3 Games I’d Love to Play This Year

3 Games I’d Love to Play This Year

Last year, I missed a lot of the big game releases. Pretty much every single one except Shadowbringers.

It was pretty disappointing, actually. Although I’m terrible for picking games for myself that last forever and then locking myself into playing them, that’s no real reason not to at least see what’s out there that I might enjoy playing.

So this year, I’ve been trying to stay on top of upcoming releases and events, so I can try some new things! And so far, these are the games that top my list.

Iron Man PSVR

A long time ago, I saw a trailer for a game that promised to show me what it would be like to be Iron Man—and I’ve been waiting rather impatiently ever since.

After all, it’s not like I basically have a shrine to Iron Man in our living room or anything, or that he’s my favourite superhero ever.

In fact, I originally planned this blog post to coincide with what was supposed to be the launch date for this game, February 28—but it recently got pushed back to May 15. Interestingly, that’s also the same day that Square Enix’s unique take on Marvel’s Avengers is supposed to come out.

If you haven’t seen the trailer for Iron Man PSVR at all, I do recommend it, especially if you’re any kind of Avengers or Iron Man fan. It doesn’t give you much of the story, but it does show you what it’s like to be in Iron Man’s proverbial metal shoes—replete with AR HUD, Friday’s sassy voice, and baddies to shoot at with your hand lasers.

One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows

This game is actually coming out this Friday, and is the other half of the reason I decided to write this post today.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s based on the hilarious One Punch Man anime (which is on Netflix and just got approved for a second season last week, fun fact), and features a hero, Saitama, who’s known in the anime to be perpetually disappointed in his enemies’ inability to put up much of a fight.

The game is a fighting game being developed by Bandai Namco, the real slim shadies of that game style. All I can really say is that although I’m absolutely horrible at fighting games, I can’t wait to see what happens when the One Punch Man has to throw many, many punches.

Final Fantasy VII

Back when Shane and I started dating, one of the first things he introduced me to was Final Fantasy. It started with the World of Final Fantasy demo, which devolved into an unstoppable obsession. And once I’d beaten that, he tried me out with Final Fantasy VII.

I did really enjoy it, but I never really got into it, most likely because at the time, his PS4 wasn’t yet a permanent resident at our apartment and tended to go with him wherever he went.

In any case, I’ve learned enough about the franchise by now to understand how iconic VII was overall, and I’ve been doing my best to keep up with the announcements around it and its upcoming release in April (yes, it got delayed).

I’m looking forward to seeing just how different it becomes with its new freestyle combat, no doubt inspired by the studio’s ongoing obsession with XV, and with the characters actually, you know, having facial features now.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also interested to see how the new version does in today’s gaming culture compared to its original release, especially given the furor we’ve already seen over a reduction in a certain character’s endowment.

The original game did a lot to perpetuate the modern portrayal we know of strong female characters, and I hope Square Enix is at least true to that in the remake.

Now it’s your turn. What games are you looking forward to this year?

Tabletop Tuesday: Why Obsessive Character Creation Isn’t So Bad

Tabletop Tuesday: Why Obsessive Character Creation Isn’t So Bad

Ever since Shane showed me how to create my own races in Pathfinder, I’ve been mildly obsessed with creating concepts for characters.

It goes far beyond conceptualizing races, which is a bit of a phase I went through with my teindkin and Lympasi. It’s extended into full-out character creation either using my created races, or by using standard races and adding extra features to make up the 20 racial points we’re allowed.

Then, when that became familiar enough to me, I turned to creating complex cross-class combinations that were incredibly far from vanilla Pathfinder characters.

The most complex so far is my Dragonsong build, but that didn’t at all stop me from trying to top it.

After a while, I did start to feel bad. I mean, here I was creating all these epic characters, giving them names and stories and traits and flaws just so they could tuck away into the Inactive section of my D&D binder. Who knew if they’d ever see the light of day?

It felt pretty wasteful.

But lately, I’ve been learning why it’s maybe not such a bad idea to have so many great players waiting on the metaphorical bench.

Introducing Shea: The first side-story

A few months ago, just after I’d come up with two different concepts for shifters, we introduced one of Shane’s work buddies to D&D.

He got thrown into the deep end a little bit; we typically introduce new players through one-shots or smaller campaigns, but he got tossed into our existing Kingmaker game right as we were engaging in some interesting tactics to defeat guards at a river camp.

Yep, his first impression ever was watching a mind-controlling witch and an enthusiastic dragon bard convince a pair of guards to let us tie them up while the poor paladin facepalmed himself into last Tuesday.

Somewhere in that enlightening session, he learned that we all had backstories we’d written for our characters, and decided he wanted one too—but instead of writing, he wanted to do a small campaign for it. The witch’s player offered to DM a mini-campaign to do that for him, and suddenly, it was back to character creation for the rest of us.

Usually, in a situation like that, I’d try to come up with a character that would work best with the group. It’s probably not really how I should come up with characters, but well, someone has to bite the bullet and be the healer, right?

But because I had so many characters ready, instead, all I had to do was pull one off the bench—and as Shea the ifrit shifter made her debut, our party was much more organic, much less planned.

And that wasn’t the only time my backups came in handy.

Just this past weekend, our group had planned for a full afternoon game on Sunday. People were going to show up at our apartment around 1:30 p.m., so we could hopefully get through the new player’s backstory and get back to Kingmaker.

At 11 a.m., I got a message from the DM that she and her husband couldn’t come—which left us with no DM for the smaller campaign, and much too small a party to tackle Kingmaker.

So to save the day, Shane decided he’d run a one-shot we’d done previously with another group and invite another friend of his who was interested in trying it out. We’d all have to create completely new characters, but that along with an NPC he had stashed away meant we could still have game.

That was when Alanna the half-elf bard-slash-summoner came out to play, complete with separate character sheet for her eidolon. And because I was ready, I could help the other players—neither of whom had ever actually created a character themselves—fill in their sheets.

Which really just meant that instead of spending half the day making Pathfinder characters, we were ready to play a whole lot sooner.

In both situations, having a few extra characters was a good thing—first because I couldn’t use player knowledge to make a well-rounded party, and then because I could try to help newer players with what little I know about Pathfinder.

So I guess now it just means I need to create a few more backups!

Do you ever build extra characters for a D&D game? Do you have a favourite build? Let me know in the comments!

10 Fun Ideas for a Geeky Valentine’s Day

10 Fun Ideas for a Geeky Valentine’s Day

I am a romantic at heart, so I always love when Valentine’s Day comes around. And I don’t mean in the middle school, passing out cards and little candies to all my classmates way; for me, it’s essentially a great excuse to do something special with Shane.

Not that we really need an excuse, but still.

So I figured this week, I’d share some of my favourite ways to celebrate, and a few I want to try myself!

Curl up at home and watch the Witcher (or your mutual favourite show).

I mean, sure. He’s a bit rough around the edges, but Geralt’s kind of a romantic, right? Okay, not so much. But still, it’s not every day we get such a good show based on a game, so it’s a great pick for sharing with your player 2!

Of course, it doesn’t have to be specifically the Witcher. Any favourite show will do! I just chose this one because we recently watched it together and it was lovely.

Head to an arcade for some old-fashioned fun.

Sometimes all you need is a handful of quarters and Space Invaders for a lovely Valentine’s Day. If you live near an arcade or other venue with a few arcade-style games, grab your spare change and your Valentine and see who can get the high score.

Find the perfect geeky card (or make one!).

Personally, I’m terrible at choosing cards, so I try to avoid it. In our three years together, I’ve never once actually bought a card for Shane. Instead, I make cards based on the geeky things I know he loves!

It doesn’t have to be a grand production; a quick Google search and a printer (and some markers if you don’t have a colour printer) is all you really need to make this sweet gesture.

Plan a nerdy day trip.

If you work full-time, this one might have to get put off until the weekend, but planning a nice day trip for you and your player 2 is a great way to celebrate. Find a few places in your town or in a town nearby that fit with your geeky interests, and have an adventure together!

Or, plan a longer magical vacation.

If you want to make a bigger thing of the day than a day trip, planning a longer getaway is a massively romantic gesture! You might already have the perfect idea in mind, or you could try looking for places that fit your geeky interests that have more to do than you could do in a day.

Have a Lego date.

Who doesn’t love Lego? Even if a vacation or getaway isn’t in the realm of possibility, you and your loved one can always work together to build your own dream locale while making a dangerous foot-trap on your living room floor with Lego. 

Not that I’m going to be building myself a Hogwarts or anything…

Break out your favourite two-player game.

If you have a game that you regularly play as a couple, or that you always come back to, Valentine’s Day is great for pulling it out and playing together. After all, nothing says “love” like destroying the entire existence of demonic races together in Diablo 3, right?

Or, try a two-player game you’ve never played before.

Sometimes, you just get sick of all the same games. I know that for me and Shane especially, few things are as fun and relationship-building as trying to learn new things and new games together! It can get a little frustrating depending on the game, but the feeling when you succeed is worth it.

Pick your favourite geeky treat and make it together.

Does your favourite game have an iconic food or dessert? Try to make it together! You’ll most likely be able to find a recipe for it worth trying online, and if not, you could even try your hand at coming up with the recipe together.

It’s fun, delicious (hopefully), and will most likely involve less yelling than a round of Overcooked.

Make a movie-themed dinner together.

Yes, this is inspired a little bit by Kevin and Pam’s ultrafeast from the Office. Planning a three-course meal inspired by your favourite movies, or by movies that mean something to the two of you, both means fun in the kitchen and a romantic dinner after.

Tiny House Love: 5 Tips for Building with the Sims 4 Tiny Living Pack

Tiny House Love: 5 Tips for Building with the Sims 4 Tiny Living Pack

Confession: I get way too excited whenever the Sims 4 brings out new content. And yes, it’s primarily because I can’t wait to see what new furnishings I get to play with.

And of course, the newest stuff pack, Tiny Living, is right up my alley. Our home isn’t exactly massive, so even IRL I’m all about finding ways to do more with less space!

This new pack (which yes, I am a little late on) gives you a new lot type, Tiny Residential, which does two big things:

  • It limits the number of squares you can use to place buildings to 32, 64, or 100, depending on the type of tiny house you want to build, and
  • It gives you bonuses for the lot for each of the respective building sizes—including one at the smallest sizes that makes it easier to build relationships and fall in love

Now, it’s not exactly easy to build within such a small space, even with the new potentially deadly Murphy beds. It took me a few tries to find a build that worked! So today, I thought I’d share the hacks I’ve learned about maximizing space in a tiny house build.

1. Don’t be afraid to rethink how you use your spaces.

This was the biggest challenge point for me, because I’ve always been super traditional in how I think of housing spaces. A studio apartment isn’t something I would ever have chosen for myself, even to save money.

But rethinking how you’re using space—and combining rooms to limit what you have to build—is a really good technique for tiny homes!

This space-saving Murphy bed is also the only sofa in my tiny house build.

The easiest one? Combining living space with bedroom space—especially easy with the new Murphy beds that feature both a console and a loveseat.

2. Make smart use of your stairs.

Even with the new ability to bend and adjust stairs, they’re a tricky thing to work with—and in a tiny home, you don’t have room for that nonsense. Finding creative ways to put your stairs to work can be both a space-saver, and really boost your overall design.

For example, if you’re building a house with a bit of a foundation and need to have stairs to get to the front door, you can pull them out a square to form a little mock porch that doesn’t count toward your house’s footage.

Pulling stairs out a square from your house makes a handy little porch.

And if you’re building a multi-story house like this little experiment of mine, you can save on space and keep a low footprint by putting the stairs on the outside!

Need more space? Put the stairs outside!

3. Build a loft!

If I’m being entirely honest, this is something I didn’t even know was possible until I did my own research on building tiny homes.

If you build a roof that’s tall enough, you can actually use the Walls Down or Outside Walls Up modes to build inside the roof—making a loft that doubles your space without adding to your house’s footprint.

Unfortunately, you can’t build walls, so the only way to build an ensuite is with its own separate roof, and the stairs can be a little tricky because they can’t intersect at all with the roof, but overall it’s a great technique for adding to your tiny house.

4. Emphasize your outdoor space.

The great thing about tiny houses in the Sims 4 is that they don’t change the size of your lot, so you end up with a heck of a lot more outdoor space to work with.

Creating an outdoor oasis for your Sim gives them more space for things like entertaining, and well, I know if I lived in a tiny house I’d want a beautiful garden!

Pro tip: You can lay flooring squares for a patio outside without adding to your house’s footprint; just mind your fences and decks, because they can add to it.

5. Don’t forget your building hacks.

If you want to add walled-in space but keep your micro-house bonuses, one technique I discovered was to build a greenhouse outside, or add a sunroom onto your house.

This does add to your footprint at first, but it works out because here’s how you do it:

  1. Build a room and place wall-height windows and doors along every wall
  2. Add a roof to your room
  3. Turn on the Move Objects cheat (CTRL + Shift + C, type bb.moveobjects on, then hit enter)
  4. Now you can delete the walls and floor, leaving the windows, doors and roofs in place

Easy peasy!

Now it’s your turn. Have a hack for building tiny houses? Share it in the comments below!

On Love, Passions, and Misguided Perceptions of Gaming

On Love, Passions, and Misguided Perceptions of Gaming

Back in November, I went through an exercise where I planned out my blog topics for the entirety of 2020. It was actually really fun; the idea was that you pick themes for each month of the year, and then come up with posts related to each theme.

I do plan on sharing how I did that later on, for those of you who are interested.

Naturally, being the romantic-slash-total-dork that I am, I wanted February’s theme to be about love.

But I didn’t want it to be like love stories, or fairy tales, or anything that you’d see on a Hallmark card. I did think about it, especially when I realized I could use that to talk about powerful love stories like Tidus and Yuna from Final Fantasy X.

No, I wanted it to be about something much bigger: The love we have for games.

The perception of games as just a hobby

When I went through my blog planning exercise, all I wrote down for this week was Chasing your passion/why gaming isn’t “just a hobby”. I’m sure at the time I was confident I’d remember what it was I wanted to talk about, but I had no idea when I started writing.

At first, I thought I’d been talking about people who stream, and the folks who chase their passions and manage to turn gaming into full-time eSports careers. I have a massive amount of respect for the people who can do that.

Then, I thought of how so many people who aren’t involved in the community see games as just a hobby.

I couldn’t help but laugh when that reminded me of the time I told my grandmother about how I’d started a blog about gaming. I had to explain what a blog was first, which got a bit of enthusiasm, and then I had to explain what I meant by gaming—which got exasperation and a quick topic change.

Which, to be fair, was the reaction most things got. But still.

Games are so much more than a hobby.

For many of us, video games are much more than a hobby. We don’t just pick away at them when we have a little extra time.

We become invested in them in the most emotional way.

We fall in love with the characters, the stories, the fun adventures we have. They become a part of our lives, and I’m sure I don’t just speak for myself when I say that sometimes we even build our lives around it when we find a game we really love.

I mean, hell. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to go home from somewhere just so I could check on my plants in FFXIV. I even timed them carefully when we went away over Christmas so they wouldn’t wilt while I was gone.

Which leads me to my question for you.

What’s the first game you truly fell in love with?