Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Fun

Reluctantly giving up the (first-person) ghost

I gave up on Paradise Killer by Kaizen Game Works, reluctantly and with much regret, after I could not get it to not cause me nausea and headaches after playing for half an hour to an hour. I talked about my woes here and fiddled with it some more, including unlocking the FPS, but it just didn’t work in the end. I could have dealt with it if it just meant being sick and nauseous while playing, but it lingered for a long time after. In addition, when I thought about the game, the feeling would return. I’m really sad about it because I loved the game and was so excited to play it.

I played roughly three hours of it and can say with confidence that if you like retro and neon vibes with a high kitsch factor, murder mysteries that have the feel of ‘she had gams for days’ kind of prose and mysticism, and a lot of walking. I mean a lot of walking. A LOT. There is fast travel, but it costs a blood crystal to unlock at each save point (the game’s currency) and another crystal to actually use it. And you have to find the blood crystals around the island. You can probably get them in other ways such as doing side quests, but you have to shell them out for many things, including information.

I finally decided to try Divinity: Original Sin 2-Definitive Edition by Larian Studios, which is a D&D-based video game that is by all accounts the closes to the real thing. I tried the first game and did not care for it. As much as I would love to try D&D in real life, the idea of doing it in a video game stressed me out because I don’t like turn-based combat. I’m not one for mapping out my combat, which is probably why I just go for take damage/give damage when I play Souls games (along with casting).

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The first person blues

I get motion sickness. A lot. An hour in the car? Motion sickness. Flying? Motion sickness. First person games? Motion sickness.

Side Note (quickest side note ever): When my mom was trying to guilt me into going on a cruise with her (whole family), I brought up motion sickness as one of the issues. Not the main one, but a serious issue. My brother said that a ship is so big, I would not be likely to feel it. I Googled it, of course, and there are people who get motion sick on a cruise ship. It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take, especially since I did not want to go in the first place.

I can play some first person games with a lot of fiddling, but getting there is very uncomfortable. Nausea, a headache that threatens to become a migraine, queasy stomach, etc. If I really want to play a game, I’ll do it, but if I don’t care about the game, it’s easier to give up. Or even if I’m just slightly warm about it. I really liked Firewatch and suffered for half an hour as I delved into the files to fiddle with the FOV. Same with Borderlands, one and two. A little bit of three. Even if there is an FOV slider, it doesn’t always make the game playable.

My biggest regret is that I couldn’t finish What Remains of Edith Finch by Giant Sparrow. It’s first person, which I didn’t know when I bought it. I had heard so many good things about it that I just gritted my teeth and continued. It was low-level nausea and headache at first, but then I hit the part where I had to fly and the urge to vomit was so strong and the headache was so intense, I violently recoiled. I immediately shut down the game and tweeted my regret that I couldn’t play it before asking for a refund. Sparrow Game tweeted me back saying I could either use the reticule or take it off (don’t recall which) because that helped some people. The thing is, I didn’t even want to open the game again because it had been such an intense reaction. I’m really sad because I’ve heard such amazing things about the game. I *may* try it again, but every time I even think about it, my body negatively reacts.

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GOTY–2 games above the rest

Ok, my friends. It’s finally time after weeks of build-up. This year has been sparse as far as games that I sunk my teeth into. I’ve outlined a few that were the equivalent of summer popcorn movie in this post here. There was one game I liked enough to give an actual award to which I wrote about here. Today, I’m finally ready to talk about my co-GOTY. I’ve written about both of them in length, but I have so much more to say. Since there are two, I have to talk about one of them first. There are two reasons for it. One, alphabetical order. Two, well, I’ll get to that later.

Before I get into all that, though, let me just give one obligatory honorary award first.

The game I’m desperately looking forward to but fear will never come out

Elden Ring (FromSoft)

With that out of the way, let’s get to my co-GOTY awards.

First up is a game that I was tempted to call The best game that I wasn’t good enough to beat until I was to continue a running joke and you know what? Let’s do it. Ready? Here we go!

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GOTY in a really strange year

*Bonus Post*

Ok. Yesterday I covered games that were ok but not great. I talked about not-platting Dark Souls and Dark Souls III. Now, it’s time to hand out my meaningless and silly awards, but be forewarned–there aren’t many of them this year. This has been a strange year (duh!) for games (oh) because on the surface, there have been a lot of games that have had people talking. Animal Crossing New Horizons (especially important at the beginning of the pandemic); AssCreed Valhalla (fuck Ubisoft. No, seriously. They should have gotten WAY more shit for covering up all the sexual abuse at their company), and; Cyberpunk 2077 (fuck CD Projekt Red as well for being liars about their game and about being ‘for the people’. Also, for all their blatant isms in the game). These are just three of the major games released this year and I have not played any of them. Then there were the social games like Fall Guys, Among Us, and Phasmaphobia, none of which I played, either. I did buy A Mungus, though. I’ve realized that I’m not going to get on the hype train for most games that other people like. There is one glaring exception to that which I’ll get to in a second.

Side Note: I don’t get why people find Phasmaphobia scary to watch. I get why it might be scary to play, but watching it does nothing to me. Then again, watching most scary games being played does nothing to me. Anyway. Whatever. Just a side note.

In the interest of full disclosure. There are three games I’ve flagged for my end-of-the-year awards. Two will be my co-GOTY while the third is an honorable runner up.

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GOTY–warm-up round

Last week, I wrote about the games that missed the mark for me for whatever reasons. This week, I’m talking about more games that hit the mark and games I played for a while before falling off them. “But, Minna,” I hear you say. ” It’s NY’s Eve (day). Why aren’t you talking about your GOTY?” Because I want to milk it. I’ll be real with you. There are three games I will talk about in the actual GOTY post and I’ve gone through way more games than that this year, though I’ve had to reread past posts in order to remember them. Ah, 2020. What a trash year that was both incredibly short and interminably long.

Anyway! Let’s talk about the one game I did play quite a bit of early in the year. In fact, it was the game I was playing when I decided to self-isolate because of the pandemic. Remember late February/early March? When we thought this would last a month or two, maybe three? When the panic over what it exactly meant hadn’t quite set in yet? When I thought I’d actually be able to travel in July for a wedding? Ah, good times. More innocent times. Back when we thought the end of the year would be more positive than what was happening at the time. And to be fair, there are glimmers of hope like the vaccine. It’s just, it’s been a really long and arduous year.

The game is AssCreed Syndicate by Ubisoft. I’m not an AssCreed fan at all. I tried 3 and hated it and I couldn’t get Chronicles to work with my keyboard (Dvorak). It was free, however, and I had nothing else on my gaming plate at the time so I decided why the hell not. In addition, I loved Evie. she was so badass even with her lout of a twin brother. By the way, she was supposed to be the sole protag but Ubisoft decided a female protag was Just Not Done. Same with Kassandra for Odyssey and Eivor for Valhalla, but femEivor is the canon one or so I’ve red. Given the rest of the grievous sexual harassment issues Ubisoft has, however, it’s not surprising that this is their mentality.

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Games that missed the mark–by a little or by a lot

In this year of our lord, Pandemic, there have been many games that I have tried, but few I have stuck with. I’ll get to those in a separate post, obviously, but for now, I want to remember the games that I picked up and discarded for varied reasons. We’ll go in chronological order just because it’s easier that way.

First up is Iceborne, the DLC for Monster Hunter World. Capcom. I poured hundreds of hours into the original and loved slicing my way through the game with my swax (switch axe). I had dozens of armors, painstakingly crafted to fight each monster. Everything was just so, at least until the Tempered Elder Dragons, when my enthusiasm started flagging. Well, Iceborne is a vault up to Master/G Rank, which means everything is more grueling and anything I’d accomplished up to that point meant jack and shit. I remember the feeling of intense disappointment when my basic swax did more damage than my most upgraded swax from the main game and the basic armor was better in every way than my most elite MHW armor. It was such a bummer and enforced my feeling that I had wasted my time playing the base game.

It didn’t help that any time I joined a group, the other players had clearly been playing since the main game came out. Like, all the time playing. I was the newbie and I did not like not being helpful. Yes, I was the healer, but there’s only so much that can get you. I wasn’t earning my keep and I didn’t like it. Let’s face it. I didn’t like Iceborne. At all. I’m not saying it was bad and I’m sure people who only play Monster Hunter loved it, but I fell off it really quickly. I never took on Fulgur Anjanath, which I talked about at the end of this post about the game. Here is a second post about my feelings on the game and how I would feel guilty if I quit. Obviously, I got over it and I gave up the game for good after realizing I wasn’t having any fun with it. I haven’t looked back since.

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The end of the year is nigh

The end of the year is right around the corner and I can’t stop thinking about what a strange year it’s been. Terrible in so many ways. The pandemic. The current president. The mingling of the two. I’ve been reading past posts I’ve done on my gaming throughout the year to get ready for my end of the year game awards I was playing Syndicate back at the end of February right before the soft lockdown. I can’t believe I played Syndicate this year. I feel like it was ages ago. I also realized I played a ton more games than I remembered playing. To be fair, most of them I only played for a few hours. But, still. Good Pizza, Great Pizza was this year? If Found? Code Vein? I feel as if I’m living in some alternate universe and I want to get out of it.

Anyway. I’m not here to talk about video games. That will be a post (or three) by itself later. I’m here to talk about how happy I am to see the end of this year and how weird that it’s simultaneously been the longest year and the shortest year ever. I have heard the same thing from several people so it’s not just me. February seems like such a long time ago, but it also seems like just yesterday. I can’t help thinking about that younger me and smile ruefully at how naive I was. Not just me, but everyone in America, really. So many of us thinking the pandemic would last a month or two. I was supposed to fly to NY in early July and pooh-poohed my mother at the end of February for suggesting I cancel it. I was also planning on flying out to Philly over Halloween and surely I would be able to do that!

Yeah, no. Looking back, the idea that I would be able to fly in July is unfathomable. I’m not beating myself up about it because very few people thought the pandemic would last as long as it did. Back in February/March, the general thought in America was that it would be a few months before life returning to normal or some semblance thereof. It isn’t our fault as our government handled it so fucking poorly in the beginning. Not only did they underplay how terrible it was, but their advice was contrary. Don’t wear masks and go about your business as usual! Do wear masks. Six-feet apart. But still buy things!

The worst is the president. He had done active harm and January 20th cannot come soon enough for me. Trevor Noah did a bit about all the things this president has done wrong concerning the handling of the coronavirus and I couldn’t watch the whole thing because it was both enraging and profoundly depressing. One thing that has been made crystal clear during the pandemic is how little certain lives mean to those in charge. All the talk about it only affecting those who were already at high-risk wore me down. Even if it were true (which it isn’t), don’t our lives count? Don’t we matter?

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Watching the sausage get made

so that's how they make it.
Mmmmm, sausage!

We’re coming up to the end of the year–a really weird year, by the way. Doom Eternal was released this year? The Last of Us 2? Animal Crossing New Horizons? ACNH came out near the beginning of the lockdown which is probably the biggest reason it was such a hit, and to me, that feels like ten years ago. But also like yesterday. Time is meaningless at the moment. Anyway, normally, I do a few posts about my games of the year and give cute categories to each winning game. I’m still going to do that, but first, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes as to how I make these decisions.

First of all, I don’t play that many games a year. I wrote a few years ago that I would rather have three games a year I really liked than play a couple dozen ok games. Ideally, it would be more like four or five, but three is basic. I hit that floor this year, but just. In the meantime, I played a bunch of games that were meh or worse for a variety of reasons.

I would like to point out that I did both the Dark Souls not-plats this year. That took up a lot of my time and effectively killed my love for Dark Souls III for some time. I’m back in it again at a casual rate and it’s good to be home. It’s funny how it takes less and less time to snap back to my Dark Souls controls, which is the first game I ever played on a controller. The first time I went from Hades to Dark Souls III, I nearly decked NPCs more than once because RB is light attack in DS and interact with someone/something in Hades. The next time, it took less than a minute. The next time, it didn’t take any time at all.

Anyway, doing the Dark Souls not-plats took quite a bit of time. I also ended up 100%ing Spiritfarer and Hades because I was so close by the end of the game that it seemed a shame not to finish them off. I will say for Spiritfarer there was an achievement that you could only get by doing both the options for one certain quest. I was able to go back to an earlier save to choose the other dialogue option to proc the achievement (and it made no difference), but had I not been able to do that, I might not have bothered playing the game again just for that achievement. Oh, hell. You know I would have. I also cheesed a few of the Hades achievements by doing them on Heat Zero because I was not about making it any harder than it needed to be.

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Hades–the final challenge

I can’t quit Hades. You would think that after 100%ing it, I would be done, but, no. At first, I just played the next heat on whatever weapon offered the bonus Darkness for that run. But, there was one thing calling to me that I couldn’t ignore. Before I tell you what it is, I have to laud Supergiant Games for crafting an excellent game that has so much content. I think it spent two years in Early Access and it really shows. When it was released, it was a polished, slick, engaging game that only got better the longer I played it. I think back to when I was a frustrated n00b who could barely make it to the final boss, let alone beat him. I remember when it took me fifteen minutes to clear each floor and a hour to do a full run, only to lose to the final boss. Honestly, it was a Dead Cells situation except the saving grace of being able to beef up Zagreus in between each run and the beefiness would stick when I died.

I found out there was a God Mode during the time I was struggling with beating the final boss for the first time. Or maybe after I had beaten him once. Oh! Spoilers for the late game, obvs. I was tempted to put on the God Mode at least on a copy file in order to get through the game. Who would know? No one! I would. And that’s not the way I play. No shame or shade for anyone who uses it, but it’s not me. I know I would have been mad at myself if I had done it, even though it would have been a shame for me to miss the rest of the game.

What did I do? I dug down deep, got all the upgrades I could, and made sure I had Athena’s boons whenever I could. I persisted. That was all I could do. I know many good players will tell you to go pro-attack as much as possible and this is certainly a good plan. I, on the other hand, rely heavily on defense. All the boons that reduce the damage I take or deflect or replenishes my health, yes, please. This is how I play games in general so why change now? If that makes me a scrub, a scrub I’ll be.

Anyway! Back to the main point of this post which is that there was one thing I hadn’t accomplished on my way to 100%ing the game. Well, actually, two, but the second one, completing the game on Heat 32 (my highest is 16, done for the plat) is not happening. Oh, and Hell Mode where the Pact of Punishment is unlocked from the beginning and you can only do it on a new save because fuck that.

Once you beat the final boss for the first time, the Pact of Punishment is unlocked. On it is a list of pain modifiers that you can add to make the game harder. The one I put on first is Damage Control. It allows the enemy to ignore the first instant of damage–so it’s effectively giving them a shield. You can give them two points, but I just do one. I have won the game with every pain point on (but not at the same time) because that’s part of the plat.

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Ten tips for getting the hell out of Hades!

I got the not-plat plat a few nights ago in Hades by Supergiant Games and it was timed brilliantly. Dionysus was the last Keepsake I needed to level up–or was it Poseidon. It was one of the two, probably Poseidon. I got it on the last combat room before the final boss and what a fitting end to the not-plat run. There are a few in-game achievements (Fated List of Minor Prophecies) that I would like to finish, but as they are very random, my interest will probably peter out before then. Anyway! As an expert in the game (wild, maniacally laughing), I have some tips for newbs who want to get into it, but are worried about the steep learning curve. I was going to tack them on at the end of the last post, but I ran out of steam. Plus, the post got out of control near the end so I decided to make the tips a post of its own. By the way, I found a really cute animated trailer for the game that I hadn’t seen before. I’ll post it below. I want Hades plushies!

Ed Note: I did a few more runs to clean up the Fated List and there is a bombshell that happens in the House of Hades. *spoiler* (Though the whole post could be considered spoilers?)



NYX FIRES DUSA!!!! I mean, what????? I’m pretty sure it was procked by finishing the Fated List. I mean, I knew there was tension there, but what??????? That can’t be the end of Dusa, can it? I had a hunch it wasn’t and I had a hunch I knew what I had to do, but I didn’t want to bumble around to figure it out. I Googled it and found out that you have to do more runs in order to get Nyx to rehire her. Sigh. I mean, I have to do it now, but what????? The problem is that Dusa is too hardworking and Nyx had admonished her more than once to CTFO. Dusa couldn’t because it’s not in her nature and she was working all the time. Nyx wanted efficient, not slavish obedience.

Double sigh.

I may just give it a rest and come back to it, but I cannot let it lie. Damn it!

Think of it, though. I could have missed that whole bit if I hadn’t done that little bit of cleaning up.

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