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Gaming

What I’ve Been Playing – Idling For Hats Edition

A new year, a new time to try to build new habits. Hah ha ha, yeah right… probably. Anyway, I picked up a slew of new-ish games over the holidays in various sales, and I look forward to forgetting that I wanted to play them over the next few months. Off the top of my head, I picked up, yet to really play, Spider-man Miles Morales, Alan Wake 2 and Alan Wake Remastered, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Plus some cheapies in bundles or randomly, A bunch of Oddworld Games, Need for Speed Payback, Tron 2.0, Karateka. This doesn’t even include the whack of free games from Epic, though of those I only really care about Saints Row, Deathloop, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

I might be a bit slow getting going on these though as I’m doing some work-related training in the evenings 3 nights a week for most of January.

Spider-Man Remastered

I bought this one back at the start of December. I’ve since finished it. I started on some of the DLC, but I’m not really sure I’ll bother doing much more. I really enjoyed the gameplay in this one, but the combat is kind of super repetitious. It’s just the same 3 or 4 enemies in groups but in different outfits depending on the stage of the story.

The game itself is fun, the story is decent, I made the stupid assumption about the end boss not being in the game because, unlike all the other big villains, there wasn’t an explicit achievement. It did a pretty good job of weaving together several unrelated subplots all into one larger narrative. Swinging and running around the city is fun, but it starts to feel a bit slow after a while.

Spider-Man Miles Morales

If I am going to do more of the same Spider-Man, I may as well mix it up, which is why I’ve started on the “Not number 2 but still a sequel” game of Spider-Man Miles Morales. Miles shows up in the first game, and you play as him a few times, as not Spider-man. There is a subplot that sets up Miles gaining his powers and then this game lets you play as him. It’s the same map with a few changes, and the same basic combat with a few new additions, but it’s basically more of the same. I’ve only done one major mission and the game says I am 22% done with the main story, so I guess it’s pretty short compared to the first.

The first isn’t that long either really, it just has a ton of optional mini-missions you can do scattered across the map.

Deathloop

I decided to give Deathloop a quick try, it was a freebie from the holidays. In the 10-15 minutes I played, it kept losing the controls. Repeatedly. I don’t know if it’s something I was doing or if it’s just THAT buggy, but the experience was pretty awful.

Hogwarts Legacy

I played a bit of Hogwarts Legacy again. I really enjoy this game, but it’s taking up space on my drive, and I want to uninstall it, but I need to play up to the last achievement with a Ravenclaw character. It’s really odd just how tedious replaying this is. I am not real sure why it’s like that, but even skipping the cut scenes and rushing, I just don’t want to keep going. I think it took me like 2 hours to do this as Gryphondor and Hufflepuff, but somehow this last run is just so annoying. But I don’t want to reinstall it, I want to finish this and be done.

Fortnite

The game I am not playing, but making progress on. I’m super burnt out on Fortnite, but because I had a screw sub from the last season, I got this season pass. Most of the skins are pretty meh, but it has Solid Snake or will have Solid Snake. A lot of people are going crazy for Peter Griffin, but I don’t care about that at all.

I also have not written about the new Rhythm game or Race game, because both are pretty lame. LEGO is, ok, I’ve gotten a bit better hang of it, but it’s still pretty tedious. The new modes are great for leveling up though. I’ve never leveled so fast in a season ever. In Fortnite LEGO and Fortnite Festival Jam stage, you can load it, and walk away and gain about 5-6 levels a day, for EACH mode. I’m already something like level 165, but I’ve stopped for now until Snake drops. Also, occasionally I kind of need to drop in to catch up on the Weekly quests for those item drops.

It’s like back in Team Fortress 2, when you could idle for hats.

All I wan to add is the pricing on the cosmetics, especially for the new modes, is fucking bonkers nuts. You can buy a Lambo in Fortnite and play their mediocre Mark Kart clone, or for the same price you could buy Forza Horizon 4 (on sale), and get infinite Lambos and a real racing experience on a large, open-world map. The music tracks are like 3x the price of buying the track itself in MP3, and the game mode needs some tweaks to make it playable (lanes should be different colors).

Sky: Children of the Light

I’ve shifted into a weird phase with Sky. It’s brought on by the Steam version being available. I’ve now shifted to alts and mechanical farming mode. I’ve got like 5 or 6 total accounts now, one being my main account. I spend a short bit each day, generally in the morning when I would have been eating breakfast (which I am not at the moment, but that’s for a BI post later), where I’ll log into each account, send my main a Heart, and farm out 3-4 candles, to replace the candles I’ve spent on the heart. Two of these accounts have a pile of reserve candles now because the season ended, so if I am feeling time crunched, I’ll just eat into those.

Hearts are one of several in-game currencies. The only way to get them is to be sent one from a friend, at the cost of 3 candles, once per day, or to gather bits of light sent from friends, which I think takes like 60 bits. Getting these normally, is a pain, even with a lot of friends, because half the time, they don’t send you anything even when you send it to them, because who wants to spend their candles on strangers? You can only get like 20-25 candles per day, and Candles are the main currency.

Anyway, I did some rough math, to complete just the main tree, none of the Traveling Spirits trees, I need like 1000+ hearts. Even with 4-5 accounts feeding me hearts daily, that’s 200 days. You start throwing in events and Traveling Sprits, it’s easily a year of farming.

I will probably give up before I get there, but it’s a little nuts. Granted, the bulk of this is the handful of Ultimate Capes, which tend to run 100-200 Hearts each.

I may look into automating the candle and heart farming with some automation tools later, so it just sort of, happens. It would be pretty easy to use some sort of input macro tools to log in, run to a handful of regular candle sources, and send the Hearts.

Part of this exercise in creating accounts also meant running through the game some to unlock areas. Twice now, I’ve done a no cape run, once as a test, and once recorded, which can be viewed in it’s entirety below.

Retroid Pocket 3

So, I’ve been pretty heavy on the programming push lately, but it’s not all I’ve been up to. So, back around the start of the pandemic, I started work making a PiGrrl handheld emulator device. PiGrrl is basically a Game Boy Clone that runs with a Raspberry Pi at it’s core. I ordered a bunch of parts and a case, I already had a Pi (I have several), and then the Pandemic caused my parts to take forever to arrive. Plus I probably spent more on it than I really should have.

Then I got a little bored and it sat for a bit, but I did eventually solder everything together, and it didn’t quite work, so I did some corrections and got bored of it for a few months again, then eventually, I got it working. Sort of, some emulators work, others don’t even launch, I am sure it’s a software issue a this point.

So, after a bit more trouble shooting, I got a little bonus at work like I occasionally do, so I just ordered a Retroid Pocket 3. A nice pre built solution that’s configured and well, just works. I mostly play gaming on PC, but for consoles, most of my playing in the last 20 years has been on handhelds. I am pretty sure I actually played and finished almost every DS game I have bought (including GBA), and the completion rate for my 3DS games is also very high. The point is, my follow through rate for hand held games is staggeringly high compared to PC and traditional Consoles. I mean, I bought my PS3 and it came with The Last of Us, which I was excited for, and I still have yet to play it even once.

Anyway, the Retroid Pocket is essentially an Android device with a controller and case wrapped around it to make it look like a PSP or a Switch. I considered the Retroid Pocket 2+ but I wanted the wider screen, so I went with the Retroid Pocket 3. So far, my experience with it has been pretty excellent.

There is a bit of trickiness in tracking down the BIOS files needed but there are guides and resources out there. Anything older than say, the SNES/Genesis era plays flawlessly with ease. Which is pretty expected, since it’s all basic 2D gaming at that point. I’ve had a lot of luck running PS1 and PSP titles as well.

Nintendo 64 games are a little touchy but there are some settings that I believe I can adjust to make it work better. Right now everything has screwy transparency. There are options for some more powerful systems but I’ve not had luck yet getting things like PS2 working. I’ve played several WiiWare games but the Wii itself has the motion controls which don’t translate super well to a handheld device’s controls.

Overall, I am extremely happy with this purchase, it’s really invigorated my interest in older games and gaming again.

What I’ve Been Playing Recently

# What I’ve Been Playing Recently

I like the idea of this sort of regular, generic post, but I don’t really want to give it a schedule, so I’m just going to throw em out whenever, for now, I think.  Considering this si the “first” one, it’s also not clear what “Recently” should mean in this context.  It’s my post, my blog, my rules, so I’m thinking, whatever I want to mention really.

Fortnite

Roughly a year ago, I decided I wanted to give Fortnite a go.  It’s been popular for years, and i was looking for something relatively mindless to play as a filler game to fill the void left by Overwatch.  So I decided to try Fortnite.  I had no idea what I was doing, though I managed to win my first match, which felt really cool, until (much later) I learned that all the matches for the first ten levels or so are against Bots.  It was Christmas season, so I got a few free cosmetic items, and I even enjoyed it enough to buy a few skins.  i also opted to go for the Battle Pass, which I completed to level 200.

I’ve taken a few breaks, but I’m still playing a year later now.  Chapter 4 just started, which means a fresh new map to play on.  i am pretty sure the new map is a lot smaller than the last one.  Honestly, in general, it feels like Epic really wanted to try to break people out of the “Run around and hide” all match mindset.  Everything is righter and faster and you’re forced into more encounters.  I’m not sure I like it honestly.  I usually moved around the map a lot, but I also generally would avoid conflicts.  I’ve actually been playing a lot of Bot Matches just so the games are more chill and less stressful.

Something that’s a bit annoying, I actually kind of prefer playing random, NON Battle Royale maps and modes.  I played a TON of their Among Us Clone, in the Imposters Mode.  Though that got old because groups, completely break that mode.  Groups will just tattle on who the Imposter is to their friends.  I also do a lot of “Death-run” Obstacle course maps, though there are a lot of these that feel really uninspired these days.  Probably my favorite are the Musical Soundwave Series events.

Sky Children of the Light

This one is a super chill “Relaxing” movile game, though it recently came to Switch and Playstation.  It’s made by the same folks who made Journey and definitely FEELS a lot like Journey.  You float around this world collecting candle wax and meeting people and doing little Spirit Quests.  There is only one zone in the entire game where you can be harmed, outside of The End zone.  I have not been able to bring myself to attempt The End yet.  I hear it’s really hard, plus you lose everything, by default, and start over, after completing the game.

Currently they are having an event themed around the singer Aurora, which was part of why I started playing the game in the first place.

Retroid Pocket

I want to do a proper write up on my Retroid eventually, but I’ve been playing old games on this as well.  Nothing in particular yet, I’m still kind of in the “Mess around and see what it can do” phase.  Mostly I’ve been playing Genesis and PlayStation Titles, with a few PC Engine games thrown in.  I am trying REALLY hard not to fall into my usual Emulation Trap of just playing Zelda and Mario…. again… for the ten thousandth time.

Overwatch 2

File this one under what I’m NOT Playing.  I got so tired of Overwatch and it’s unbalanced mess.  I quit a year or so ago and every attempt to come back failed within days or hours of every reinstall.  I came back more hardcore for the end of Overwatch 1, hopeful that Overwatch 2 would be a fresh, new beginning.  I even bought the Battle Pass.  Oh boy I was disappointed.  I expected nothing and it was worse.  Every single match, almost without fail, is a complete steamroll win or loss, and neither is fun.  Experience is a slow pain int he ass as well, I gave up on the Battle Pass around level 50 I think.  I was not having fun and I didn’t want to grind out 30 more levels.  I don’t even care about winning, I just want the game to feel enjoyable  I never win in Fortnite and I always enjoy playing.  Overwatch should be like that.  

It should be fun!