Games Alive: 1980-2017

The Well-Red Mage asks: “What’s your favorite game every year you’ve been alive?”  I’m one of the last to answer, because I’m always late to these types of parties.  I’ve seen plenty of “Favorite Game” posts, but never one quite like this, and it was both challenging and enjoying to put together over the last two months.  I’m one of the oldest people to respond, meaning I have quite a lot of years to go through, so without further ado…


1980 – Pac-Man

This one was more difficult than I’d like to admit, but there weren’t too many games I could draw from at this point in time, which led me to this classic among classics.  I wasn’t very good at this game, but if you stick your finger in your ear and wiggle it around, I think you’ll hear something familiar 😀


1981 – Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong game coverBack when Mario was merely Jump Man and Pauline was a kidnapping victim, long before she was the mayor of New Donk City, there was this arcade classic.  I was better at this than Pac-Man; I’ve always been better at platforming than avoiding random enemies.

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Rakuen

More video game reviews can be found here.

Genre: RPG, Adventure – Drama, Fantasy/Magical Realism
Developer: Laura Shigihara
Release Date: May 10, 2017
Platforms: Linux, Mac, PC

Let’s Player: Cryaotic


Note: Per my addition of Let’s Player information, I watched this game and did not play it myself, so I won’t be talking much about gameplay mechanics.

The era of the poignant, indie video game is in full swing, and Rakuen is ahead of the curve.  Another masterpiece made with RPG Maker, it ties together two settings: one depressingly real and the other beautifully fantastic in order to fulfill a child’s dreams.  You play as the Boy in the paper samurai hat whose favorite story is eponymous to the title of the game.  From the Japanese for “pleasure garden,” Rakuen splits its time between the hospital populated with characters colorful despite their infirmaries and its fantasy counterpart populated by leebles (little cat people), talking animals and animated plants.

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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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The State of the Writer: 12/31/17

<–The State of the Writer: 12/17/17          The State of the Writer: 1/14/18–>

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

Finished Projects: 4

Project: Recipe
Title: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think this was the first time I ever posted a recipe on this site, and it seemed to go over quite well.  I’m actually in the process of making these right now (well…I made the dough; my husband is going to bake them.  I didn’t get enough sleep, so the fatigue is bad today, which is unfortunate since I have NYE plans).  I, er, ate the ones I was supposed to give to my brother, and when TSN makes cookie promises, she keeps them!  I’m making the last cookies of the season before I head out to a NYE party, though I’m not sure if I’m even going to make it to midnight *yawn*

Project: Blogger Tags
Name: The Christmas Tag

I managed to make some progress in my saved Blogger Tags (I still have a bunch more though) thanks to Ignited Moth’s festive post!  Though…well, I didn’t have it before, so really I added another tag even as I completed it, so, it’s a zero sum equation?  Like how a Christmas tree affects the environment o.O  Oh well, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little more merriness.

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The State of the Gamer: 12/26/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 12/12/17            The State of the Gamer: 1/9/18–>

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

Title: Final Fantasy V
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Release Date: December 6, 1992

Date Started: June 17, 2017

Nope, didn’t play it again this week.

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The State of the Gamer: 6/13/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 6/6/17          The State of the Gamer: 6/20/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.
I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!
Original source of the banner art is located here.

Currently Playing: 2

Title: Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform(s): iOS, Android
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Date Purchased: March 21, 2017
Date Started: March 27, 2017

If I had the time and PS4 usage, I’d start Type-0.  I used to make my definite gaming day Wednesdays when my husband went bowling, but it’s the off season for that, so I don’t really have a designated gaming night.  So as it is, I’m still playing this, but not religiously.  It’s more I’ll boot it up on my Kindle if I have some time before bed.

Title: The Room Three
Genre: Puzzle, Mystery
Developer: Fireproof Games
Platform(s): iOS, Android
Release Date: 2015
Date Purchased: May 28, 2017
Date Started: May 28, 2017

I think I’m almost at the end of this.  I really hope they keep making games.  The execution is brilliant.

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