The State of the Writer: 1/14/18

<–The State of the Writer: 12/31/17          The State of the Writer: 1/28/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1

Project: Year End List
Title: TSN’s 2017 Top Games List

Cover of Valiant Hearts: The Great WarOf course I use the cover of the game that made me ugly cry…anyway, I have at least one more “Top” list to post for books.  I’m debating doing one of those all popular blog stat posts, but I’m on the fence about it.  It’s not something I really look at or consider, and this isn’t because I’m too cool for school or anything like that.  I just…don’t really think about it.  While I’d love for this blog to expand and garner more followers, and I have plans to do more expansive things, such thoughts don’t haunt my waking hours.  It would be awesome, and I’m going to do things to facilitate it, but I’m not overly concerned with it.  Maybe I should be?

I just did a Top 5 list out of the games I watched; the book list will be four times longer.

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The State of the Gamer: 1/9/18

<–The State of the Gamer: 12/26/17            The State of the Gamer: 1/23/18–>

A weekly post updated every other Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a site you can use to keep track of your backlog, so please feel free to friend me there!

Story Based/Definitive Ending Games

On Hold
  1. Final Fantasy V – I’m going to wait until I clear out some of the games I’m in the midst of before picking this back up.  I’ll still count this time in my Playing Duration, but I’m not going to include it in this update until I pick up the sticks again.
  2. Assassin’s Creed: Origins – Same goes for this one.

Title: Super Mario Odyssey
Series: Super Mario
Genre: Platformer/Puzzle – Adventure
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Date Started: October 29, 2017

I was hoping to count this among my finished of 2017 (and if any list needed padding, it’s that one.  I’m pretty sure I’m the sandbagger among my blogger buddies hehe), but alas it was not to be.  I’m right at the end, too, in Bowser’s Kingdom, fighting the Broodals for (what I’m hoping is) the last time.  I made an attempt, but sadly failed.  I couldn’t figure out how to knock off the legs so that the final Broodal bubble is in the right spot for pecking (that…is a weird sentence).  Of course there’s a shit ton of after game, er, afterwards, so I’ll have to figure out how I’m going to count that when I get to it.

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TSN’s 2017 Top Games List

Hello Dear Friends!  I hope you all had Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.  This is (was) my favorite time: Christmas Night.  It’s the long exhale after the climax where everyone can relax and play with their presents, while basking in the relief that it’s over.  I saw some awesome videos of kids opening up presents on Christmas Morning (the Nintendo Switch unwrapping was amazing), and I, myself, received Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , my very own PS4, tons of git cards, a special vase, and a bunch of other awesome gifts!I’m (was) also off Tuesday and Wednesday and figured now is as good of time as any to (start working on)  post my 2017 Best of List for gaming before the elderly year grows older (sadly it died before I could finish.  Alas); however, mine is going to be a little bit different from the others I’ve seen floating around.  As of today, I’ve only finished five games on the dates indicated:

  1. World of Final Fantasy – 2/19/17
  2. Journey – 3/22/17
  3. The Room – 5/16/17
  4. The Room Two – 5/27/17
  5. The Room Three – 8/15/17

There’s no doubt which the best game out of all of those is.

Obviously, I loved WOFF and The Room series was one of the best for puzzle games ever, but you can see how I’m not really in a position to adequately talk about games based solely on the ones I played this year.  However, since I did watch a ton of Let’s Plays, I feel as though that would be the better population from which to draw my Top 10.  So without further ado…


10. Detention

Though this initially comes off as a spooky/horror game, it’s much more.  Have no doubt, there are harrowing parts (those really tall ghosts.  Hell.  No), but that’s not the inner spirit of the experience.

9. The Witch’s House

There’s a lot to be said about a game where you’re killed by a teddy bear, and I said a bit of it here with my review.  Created with RPG Maker, don’t let the cute, sprite graphics lull you into a false sense of security.  You will die.  A lot.  Gruesomely. And shockingly.  The puzzles are quite clever, and the RPG mechanic works surprisingly well for a horror game.  I also cannot stress how much the ending messes you up and literally turns everything on its ear.  It’s worth it just to play through for that.

8. Inside

In the vein of games with shocking endings, Inside notches it up to the “what the absolute fuck?!” level.  At no point did I expect to see what I saw, and where The Witch’s House is heartbreaking in its horror, Inside is flat out disturbing, but absolutely fitting for the setting.  The game is exactly what you’d expect from the creators of Limbo.  It has similar gameplay, but the story goes much deeper and, as such, is ripe for the theorists.

7. Rakuen

I had to scramble to place this in my Top 10, because I just finished it the other day.  I knew it was going to be a tearjerker when I saw the hospital setting, and I figured out what was going to happen at the end, but that did nothing to lessen the sorrow.  This is a beautiful game that expertly weaves a far too recent and real life tragedy with a parallel fantasy world.  What your character (called only The Boy) does in Morizora’s Forest is echoed in his hospital home, and this goes for the people he helps.

Rakuen is a puzzle game that plays like an RPG without the random battles, so if you’re not a fan of those, you don’t have to worry about them.  This isn’t to say there aren’t any enemies, but there’s only one type (nor do I think it’s really an enemy, but that’s edging spoiler territory), and there are no confrontations with it, only avoidance.  While this was a game I could’ve played myself, there were some creepy parts that I’m glad I only had to watch.  Combined with some overly cutesy things, it gives Rakuen a bit of Mood Whiplash, but this is not a critique, merely an observation.  The soundtrack is wonderful with vocal performances that are not only gorgeous, but serve an integral part of the story.  Make sure you have some tissues ready for the end.

6. The Mass Effect Trilogy

Even though I watched the first game in 2016, I didn’t finish the other two until last year, so I’m going to count that I finished the trilogy then.  This is the only game on the list that I plan to play in the future, and I decided that based on watching the LP by Olizandri.  There’s too much to say about Mass Effect to really get into it here (and most of you probably know about it already lol), but rewatching the ending with the knowledge of what came before under my belt completely changed my perspective on it (either that or the ending was updated to show more than what happened to Joker and EDI; I’m really not sure).  I have a great deal to say about it  when I finally get to my review in addition to comparative essays (e.g. how Reaper indoctrination is similar to the also hive-minded Jenova’s mental manipulation), and I’m looking forward to exploring all of its angles and discussing it with all of you fine people when I do.

5. Little Nightmares

I’ve watched both the original game and the two currently released DLCs, and, were it a game I could conceivably play (if I wasn’t a wuss puss), I’d have no problems doling out the ducats for all.  The DLCs are apparently inexpensive yet quite expansive in both exploration and storytelling.  There are traces and hints of what went on in the main game all throughout, though just the former is enough to give me full fledged nightmares for days (nothing little about that).  There are no cut scenes, and players are obliged to piece together the story from what can be observed in the levels.  Like Inside there are quite a few theory videos out there to either explain or spark new perspectives.  Whether you play this game in the light of day to ward off the eeriness or in the midst of darkness where the nightmares prowl is entirely up to you.  I, for one, will continue watching my Let’s Plays in the sun and covering my face at necessary moments.

4. Ori and the Blind Forest

This game is literally a work of art.  From the visuals to the music to the poignant story, Ori bookended me with tears.  While not wholly tragic, the game uses sorrow for emphasis and forces you to examine where your full allegiances lie.  I did an almost about face about a particular character once their true motivation was known.  Moon Studios should be both commended and supported for future endeavors.

I considered stopping the LP when I first started so I could play myself, but I’m glad I just continued watching.  There is no way in hell I could pull off those sweet, platforming moves that Cry so brilliantly preformed (though there was some Power of Editing involved lol.  No hate though).  It’s a Metroidvania game, so there’s a lot of backtracking to open up areas previously unattainable.  Also, did I mention the soundtrack?  I did?  Well let me mention it again, because I need to download it.

P.S. The name of the setting is the Forest of Nibel and there’s both fire and mist.

3. Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Ya’ll if you want to ugly cry, please play or watch this game.  Where Ori had me misty (hey that’s what “Nibel” means!), Valiant Hearts made me bawl.  My husband stopped playing Destiny 2 to make sure I was okay, and the friend he was playing with asked if everything was alright.  THAT’S how serious I am about what this game did to me, and it’s not even what you’d expect.  It hits hardest because it’s unexpected and just so wrong.  There’s a wonderful video by The Closer Look called “How to Make the Audience Cry,” and it explains what concept universally causes it and why.  I’d recommend watching it only if or after you’ve watched/played Valiant Hearts.  It’s not a major spoiler, but a game/story like this should be experienced untainted.

2. The Last of Us

I had a long talk with myself about whether this or the number one game would have that place, but in the end, I decided it based on after effects.  Which story haunted me more?  Which caused more of an existential crisis?  While TLOU certainly vied with the first question (especially in any intelligent discussions about it), the number one pick literally blew the second out of the water, but that doesn’t mean the tale of Joel and Ellie is worth any less.  It is a very close second, and, along with the first, is one of my more essay-like reviews.  I have a lot to say about this game, and I see the ending from multiple different points of view.  Understanding loss, I understand why what happened did, but I can also see why there is a great deal of negativity about the decision and the game mechanic that makes you (the player) part of something you might find reprehensible.  Because I not only suck at stealth (seriously…you should see me in Assassin’s Creed: Origins.  It would be embarrassing if I had any shame…), I’m also a wuss puss when it comes to any kind of horror, and I utterly abhor being chased.  When something like this comes after you…

…TSN says nope and covers her face.

I was also completely wrong about Ellie’s peculiar attribute in terms of what caused it, and that was proven with one of the saddest deaths in the game.  Then when I thought I’d figured it out again, that wasn’t the case either.  However, while I might rail against my inelegance, I’m often happy to be wrong in these cases, because it means I could use my “wrong” suppositions in a story of my own and I get to be surprised!

Speaking of which…I have a soft spot in my heart for TLOU, because it has damn near the same plot as the first novel I wrote.  In a different setting and a different relationship between the “Joel” and “Ellie” characters, but “experienced, morally grey bad ass with a devastating loss in his past (that he witnessed first hand) hired to take an inexperienced, young woman to pre-determined location and on the way they learn to love each other” plus the spoilery stuff at the end of TLOU is exactly the same, and I’m a bit shook.

This is one of those games that every gamer should experience.  I’m not one of those “hates cut scenes” people so they don’t bother me in the least, enhancing the narrative rather than taking away especially in this case.  I can’t wait for the second part to come out.

And my number one game of 2017 is…

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PSA: See stolen content from content creators? Content theft!

I believe the issue is now resolved, but it still warrants sharing!

NekoJonez's Gaming Blog

Today, I had an unpleasant surprise this morning on the train to work. I found out that two websites actually stole my content! This was such a let down since the amount of content that was stolen from me is more than just one article. It’s almost all my articles from December. While I was working on contacting other sites and blogs that got content stolen, a good blogging friend of mine Drakulus wrote this article. And it’s actually a great lesson to learn. 

What do you if you come across stolen content? Do you ignore it? Or do you do something about it? What if the stolen content you come across is yours? 

WordPress is a great place to publish content of all sorts. Some people like to use it as a diary. While others, like myself, us it to express their love for gaming by reviewing games, writing…

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The State of the Reader: 1/3/18

<–The State of the Reader: 12/20/17          The State of the Reader: 1/17/18–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 0


Books DNF: 1

Title: The Prophet of Yonwood
Series Title: Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau

Media: Paperback
Percentage Finished: 21%

Not nearly as engaging as the other books.  This prequel wasn’t compelling in the least, and it’s disappointing since the lead up to what caused the existence of Ember could’ve been a rousing tale.  We could’ve found out if there were other underground cities and/or how the rest of humanity survived, but the author choose to focus on prophecy and proselytizing instead of that.  I still have the final Book of Ember to read, which I’m looking forward to, as it involves Lina and Doon’s return.

Books Finished: 3

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Started: August 26, 2017

Media: Physical/Hardback

Oh my god this book was so good.  I don’t know how I’m going to review it, since I can’t say much without spoiling, but it took so many familiar tropes, cliches even, and yet they didn’t come off as trite.  While I figured it out about a chapter or two before the reveal, I still covered my face with my hands.  All the pieces just fell together beautifully, and I think it worked because it’s not like the author doesn’t give away an integral part in the very prologue.  I kept going back and forth from there to my current place just to make sure all of the ends matched up.  They did…to tragic effect.  I hope the sequel comes out sooner rather than later sometime this year.

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Creative Christmas – Who’s Got the GOTY?

Tis the Christmas season (or Advent to be theologically accurate), and in the spirit of the season, the lovely blogger over at Later Levels has decided to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas a few days earlier with 12 gaming related questions for all of us good, little gaming elves out there.  These are my responses.


🎉   01 January 2018:   You wake up the following morning, hungover but happy – you have an entire day of gaming ahead of you. You start thinking back over the video games you played during 2017; what was your game of the year?

Ah you’re making me post this before I even have a chance to do my Top 10 list!  This is a bit of a complicated question for me since I both play and watch games, so have to consider both for the Game of the Year.  I wish I’d played the Game of the Year (Breath of the Wild) before it was announced, but since I trust my friends, I believe it was a laud well earned.  I wish I’d played more of Assassin’s Creed: Origins before this question too, so I could factor it into my assessment.


Played: Super Mario Odyssey

As if there could be any doubt.  This is the best game I’ve played all year by a wide margin.  It’s just so much fun and so forgiving for a 3D platforming noob like me (though I am having some trouble defeating the Lord of Lightning o.O), making it a game anyone can play and enjoy.  From the long time gamers to the newest generation of players, SMO’s ubiquity, ease of access, and just all around fun easily earns it the coveted title of TSN’s favorite played game.

“I’m going on an adventure!” -The Hobbit

Watched: SOMA

This is the reason I need that Top 10 or at least Top 5 list.  I watched so many wonderful games this year, and in all honesty there are games that either are tied or are so close to SOMA, but what really puts this title over the edge is how much and for how long it fucked me up.  I studied psychology in college, so the subject is near and dear to my heart (brain?), and the main question SOMA asks, “What is consciousness?” is not so much answered as explored to its darkest depths.  This is not a game I could ever play since I spent much of the Let’s Play covering my face, because I hate chase scenes, but those aren’t really what make SOMA scary; it’s the horror behind the monsters that’s the most disturbing of all.

“Where only the most listless of creatures swim…” -Dear Esther


What’s your game of the year?  Did you have to categorize them?  Have you made a Top # list?  Are you planning to?  Let’s talk about our 2017 gaming favorites in the comments!