Month in Review – October

One spooky month down and two months to go in 2020. I’m going to be perfectly honest and say this is my least favourite time of the year. Seasonal depression starts, the days are colder, the sun disappears faster, and the time change happens. Does anyone else hate the bi-annual time change as much as I do? If a politician ran for office and their whole platform was, “I will get rid of day-light savings time”, I’d vote for them. That’s certainly a less stupid platform than some of what I’ve seen going around.

Anyway, video games.

Blog

Blog Stats

Views: 836
Visitors: 355
Likes: 109
Comments: 43
Best performer: Blogger Recognition 2 – Joke Subtitle Goes Here

Another month with record high views, if only just barely. The factor I attribute second most to the success of October is the Frosty Canucks podcast. Ever since Jason and I started work on that project, I’ve seen a traffic spike. I don’t know if that will carry forward, but it’s nice to see a traffic uptick in response to what we’ve been working on. Plus it helps get my written articles some more of that tasty exposure.

If you were wondering what the number one factor is: luck. Never discount the value of luck in anything you do.

Gaming

Hades

As I stated last month, I did get around to writing that post on Hades. As it stands, Hades is likely going to be my game of the year. Of the various games I’ve played it has managed to engage me the most. It really is a phenomenal game.

As with all of SuperGiant’s games I did earn all of the achievements in Hades. I’m not sure where I’ll stand on it in a few years. I have a feeling Pyre may still be my favourite of SuperGiant’s games owing entirely to Pyre having an original world, characters, and lore where Hades is based primarily on real world Greek myths. Still – Hades is a fantastic game and I’d recommend it even to those who don’t normally play or enjoy rogue-likes. I think it has a little something for everyone.

Pokémon Leaf Green

As part of a nostalgia kick I played through the whole of Pokémon Leaf Green again. Because nothing I do can be simple I decided part-way through to finish the game with nothing but poison type monsters. This was probably one of the silliest challenges I have ever attempted. Leaf Green is a remake of the first Pokémon games in which psychic types were hugely advantaged. So huge sections of my playthrough were an uphill battle.

Despite the massive hole in my team’s defensive core, I managed to pull through. It was certainly an interesting challenge and it did allow me to use almost all of my favourite generation one Pokémon on a single team.

And as a callback to what I said about Sword and Shield last year: I find myself continuing to agree with my assessment of Pokémon in general. Pokémon has always been as insipidly shallow as it is on the Switch and that’s fine. Revisiting older titles for nostalgia or playing newer titles when you just want something brainless to do for a couple hours works well. There are other better games out there that can fulfill one’s need for adventure, role-playing, and turn based strategy.

Ring of Pain

In an attempt to put my money where my mouth is I’ve been slowly buying up games I’ve previewed here on the site. With Ring of Pain’s full release I was able to pick it up and start playing. While my impressions back in May were fairly positive, I haven’t had as good of an experience with the full release. I already wrote an article on why that is, so consider this a precursor to wet your apatite for next week.

Super Mario Sunshine

The king is back, baby!

Okay so, I have condemned Super Mario All-Stars and I still do. But while everyone was either enjoying the classic 3D Mario games or hate playing them (you know who you are) I decided to go back and play them on original hardware. I started with Galaxy, which lasted for about two hours (eighteen stars) at which point I said, “I’m bored of this”.

But then, in my hour of darkness, a bright shining aura of happiness lifted me out of my boredom. I popped Sunshine into the Wii and just about beat the whole game in a single sitting. I realize that Flood is the most broken mechanic of any 3D Mario game, but it is inextricably linked to how fun Mario is to control in Sunshine. You have so much freedom of movement and mastering said movement makes you feel like a total god as you skip over entire segments of levels like some kind of platforming Jesus.

Though I will admit, I understand why Sunshine gets a lot of hate. The one time I died across my playthrough I was shunted straight out of the level and remarked on how annoyed I’d be were it to happen numerous times. Despite this, Sunshine still sits as my favourite of the 3D Mario games and my recent playthrough only further solidified that.

Puyo Puyo Tetris

I am convinced this game was made my robots for aliens. I was vaguely familiar with Puyo Puyo and don’t count myself as a Tetris fan, but picked the game up because it was on sale.

I won’t say that I regret the time I spent with it, but I’m kind of indifferent about the whole experience. On one hand, the game is great arcade style fun that you can pick up and put down on a whim. On the other, playing hybrid mode where you swap back and forth between a Puyo and Tetris board every minute has to be the most mind melting thing I have ever been asked to do. I’m convinced the people who play this with any degree of proficiency are robots, or have two brains.

Still, if you want a Puyo Puyo, or a Tetris game that’s exactly what you get.

Art

This month I realized why most artists have a handful of characters they redraw over and over again: it’s because they find it fun. My avatar lady is one such character for me and was the subject of two of the doodles I did this month. I’m sure most of you have seen both of them already, but the witch themed one was my Halloween Twitter avatar, while the other is a replacement for my everyday avatar. The Halloween one was so much better than my old avatar that I felt the need to replace her with something a little more up to date.

Having learned about why most artists redraw the same handful of characters was an important lesson. I don’t tire of drawing my avatar lady, so even when I’m not feeling particularly enthused by how a piece turned out I can still derive some satisfaction. Keeping that in mind will be important for continuing to improve. Plus, having a constant subject might help with learning new skills as it will be easier to see what works and what doesn’t from drawing to drawing.

Community

As with all my monthly wrap-ups here are five articles that you should give a read if you haven’t already as they’re some of my favourite from October.

Ian Shepard – Adventure Rules: First Impressions of Slay the Spire, from a Guy Who Sucks at One Step From Eden

Jett – In Third Person: Hate-Playing Super Mario Sunshine

Red Metal – Extra Life: The Writing on the Wall: Why The Last of Us Part II Was a Predictable Disaster

Quietschisto – RNG: Am I the only one disliking LIMBO?

Remy – Agoners: Against Skill based matchmaking?


Alrighty. Another monthly reflection post wrapped. I hope everyone had a safe spoopimonth and is ready for flu season and the incoming holiday gauntlet. I know I am never quite as ready as I ought to be. I hope you all are better prepared.

As always, thank you for reading. I’ll see you next time.

9 thoughts on “Month in Review – October

  1. It’s been a long time since I last played Super Mario Sunshine. I feel it’s the weakest of the 3D Mario games (other than 3D Land), but it’s still a fine game in its own right.

    And thanks for the shout! The Last of Us Part II is the gift that keeps on giving, so I’m glad my take on the outside factors surrounding the game went over well. As soon as Neil Druckmann declared that creating the “Ludonarrative Dissonance” trophy was his proudest moment, I knew that he was on a path of self-destruction; I just didn’t expect the fallout to happen so quickly. Between his rank immaturity and Lucy O’Brien’s cringeworthy quotes when defending the game, it’s a total mess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From a design standpoint I’d tend to agree, but I just love the freedom of movement. Fills me with joy every time I play Sunshine.

      And you’re quite welcome. It was a really well written summary. I’ve noticed I wasn’t the only person who thought so as you’ve been mentioned across numerous articles (sorry for the addition notification). Still though – if what you wrote resonated with so many people that’s gotta feel like a hell of an accomplishment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s fair enough. We probably have Sunshine to thank for later entries such as Galaxy, Galaxy 2, and Odyssey injecting a ton of variety into the gameplay, so in that regard, I have a lot of respect for it.

        I’m glad you enjoyed reading it that much! And I am certainly proud of myself for writing things this many people liked. What I found rather shocking about all of this is that neither piece ended up being controversial. The folks at Naughty Dog probably would’ve assumed we would be the exact kind of people who would’ve declared The Last of Us Part II a masterpiece, so it’s interesting seeing my readers, despite lining up with Neil Druckmann in terms of political beliefs, utterly rejecting his magnum opus. Goes to show that you can’t treat logic as an anathema. Or treat your audience like dirt. Or lie to them. Or try to lead when you’re not a leader. Or openly mock your critics. Really, they couldn’t have approached this any more ineptly.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Nidoqueen
      Tentacruel
      Victreebel
      Muk
      Haunter (no way to trade evolve)
      Golbat

      Sabrina’s gym was actually super easy. The AI are all dumb as hell so I ripped through the majority of it with Golbat, which I’d taught Shadow Ball. Sabrina herself would have been hard had she not repeatedly used future sight with her Alakazam. I considered that win nothing but luck.

      The hardest fight in the game, and the one I was most worried about, was the final fight against my rival who had both Executor and Alakazam. Owing to the fact that Golbat couldn’t evolve into Crobat, I didn’t have a single Pokémon that could outrun Alakazam. Bit of math said that Muk could take the Psychic and retaliate with Sludge Bomb for an OHKO while I could just nuke Executor with Golbat. Funnily enough I had the quick claw I gave to Muk proc against Alakazam, so I will never get to know if I was correct on the first part of that calculation. XD

      I’m fairly certain that this mono team would have been impossible to beat the game with back in gen one though. The lack of Shadow Ball as a TM move + the general lack of powerful TMs would really stunt one’s ability to overcome such an overwhelming weakness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh, I’m surprised no Venusaur! Nidoqueen and Haunter are dope though.

        I always find going back to the older games more challenging, just because of the dated mechanics, and like you said, lack of TM moves and areas to grind EXP. The fact that TM’s were single-use only? Gross. But I can’t imagine trying to do it with a mono-type team!

        Basically the take-away is that Quick Claw is OP.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I had started with Bulbasaur, but I’ve beaten Blue/Leaf Green so many times with Venusaur that I wanted something a bit different, hence Victreebel instead.

          The only reason I was able to survive is that I wanted something nice and mindless over a couple weekends. I will agree in that I also like the EXP share…especially because 99% of the battles pose absolutely 0 challenge. But that’s what other games are for…Pokémon is the game for collecting adorable (or derpy) critters. XD

          Yes, exactly!

          Liked by 1 person

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