Starting Again

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!

Ready to start some new adventures

New Challenge! Pokemon Sun Nuzlocke

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.

The Rules

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.

Getting Schooled

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 Hero

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!

Chapter 2 >

100 Baby Challenge – Episode 9: Meet Our Magical New Matriarch

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.

The Sims™ 4_20200803183428

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.

Family Tree

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.

The Sims™ 4_20200803220409

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.

The Sims™ 4_20200803215522
A magical duel, not at all Harry Potter inspired

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:

The Sims™ 4_20200803221821

To this:

The Sims™ 4_20200803224107

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:

The Sims™ 4_20200805183041

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.

The Sims™ 4_20200805191744

We’ll see how effective the ley line trait is next time…

The Sims™ 4_20200805190705
Gaia and Artemis’ resting places by the ‘baby’ wall.

Baby count : 31/100

  • Zeus
  • Hera
  • Demeter
  • Persephone
  • Poseidon
  • Hecate
  • Aphrodite
  • Athena
  • Boreas
  • Hades
  • Artemis
  • Apollo
  • Hermes
  • Hephaestus
  • Hestia
  • Nike
  • Ares
  • Tyche
  • Nyx
  • Iris
  • Dionysus
  • Pan
  • Helios
  • Helen
  • Atlanta
  • Hercules
  • Pandora
  • Ajax
  • Circe
  • Megara
  • Ariadne

Theory: Spyro is part of a Dictatorship and Gnasty Gnorc is the Good Guy

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…

Pepe Silvia | Know Your Meme

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.

The Plot

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.

My theory

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.

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?

Spyro Reignited Trilogy_20181128181111

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.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy_20181221102404
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.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy_20200708171631
Spyro indulges in the time-honored tradition of Gnorc hunting before his mission

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 Reignited Trilogy_20200708171715
Look at this poor Gnorc, he’s terrified!

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! 

100 Baby Challenge – Episode 8 : Back to it!

← Episode 7

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. 

The Sims™ 4_20200617141057
Get. Out. Of. My. House.

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!  

The Sims™ 4_20200618143855
The ladies don’t look very impressed with their new neighbor but he’ll do.
The Sims™ 4_20200618185047
Dude doesn’t know how to keep his cool when he’s asked if he wants to woohoo…

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. The Sims™ 4_20200620104514At 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!

Baby count : 25/100

  • ZeusHeraDemeterPersephonePoseidonHecateAphroditeAthenaBoreasHadesArtemisApolloHermesHephaestusHestiaNikeAresTycheNyxIrisDionysusPanHeliosHelenAtlanta

Episode 9 >

 

Animal Crossing: First Impressions

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.

PS+ Challenge: Ratchet and Clank

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.

Ratchet And Clank Rumored To Be Insomniac's 1st PS5 Release
Source: The Illuminerdi

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.

My score: 8/10

 

 

100 Baby Challenge – Episode 7: Full House! … Now What?

← Episode 6

It’s a new dawn here in the Olympae household. Our new Matriarch, Artemis, is a young adult and she is inviting over a street performer she met in the city… I think a cool, guitar playing guy from the big city is a good first victim for her.

The Sims™ 4_20200420122429
When your one-night stand tells you she’s pregnant and you realise you’ve become a Victim of the 100 Baby Challenge

The Sims™ 4_20200420122814
Ghost Mum is thrilled at the news though

Very good start, a couple of days later and Artemis welcomed Hestia to the family. The new generation has begun.

The Sims™ 4_20200420132746

I was initially annoyed about the Aretmis’s younger brothers (Apollo, Hermes and Hephaestus) still being around for all this but honestly they are being so helpful and I think it’s quite a nice that they’re helping their sister in this. Speaking of brothers, as a WTF side note, she’s very friendly with her brother, Hades who stops by quite a lot and I noticed that she has the romance bar with him. How?! Why?! Gross! She doesn’t have the romance chat option with him but I freaked out when I saw that. Suddenly I had a horrible fear of accidentally making one of the brothers a father (there’s so many kids, if it wasn’t for the Ancient Greek names I would forget). Ew. Luckily it just seems to be some weird glitch so it’s not possible.

The Sims™ 4_20200422220905
Queue the Game of Thrones theme tune

Back to the babies; Second baby, Nike, made things a little more difficult. The brothers still had to go to school so they weren’t always around and I lost a day trying to get Artemis energised enough to go and meet someone else. Her body clock is all wrong now, she’s really awake at night and out cold most of the day and when you phone men and ask them to come over in the middle of the night they (totally realistically) tell you to go away and that it’s too late, they’re sleeping goddammit, what could you possibly want this late at night? We may have to go clubbing to get some eligible, night owl bachelors.

The Sims™ 4_20200422221404
Welcome to Motherhood, Artemis

Christmas time happened before we could do that and I was wondering about another Father Winter baby (it’s a different Father Winter every year, why not?) but of course, someone died (I couldn’t figure out who, there’s so much death in this playthrough, I’ve lost track… Artemis’s half-brother on her dad’s side maybe…) and so Atremis trying to flirt while sobbing to a guy dressed as Santa wasn’t really going down well. WE ARE BEHIND SCHEDULE, ARTEMIS. YOU NEVER EVEN MET YOUR HALF BROTHER.

We lost two days but then we were back on track. I was determined to beat Gaia’s record of 14 children. Skipping forward a bit we find ourselves now both brothers moved out, and 7 children while Artemis is still only halfway towards becoming middle aged!!! That is half our goal already! Maybe I can do this…

The Sims™ 4_20200425144356
Here we see the Matriarch of the 100 Baby Challenge in their most common state: Smelly and unconscious.

Now we have a full house (you can’t have more than 8 Sims in a household) and that kind of stalls the challenge a bit. My lovely Hestia (now a teen), while incredibly helpful, is not doing great at school and I can’t boot her out until she either becomes an A student or ages up naturally and she has a while to go… But even when I’ve done that I’ve still got a household of 7 which would make twins (or dare I even dream of triplets?) impossible… Hmmm… If I hold off though and she doesn’t have twins then it’s a waste of time.

The Sims™ 4_20200426112454
Ghost Gaia is around to help with the kids. When she’s not breaking everything in a fit of poltergeist rage that is.

Anyone got any theories? What would the best tactic be? Hold off on kids and make some space, or keep going whenever a spot opens up?

The Sims™ 4_20200426104802
I dunno Love Guru, I think you may be wrong about that…

Baby count: 21/100 (This is embarrassing but I totally forgot about Hermes, one of Gaia’s last children – I’m sure everyone forgets about one or two of their children sometimes when they have so many – so she actually had 14 babies! I may have said 13 in previous posts…) 

  • Zeus
  • Hera
  • Demeter
  • Persephone
  • Poseidon
  • Hecate
  • Aphrodite
  • Athena
  • Boreas
  • Hades
  • Artemis
  • Apollo
  • Hermes
  • Hephaestus
  • Hestia
  • Nike
  • Ares
  • Tyche
  • Nyx
  • Iris
  • Dionysus

Episode 8 →

100 Baby Challenge – Episode 6: Saying Goodbye

← Episode 5

Baby free post today! Today it’s all about recognising Gaia for all the hard work she put into this challenge.

The Sims™ 4_20200327215600
A flashback to young Gaia just before the challenge. So innocent and blissfully unaware of the challenge to come…

I originally planned for Gaia to marry the original Victim, Travis (Zeus’s dad, blast from the past!) After a bit of wasted time I realised they weren’t actually hitting it off that well and while they were happy to sleep with each other they didn’t actually seem to enjoy chatting to each other much. Fair enough. She was also just most happy when she was around her family so we decided not to worry about Travis anymore. She’d had enough flirting and men for a lifetime anyway.

I knew her final days were coming so I threw some big parties with the whole family where she got to speak to everyone. I actually got quite emotional.

 

Finally, the time came. She woke up and immediately collapsed. Grim appeared to take away her soul but Hades ran in and pleaded for her life! Grim relented and Gaia was brought back to life! I may not have been able to have Hades be the son of death but he lived up to his name eventually.

The Sims™ 4_20200418131219
Your mother is lying dead on the floor, the Grim Reaper is standing in front of you but no, by all means lets focus on the black pit that is your stomach, Boreas.

Gaia lived another 3 days and then took me on an emotional rollercoaster. I had just loaded up the game and the very first thing that happened was she collapsed in the living room and died. For good this time. I was a bit shocked, wasn’t expecting that first thing. I may have been a bit choked up, I had dedicated a lot of time to Gaia and I was really proud of her…

The Sims™ 4_20200419095748
Noooooooo. She died embarrassed and smelly!

I spent some time making her a shrine. This of course now means that every time any of the moved out children come to visit their siblings they just stand in the living room in front of the urn and cry for 5 hours then go home. Whatever they need to do to come to terms with the death I guess.

The Sims™ 4_20200422221415
I’m missing some photos but it’s getting there

Here are Gaia’s stats from the game. I’m very proud that her most prominent moodlet was Happiness, I thought for sure it was going to be Uncomfortable (though that was a close second at 556 times). She also wet herself a record 24 times and passed out 22 times… Ouch.

The Sims™ 4_20200418130726

The Sims™ 4_20200418130740

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a quiet and sombre day in the Olympae household but then Hades got a text from Ghost Gaia saying she needed some ‘retail therapy’ and could they go to the flea market together. You know… As ghosts do… I guess she’ll be hanging around a bit.

The Sims™ 4_20200419110152

Finally, Artemis aged up and I got to randomise her final personality trait. It is my honor to present to you the new Matriarch as an adult: Artemis! Active, wannabe chef, outdoors lover, and kleptomaniac. It could have been much worse.

The Sims™ 4_20200419115316

We’ll finish this post with some flashbacks to moments throughout Gaia’s life…

RIP

 

100 Baby Challenge – Episode 5: The Clock Starts Ticking

← Episode 4

I’m going to skip the Olympae family ahead here a bit as I’ve been playing this A LOT and I haven’t been writing fast enough to keep up. When we last saw the Olympae family they had moved into their new, 2 bathroom home and had a lot more space. Since then Hades and Artemis have also been born and another baby is on the way, the lovely Poseidon (one of my favourite children) had moved out to make some room for potential twins and I was waiting for Hecate to come of age too. I was toying with the idea of letting her stay on as she’s magical and that makes repairing and cleaning stuff very, very easy. Here she is repairing the fridge and oven that she set fire to trying to cook lunch.

We got an answer to ‘Who is the most beautiful Greek Goddess?’ from the old myth Judgement of Paris. Aphrodite and Athena became teens and look at how gorgeous Aphrodite is. Hera was the prettiest but she’s been de-throned. Not only is Aphrodite gorgeous but she’s super chill and helpful too. Athena is a bit alternative and also has the evil trait so she was often happy just because she enjoyed being around sims that had negative moods. Aphrodite was the clear winner in both looks and personality, in this universe anyway.

The Sims™ 4_20200405113828
Aphrodite in her Winter finery, she looks like she’s about to hit the slopes and slay the snowboard competition.

I did move Hecate out in the end as having twins would be amazing and I guess the more space in the house the higher the chance? Spoiler alert: twins have not been a thing since Demeter and Persephone and annoyingly they continue to not be a thing for the rest of Gaia’s matriarchy.

Speaking of our next Matriarch I suddenly became acutely aware that Gaia was approaching retirement. The rules state that the youngest daughter has to continue the challenge as the new Matriarch once their mother has become an elder. If only it had been Aphrodite… At that moment Artemis was the youngest daughter but Gaia had another baby on the way and enough time to have another one. Ideally the next Matriarch would be Gaia’s final baby then you have a nice gap where everyone else gradually gets out of the house, there’s a break where there’s no babies and you can just focus on the Matriarch’s development.

The Sims™ 4_20200411110541
The next Matriarch?

The baby was born and unfortunately it was a boy, named Apollo. Gaia was straight on it finding a new victim ASAP and I crossed my fingers… I was working on Artemis already just in case, getting her good grades and getting her skills up nice and high. Also letting her have some fun though, she potentially has quite a life ahead of her, let’s give her a fun childhood.

Next baby was born and it was… Another boy! Crap. This was Hephaestus. So… Artemis, the maiden Goddess who in mythology is chaste and virtuous, is going to be the next Matriarch. Ironic. On top of that she has 2 younger siblings that won’t be moving out before she’s started the challenge. Not the best outcome but never mind. Time was up and Gaia aged up into an elder.

The Sims™ 4_20200418114047
Silver Fox!

Good news for Gaia though, she just needs to enjoy her retirement now. I think she did pretty well in her Matriarchy career with 13 kids. Or at least I thought I did until I watched an episode of Single Girl’s stream of this challenge (which inspired me to do it) where her first matriarch becomes an elder and she had 33 kids!!! WHAT?!?!?! HOW?! Maybe I let Gaia rest too much. I was too concerned with making her happy. Honestly that depressed me a bit. My girl doesn’t even have half that amount of children… I’m going to be really mature and say that Single Girl owns way more expansion packs than me, therefore she has more stuff so maybe it’s easier, and she got incredibly lucky with twins. That’s totally it, right? Also my PS4 is really struggling with this game sometimes and it bugs out quite a lot… I do wish I had a gaming PC for it instead but nevermind.

The Sims™ 4_20200417172925
My future Matriarch needed a new look…

The Sims™ 4_20200417173626
Much better

To sour my mood even more and make me want to curl up into a ball on the floor and reevaluate my choices in life I decided to calculate, based on Gaia’s 13 kids, how long it would take me to get to 100 babies… 7.5 GENERATIONS! … I can’t do that… I have to step it up… Is teen pregnancy a thing in the Sims?  Oh no…

The Sims™ 4_20200418105204
Gaia is finally having a great time now that she is unburdened with upcoming children and men

Baby count: 13/100

  • Zeus
  • Hera
  • Demeter
  • Persephone
  • Poseidon
  • Hecate
  • Aphrodite
  • Athena
  • Boreas
  • Hades
  • Artemis
  • Apollo
  • Hephaestus

Episode 6 →