and bought it. Immediately I realised that I’d actually forgotten quite a lot of what happened. I couldn’t remember the solutions to any puzzles and barely any of the dialogue so I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately I could still remember the majority of the plot but the gameplay is so fun that it doesn’t matter. I just want to talk about it with everyone and get everyone that’s not tried it yet to play it!

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Another great thing about Undertale is that the difficulty is perfect for me. While I wouldn’t have said it’s stupidly difficult it’s got exactly the right amount of frustration to make it challenging but every time you play you make a tiny bit more progress which gives you hope until finally you break through and get that epic feeling of “I DID IT!!!!”. It took me 4 evenings to defeat Asgore, it was getting to the point where I was getting a little disheartened, nowhere near the point of abandoning it though. When I finally did it I was so happy, there were cheers and hugs, if there’d been a bottle of champagne in the fridge I’d have considered opening it. I don’t know if it’s just me but I don’t think I’ve played anything recently that has such a perfectly balanced difficulty like that.

The best thing is that it has genuinely been quite a long time since a game has made me feel this way, sure I’ve been a little obsessed or addicted to some recent games that I’ve been playing (Overwatch, Final Fantasy, …) but there’s always a tiny niggling thought in my mind that prevents me from truly loving them, and that’s the fact that they weren’t made because someone had a wonderful idea and wanted to share it with the world, it’s because a company wanted to make money and to do that they came up with an idea (albeit a bloody brilliant one in each of the above cases) to market to the world. Not to say they didn’t get passionate about making it or anything but the root of the game creation was money and that just sort of… I don’t know… Taints it ever so slightly I guess. I’m not sure how to describe it. Games like Undertale (Stardew Valley also springs to mind), you can just tell that the people creating them care a lot for them.

Can you think of any games like that? Have you played Undertale? If so, which path did you take? Did you find it difficult but in a good way too? If you haven’t played Undertale yet, play it!!!

Please enjoy a little slideshow of some more entertaining Undertale screenshots…

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General Gaming

A Favourite Game for Each Year I’ve Been Alive

Having had a bit of a lull in gaming this month I decided to answer The Well-Red Mage’s question to the community: Can you name your favourite game for every year you’ve been alive?

Even though this was a really nice and easy post to do I ended up finding it really interesting, I never realised how clearly you can see my gaming phases via genres and consoles throughout my life until it was all written out. First of all, the first few years I’m kind of clutching at straws as I never played any of them but I recognise them as influencing games that I played later in life, then there’s the kiddy bit with Pokémon, Disney and Looney Tunes then we get to the GameCube and PC phase where I get a little more adventurous (I always thought of myself as more of a PC gamer back in my youth but looking at my list I realised that I actually played a larger variety of games on the GameCube and the Wii than I did on PC, but I probably spent more time on the PC), then there’s the Playstation phase, which I am still in, where suddenly there’s a lot more violence thrown into the mix.

I found that choosing games from the years 1993 – 1997 were really hard, probably because I don’t have a nostalgic link to any of the games that came out in those days, the only exception being Doom because my dad played that for years and the memory of that is burned into my mind. I have played every game listed after 1997 though. Another strange revelation was that 2002 appeared to be the year where some of my most nostalgic and favourite games ever came out and I never realised that before.

1993 – Doom.

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1994 – Super Metroid.

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1995 – Worms.

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They look kind of creepy…

1996 – Pokémon Red/Green.

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1997 – Final Fantasy 7.

Never played it but so many people love it (including my other half) so it’s worth a mention.

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1998 – Pokémon Yellow

OK, now we’re getting somewhere… This is a bit of a cheat because Pokémon Yellow didn’t come out in Europe until 2000 (according to Google) so I didn’t play it in 1998, it is still probably one of my oldest (if not first) game though and I still have it with its’ matching Gameboy Colour and both of them still work!

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Honorable Mention: Baldur’s Gate.

1999 – Planescape Torment.

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2000 – Donald Duck: Quack Attack

(or Goin’ Quackers, the name seems to change for some reason).

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2001 – Sheep Dog ‘n’ Wolf.

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2002 – This is the year that I properly fell in love with games. I couldn’t pick just one so I’ll list them all quickly… Neverwinter Nights, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Age of Mythology, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, The Urbz: Sims in the City (don’t judge me, it seemed cool at the time and I loved it), Duke Nukem: Manhatten Project (I didn’t play this, this was my dad’s game that I used to watch and the catchphrase “Makin’ Bacon” is burned into my brain”).

2003 – The Simpson’s Hit and Run.

Best. Game. EVER.

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2004 – The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

First LoZ game I ever finished.

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2005 – God of War.

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2006 – Neverwinter Nights 2.

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Honourable Mention: Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

2007 – Super Mario Galaxy.

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2008 – Mario Kart Wii.

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2009 – Borderlands.

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2010 – God of War 3.

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2011 – Skyrim

How could I say anything other than Skyrim?

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2012 – Far Cry 3.

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2013 – Dead Island: Riptide.

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2014 – Dragon Age: Inquisition.

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2015 – Life is Strange

Ssh! Can you hear that? That’s the sound of my other half slowly dying inside because I didn’t say Bloodborne.

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2016 – Overwatch.

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2017 – Dream Daddy

To my horror I realised this is possibly the only game from 2017 that I have played so far, what a game though.

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Do you agree/disagree with any of my choices? Is there a particular year where lots of games that you love came out? Are you shocked and appalled at some of the dates here? I’m always horrified when I remember that Twilight Princess came out in 2006 and that the last proper God of War (Ascension doesn’t count…) was out in 2010, God of War 4 coming out in April though… SO EXCITED!!!

General Gaming

Age of Nostalgia

Have you ever played a game that reminded you of a game that reminded you of another game leading you on a little nostalgia trip where suddenly you end up buried in old games? Currently going through that a bit myself.

It all started with watching a YouTube playthrough of an oldish game called Spore, it looked like a lot of fun and, my other half and I decided to download it. This was mostly pushed by me to be honest, once I see a game where you make a thing and raise the thing and help it grow and take over the world and stuff I just want to play it. Don’t ask me why, I just do. The aim of the game is to evolve your creature from a tiny microbe thing to a creature that stumbles onto land, to eventually developing a civilisation and stuff. As you play through the game you collect different body parts for your creature that will give you better stats… This game is also super adorable because you can make friends with other creatures by singing, dancing and posing… Or you can eat everyone and extinct their species to become the supreme ruler, each to their own.

The game starts off with your little creature just swimming around eating things to become bigger. I was a herbivore so I wasn’t huge on attacking, my race is a peaceful race (although you can choose to attack even if you’re a herbivore, it’s just more difficult because you don’t tend to get as many aggressive body parts). Eventually my creature grew strong enough to develop legs and move onto the surface of the planet, where I then ran around meeting tribes of other creatures that I allied with by singing at them, I was really enjoying this but then I managed to move to the next stage of evolution and suddenly I was basically playing Age of Empires. The whole style of gameplay completely changed, going from me controlling my little creature running around singing and dancing to a top-down view of a little village where I suddenly had control of multiple creatures and I has to assign them tasks like chopping wood and collecting food and building… So just like that my nice relaxing “oh look there’s a little group of duck things over there let’s go and make friends!” became “THE GREEN SEAWEED CREATURES ARE ATTACKING!!! ATTACK!!! STOP COLLECTING WOOD! OH GOD, EVERYONE’S DEAD!!!” It was a very weird change. As I said before this part was very reminiscent of Age of Empires (albeit with a weird winged platypus-esque civilisation) and my other half who was watching me play started getting nostalgic for Empire Earth (which he used to play and which looks to be exactly like Age of Empires, hence my use of Empires in the comparison above as I know that one better…) that game and decided to download it.

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I may have only played this for about 3 hours but they were a fun 3 hours

I was a little young when Age of Empires was out but I remember my dad playing it and giving it a go when I was a little older but being so young I found it really difficult and to be honest I thought the cavemen were kind of scary although I couldn’t tell you why (it might have been their voices). I did give Empire Earth a go once my other half had downloaded it but I found it difficult. How does the red team get an army and build stuff so fast?! It’s literally impossible to keep up with them. After that I spent a while watching Dan play, I just wasn’t that into it, and then it was my turn to get nostalgic. While I was too young for Age of Empires (or Empire Earth, whatever, they seem to be more or less the same thing) another game came out later at the perfect time when I was happened to be really into Greek mythology (bit random, I know. I had a Greek mythology story book and it was one of my favourite things ever)… Age of Mythology.

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Now that game was absolutely, undoubtedly, AWESOME. If you don’t know it it’s basically Age of Empires but you start off as either Greek, Norse, or Egyptian and you level up your civilisation by worshipping minor gods (so if your main god was Zeus you’d advance with Athena, Apollo, and Hera, for example). Each minor god comes with perks and mythological monsters that you can include in your army (like the Minotaur or the Hydra). I loved it so much. Another great thing about that game was actually the campaign. You wouldn’t think that the campaign for a game like that would be very interesting and yeah… The beginning of it is basically “walk here… well done you finished the level” but later it could get really tricky and I got really into it, mainly because of the addition of heroes that I read about in my books like Ajax and Odysseus.

You’d have thought that I would have enjoyed playing Empire Earth the other day because they are so similar but honestly… I just couldn’t get into it and I think that what I don’t like about it is it’s too real. I don’t want to bomb people and attack them with guns… I want to attack them with an army of Minotaur that the goddess Athena gifted to me after I made several villagers worship her at the temple for hours on end. Honestly one of my main thoughts about Age of Mythology is how insane the villagers’ abs that worship at the temples must be.

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This little guy is gonna be ripped when he’s done worshipping

I’m now patiently waiting for my other half to finish his nostalgia trip so that I can use the computer to download Age of Mythology. Did you play this game? How about Age of Empires/Empire Earth? Maybe even Spore? Do you like these sort of games?

 

General Gaming

New Year Gaming Goals!

It’s a New Year! For those of you that were following the Creative Christmas posts I’m sorry I fell off the radar a bit after Christmas… Oops. On to the first post of the year though! This is a list of gaming goals I’ve made for myself, to be honest most of them are “finish X game” so you can all gasp in horror at some of the games I’ve left unfinished. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 because if I listed all my unfinished games we’d be here all day.

  1. Finish Portal 2. How I have not finished this I don’t know because I was loving it. I think it just got caught in the awkward time where I got about halfway through and then moved house so once I got to the new place I was all focused on unpacking and settling in and getting on with the new job… It wasn’t until I saw something about it the other day that I remembered it!

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    I really am… How could I abandon GLaDOS? One of my all time favourite villains
  2. Make another attempt at Bloodborne. Some of you may remember my awesomely named Bloodborne character Cleavopatra (read about her adventure so far here and here). Unfortunately she didn’t get very far in the hunt, she found her way to Vicar Amelia and died time and time again… And again… Aaaaaand again… Then just to make sure she died again. This wasn’t helped by the knowledge that Ameila is meant to be one of the slightly easier bosses (according to my other half). I couldn’t help wondering if I had been informed wrong as Cleav’s body was thrown through the air accompanied by a painful “AAAAARGH” as she died for the 500th time. Eventually my other half helped me kill Amelia (when I say helped, he basically did everything) and I feel kind of cheap about that because it wasn’t ME that did it but I am at least into the next area so… Maybe I’ll get over the fact that I needed help and Cleavopatra’s adventures can continue.

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    Your time will come Cleavopatra…
  3. Finish Doom. I was really enjoying this game. It’s a lot of fun but I hit a bit of a wall where I was struggling to get past something or other and I’m being stubborn about lowering the level of difficulty to help me get past it. I got Doom at the same time as my dad and my boyfriend, both of whom were playing it on the level of difficulty below me so I was being a bit cocky about that… However now I’m in a spot where my only solution may actually be to lower the difficulty and I’m finding it hard to swallow my pride and admit that I need to do that… Maybe if I just don’t tell them…
  4. Give The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt another go. Unpopular opinion: I’m not too keen on this game… For some reason I find it really hard to fight, I don’t know if that’s normal but I die so much that my frustration around that has started impacted my overall enjoyment of the game. It’s weird because I really like the concept of it. I love the supernatural-esque hunting of ghosts and mythical creatures, I like the spells and swords and… It just seems like the perfect game for me but I just can’t get the hang of it! In the beginning when your mentor (or whoever he is) is teaching you to fight time sort of slows as he goes to hit you and you can parry, that’s great, I can do that. However the actual fighting is not like that, Geralt is SO SLOW, by the time he’s got his sword up to parry an attack he’s already been hit and the worst thing is it seems to only be me that has this problem as everyone else loves this game! As the game is considered to be so good I always feel like I’m missing something with it so I do want to try it again. I have already tried to play this game twice, maybe third time lucky?
  5. Finish Borderlands 2, or at least start the third one. Again, another game that I really like. I love all the Borderlands games but I’ve only finished the first one. The problem with the second one is that I started it on PS3, then I started it again as a multiplayer game with my sister, then got it on PS4 and started a new game but decided I didn’t like my character, started again and chose to play as Gaige the Mechromancer who, at first was a really cool character but now that I am over halfway through the game, possibly near the end (not too sure), I’m finding her really hard to play. I rely almost completely on the robot she summons. I probably messed something up while levelling her but I just don’t want to keep playing as her now and the thought of starting the game AGAIN… Eurgh. I was waiting to finish the second one before I started the third properly (I’ve only messed about in 3 so far) but I might not bother waiting.  Image result for borderlands 2 mechromancer

There you have it! Do you have any gaming goals for 2018? Have you played any of the above games and if so, got any advice? Which games do you like but have left unfinished?

General Gaming · Rants

A Hearty Rant

I’d always sort of known about Kingdom Hearts and once I got into blogging it would crop up at some point or another so the other day I finally decided to give it a go to see what all the fuss was about. Now keep in mind I didn’t know anything about this game other than it’s a Disney/Final Fantasy game (so no spoilers please!). I quite liked the thought of playing a Disney game, I used to love Donald Duck: Goin’ Quackers and Sheep Dog ‘n’ Wolf (I know! I know that’s Looney Tunes and not Disney but they’re kind of similar, right?). Unfortunately for me Kingdom Hearts is literally nothing like either of those games. I’m not sure what I expected but it wasn’t this.

If, like me, you are new to Kingdom Hearts then allow me to paint you a picture of my understanding of the plot so far… All the planets (most of which are themed around Disney movies, which is awesome. Currently on the first world, Alice in Wonderland) are disappearing after being invaded by creepy shadow creatures that steal people’s hearts. You are given a sword that looks like a key and take on the role of the keymaster but I don’t know what that means yet… If I was told I don’t remember… Anyway, so also going on somewhere else in the Universe, King Mickey Mouse has set off alone to presumably stop the planets from disappearing and Donald Duck and Goofy set out to find and help him. Goofy, Donald and you all end up running into each other and they help you out in battles and become your companions. My theory so far is that Mickey is the final boss, why would he go off by himself? Awfully convenient that HIS world is still intact so far… hmmmmm…

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Actual pic of the final Kingdom Hearts boss battle

I am enjoying this game so far but it’s weird… there’s some things that really frustrate me about it and I just have to get it off my chest… Time for a ranty post!

I’ll get the obvious thing out the way first: the Final Fantasy/Disney mashup. I’d been aware of this before I started and was curious to see how that worked out, turns out I don’t think it works at all. Sorry Kingdom Hearts fans. There’s just something so jarring about speaking to Gunblade wielding badass Squall (still stupid name, no matter how badass he looks), standing there all dark and brooding, dramatically telling you about the planets winking out of existence and shadow creatures stealing people’s hearts then the camera pans around and Goofy’s derpy face is there looking so out of place it’s like he’s a mod you can get to do a “silly” playthrough of the game. Oh, and not to mention one of the first Final Fantasy characters you meet is this fucking guy:

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Not after seeing you here

My video game arch-nemesis Tidus… If you’re new to my on-going feud with this character check out a couple of my previous posts for context (here, and here). I tried to beat the shit out of him with a stick but unfortunately I suck at this game so he beat me up instead, only fuelling my hate. The one good thing though is that I actually heard a character say his name for the first time, I had no idea it was pronounced ‘Tee-dus’ I’d been pronouncing it as ‘Tie-dus’ and now I feel a bit smug over the fact that he has a stupider name than I thought. At least he hasn’t found his leather lederhosen yet so there’s one less evil in the world (so far as I know anyway… Who knows? Evil leather lederhosen could be a mini boss in a game this wacky… Really hoping that’s a thing now).

Going back to my FF/Disney comparison… Why? I want to hear the pitch meeting for this game. Was it just two guys from each company that became friends and one night they had a few drinks and said something like “dude… my game franchise is super successful and your franchise is super successful… We smoosh the two together and they become double successful!” I mean apparently it worked because this game has a huge fanbase but you know… Each to their own. It just doesn’t make sense to me. In the first part of the game where Sora is having an acid trip and running around mosaics of the Disney princesses I assume he was thinking something along the lines of “wow, look at these poor, deformed women. Their arms are so skinny and their features are soft and delicate, why is their hair not spiky?”  I guess I assumed they’d do something to the characters to make it look like they belong in the same game but no. It looks like they should be freaked out by each other’s appearance but Sora, who has never left his island and has therefore never seen anyone but the people that live with him there, shows no surprise at running into his future companions: a giant, talking dog and duck whose features are so unlike any dog or duck he would have seen before. Maybe I just need to get used to it…

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To me this picture just looks like Sora was photo shopped into this…

Another thing that’s been kind of bugging me: Sora’s feet. It’s not just me, right? They are MASSIVE. Either he’s got huge feet or he just took to wearing clown shoes. I can only think that giving him some weird deformity like that is meant to be a way to get him to blend in a little more with Donald Duck and Goofy. All it does it makes me wonder how he isn’t constantly tripping over though. Right at the beginning when your creepy, misogynistic friend is like “hey, let’s race! The winner gets to share a paupu fruit with our friend who is a girl so that we can bind our souls together, forcing her to link her destiny with ours!” there is no contest. Of course he’s going to win. Have you seen Sora’s feet? It’s a miracle the poor boy can even walk, let alone run. (That fruit they have growing on the island is some hardcore stuff, if you think I exaggerated that thing about linking their destinies together by the way that is basically what he says, and they say romance is dead. Why bother seducing her when you can just trick her into sharing a destiny bonding fruit with you?)

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His feet are very nearly the length of his legs… Come on…

Speaking of misogynistic people (which I kind of was), Donald Duck surprised me a little by pulling the ultimate “you look so much prettier when you smile” thing on Sora. Sora’s just found out his planet’s been destroyed, his friends are most likely dead. His parents and everyone else that was on the island are dead and he’s been thrown into some quest to destroy shadow creatures that like to steal people’s hearts… He’s understandably a bit upset. But Donald Duck doesn’t want sad people on his space ship! Goodness no! Can you imagine?! So, in a manner which is all too familiar to me as a woman with a severe case of resting bitch face which seems to attract men that think they have any right to tell me what to do (although, thankfully this hasn’t happened recently), Donald tells Soma “no unhappy faces are allowed on the ship! You’ve got to smile!”. To my delight Sora then pulls this face:

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I might adopt this as a future deterrent.

My last sort of bad point about this game (sorry, it’s all been a bit negative so far) is that I am finding it really hard to control. I find fighting quite difficult, the targeting system is a bit confusing and I seem to die very quickly. On top of that the jumping is also hard, he seems to only jump properly if I hold the button in for quite a long time and it seems kind of unnatural. That’s probably just something I need to get used to though, I haven’t played on a PS2 for a while and despite being a regular PS4 player the controllers have evolved discreetly, but enough to feel quite different.

Much like in many of my rants I sound like I hate this game. I don’t, I’m actually weirdly enjoying it in a way, there are just many parts of it that I dislike quite intensely. On to the positive side though!

I like what I understand of the story (so far) and the shadow creature things (aka the Heartless) are really cool, the way they sort of melt into the ground and re-form is a really good effect. Looking forward to seeing more of them…

I’m also a bit of a Disney fan so I am loving the cast of villains and all the different worlds you can visit. I may have only been to Alice in Wonderland’s world so far but again, I’m interested to see where they go with it.

Those are the redeeming features. Yes, that’s it. It’s hard to write a lot about the positive things when I’m still reeling over the madness that is this game, OK? I’ve only played it for a couple of hours and the negative/bizarre things always stick out more than the positives first off in games like this for me. I need a while to warm to it. Maybe if I keep up with it in the future I’ll have a bit more to say. Again, I like it and I want to see where it goes.

Have you played Kingdom Hearts? What do you think of the FF/Disney mashup?

General Gaming

Late to the Block Party

*slips on sunglasses* I’m not sure anyone will know about this game, it’s just one of those things I found in the back of the internet, the graphics are really retro, so old school… *adjusts man-bun* It’s basically a Sandbox Video Game, I totally knew that already and not because I Googled it just now *sips pumpkin spice latté* It’s called Minecraft but you’ve probably never heard of it *eats a whole avocado, including the skin and stone*.

I jest of course, I don’t like avocados.

I honestly don’t know how I managed to avoid Minecraft for such a long time because it is EVERYWHERE. I knew about it of course but another game always came along instead and it kept getting pushed aside. I think what pushed me over the edge was the excellent Rick and Morty episode “The Rickchurian Mortydate” where they talk about Minecraft and it just put it in my mind. Later I was browsing the Playstation Store, drooling over games and imagining having time to play them all when I came across the “recommended for you” section. “Because you played Stardew Valley… Minecraft”. Well maybe I’ll just try the free demo, just to see what all the fuss is about, I mean I love Stardew so why not this? About an hour later I’d bought the game and was happily setting up my shelter.

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One thing I’ve learned, living as part of a gamer couple, is that if one of you is playing a game chances are the other person will also want to play it. Sure enough, within an hour of my game time my Companion Cube had also downloaded it and an eerie silence had settled over our living room, occasionally interrupted by something like “how did you make that?” and “don’t you dare you damn Creeper, get away from my house you green twat… GOD DAMMIT!!!”. We played it in our own separate worlds for a bit and after a few days we decided to have a shared world where we would make a huge castle together. We found the perfect spot and started building… Dan had a specific design in mind for our castle and that was fine with me because to be honest I’m not much for the building side of games, I get bored of big projects very quickly but if someone is directing me I’m more likely to stick with it. Now we come to something else I’ve learned as one half of a gaming couple: One of you tends to get more into it than the other. I thought I got easily hooked on games but Dan takes it to a whole new level (pun intended). I love sleep too much to sacrifice too much of it to gaming time and sometimes I prefer to just put on Ru Paul’s Drag Race and paint my nails or something rather than game but I genuinely worry that if I didn’t put food in front of Dan sometimes he’d rather die of starvation than miss out on gaming time by getting up to cook. My point is he got so into Minecraft and completely took over the construction of our castle. He wouldn’t let me touch anything in case I did something wrong. You should have heard the horror in his voice when I said I’d made some floorboards to put down because it didn’t go with his plan. I eventually drifted away from the castle and left him to it, occasionally returning to explore some mines with him and stuff.

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Here’s a pic of the castle my boyfriend left me for (I asked him for pictures of it for my blog for ages and the only ones he sent me have the dick sign in the background so apologies for that… He thinks it’s hilarious of course)

Instead I started a new world and got Dan to choose a place for me to build an epic house in Creative Mode, once that was done I closed my eyes and was placed somewhere else random on the map and then began playing in Survival Mode. The plan was I’d build up all my resources and set out on an epic adventure to find my lost temple. This was somewhat anti-climatic when I found the temple about a 3 minute run away from my starting point hidden behind a big hill. Never mind.

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Totally forgot to get a pic of my own building but here’s a picture from my Minecraft dock where a mini zombie holding an egg has become trapped in a boat. Behind him my pet wolf Ralph and a cat have also found themselves trapped in these confusing, wooden contraptions…

On this particular map I was really well placed in that there were loads of caves nearby that were full of ore and monster spawners (and therefore lots of treasure!) so I ended up with loads of awesome stuff… Or rather I did temporarily. I have a terrible habit of dying a lot in Minecraft and losing all my loot. It’s a bit weird, I’m quite happy above ground pottering along with my animal pens, farming, fishing, protecting my house from monsters, etc but as soon as I get into the caves and have to face a horde of zombies and lava I just lose all gaming ability. I’m actually pretty bad at the mines in Stardew as well so it seems like it’s a recurring theme.

My addiction to it lost steam pretty quickly to be honest, but it’s one of those games that I can just pick up and wander about doing whatever if I only have 20 minutes to spare so that’s good. I guess now I just need to play some Pokémon Sun and Moon, Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing to catch up on the gaming world.

To tie off this post here’s a couple of pictures of actually cool things my other half made in Minecraft that don’t have dick shaped buildings in them!

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Are you a Minecraft player? (Or were you?) Do you ever start playing games ages after they came out? What would your man focus be in Minecraft? Exploring, building, survival? or just a big mix of everything?

General Gaming

RPGs, D&D, and MMOs: Brought to You by an Old Favourite…

After many years of not playing PC games I finally downloaded Torment after many recommendations, I feel like I should love it and I kind of do but I just can’t get into it. Maybe making it my re-introduction to RPG PC gaming wasn’t the best move, after my many years of PS4 gaming I found it quite difficult to figure out and I keep getting stuck in places that have embarrassingly obvious means of leaving. Right now I’m in The Dead Nations and I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING. No one will say anything useful to me, I can’t leave, I’ve done everything I thought I needed to do to get an audience with the Silent King but no, still nothing. I’m too proud to look up the solution yet, I feel like as a seasoned RPG player I should be able to figure this out but it looks like The Nameless One is going to die down there… (Is that what I need to do? Die and then wake up somewhere outside of the Nations? I feel a bit like I’m clutching at straws with that theory…)

I should have re-introduced myself to RPG PC games with something a bit more familiar, something that despite years of playing it I still have many things that I never discovered or as it’s been such a long time since I played I can’t quite remember everything about it… If only there was such a game…

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BAM! GUESS WHAT! THERE IS! Long time Dragon’s Tea Party readers (and early 00’s RPG players) may know that logo and they may inwardly groan somewhat as they realise what this means. NEVERWINTER NIGHTS RETURNS, BITCHES!!! For the record, this is entirely the fault of someone that commented on a post I did a while ago telling me I could buy NWN on GOG, so you can all blame him/her for rekindling my obsession and probably the many related posts to follow (I tried to find the comment but it must have been a while ago now because I can’t find it, if that was  you then thank you). Not only did I buy the first game but I got its’ 3 expansion packs too (Shadows of Undrentide, Hordes of the Underdark, and Kingmaker) all for a measly £7.99. I never finished the expansions for the first one so I am very excited.

I didn’t actually buy this just because I was struggling with Torment, I also started up a Dungeons and Dragons game (working our way through the Mines of Phandelver campaign) with some friends recently and while I have been playing for a while on and off now with the same group of people none of us are entirely sure we’re playing right, I guess D&D is a lot easier if you know someone that already knows how to play to get you into it. It’s pretty surprising how little explanation there is for D&D online, my instruction manual is not 100% clear on some points and my friend that wanted to be a wizard was bombarding me with questions about her spells (as I’m the Dungeon Master and the buyer of the 5th edition starter pack I am the most responsible for knowing this sort of thing, this means I spend a lot of time flicking through my manual and Googling stuff) to which all my answers were “I think you do this thing… Maybe… Wait no… Fuck it, just do it this way, that seems right”. NWN is set in the same world as D&D (the official one anyway) and uses the same rules, so for example on screen you’ll see loads of text scrolling with things like ‘Wolf attacks Tomi (5 + 3) = 8 does 8 damage’ so the 5 is a dice roll and the 3 is a strength bonus (or something) to the attack and later when you get more advanced stuff more things can be applied to these rolls. Back in the day when I used to play NWN, having never played D&D I never really understood what that all meant and I was also really nonstrategic in picking my feats and skills because I just thought “whoa, that thing sounds awesome, let’s do that one” but now, reading through everything it all makes so much more sense. I’m hoping that as I play through it I’ll be able to better understand how things work in D&D, although it’s not exactly the same of course but for basic things like attacking, spell casting, attacks of opportunities, etc it’s a pretty good base. Another thing I’m really loving is that the map that came in my starter set is the same map used in the Neverwinter Nights game in the intro video, it’s set in exactly the same universe and I’m loving picking out all the little bits that I recognise from the video game.

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Weirdly, about a week after I downloaded my nostalgia infused NWN, I got a text from one of my D&D friends (the same one who was asking me about wizard spells) who is also very into Dragon Age and the like asking me if I had tried the Neverwinter MMO. Immediately I got flashbacks to the time I did try it, I had my headset on and – forgetting I had the microphone attached – started cursing and ranting to myself because I didn’t know what I was doing. This went on for a loooooong time until I then saw a message appear on screen from another player saying “we can hear you” turns out I was connected to the area chat thing… Oops. I turned it off immediately and never touched it again in an attempt to bury my shame. Anyway, my friend said she would give it a go and then that night I got in from work and my other half was playing Neverwinter on the PS4 (despite me nagging him almost since we met to try the original game he still goes and tries the ‘new, shiny’ one rather than take my advice… Don’t know why I bother). I assumed they had both been talking and decided to try it but no they both just randomly decided to try it on the same day. So my bestie and my boyfriend are playing it… How could I not attempt it again? I picked back up where I left off with my character (the dramatically named Fade, a trickster rogue) and was surprised by how quickly I got back into it. Unfortunately there’s always just a little something that puts me off about MMOs and that’s the money, money, money element of the game (iplayedthegame recently wrote a post about this). Oh you’ve run out of inventory space? That’s OK! You can buy a new bag for £5! You’ve collected 84 Merchant Prince Lockboxes but can’t open any of them? That’s fine! Just buy the keys! I guess Neverwinter is free to play though so that’s how they make their money… Would still rather just buy the game though than have all the little bits add up. I am enjoying it though, not sure how long I’ll stick with it but my other half is pretty addicted. Again, despite me telling him for ages to try out any Neverwinter games because they have great storylines, he enjoys D&D, the characters are great, there’s no reason he shouldn’t like them, etc, etc he still seems surprised by the good quest lines in the game and the story so far (I had to hold back an ‘I told you so’ but it was very difficult so I just settled for an eye roll).

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Fade the badass in all her glory
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Check out my sweet ride

So there we go, the tale of how Neverwinter burst back into my life quite suddenly. Are there any games from your youth that you have an urge to take up again? Are you a Neverwinter MMO player? Does anyone know what I’m supposed to do in Torment?

 

General Gaming · Rants

A Platform For My Game Shame

On a rare train journey up to London a couple of weeks ago I decided to spend my time travelling playing a couple of Mario games on my 3DS. Here’s a bit of a gamer confession: I suck at Mario games. Yeah, Mario is one of my least played franchises despite numerous attempts to get into it. Actually, let me be a bit clearer there: traditional Mario games (aka platformers) are the least played games I own but I love Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart, and I really want to play Super Mario Odyssey. Why do I suck at Mario games? Well, to tell you the truth I don’t know, I just do, I’m simply terrible at platformer games. TERRIBLE.

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If this was me playing, I would end this jump by landing directly in front of the Goomba, rather than on it, and die

You know when you get someone that has never touched a video game before in their life to play something and you start out thinking “this will be awesome, it’s not that hard, they’ll get to grips with it and we can play stuff together”. Then you see them wandering in the wrong direction even though there’s a huge arrow pointing the other way, dying over and over at the easiest points, having to peer at the buttons whenever they want to do something even though they’ve been playing now for an hour… Your smile begins to fade and you experience a horrible sense of dread as it slowly dawns on you that they’re not going to get better and you are now stuck here until they get bored – which might not be for a long time – because you’re too polite to tell them that watching them play is like watching someone punch themselves in the face over and over again and then ask you why their nose is hurting. This monster has now destroyed a game you love with their inexplicably clumsy, inexperienced noob hands and you regret everything… That is how I feel about myself when I play platformers, especially Mario ones because everyone loves them so bloody much. I have an out of body experience where I feel like I am the non-gamer being taught how to play something by a friend and constantly messing up, then I get embarrassed by myself, even though no one is watching me, so I rage quit and sulk.

Do you know how far I got playing Super Mario Bros on my DS before I ran out of lives and had to start everything over? I got to the third level of the first world. Oh, and I actually died in the first level trying to get more lives, the first level where you can just become huge and just plough through everything. I didn’t know it was possible to die on that level. Do you even know how hard it is for me to admit that? I had to sit in silence for a little while, with my head in my hands wondering why the gaming gods had forsaken me. I was sat on the train at the time and that is not the best place for me to rage over a game as I usually just spew swear words at the screen like there’s no tomorrow, so instead I had to settle for taking some deep breaths and very loud, angry exhales which prompted a few worried looks from fellow passengers.

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This game is pure evil

To add insult to injury my other half got his old PS1 out (which I have never played on before) and tried to get me into some games on that. He then watched in dismay and horror, his face morphing into a twisted representation of repulsion and fascination, as his so-called “gamer-girlfriend” just walked into enemies and fell down the smallest jumps. I tried out Resident Evil 2 (which I know isn’t a platformer but it has that very linear running around thing) and died almost instantly by just walking into several zombies. I put this down to the camera angles constantly changing throwing me off and thought I’d gotten away with it but then I tried a Mickey Mouse game (this one was a platformer) and it was almost like I was trying to play badly. An enemy would appear and I’d just run straight at them, propelled forward by misjudgement and stupidity, and die.

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‘Sup guys, don’t mind me, just trying to run through… Please don’t eat me

I don’t know why I have been cursed with this affliction. Could it be my modest childhood where I was owner to just a Gameboy Color, Gamecube and PC, limiting my exposure to Playstation and Xbox? Woe is me. Maybe I suffer from Platformeritis, a well-known disease that affects 1 in 10 gamers. It causes bad 2D coordination and makes you constantly overestimate how far away things are making sufferers particularly terrible at platformers. Perhaps our Gaming Lord Mario is displeased with the lack of time I spend playing his games and has decided to curse me, I should sacrifice a Sonic game to him just to make sure.

I guess it doesn’t matter at the end of the day, we all know Princess Peach and Bowser truly belong together, she’s just too nice to break up with Mario. I’m doing Mario a favour really.

Are there any game genres you struggle with? Let me know in the comments and we’ll commiserate together.

Cosplay · General Gaming

MCM London Comic Con October 2017 (A week late summary)

Hey! It’s me! I’m back! I haven’t posted for a long time now. Basically, my phone broke (I dropped a jar of mustard on it, RIP my poor phone) and I did not realise just how much I manage my blog through the WordPress app. That and stuff has just all been a bit hectic lately!

So anyway what have I been up to? Well, work asked me to attend a conference in London on the 30th and, oh no, Comic Con was on that weekend too, what a shame. I decided to go by myself, it was too short notice to cosplay, I could have worn my previous Link outfit but I didn’t fancy dragging a sword and shield along to the conference the next day.

I did only go for the Sunday as, being by myself, I didn’t think that it would be worth it for the whole weekend or with priority entry. When I’ve been before, in cosplay, I always had a feeling that being dressed up made being there for the whole event more worth it. I was right really, it was a bit weird not being in cosplay for once and I actually felt more awkward talking to people about their costumes in my normal clothes than I did while in cosplay myself even though I know that, as a cosplayer, you want people to take your picture, that’s a big part of it. I missed being able to talk to my friends about what I saw as well. On the other hand I got around really quickly and didn’t have to stand there looking at stuff I didn’t care about if I didn’t want to so that was nice.

While we’re on the subject of cosplay here’s a little sideshow of some cool ones I saw (plus some extra cool bits).

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I was really impressed and inspired by the Steampunk section, trying to think of something I can do with that for a future cosplay…

A good thing about being alone was that I was ushered to the front of the queue for multi player games quite a bit as most people were queued as a group so I got to try out the Nintendo Switch, I really like it and I want one!!! I played Arms, playing against the guy running the stand, I don’t know if he was just being nice but I kicked his butt all the way back to Nintendo headquarters. Then I played Pokkén Tournament against another lonely Comic Con goer, neither of us had any idea how to play so we were both mashing buttons and oohing at the results, that was fun but as I didn’t know what I was doing I was a bit bemused by it all.

Once I’d exhausted the Nintendo Switch I had a go at some of the smaller games lying around, first of all I tried Cat Quest. This was adorable. I played a cat in a world full of cat puns and I’m not quite sure what was going on but it was lovely. You could cast spells and attack, most of the locations were punny (The Catpitol, for example) and I had some fun playing it, I didn’t really want to leave it. I’ll look out for this!

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Look at this, this is adorable

Then I played Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. You know when you play a demo of a game and it gives you literally no context so you don’t know why you’re here, who you are or what you’re doing, detracting from the immersive side somewhat and therefore your enjoyment of the game leaving you with a sense of “WTF was that?”? That was this game (or the demo for it at least). It started me off in a forest where the game was teaching me how to move around and interact with things, I found a cute dog and I was told to throw a ball or something for it, I did and the dog chased it across a bridge, which then collapsed leaving the dog stuck on the other side.

Dog

For a while I thought I had to figure out how to get the dog back but no… Then I got to a crate and the game told me to pick up the crate and put it under a tree… Once I did that I watched in horror as my character proceeded to do this:

What
Wait… What?
NO
Whoa, stop, NO!!!
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What the fuck??? What is happening?????? Why is this a thing?!

What the hell?! Why?! After that it cuts to you coming out of your house and meeting your friend, you go and watch fireworks and talk FOREVER, then I’m afraid I got bored and left. I did Google it afterwards to see what it was all about and it sounds OK actually, kind of cute Silent Hill-ish, apparently you get separated from your friend and you have to work your way through town to find your friend and get home, the town has nasty spirits lurking around that can attack you but all you have is a flashlight so you can’t defend yourself. It’s a shame they didn’t have any sort of information at the demo though, even a little piece of paper pinned next to the screen giving you a summary of the game would have been good. When you have so much talking in a demo it’s not great either, I had no idea what was happening, why I’d just hung myself and I didn’t want to be stood there for half an hour reading a conversation between two characters. It’s got good reviews on Steam though and apparently it’s the sequel to a previous game Yomawari: Night Alone so maybe I was just missing that. I didn’t know any of that before I Googled it though.

After having a look at some of the queues after that and grimacing a how long I’d be stood there for I decided to have a look at the rest of the event. I got a picture of C’thullu for our flat, as you do. Look at him though, he’s adorable (sorry about poor pic quality).

This stand was great, they had loads of cute artwork, I do regret not buying more actually. The shop is called Super Cute Awesome Stuff.

Then I won a dress from The Quirky Doll which has super cute fabric all covered in Narwhals, lot’s of bows too!

Finally, I got an addition to my Doctor Who poster. I’m not going to lie I had no idea what his name was before I saw him on the Comic Con website but I got Bernard Cribbins to sign my poster alongside his Doctor Who co-star Catherine Tate, he plays her granddad Wilf in the show. He’s such a sweet character and his last episode (also David Tennant’s last episode) is really sad. Maybe one day I’ll have a big collection of the Doctor’s companions’ and friends’ names on my poster!

Are you attending a similar event soon? Do you usually like to cosplay?