Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Fun

A little bit of this, a whole lotta that

Feeling much better, but still exhausted. Arm a bit swollen and sore, but not hot. Was a bit burny earlier this morn (had a wee relapse last night), but that’s gone now. I am ready for a nap, however, and I’ve only been awake for a few hours. Last evening, I had an irresistible urge to sleep and ‘napped’ for four or so hours when I normally would be awake. Still pared down my taiji weapons routine this morning. Still not feeling up to anything but the basics.

Anyhoo! Still playing the hell out of Cozy Grove by Spry Fox. I’ll get to that in a second. I tried out the Resident Evil Village demo, which surprised the fuck out of me because I normally DGAF about Resi games. I know it’s heresy to say, but I don’t find them scary and having come to gaming late, the tank controls are just too damn frustrating. I did try Resi 4 and gave up after an hour or so. It just wasn’t my jam. However. The aesthetics of Resi VIII are right up my alley. Moody, goth, hot vampire ladies? Yes, please. By the way, I find it amusing that Lady D has taken the internet by storm. Yeah, she’s hot and all that, but the over-the-top thirst is, well, outre. I do like that she’s a middle-aged woman who’s not stereotypically hot, but I don’t get the rampant lust over her and her daughters.

I only played ten minutes or so of the demo and five of those minutes were me interacting with the Duke (shopkeeper). Why? Because while I can watch other people play if they’re not whipping the camera around too quickly, the first-person bobbing got to me immediately. I hate it! I really wish I didn’t have these issues with first-person perspective, but there you go. I do like that both Andy (Oxbox) and Aoife (Eurogamer) uploaded reviews and they were diametrically opposing. Andy loved it and the story, thought it was a spiritual successor to Resi 4, and super spooky. Aoife thought the lore was rushed, not scary, and a disappointment to Resi fans who wanted more. Oh, and Andy liked Ethan (main protag) more this game whereas Aoife still found him bland and boring. They both are huge Resi fans. I would love to see them have at it with their opinions.


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Still tootling around in Cozy Grove

medium-length hair and rectangle frames is so me.
Always be thinking about fishing.

I’m still stuck in and on the game, Cozy Grove, by Spry Fox. It’s something like Day 16 and things have really opened up. I finally bit the bullet and scraped up the 400,000 coins needed to upgrade Mr. Kit’s shop for a second time and have upgraded my tent (storage space) twice as well. Before I get into that, however, let me remind you that I ended the last post with a question of sorts. I had noted that I had just opened access to haircuts and didn’t know quite how it worked. I have a closet of clothes and I can switch them out whenever I want by visiting Flamey, my bonfire. Er, campfire. Would I be able to store my hair and change it at will like wigs? That’s what I thought it might be, but I also had the sinking suspicion that I might just lose my hair completely. I didn’t want that to happen because I really liked my black twisty braids, but I felt like I should try the new content. There was a cute ‘goth’ hairstyle of curls loosely tied at the nape of the neck. It seemed more Victorian or some such to me, but whatever. It was white hair and I bought it.

Me being me, the first thing I tried to do was figure out how I could change it back. I checked my closet. Nope. Storage? Nope. Mr. Kit–maybe I had to buy it back? Nope. I even tried buying the same hairstyle again, thinking it would give me my old hairstyle back. Nope. By the way, I don’t get that–why can I infinitely buy the same hairstyle? I hopped onto the Discord to ask if there was a way to get my old hairstyle back. There wasn’t. I had to hope that it would be offered on sale at the store.

This is how compulsive my brain gets sometimes. When I was told that I couldn’t get my hair back, I actually thought about restarting the game because it bothered me so much. I didn’t do it, but I did think about it off and off for the rest of the day. Then at some point it didn’t bother me any longer, but I did check out the hairstyles first things first the next day. My original haircut wasn’t there, but  there was a black hair that was long and wavy. I bought it and felt much better. The picture above is medium straight black, which is close to my real hair. Not quite as long, but it’ll do for now. I still miss the black twisty braids, but I can live with this for now.

I have to say that looking at hair/clothes every day is one of my favorite things to do in the game. It’s funny because I have no interest in that kind of thing in real life, but I’m all about it in games. Back when I played Saints Row IV by Deep Silver, I changed up my looks on the regs. I loved adding tats and making my character look as much like me as possible. As long as she was wearing sunglasses, she looked remarkably like me.

Me all busty and tatted and curvy. And a big gun.
She’s a brick…HOUSE. (She’s mighty mighty!)

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Getting cozy with Cozy Grove

me in a peaky blinders black hat, purple mask, chilling with the mayor
Looking peak Peaky Blinders while socially distancing.

Since I finished the DS II (SotFS) plat, I’ve been mainlining a game that, well, isn’t meant to be mainlined. I mentioned it in my last post (the one about the plat) and it’s called Cozy Grove by Spry Fox. It’s Animal Crossing with a sprinkling of Spiritfarer and it’s been the perfect antidote to the plat. Speaking of which, Spiritfarer by Thunder Lotus Games had an update with some new ‘gameplay’. I put that in quotes because it was not gameplay, exactly. It was Stella’s (main character) sister, Lily, showing up to flesh out Stella’s character and backstory.

*SPOILER FOR MAJOR SPIRITFARER PLOT POINT*

Stella is a nurse who takes care of end-of-life patients and then gets cancer herself. The whole game is an allegory for what’s happening in her life. None of this comes through in the game and while there are hints now and again, I didn’t know about this until a newsletter from Thunder Lotus after I finished the game. I did know that Stella was dying because she’s the last person you take to the Everdoor, but I didn’t know the details about her death.

Anyway, the update is Lily’s spirit talking to you about family history and spells out the above paragraph in photos and memories. You can tell it’s Lily and their mother visiting Stella while Stella is in the hospital dying and Mom is asleep. Lily wants to take a walk down memory lane and in order to do so, you have to go to the different shrines across the world. The thing is, you can only do it at night and I just missed getting to the first shrine on the first night. I haven’t played this game in several months and had forgotten the mechanics to a certain extent. So I had to waste a whole day waiting for nighttime in order to access the new content.

After a few memories at this shrine, I had to go to another shrine to get more memories. I get why they did that, but I internally rolled my eyes as I set off. Then another shrine. Then, the fourth shrine. The one that almost made me quit the game the first time around because of how difficult it is to access–and this is at the very end of the game. There’s a bunch of platforming that is very fiddly and requires a combo of different moves. I had to look it up because I could not remember how to do it. Once I was reminded of the Dash, I was able to get to the shrine with fairly little effort. Still. Was it worth it?

Look. This was one of my two co-GOTY last year. I platted the game and cried several times while playing it. Gwen will stay with me forever and I loved almost everything about this game. This update, however, fell flat with me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve moved on from the game, but I didn’t really get much from this update. There was nothing bad about it, mind you (except having to go to several different shrines), but it just didn’t add much to the game experience for me. In addition, Lily is…I hate to say it…a bit of a brat. I get that the devs were trying to show a sister/sister relationship that was both loving as well as somewhat contentious, but it just felt off to me. I think it’s because we have no history with Lily so when she comes in and puts Stella down, it feels bullying. Especially as Stella can’t respond. I think it’s meant to show the enormous pain Lily is feeling, but, again, I don’t know her from Rose. I am very protective of Stella and it irritated me to hear Lily put her down.

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The best of SNL

I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live (SNL) on the regular in several years. I’ve been watching clips lately, though, and there are several really tight ones, mostly musical skits. One thing that has always been true about SNL is that the good skits are fire and the bad skits are garbage. That hasn’t changed, but what has changed is that the songs are mostly really solid. I want to mention some of my favorites and why I like them. First up is Friendos starring Donald Glover. It’s a rap that jokes about a popular rap group going to therapy together. The reason I like it is because it’s catchy–Donald Glover is for real–and because it touches on some true issues. In this case, how hard it is for African American men to let their emotions show and how therapy is still taboo is some African American cultures. I also like that the therapy is actually sound (though adapted for humor, of course), unlike how it’s often portrayed in pop culture.

Next up is Permission, another rap that features Future and Lil Wayne. Again, it’s actually a tight rap, but the real kick is the message–that there will be no booty grabbing without consent from the women involved. So it still has the notion of going after ass, but stopping when you hear no. Lil Wayne: “Love that booty tender, never get aggressive. That booty got insurance–that booty got Progressive.” There are many layers to that verse!


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A tale of two games–not-platting Dark Souls II and getting Cozy Grove

I finished the not-plat for SotFS/Dark Souls II and it wasn’t nearly as painful as the other two, especially DS III. I found out that the best way to farm for the Sunlight Medals (and I can say this because I platted the game) is to put on all your best item-finding gear, go to the first bonfire in the Brightstone Cove Tseldora area, and use your best magicks/biggest sword to mow down the seven Falconers in the area. I didn’t do this at first because it’s so annoying to have to draw out each one without getting swarmed. I could still get two-shot by these assholes, which was frustrating. Plus, with the extended length of the enemy range, it was too easy to proc more than one of them.

The problem was that the rate of getting the Sunlight Medals in the other areas was extremely low. In this area, once I got my routine down pat, I was able to get one medal almost every loop. The answer was to use Heavy Homing Soul Arrow to draw one enemy to me without alerting the others. I used Soul Spear to take care of two of the archers. For my sword, I used the Black Knight Ultra Greatsword which has the added bonus of setting things on fire. Here’s the last post and this is the continuation of that post. I was able to get the last ten or so Sunlight Medals in less than hour, which was amazing.

Once I was done with that, I made sure I had all the magicks I could get in NG+. It was a good thing I checked because I missed two–a sorcery and a hex. If I had had to go into the DLC in NG++, well, let’s just say I would NOT be happy about that at all. I was miffed as it was because I had to run through more than half the game again. Or did I? I looked up the fastest way to get to Drangleic Castle because there is an alternative to getting the four big souls and opening it that way. I knew about it from the first time I played, but I never thought about it because it seemed ridiculous. It’s getting a million souls and opening the door that way. Riiiiight. A million souls? Well. That was much more reasonable in NG++ with the boss souls I was carrying around with me. And all the other consumable souls, too. The most common way to get a great amount of souls as fast as possible was…


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Back to not-platting: Dark Souls II (SotFS) edition

item discovery outfit including jester hat
Now who looks like a fool?

Back in the Dark Souls meta. So. On that not-plat tip. I read more about the Benhart of Jugo questline because I reeeeeally did not want to have to do it on NG+ or start another playthrough. I wasn’t able to keep him alive for the Throne Watcher & Throne Defender fight (not even sure that one counted as there were varying accounts as to whether yes or no) and I did NOT want to fuck it up. It was so easy to fuck up, too. I’ve mentioned before that when I first started the original game, I was stubborn about not looking things up. When I really got stuck, I’d peek at a Wiki, but I really didn’t want to do it. By the third game, I was looking shit up after irrevocably changing my game in a way I didn’t like. During the not-plats, I was constantly looking things up because it was so easy to miss tiny details that would fuck everything up.

In this case, Benhart’s questline goes something like this. I am not looking it up right now so this is off the top of the head. You run into him in a path that is semi-hidden (but necessary) right in Majula. You chat with him there and move on. Then, you run into him again at the bonfire outside the Mirror Knight and you chat with him again. Then, you can talk to him outside one of the Memories later on. Supposedly, you can summon him for the Giant Lord fight, which is in another Memory. I don’t think I’ve done that and I don’t remember where his summoning sign is. Anyway, I read if you kept him alive for the three boss fights before talking to him at the Memory point, he gives you his equipment when you talk to him there. Otherwise, you can summon him for the Memory Giant Lord fight and have him survive that, but you have to talk to him outside the other Memory first and then talk to him…at that same place? Maybe? Maybe somewhere else? At any rate, I preferred to get the three fights done before talking to him the first time outside that Memory. I bought the Redeye Ring I mentioned in the previous post, used a Bonfire Ascetic on the Mirror Knight bonfire, and slipped on the ring. I killed the four horsemen outside the boss room before summoning Benhart and Ashen Knight Boyd, who is an absolute beast. Oh. Right. The boss is officially the Looking Glass Knight, but was formerly the Mirror Knight.

I went in and to my surprise, I actually found it a lot easier this time. I’m not sure why except knowing that the boss was going to be more targeted at me meant I went in with a more aggressive attitude. I think I might have went with better armor, too, as I normally rock a light armor so I can be faster and roll better. The boss focused on me for roughly 75% of the fight, which meant Benhart was better able to stay alive. In fact, he had more than half his health by the end of the fight. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to kill the Looking Glass Knight, but I was more than happy to accept it. I ran to where Benhart was supposed to be and there he was! He started mouthing off about this, that, and the other thing while I impatiently mashed the A button over and over again. I didn’t give a shit about his family or his traditions or whatever. Give me your fucking equipment!

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Not enjoying the not-plat of Dark Souls II (SotFS)

I love Dark Souls. I probably don’t have to say this, but I will, anyway. After I not-platted the third game, however, I was heartily sick of Dark Souls III, which is my favorite game ever. For a few months, I couldn’t even think about playing the game again–or the other FromSoft games, either. Many months, actually. Oh, sure, I played a bit here and there, but nothing like my normal play it every week if not every day. It’s only in the last month or so that I’ve been able to play the game again with pleasure. In the last few weeks, I’ve been watching the RKG’s playthrough of Dark Souls II, otherwise known as Scholar of the First Sin, the one Dark Souls game I haven’t platted or even not-platted. To be honest, I haven’t played that game in a year because I knew that once I started it up again, I’d start thinking about the not-plat.

After I finished the DS III plat, I did check SotFS to see if it had cloud sync. DS* does and DS III, bafflingly, does not. I had to use my saves on my old laptop to finish the DS III plat, which was annoying. DS II also does not have cloud sync and I only have one save on this computer. I was roughly halfway through the main game on that save. And, I was annoyed because one of the achievements I should have had is bugged and only pops if you get the final piece of it online. It’s one of the more straightforward achievements, too. It’s Maestro of Gestures, and you get them all by talking to NPCs. I think you get the ‘Praise the Sun’ emote from joining the Heirs of the Sun covenant, but other than that, it’s NPCs.

I have gotten all the gestures a half dozen times at least, but I play the game mostly offline because I hate PvP. I hate it the most in this game because you can get invaded when you’re not human and there’s a weird mechanic that under some circumstances, the less human you are, the more likely you will to be invaded. There is a similar bug in DS III in which you have to have one of every type of infusion. Meaning lightning, fire, crystal gem, heavy, gem, etc. I rarely do that because you take a huge hit to physical if you infuse your weapon with anything, so I had plenty of the stuff I needed to infuse my weapons. I went to Andre and infused one of everything. No achievement. I read you have to do it online, so I went online and tried again. Nothing. I read the forums and they suggested that I buy fifteen daggers and do the infusions on them (to keep it the same). I did that as well–nothing.


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The dark side of Dark Souls, part five

I am writing about the dark side of the Dark Souls series (very slowly as I get sidetracked by everything I love about the games) and this is part…five? Here’s part four and many of my issues with the DLCs of the third game. Having said that, I have finished NG, including the DLC. I got summons on the Champion Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf, Darkeater Midir, and Slave Knight Gael. One for CG & GG, two for DE, and one for SKG. On a Monday afternoon! It’s heartwarming that people are still playing the game. Ian showed me how to check how many people are concurrently playing and it’s roughly 14,000 at a time. I didn’t think that was THAT many people, but Ian assured me that many MMOs would kill for those numbers.

On the downside, that means that there are people still invading as well. I play the game offline until I reach a boss because I’m usually embered up (human form). I have gone on record several times that I hate being invaded, though I’ve accepted it’s part of the game. I’ve had people try to change my mind about it to no avail. One person in the RKG group got pretty earnest about it. We were talking about platting the game and I said that the pain of grinding for the covenant items made me not play the game for some time. He said that it was because I did it the wrong way–I needed to invade for the items and that would make it less grindy.

Now. Is he right? Yes. Invading for the items would have made it easier. How many items? Let’s chat. 30 Proofs of a Concord Kept for the Blade of the Darkmoon Covenant. 30 Pale Tongues for the Rosaria’s Fingers Covenant. 30 Vertebra Shackles for the Mound-Makers Covenant. 30 Wolf’s Blood Swordgrass for the Watchdogs of Farron Covenant. 30 Human Dregs for the Aldritch Faithful Covenant. 30 Sunlight Medals for the Warrior of Sunlight Covenant. Oh my god. As I was writing this list, it all came flooding back. I had repressed much of it and forgotten two of the six covenants I had to grind items for. There are a few of each item found strewn around the world, but not more than five of each.


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The dark side of Dark Souls, part four

In the last post, I talked about why I don’t like the DLCs of the third game, which is my favorite game in the world. I have played it dozens of time, and, yes I play the DLC every time except for the not-plat run on NG+ and NG++. I will say that I recently started not fighting the Champion Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf duo because I can’t get a summon for it to save my life. Can I beat them solo? Yes, I can and have. Do I want to? No. It’s a boring fight and it’s mostly so you can get an item for PvP. You can get that same item in the second DLC,  so it renders the boss fight moot. It’s just really uninspired and more to the point, it includes the worst of all the negative tendencies of FromSoft games. Starts with the gravetender and three wolves. That’s bad enough because I hate adds in a boss fight. It just seems like a lazy way to add instant and artificial difficulty. Then, when you get the gravetender down to a quarter health or so, he whistles in the greatwolf. If you’re a squishy caster like me, it’s difficult to finish off the gravetender before the greatwolf materializes, but it’s what you need to do. Otherwise, gravetender will cheese you from afar while the greatwolf bum-rushes you.

There is nothing new in this fight nor is it memorable in any way. As much as I loathe the DLCs for the third game, all the other bosses are memorable for one reason or another. Sister Friede is epic and one of my favorite bosses though she’s not fair at all. Demon Prince–ok, he’s not that memorable but there’s still the gotcha factor of it going from two demons to one after you kill the two demons. Midir is grueling and a test of your patience/skills. Gael  is fucking amazing, but also unfair. So I’m not saying they’re great, mind you, but just that they are noteworthy in one way or another. Champion Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf is a boss fight that doesn’t stand out in any way. So I’m not motivated to do it even though I can beat them.


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The dark side of Dark Souls, part three

With the horrific news coming out of Atlanta recently that has hit hard and has underscored the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes since the pandemic started, thanks in a large part to the inflammatory rhetoric of the previous president and his acolytes, I’m trying to find ways to stay on top of the rage that I am feeling. By the way, that’s an unexpected reaction, but not necessarily unwelcomed. In the past, I would have been heartbroken (still am), fearful (a little, but not a lot), and bitter about the lack of visibility of Asians in this country (it’s been mitigated by the outrage I’ve seen over the murders, and for the right reasons). Rage, though, would have been waaaay in the back of my brain and I would have tried to tamp it down. This time, I liked the rage flow through me. Once the spin started trickling in, which was roughly a minute after the suspect was said to have been arrested.

Anyway. One way I’m doing that is retail therapy. I went to TWO places yesterday (pharmacy and bank) for the first time in ages and deposited two checks. I’m eying this baby to match my twin broadsword set and an outfit for an important upcoming Zoom event. I haven’t worn anything other than t-shirts/sweatshirts and sweats in a year; I could do with a nice new outfit. The other thing I’m doing is playing Dark Souls III. I used to alternate between playing Dark Souls and Dark Souls III, but since defeating Biggie & Smalls, I’ve fallen off playing DSR(emastered). That’s not surprising given that the second half of the game is decidedly worse than the first half. I’ve reached my least favorite part of DS III as well (the DLCs), but I’m still powering my way through it because I’m a bit of a completionist. I’m doing the second DLC at the moment and am going to switch over to the first DLC because story reasons.

More on my dissertation as to the negatives of the Souls series. Here is part two of the series which has a link to the first post in it. In fact, the DLCs of the third game are a great representation of what is wrong with the series and the mentality of the hardcore fans. The DLCs have always been the hardest part of each game by far. They’ve been praised to high heaven for their difficulty and their design. Even the players who hated the second game gush about the DLCs. I’ve mentioned before that the second game’s DLCs stamped the beginning of FromSoft buying their own hype. Yes, the games were difficult, blah, blah, blah. But they were playable with any build if you put time and effort into it.


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