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Video Games

What I’ve Been Playing – Cruisn’ the USA Edition

It’s been a while since I posted about “What I’m Playing”. I’ve done a few specific game posts but no generic ones. Mostly it’s been Overwatch. Because I stopped playing Fortnite and apparently I hate myself because I can’t NOT play a grindy shooter game. I’m probably not going to really talk about Overwatch. I’ve finished the base Ultrawatch Pass already, helped out because I bought the Ultimate pass like a sucker because it had Kaiju skins, but it had 20-level tier skips. I still have titles to try for, which is another 100 levels. I also spent my Mythic Coins on the base Rita Repulsa Ashe skin. I probably won’t bother with the upgrades, and I have a ton of Mythic currency still because I skipped the Evil Mercy.

I have plenty of good Mercy Skins.

I said I wasn’t going to talk Overwatch, yet, here I am.

American Truck Simulator

In an effort to not play so much Overwatch, I’ve gone back to the American Truck Simulator Well. I tried the Elite Dangerous (Space Trucking Simulator) route but I have forgotten all the controls. I’ll get there. Instead, I’ve been actively working to visit every city in all the DLC I have. Also other achievements. I often use this time to watch some TV my wife isn’t interested in as well, or Youtube videos. It’s just generally a very chill game.

I have a LOT of the state DLCs too. I will eventually get them all, but I decided I should actually travel around the ones I have before buying more. What I really want is my own home state of Illinois. And they are getting close. I think Iowa and/or Missouri are next. I can’t see them pushing Illinois after that though. Probably it will be Minnesota or the Dakotas. I actually wouldn’t mind if they took the “American: part more seriously and added Canadian Provinces and Mexico at some point.

I really want Illinoi though. If only to get a feel for just how much it “feels right” to get an idea of how much the rest of the game “would feel right”. All of the states so far are west of the Mississippi river. I’ve been to almost every state East of the Mississippi, and a few West, but none that have been released so far.

I need some context man!

Anyway, I mix between long and short trips depending on my free time. I’ve gotten good enough at parking I almost always take the “hard parking” option for the bonus XP.

I did recently disable traffic fines in the options. I still drive safely, because it’s more enjoyable. But sometimes the red lights are just a little too long and you can’t make right turns on red at all without triggering a fine. Plus I can be a little more floaty with my speed without worrying about a speeding ticket for 2 MPH over. Basically, I still play the “right way”, but I don’t have to stress about it.

Also sometimes, just for fun, I can now just, absolutely blast if at full speed and barrel down the shoulder and blast through cars at the intersection. Which is sometimes fun.

X-Box 360

This is a bit of a blanket category. I’ve been playing a few X-Box 360 games. Off the top of my head, 1942: join Strike, Wing Commander Arena, a few others. I’ve been picking up some titles cheap because the 360 marketplace is closing at the end of the month. Another round of sales drops in a few weeks just before closing. I’m hoping the Saints Row 1 and 2 games go cheap, but I may pick them up anyway.

So far I’ve picked up, but not necessarily played:

  • Mighty No 9 – Made by the Mega Man creator, though I hear it’s meh
  • 1942: Joint Strike – A lot of neat shooters on the 360 right now for like $1.
  • Bionic Commando Re:armed – I have this on PC but the platformer seemed good for 360. I want to get the sequel but the store keeps bugging on me.
  • Frogger Hyper Arcade – Seeing a trend yet, it’s all mostly cheap arcade titles, because i have most everything else on PC.
  • Wing Commander Arena – An arena based space shooter that is 360 exclusive in a favored franchaise.
  • Geon – a neat looking puzzle game
  • Kane and Lynch: Dead Men – I think this one is 360 exclusive maybe, but it was cheap
  • Star Raiders – Another shooter
  • Ziet^2 – Another shooter
  • Yar’s Revenge – An update of the classic Atari title
  • War World – It looked neat and was cheap
  • Dogfight 1942 – Another shooter

I still want to get a few more, Saints Row 1 and 2 hopefully. I keep hoping the 360 version of Minecraft goes on sale. I have a wish list of maybes. This also fits nicely in my recent push to update my console set up and use it more as well.

Some Neat Final Fantasy Swag

I’m a bit late on posting these, but they are still pretty cool. A few months ago, I went to the newly added “Side Quest Decatur” for the Midwest Toy and Comic Fest. It was the first year for the secondary even in Decatur, normally it’s held in Bloomington, about an hour north. It wasn’t anything super fancy, mostly just a big vendor room. I didn’t end up buying much, but I did pick up these neat custom Final Fantasy items from Rusted Icon Designs.

One is this slate coaster, with a fun reference to the Spony Bard line from Final Fantasy IV.

The second is the really nice-looking etched Shinra logo glass. Shinra being the evil corporation from Final Fantasy VII. I use this glass almost daily. It holds basically exactly one 12oz can of soda+ice, though that will put the liquid right at the brim. The etched design is very crisp and I really love the dark red color.

HDMI Cables for Retro Consoles

I’ve slowly been working on doing a bunch of upgrades to my console video game space. In some cases it involves elaborate changes to how things work with a particular system. I upgraded my PS2 to run from a hard drive, for example. I’ve modified my PS Mini to run more than just the base set of ROMS. I have an extra Wii I plan to try to jailbreak as well. I’ve looked into getting an Everdrive style cartridge for my N64, though those are kind of weirdly expensive.

Not everything is about playing more games though, sometimes it’s just a quality-of-life upgrade.

Like running everything over HDMI. This was somewhat born from necessity. Maybe a year or less ago, I upgraded the TV in the basement. I had been using a decent but somewhat aging RCA TV for a while. We go to a lot of Estate Sales in the area, and at one, I picked up a really nice Sony for pretty cheap. It’s slightly larger than the RCA, has a nice picture, and has more inputs. Except a lot of those inputs are HDMI. I don’t think it has any Component hookups at all, though I do think it has Composite. Over the last few months, I’ve been buying all of these cables, along with a small HDMI switch, because, I ran out of ports.

As the set up is now, I have:

  • A standard X-Box 360.
  • A modded PS2.
  • A modded PS Mini
  • A normal Dreamcast, I may or may not look into modding this
  • A normal N64, which I may get an Everdrive cart for
  • A normal SNES, which I still need to get an HDMI cable for
  • A normal Wii, my original Wii, the CD drive doesn’t work in it though.

I’m tempted to get a second HDMI switch, but if the Wii hacking works out I won’t need it. I can skip the SNES cable. I’ve got a Sega Genesis I wouldn’t mind connecting though. Also, with more hookups I could bring the PS3 down from the upstairs TV if I wanted to. I’m also considering getting one of those updated Atari consoles that run the old carts as well as ROMs, though I have plenty of Atari carts already.

I’m not finished getting things updated, but as far as cables go, I’m pretty close,

Overwatch Season 11 – Super Mega Ultrawatch

Overwatch has just launched Season 11, and it’s paying tribute to Tokusatsu. A lot of folks are calling it the Power Rangers season, but the designs on the sentai skins are closer to the bug eyed Kamen Rider than to Power Rangers. Power Rangers usually have a more themed helmet for each team and solid visors not bug eyes.

There are also several monster skins that are more of a nod to Kaiju, though nothing super directly “Godzilla” or anything. Road Hog has probably the closest thing to a Godzilla skin and Zenyatta is wearing some dinosaur pajamas. There is also a pink squid-haired Lucio.

Not to be confused with Pink Mercy, which is returning to raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation. It seems like some gatekeeper type folks are upset about this one. Because somehow it’s bad that other people can spend money to get an untradable video game cosmetic.

People are also upset about the Ultrawatch theme. Several of the skins are light reworks of other skins which people are saying is lazy. I am inclined to agree a bit. I don’t really care about the “lazy” skins, the pass is $10. I am concerned a bit that Blizzard is trying to push the value there being for the Mythic coins (which cost $80 otherwise), versus quality pass content. Some of the highlights, victory poses, and emotes are also essentially just the same thing repeated, which is a bit lame. Several are for newer characters, who I have almost nothing for though, so that’s ok, I guess.

Even more lame is that all of the voice lines are currently unavailable. I guess there was a bug with the special audio. I mean, this is Season 11 Blizzard, and this is a big company. It feels like this should be nothing to make work.

I also kind of wish the special mode was a bit more themed around the season, maybe Monster team heroes vs Sentai team heroes.

I ended up buying in though anyway, and I decided to go in for the Ultimate Bundle deal, which had a couple of extra skins and $20 worth of OW currency. With the 20-level skips that I forgot that bundle had, I am already over halfway through the base pass. I really like the Sentai-themed, much more than a lot of the previous themes.

There is also a beach theme as a sort of secondary theme with a whole mess of “Lifeguard” themed skins. They all kind of feel like Baywatch Overwatch with their red outfits. There is also a Kiriko lifeguard skin that seems like the one everyone wants. The trailer also has teased some sort of upcoming Transformers crossover, though it’s not clear how that will work with Overwatch. Most of the speculation suggests Bastion (Shockwave), Ramattra (Megatron) and Reinhardt (Optimus) will get some sort of Transformers-themed skins. I could see maybe Starscream from Pharah or Optimus Primal from Winston as well.. Hopefully it’s some remolds and not some lame recolors.

Lastly, the Pink Mercy skin is making a return with a new variant, along with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I already have Pink Mercy but I will probably donate for the “Rose Gold” variant.

Palia – Getting to Know the Locals

Now that I have a house going and some income as a farmer, the next big step in this new world is to get to know the locals. Aside from building up your plot of land, you have the nearby town full of people to build an actual plot of story. Well, “full” is kind of a stretch. There are maybe 2 dozen or so people living there each more or less with a specialty of some kind, and each with some sort of eccentric personality trait. I’m not real sure how the economy here survives, or whom is buying and eating the mountains of vegetables I ship out daily.

I am not sure what the benefit is yet, but you can level up friendship with each NPC by giving them gifts and doing quests for them. Well, I know one benefit, you get more quests by having a higher level with an NPC. You can also “go farther” with some NPCs. You can romance some NPCs (generally, anyone who is an adult). I am not sure what happens there, maybe they move in with you on your plot. You also can pick someone to be your “Shepp”. Which is like a Mentor, but once again, I’m not leveled up enough to know what that even does, if anything. I do know, from what I looked into, it does not matter who your shepp is really. So I assume that means no discounts or anything. Which makes some sense because otherwise it’s going to boild down to “Who do you want the best discounts from?”

I’m not entirely sure the intricacies of the relationships between the characters, so I’m not going to vouch for the accuracy of any of this in the long term. I am also not going to mention all of them.


I interact with Zeki quite a bit. Or at least, his shop. Zeki sells seeds and bag upgrades. He is also, inexplicably, the only cat man on the island. At least, the only one I have encountered. No one else really trusts him, he is apparently a bit of a con artist. I hope i am getting the best rates on seeds if that is the case, but buying seeds is way easier than crafting them. The Seed crafter takes an eternity to produce a tiny handful of seeds. If I could queue up several types of seeds and run it each night so my seeds were ready in the morning it would not be so bad, but the game doesn’t work that way.

Also buying from the store gives lucky coins, which are basically free loot boxes. Sometimes there is near decorations in them.


The Mayor’s wife, I think. She is generally just bitch and for that, I kind of hate her. I mean, she has not actively wronged my character really, she is just rude. She hates Zeki, and at one point I helped Zeki steal some stuff from her, which was fun. She also has a daughter who sometimes works the register at City Hall where they sell building parts and land deeds.


Almost as bad as Eshe is Hassian. Another rude dick for no reason. Fortunately, so far, there isn’t much reason to interact with Hassian. He sells hunting supplies and equipment, and more importantly, he has a dog, who is nice. I think I’ve had a few quests from the Dog so far.


Something something death by Sifuu Sifuu. I think she is Hassian’s mom. She runs the blacksmith shop and sells some mats I think. I have not had to really interact with her much, but she seems alright.


I am not real sure what this guy does aside from hang around the shrine on the edge of the map. He’s less rude and more just, a stick in the mud. I suspect he has something to do with The Order maybe. Do not trust his friendly standoffishness.


Elouisa is absolutely batshit crazy and spouts conspiracy theories constantly. Though they seem like the kind of “conspiracies” you encounter in a world like this where no one believes them, despite living in a “magical land” and they end up being true. She doesn’t sell anything, but seems to be involved in a least part of the main quest plot line. She also has a sister who may be a twin (I should probably actually read some of the text these characters spout at me). her sister is a lame prude. You want to have fun, go find Elouisa.

She is probably my favorite character aside from maybe Reth.

Reth and Tish

These two are siblings, also also two I’ve interacted with quite a bit. Everyone hates Reth for being a bit spastic and unreliable, but he seems alright. Tish is just friendly all around. Reth is basically the goto for the Cooking skill, and as Cooking is gardening adjacent, I’ve interacted with him for recipes and story points.

Tish sells furniture plans. Which you need for crafting to fancy up your house. I kind of feel bad for her a bit though. She will carry maybe 3-4 “starter plans” for different furniture types, but you only need to actually buy one plan. You will eventually learn every other piece as you continue to craft things. So, hopefully her brother’s cooking business can help keep her a float, I guess.

Also, I didn’t realize they were siblings at first and thought they were a couple. Can we say, “How do you do step-Palian?”