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Testing the Classes of Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons is one of those things that, although I don’t talk about it a whole lot, is a consistent part of my gaming life.

It may not be the same as video games, but in the gently paraphrased words of one Maurice Moss of IT Crowd fame, it’s like a video game, except it uses the most powerful processor known to man: the human mind.

That was the appeal that drew me to the game, and the same appeal that drew me to finish my first campaign back in November. Although my poor ifrit/rakshasa did die once, betrayed by her own d20, she was magically resurrected and made it to the end.

She then retired to build her own plane of existence and live a solitary life, but the adventure wasn’t over for me.

With about a week to spare, we dove right into our next game, which unfortunately for my learning curve, was not Pathfinder. It was a 5th edition game.

So, with new rules and new feats and new sheets on the table, I decided to add just one more new thing to the mix.

See, I’m one of those people who likes to learn as much as possible when it comes to new games. I like testing out different styles, approaches, and even character classes to find one I love.

As much as I loved my witch, who could reduce powerful casters to brawlers and put just about anything to sleep for a quick coup de grâce (her spell DCs were a minimum of 40 for cantrips, because her INT modifier was around 23), I didn’t want to stop there.

I’d broken one class, and I wanted to try something different.

 

Bryseis the monk

Bryseis the enthusiastic tiefling is my first attempt at a 5th edition character, and also happens to be the first character I built myself, so there was some learning involved in the character sheet.

In hindsight, I think that was a good thing, because it made it much easier to understand where the numbers come from.

She very quickly became lots of fun, channeling her inner Natsu and wreaking havoc with her chaotic good alignment. Because I built her as a variant tiefling, she isn’t really the smartest or wisest, but she sure loves to help!

Her fighting style is also a little different from a witch. Instead of picking a daily set of spells from a two-inch deck of every possible spell my witch knew, Bryseis has a stick. She gets right up in the heat of battle, instead of staying 30 ft. back, and can do fun things like cleaving.

She does have a few spells at third level, because I set her up as a monk of the Way of the Four Elements, but it’s much simpler.

Overall, the experience was a bit of an eye-opener because I had come into the Pathfinder game around level 4. I started out in 5th edition at first level, which showed me just how squishy first-level characters are!

 

Amber the bard

About a month after I’d made my monk, Shane finished writing up his own game, loosely based on various pieces of Final Fantasy lore. I hadn’t really planned ahead for what I wanted my character to be, but within hours of him telling me about the game, I was ready.

In yet another bid to learn something completely new, I decided I would make a dwarven bard loosely based on Thorin Oakenshield, but much more fond of swearing and bad jokes.

I had an advantage for the bard role, because one of the other players in our regular group tends to cycle between bards, clerics, and paladins. He, as the unlucky one, went through all three in the previous Pathfinder game, and landed on bard for the 5th edition game that Bryseis is in.

This meant that unlike the monk role, I had actually seen the bard played properly, so I had a vague idea of what it could do.

That didn’t stop me from promptly forgetting everything in the heat of conflict, but I tried.

 

I’m really looking forward to testing out both new classes, and although both have technically died already, hopefully they make it to the end of the campaign!

Do you play Dungeons and Dragons? Have a favourite class?

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Mission Possible: My 2018 Game List

One of the biggest struggles facing gamers today is that of the backlog.

This is a vicious cycle that begins when many, many games hit the market, and there just isn’t enough time to play them all.

Such a terrible problem, right?

Sarcasm aside, I spent some time this week coming up with the games I want to play this year. Obviously, it was a bit of a daunting list, so here are the top three!

 

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

I was first introduced to the Rabbids about a decade ago when my dad brought home Rayman Raving Rabbids for the Wii.

I fell in love with them immediately; their terrible dance moves, equally terrible singing (and the necessity of slapping them to make them stahp), tendency to scream randomly, and their epic plunger-shooting battles appealed to teenage me for some reason.

My love for them went dormant for a few years when I moved out without the Wii, but it came roaring back in a blaze of glory when I saw the case art for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle because Rabbid Yoshi.

To go along with the innate ridiculousness, the game looks like it has a great story and boss setup, and I really want to find out first-hand just how fun it is!

Although it technically came out in August 2017, my Switchmas wish did not come true—meaning I can totally put it on my games list for this year!

 

The Harry Potter PC games

I’m kind of cheating here by talking about eight games in one, but you know what? It’s okay. It’s technically all an extension of the same story anyway, right?

As much as I love the Harry Potter PC games, I actually only have the first three. I tried the fifth one on the Wii, but where you could point and click to cast spells in the PC version, you had to wave your Wiimote appropriately to cast spells on that version.

And as it turns out, I’m more of a Seamus than a Hermione.

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My mission for this year is to get my hands on the remaining ones (for PC), and play my way through the entire series!

Interestingly, despite having been out for anywhere from eight to 17 years, the games have actually held onto their initial market value. That in itself is noteworthy, because most games fall victim to depreciation after a while.

 

Pokémon HeartGold

As my introduction and initiation into the Pokémon world, this game holds a special place in my heart (ha, pun).

I started replaying it last year for a bit of nostalgia, but with everything else that happened, HeartGold kind of fell victim to the backlog. I made it to Goldenrod City, but then, my poor team took the backseat.

There’s plenty more to go in the game, though, and honestly, I had forgotten that it let you explore two entire regions. So I’m only half as far as I thought I was!

My Avengers-themed team has plenty of room to grow, and that’s going to be its mission for this, the year of the Infinity War.

 

Now it’s your turn. What games are you going to play this year? Is there anything I should add?

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House Hunters: Final Fantasy Edition

Something exciting happened this week in my little world!

As you may know, Shane and I have been diligently soldiering our way through the many, many quests of the main story in Final Fantasy XIV.

The only trouble with that is that there are many, many distractions to go along with it. One of these distractions was the set of quests that lead you to the housing districts of the three main nations, where you can buy your very own house.

We thought it would be a lovely idea to have our own little house, because you can share (kind of) by inviting friends to live in your house as tenants. So, we dipped our toes into each district, running around and exploring any houses that were foolish enough to leave their doors open.

We immediately fell in love with the Mist in Limsa Lominsa, because it’s essentially a tropical island, and who wouldn’t want to live there?

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We started looking to see if there were any houses available, and of course there weren’t. Was this normal?

A quick bit of research confirmed my fears. If we wanted to get a house, we would first need to wait for another player on our server to surrender theirs, and then hope we could buy it off the market in time.

Even with the reclamation initiative Square Enix introduced in the 3.1 patch, where it can reclaim and resell houses that haven’t been visited by their owners or tenants in a certain amount of time, that is next to impossible.

We resigned ourselves to a very long wait.

 

Home is where the heart is

Within three weeks of exploring the possibility of getting a Final Fantasy house, luck struck.

This week, as we were busily running around Revenant’s Toll, trying to get through main story so we could get to Ishgard (I had my heart set on getting a machinist class), we happened to notice a peculiar shout in the chat.

In the marketplace was a player who was giving away shirts because she was leaving the game. We were intrigued, so we went to grab our own shirts. Shane is the social butterfly of the two of us, so he struck up a conversation and before I knew it, he had learned that she was going to be giving up her house.

She agreed to show us where it was, and after a tour of the little cottage plot, we went on a frantic hunt to find enough gil to be able to purchase it.

Now, housing is not cheap in Final Fantasy XIV. I think the absolute cheapest you can get land for is about two million gil, and that’s after waiting 30 days for depreciation to kick in. And you can bet your last chocobo feather that land will not last 30 days.

Between the two of us, we had about 1.6 million. With a very generous gift from the person selling the land, and a loan from one of our fellow free company members, and almost half a day of selling expensive things on the marketplace and running around doing quests, we were finally able to buy a little plot of land!

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Our characters, Sekan and Diana (centre and right), with Cerilina, who gave up her land!

So now, we have an adorable little cottage in the Lavender Beds, and the only furniture it has is four doggo statues and a stuffed chocobo. We’ll get there, though!

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Gaming vs. Adulting: The Struggle Is Real

On Sunday, around two in the afternoon, I sat down on the couch with my laptop and every intention of breezing through a blog post for today.

It doesn’t usually take me long to get through something like that, especially when it’s something I’m passionate about, and especially when I already know what I want to write about.

I knew what I wanted to write about: My perpetual struggle between the desires of being a gamer, and the needs of supposedly being a self-sufficient and responsible adult.

By eight in the evening, after a few hours of distraction on Final Fantasy 14, a resurgence of the need to be productive, and another few hours of trying to avoid my DS’ accusatory glare, I had a sad little post that I wasn’t proud of.

I also had more than enough evidence to prove the entire thesis behind that wimpy and vaguely whiny post.

See, the thing about being an adult is that although your parents make it look easy when you’re a kid, there’s a lot more going on than you thought there was. Those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves, and the laundry isn’t as automatic as you’d like.

It turns into a careful balance between what you should do, and what you want to do.

 

Balancing work and play

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

When I was a teenager, my family had a shared computer that lived in the kitchen. It was my only option for playing those Harry Potter PC games I loved so much, but it came with a catch:

It had a time limit.

That rule annoyed me at the time. I mean, I was a teenager! I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I was in school and I had homework.

Nowadays, that rule totally makes sense. As much as I would love to spend all day playing games, there are things that need to happen. But as it turns out, I’m not as good at enforcing that rule with myself as my mom was.

Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I love having a clean home, and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty to get things done.

But when you get immersed in a wonderful story and its characters, it’s so easy to look away from the clock and miss the six hours that pass you by.

That’s just the sign of a good game, right?

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My Misadventures in Computer Accessories

A few months ago, I wrote a long and winding account of what happened the first time I tried to change the innards of my beloved gaming tower, Tony.

Since then, things have been relatively quiet, but come on.

You didn’t honestly think that’d be the only misadventure, did you?

Of course, as I am naturally predisposed to shenanigans and getting myself into trouble sometimes, I ran into something else.

 

A little background

Over the Christmas break, both Shane and I were home a lot more than normal. As a matching pair of gamer nerds, extra time at home meant extra time playing games.

Lately, we’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV together, keeping our characters around the same level and running through the story so we can get our gunsmith classes together. Cute and dorky.

Naturally, this meant that my computer got a lot more use than normal. Even with its tired old video card that was lower than the one it was supposed to come with, Tony did very well handling a week of taxing RPGs.

There was, however, something that didn’t handle it so well.

 

The issue of finding a perfect keyboard

About a year ago, I decided it was finally time to replace the keyboard that had come with my computer. It was by no means a bad keyboard; my main issue was that it wasn’t exactly ideal for gaming.

I did, however, love its chiclet design for the massive amounts of typing that I do!

And therein lay my conundrum.

See, I wanted to get a proper gaming keyboard.

Generally, if you want to get a gaming keyboard, it comes with loud, clacky mechanical keys. If you’re lucky, they might even be reinforced on certain frequently used keys.

That’s great for feedback while gaming, but because at the time Tony was also my primary workstation, I thought it would drive me crazy to write on that style of board all day.

When I discovered that there’s such a thing as a chiclet-style gaming keyboard, I decided that was just perfect! I very happily brought it home, plugged it in, and spent a year of bliss having my happy medium.

 

When it all went downhill

I first noticed an issue with the keyboard about a month ago, when Diana, my usually effective bard in FFXIV, had trouble attacking. It almost went very poorly for me, and although I had a few choice words for the keyboard at the time, I chalked it up to accidentally clicking on something I shouldn’t have, because that does happen.

I’m not sure what happened, but the week of gaming marathons seems to have done the poor thing in. The big red flag was that a mystery key on the board got stuck, which made Diana cycle through all of the possible hotbars instead of attacking things.

Again, very nearly very bad.

Combined with the fact that now that I’m actually using it for gaming, the keyboard doesn’t really give feedback when I press anything, it all makes me realize that maybe those clacky keyboards I spurned at first have a very good purpose after all.

Now I’ve learned my lesson: It’s important to pick the right equipment for gaming. And although I still do the vast majority of my work at home, I think it’s time for a change…

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Why I Stopped Collecting Marvel Movies

When Marvel first started becoming big in the film world, I was obsessed with collecting every movie.

Conveniently, that happened to be right about the same time Blockbuster went out of business up here in the great white north, and I capitalized by picking up every price-slashed Avenger movie I could get my hands on.

I spent a few years happily hoarding them and lining them up on my shelves in chronological order so that someday, I might be able to look back on my collection and maybe, given enough caffeine and snackage, watch all of them in order.

Looking back now, I can see what a pipe dream that was.

 

A Strange realization

The other night, Shane and I decided that we would finally sit down and watch Dr. Strange. Conveniently, some of the smaller Marvel movies (like this one and the Guardians series) have been popping up on Netflix lately, which is uncommon for Canada.

There was no real reason why we hadn’t seen it yet; ironically, it probably came down to time more than anything.

As weird as it was to see Benedict Cumberbatch using an American accent, it was an amazing movie—and it made me realize something.

See, at the end of the movie and after the postscript, there was a simple blank screen informing us that Dr. Strange would return. At first, we assumed it meant that he’d be back in the Infinity Wars films, but the postscript seemed to be setting up for another standalone film.

A quick bit of research confirmed this theory; there’s going to be another Dr. Strange film that takes place after Infinity War, even though I’d kind of assumed that was what the entire MCU was building up to, and where the whole timeline would stop.

This is why I’ve stopped collecting Marvel movies.

As much as I love them, and as cool as it would have been to have a full set and marathon them all, they’re starting to become as never-ending as the doctor’s infinite time loop.

At this point, I doubt they’d fit in a neat little collector’s case like Marvel offered after the first Avengers film. As big of a fan as I am, I can’t even remember which ones I don’t have now.

Maybe someday I’ll manage to get my hands on a full set and a shelf big enough for them all, but for now? Well, I guess I’ll stick to catching up to them all on Netflix.

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Lego Marvel Superheroes 2: Making an Impression

Every year, my sister gets me a new Lego game either for my birthday or for Christmas.

Every year, this new Lego game, whichever film franchise it happens to be from, comes with some fine print.

See, a new Lego game isn’t just for me: it means my sister wants to come play it with me. It’s a lovely tradition of ours that usually ends up being marathons of shenanigans and puns.

About three years ago, the game of choice was Lego Marvel Superheroes. Until that point, we’d only really played Batman and Harry Potter, so of course I was excited to play Iron Man for the first time!

The game itself introduced a few new features at the time, including being the first Lego game (at least that I’d played) to use actual dialogue instead of grunts and gestures. To boot, it even used Phil Coulson’s real voice, although he was the only original voice.

Because it was the first game, it focused pretty heavily on the headliners, like Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and even the perpetually “disinterested” Spiderman.

This year, my sister picked out Lego Marvel Superheroes 2—and it’s just a little bit different.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far!

 

For starters

I have to admit that I geeked out as soon as we booted up the game.

I thought this opening was neat for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a great throwback to the opening of the first Guardians movie
  2. It’s the first time I’ve seen a Lego game get the rights to a song that, while it was part of the movie’s soundtrack, was not part of the original score
  3. It starts the game with a smaller comic, which is a nice change from the first game’s introduction to the headliner Avengers

Like I theorized with Thor: Ragnarok’s new pseudo-eighties style, this points to Marvel’s intention to highlight its smaller niche comics as just as important as the Iron Mans and Captain Americas of the world.

 

The gameplay

After we’d stopped rocking out to the oldies, it was time to get started. And as much as we’ve played Lego games before, there was a bit of a learning curve.

First up, each character now has its own special that you can activate by holding B.

Most are attack-based, but as Player 1 (because that’s what older siblings do), I started the game off in the first level as Peter Quill. Can you guess what his special is?

Of course, we discovered this lovely feature by button-mashing, because who reads the manuals or tutorials?

Second, the game relies pretty heavily on chapter selection.

This is a feature we saw a little of in Lego Batman 3, but it’s definitely a much bigger focus in this game. In Lego Batman 3, after you’d progressed through the majority of the story and needed to go deal with each of the Lantern planets, you got to choose which planet you wanted to go to in which order (and leave the Red Lantern planet for last because the bull was tricky).

There were only six options, and it was all at one point in the story.

Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 pushes the style by introducing it much earlier, and instead of only six levels, it seems like the game has three separate plotlines that you are tasked with balancing. With great power comes great responsibility.

We aren’t very far in, but we have already been affected by the guilt of leaving one team on the sidelines much longer than the others…

 

A new look

The majority of the gameplay itself looks iconically Lego-y, but this game puts a little bit of a spin on the classics with the HUD and menus.

All of the text and icons in the game are designed to look like comic book frames, including taking a “picture” at the end of each major chapter and framing it. It’s a neat feature, but I have to admit that we thought it was a glitch the first time because we thought the game had frozen.

 

Improving co-op play

My sister and I are the queens of the oops in Lego games, which basically means that one of us, in an ambitious bid to explore ALL THE THINGS, accidentally stumbles across a trigger that pushes us into the next area while the other was trying to get a minikit.

Although you can still be a butthead and proceed without telling the other person, this game makes you do it with a suitably guilty conscience by bringing in a new feature that makes you stop and acknowledge what you’re doing.

It stops you, tells you what you’re about to do will affect both players, and makes you press a button to acknowledge.

 

All in all, I’m really excited to keep going with this game, learn all of the specials, and find all of the Easter eggs. Lego games are known for their humour and fun, and this game has it in spades. Who knows what else we’ll find?

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A Girly Geek Christmas Poem

In honour of the holiday season, and to celebrate geekery everywhere, I’ve written this lovely little parody of Clement Clarke Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

I hope you enjoy it, and happy holidays from the Girly Geek!

 

‘Twas the Night Before Switchmas

‘Twas the night before Switchmas, and all through the house,
Every keyboard was clicking, and every mouse;
The cables were hung by the consoles with care,
In hopes that St. New-console soon would be there.

The gamers were nestled all snug at their screens,
With images of chocobos crossing their streams;
And Shane with his headset, and I with my boots,
Were hoping that Santa and a Switch were in cahoots.

Then out in the kitchen there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the sink I flew like the Flash,
Pushed aside the tea towels and other mishmash.

I saw nothing but darkness as I looked down the pipe,
Squinting and searching for a mystery of some type;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a bright yellow box with a question mark clear.

It rose out of that sink and grew larger so quick,
I knew in a moment it must be no trick.
In the wake of that box came a small, rounded man,
With a red hat, black ‘stache and two reins in his hand.

Now, Yoshis and Bob-ombs and Chain Chomps and Bloopers,
Put aside their differences to be holiday troopers.
They worked and they toiled and they had quite a ball,
Then they dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all.

As I gaped at the mess with my jaw near the floor,
I realized that someone still stood at the door.
With a wave of his hand and a twinkle in his eye,
The mustachioed man cleaned and bid us goodbye.

And then, in a twinkling, I saw near the tree,
A small, ribboned box addressed to Shane and me.
As I reached out my hand and lifted the gift,
I knew it would take our imaginations adrift.

We slept hardly a wink until morning was nigh,
Then we sprang out of bed to that tree did we fly.
In that little wrapped box lay a new-minted Switch,
Which we set up and started with hardly a hitch.

We played the whole day, and well into the eve;
And our save files that day, I could hardly believe!
As we curled up in bed, we heard out of sight,
“Merry Switchmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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What I Thought of the Justice League

As you may recall, I had a petty little boycott going for Batman v. Superman because of the Bum-chin Batman.

Despite this silly little fact, I was very excited about the Justice League movie because of how phenomenal Wonder Woman was in her standalone film, and because of the looming total overhaul and reinvention of Aquaman, everyone’s favourite punching bag.

And while the film definitely had everything I was expecting, there were plenty of surprises too.

 

Batman

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First things first, I need to admit how wrong I was. I absolutely loved Ben Affleck’s Batman.

He had the perfect voice for the role, and I found that he was a much more lighthearted version of the Dark Knight. He was sort of a happy medium between Christian Bale’s unsmiling version, and the campy version from the Lego Batman games.

Now, however, I’m a little sad because there may be yet another new Batman for the upcoming Flashpoint movie. Right as I found out I liked this one.

 

Wonder Woman

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I fell in love with Wonder Woman after her standalone earlier this year, and she definitely kept her appeal in Justice League.

Diana was everything I was expecting and more. She’s gotten a little more sass over the 100 years since her first movie, fitting herself well into the art scene of the modern world and matching wits with the best.

Of the characters in Justice League, I think she benefited best from Joss Whedon’s golden touch, even using her lasso of truth as a slight prank (or at least not stopping it from pranking on its own).

 

Aquaman

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Aquaman had perhaps one of the biggest changes so far in DC’s history of making movies, and I have to be honest.

I loved it.

Traditionally, he’s a blond do-gooder along the lines of the wholesome Captain America, which probably contributed to his vanilla vibe.

In this version, though, Whedon gave the character a more relaxed vibe. He’s a total surfer bro; he believes in doing good for other people, but he’s as uncontrollable as the sea itself, doing what he wants and refusing to let anyone influence what he does.

He’s also not actually the leader of his people; it seems to be a bit of a prodigal son situation, as outlined by Mera (whom he doesn’t seem to get along with, let alone be married to).

With all of these changes, I’m intrigued to see how the Aquaman movie scheduled for next year will build on this new persona, and how he might be forced to grow up a little.

 

The Flash

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Remember that time I called out DC for constantly reinventing characters?

The Flash is a perfect example of this; despite having his own TV show with several seasons, DC chose to start him from scratch as a teenager living off the grid.

His personality and overall character were very well done, but it threw me for a loop that the actor they chose to play him, Ezra Miller, is the same one who played the possessed child Credence in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I know he’s had other roles, but that was the first one I saw him in, so I had a hard time seeing him as an innocent do-gooder.

 

Cyborg

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While he’s a great presence in Lego Batman 3, Cyborg hasn’t exactly had a huge presence in DC movies to date. He’s had a few cameos on Smallville, which showed him as a Wolverine-esque version that had all of his mechanics on the inside with no evidence showing.

He already relies very heavily on technology, but this new version gets a little twist of the supernatural. He’s also physically less human than previous iterations, which appears to be his biggest struggle throughout the film.

He had a great coming-of-age subplot in the movie, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of his growth and abilities.

 

All in all, I think DC did a good job setting itself up with new characters to populate a new cinematic universe, but unless it keeps Whedon to help write, the persona development may stall a bit.

So there are my thoughts on the Justice League film. Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

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From Harvest Moon to Story of Seasons

Harvest Moon games will always have a special place in my heart.

I’ve played many of the games over the years, but the one I talk about the most is Sunshine Islands. The thing is, though, it isn’t the one I play the most.

The one I’ve played the most is actually Tale of Two Towns, which I haven’t really talked about a whole lot around here. Don’t worry, its time will come!

Tale of Two Towns had a very special appeal to me, and there’s a darn good reason I spend the most time on it. It was the first game to feature alpacas—and if you spend any time on my Instagram page, you know how much I love those little floofs.

I was absolutely obsessed with getting my farm to a point where I could just have 16 alpacas bouncing around with little musical notes over their heads, but obviously, the game wants you to rely on milk and wool from other animals too, and won’t let you buy those items anywhere.

As the crazy completionist that I am, I managed to finish literally everything you can do in Tale of Two Towns (only took me 10 years in game). It lost its appeal after that for a while, which is why I moved back to Sunshine Islands—I’ve never actually completed that game.

Then, I heard about Story of Seasons, and I was a tad confused by its similarity to Harvest Moon without being the same.

 

Lost in translation

I had to research this, but technically, Story of Seasons is exactly the same as Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon series is actually the Americanization of a Japanese game called Bokujō Monogatari, or Story of Seasons.

When Natsume became Marvelous Inc. in 2014, the company decided that instead of keeping two names for the series, it was going to release international versions as Story of Seasons.

I guess I was a little late to that parade, huh?

Once I figured out the difference (or lack thereof), though, I couldn’t wait to try the game. It seemed close enough in basics, with a few extra fun features like having buffalo and rabbits. I figured it was worth a shot, and I was absolutely right.

Fun fact: Did you know? Harvest Moon is only a few months younger than Pokémon. The first Pokémon games were released in February 1996; Harvest Moon followed in August the same year.

 

What I like about you

Trio of Towns ended up being a little more different from Tale of Two Towns than simply having one extra town.

Here are a few of the things I love about it so far:

 

The customization.

One of the things that you’ve never really been able to do in Harvest Moon games is any kind of customization, which was a gap that only the Sims could fill.

This game has it in spades; you can pick your outfits, you can customize the layout of your farm to be exactly what you need, and you can even pick what you want your house to look like. I’m not entirely sure how to handle this, and can’t decide what I want!

 

The variety.

Although it has been expanding slowly from version to version, the selection of crops and animals hasn’t really allowed for much wiggle room.

This version expands it greatly; for example, instead of the eight different types of animals you can have in Tale of Two Towns, including the colour variations, you can have 16 different types in Trio of Towns. And so far, you don’t seem to need all of them to progress in the game.

You can also pick from 27 different types of pets, all of which are different breeds. Compare that to the paltry three types you can have in Tale of Two Towns. I’m not counting colour variations here because that’s not even an option with the pets in Trio of Towns.

 

The story.

Harvest Moon’s signature story style is that it doesn’t really have one; although there is nominally a story to spur on your shipping habits and motivate you to go to festivals, it’s not anything to write home about.

If there’s one thing the half-hour intro to Story of Seasons tells you, though, it’s that there’s more of a story. I actually find myself intrigued by the interactions between the towns and the townsfolk themselves.

It’s also the only game in the series I’ve played where you actually have a family and an identifiable goal for even showing up at that farm in the first place, which helps the player contextualize and not just go through the motions.

However, this sudden appearance of a story might mean you trigger a few repetitive cutscenes, especially in festivals. Trio of Towns has a super-handy feature that lets you switch text to auto mode, which means you don’t have to push a button to finish the text bubble and another button to acknowledge that you’ve read it.

 

The Easter eggs.

I love a good surprise reference, and honestly, it’s not something Harvest Moon games are known for. Because they don’t rely overly on story, they tend to stand all on their own as far as references go, relying on their popularity and new animals to keep the interest.

I went in expecting exactly the same thing of Trio of Towns, so can you imagine my surprise when I finished my first mystery job and got a Mario outfit?

Luigi, Peach, and Toad followed pretty quickly, and now I can’t wait to see what else the game has in store for me—including unlocking the original Harvest Moon cow later on!

 

Have you tried Trio of Towns yet? What did you think of it?