Petty Reviews: SMT Nocturne

Never in my life have I simultaneously loved and hated a game so much. I’ve spent over 70 hours on Nocturne. I am SO CLOSE to the end of the game! I will beat Nocturne. I will write my full review. I can do this! I will beat Nocturne! 

Within this week or the next, I will dedicate the time to finish my playthrough. So why make a Petty Review? Two reasons. The first is I have way too many feelings right now. The second is while I may get to the end of Nocturne, the game has already beaten me. 

*Spoiler warning: I will be talking about one particular boss fight. No story spoilers*    

In Nocturne there are bosses called Fiends. You encounter them in various parts of the world as you continue the story. There a few that you automatically encounter. They are part of the story and unavoidable. However, after you defeat them the rest of the Fiend fights are optional. They only occur if you continue to progress in the optional dungeon the Labyrinth of Amala. 

For the second to last Fiend battle, you fight The Trumpeter. He has the magical ability of “Holy Melody”. Which is the most overpowered recovery spell I’ve ever seen in any video game. It’s the equivalent of that bratty kid who makes an “everything proof” shield when playing pretend. This ability allows The Trumpeter to regain all of his HP and MP in one move. ONE MOVE! Not even one full turn! After 3 or 4 rounds of combat, he will use it. There’s no escaping it. No matter how many prayers you send to RNGesus, it will happen. He will undo all your progress in one move and put you back at the start point, worse for wear. 

Up until that point the game rewarded strategies that favored endurance. As long as I could withstand attacks while doing some damage meant that you win. It didn’t matter how many turns it took. As long as I stayed alive I could win. 

Not this time. No. Staying alive wasn’t enough anymore. I had to change up the entirety of my core strategy for this fight. I knew what I had to do. I had to level up and optimize my team for damage output. 

So I did. I changed out my demon team and tried again. And failed again. My numbers weren’t big enough to win. It was at this point that I gave up. Instead of trying to “git gud” and use careful strategy, I abused Nocturne’s systems. I used one of the DLC dungeons added in to the PS4 version of Nocturne to level up fast. Within 10 minutes I went from level 66 to level 75. 

Normally, this wouldn’t feel like cheating. After all, what could be a more gamer move than cheesing the system to your advantage? However the dungeon I used wasn’t part of the original PS2 Nocturne. Doing this felt like admitting that the original game was too hard for me and I never would have beaten it without the assistance. It was demoralizing. The pride of being able to say “I’ve beaten SMT Nocturne, one of the hardest JRPGs ever.” was diminished in that moment. 

At higher levels I did more damage and was able to fuse high level demons. The third and last attempt at The Trumpeter lead to victory! It was a bittersweet victory. Since that moment I no longer cared about playing the game the “right way”. Now I look up the stats of bosses before facing them in order to pick out the best strategy ahead of time. I no longer care enough to try to face a boss blind, fail, adjust strategy, and retry. SMT Nocturne broke my patience. As much as I love this game, I just want to get to the end and be done with it. 

*This post is dedicated to all the people who put SMT Nocturne guides and walkthroughs on the Internet. I love all of you. I hope you get to eat all the pizzas, pet all the dogs, and experience every happiness this world has to offer. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you. I never would have gotten this far without you.*

*Image does not belong to me. It’s a screenshot from SMT III Nocturne HD Remaster.

Memoirs of a Geek: Mario Kart Double Dash

Now unlike many middle-class late 90s early 2000s kids, I did not own any video game systems. There was the family PC and that was it. 

(The story behind that can be read here)

Instead, I mooched off of the consoles of friends and family. Luckily for me, my older cousins happened to have a GameCube with several Mario games. They were only a few years older than me and lived less than a half-hour car drive away. I visited them a lot. They became my second set of brothers. 

I’ll call the oldest Teach. He had always known he wanted to be a teacher. And that’s exactly what he did. He became a middle school teacher and he’s a principal now. I’ll call his brother Preach because he has a goal of entering seminary someday and becoming a pastor. Also, Teach and Preach rhyme and that will annoy them. Aren’t I such a good little sister?

When I was in late elementary (probably?) they were in middle school, they happened to get a new game, Mario Kart: Double Dash. They had already played it a little and they wanted to show me. Right from the start, I was completely hooked on Double Dash. 

The gameplay was good of course, but that’s not what kept me playing. It was competitiveness, pure and simple. I was having fun, but I wanted to win. Preach was as competitive as I was. He was not going to sit back and make it easy for me. 

Practically every time I went over to their place I was playing Mario Kart. I had to get good and I didn’t have the advantage of owning the game. So I practiced whenever I could. Eventually, it got to the point when playing against each other I could hold my own against both boys. 

At this point, Teach stopped caring about our competition. He was fine with playing the game for fun with others around his skill level. He didn’t care about being the “best”. Preach, on the other hand, absolutely wanted to keep his position as the top Double Dash player. He played the game sporadically to keep up his skills. He was the one to hold most (if not all) of the records. Preach wanted every single trophy to have his initials. 

Thus our competition went to the next level. Instead of individual races, we measured victory by who has the most trophies with their initials. We both would play various tracks over and over again to get the highest score and the best time. Whenever we took away the other’s trophies we made it a point to show them in a “Haha! In your face!” kind of way. 

Eventually, our shared obsession over Double Dash petered out. We never officially ended our competition. It’s more like we got distracted with other things and forgot about it. Funny enough, despite how important the competition was to us for a few months I don’t remember who ended up winning. If I’m honest it was probably Preach. He owned the system and spent more time playing than I did. 

The Mario Kart Double Dash competition became one of my favorite memories with them. Fittingly, over a decade later, when my husband and I visited my childhood home the spring after our wedding, Preach gave me his old GameCube and all the games for it. I still have it and use it today. 

*Image does not belong to me. Mario Kart Double Dash belongs to Nintendo

Petty Reviews: Subnautica

The ocean is scary! Too scary! Humans can’t survive in that environment. We need all of our scuba gear and submarines to spend any length of time down there. Anything and everything can potentially hurt you or poison you. We haven’t even finished mapping it out and figuring out what’s down there. For all we know, Cthulhu might be napping in the dark deep down. Humans don’t belong in the ocean!  

And an alien ocean is even worse! In Subnautica you are the only survivor of a crashed spaceship stranded on an alien ocean planet. Everything is weird! Anything could hurt you! You’re a tiny fragile human in a very scary completely unknown world. The whole situation is terrifying. I hated it so much. 

I don’t know why I played Subnautica. It was one of the WORST decisions I’ve ever made. I have never, NEVER, been more scared while playing a video game. Ugh… I hate the ocean. 

The first time I went swimming it was both pretty and panic-inducing. I had to figure out how to master the controls and what would hurt me. Then my faithful computer warned me about my remaining oxygen. Drowning was a whole new fear on top of the regular scary ocean fears! That was almost enough to make me quit right then. 

Still, I thought the game deserved a more thorough try. I got to the point where I was enjoying parts of the game. The environment biomes of Subnautica are well done and interesting to explore. Despite acting like a sniveling coward every time the sun went down, I was mostly okay. 

Until… the sand-sharks… stupid evil water gremlins.

This is a subnautica sand-shark. They’re all jerkwads.

I was an hour into the game. I was starting to get frustrated with how difficult it can be to figure out where to find the correct materials. When all of a sudden I saw a big chunk of wreckage from the Aurora (the spaceship). I started investigating to find supplies and blueprints. While scanning one of the fragments laying about, I heard a loud low pitched growling. Naturally I freaked out and got the heck out of there as fast as possible, all while screaming. It was not one of my finer moments. 

What made the whole thing worse was that I didn’t see anything! I only heard something mean and then nothing happened! Absolutely terrifying! Still I mustered up what little remained of my courage and decided to try again. Because I needed that fragment scanned, gosh darn it. 

I waited for a bit just in case but I didn’t see anything. So I went down again. Much more scared than the first time, but I was there. Then the same thing happened again! But this time I saw the sand-shark coming for me! After the second round of screaming and swimming away as fast as the sea-glide could go, I said “Screw this.” and turned the game off. 

I will not be playing Subnautica ever again. It’s too scary. The ocean is way too scary. I have learned if I was ever in the position of the protagonist in this game, I would die. I would die so fast. 

SMT Nocturne: First Impressions

Today is a good day! Not only is it a three-day weekend, SMT Nocturne Remastered released today! Ever since I’ve played Persona 5 I’ve been looking into other Atlus titles. Once I discovered that the Persona series is a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei games, I wanted to play the original SMT games. Despite looking for years I’ve never come across a PS2 copy of SMT III Nocturne. Naturally, when the remaster was announced I was excited. This is the game that many JRPG fans have high opinions on. It is supposedly one of the hardest JRPGs ever made. I don’t know if playing the remake instead of the original is enough to graduate from casual Persona fan to hardcore SMT veteran. I’ll let the rabid fans on Reddit and YouTube figure that out. 

I didn’t know much about the game going into it. All I knew was that you watch the apocalypse happen and then you wander about trying to figure out what’s going on. I would mark this as a spoiler, but I don’t think it qualifies since the apocalypse happens so soon once the game starts.

The other thing I knew going into it is that the game isn’t joking with the “Hard” difficulty. I’m not messing with that until I see what “Normal” is like. I did download the free Merciful setting just in case. However, I’m not a wimp. I won’t use that until absolutely necessary to save my sanity. 

So far I’m about two hours into Nocturne. I’ve completed the first dungeon and have explored some of the beginning areas so far. The combat hasn’t been truly difficult yet. To be fair, I have played other Persona and other mainline SMT games. Because of this, I’m already familiar with the press turn system, skill terminology, and how to abuse enemy weaknesses. There are many random encounters so it becomes a challenge of managing your party’s HP and MP. The menu system while functional is dated. I’m almost embarrassed at how long it took me to figure out how to talk to demons. (Only in SMT does that sentence make sense without sounding like a cultist.)  Still, while at times the random encounters do feel tedious, the combat itself is pretty fun. The auto mode speeds up fights with easy low-level demons. 

The best thing about this game is the overall tone and atmosphere. Unlike many games, the protagonist (insert name here) isn’t treated like he is special or a chosen one. He’s just sort of… there. Stuck in the middle of the most bizarre and horrible circumstances immaginable trying to survive. As the game starts he is going about his everyday life when he and his friends are caught up in events that they knew nothing about. With this setup, the player naturally feels as lost as the main character. Because I too, did not know what was going on or why things were happening. 

Characters you encounter while exploring are very interesting. Along with the remaining humans, you can talk to the souls of deceased humans and demons that are loitering about. The usefulness of their information varies, but they all have different personalities that make interacting with them entertaining. This also lends itself to the subtle story telling. These characters are now a part of this new world with no explanation. It immediately drives the point home that humanity was almost entirely wiped out with only a handful of survivors left. Now this world belongs to these demons. 

The cinematic of the end of the world was honestly unnerving. There wasn’t much sound or dramatic music. Only a few characters knew what was going to happen or had a suspicion that something was going to happen. The rest of the world had no idea and life was going on as normal. Everything ended without ceremony. This added to the surrealness of the cutscene of the apocalypse. It creates a strange mixture of both cosmic horror and the supernatural. Along with a somberness of the destruction of the old world. However, there is a sense of hope and determination of surviving against the odds and the possibility to create a new version of the world.  

As of right now, I’m really loving Nocturne. I can see why it’s so well loved in its niche. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the game has in store for me. 

*Image does not belong to me. It belongs to Atlus and was posted on Siliconera

Memoirs of a Geek: It Takes Two

If you haven’t heard of it, It Takes Two is an exclusively two-player game. My husband, Shaggy, and I are currently playing through the PS5 version of the game. We are most likely halfway through. I haven’t looked up any walkthroughs or spoilers so it’s only a guess. When we finish the game I’ll probably do a complete review of the game. For now, I wanted to write about two of the funniest moments in our playthrough. 

The story of the game is unique. You and a partner play as Cody and May, a married couple on the verge of a divorce. Their daughter Rose is understandably very upset at this and ends up wishing that her parents would “become friends again” (she’s little and doesn’t understand how marriage works yet) while tears fall onto dolls she made. For unexplained reasons, this causes the souls of both of her parents to possess the dolls. Now stuck as tiny dolls in a strange version of their home, Cody and May are forced to work together to find Rose and undo what happened. 

Gameplay-wise, it’s a pretty straightforward 3D platformer with simple controls for movement and jumping. Throughout the game, you acquire and lose various tools along the way. This keeps the gameplay varied in each stage. Each player relies on the other to use their skills to get past challenges and enemies. 

I’m playing as May. At one point in the game, she gets a hammer. One of the things I had to use it for was breaking glass bottles to clear our path. There was a bunch of them in one section. So I was gleefully swinging away, smashing everything, when I accidentally hit Shaggy. At first, I was mildly worried I accidentally killed him. 

Then his character, flat on the ground said this, “Just because it can’t kill me doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt May!”

“It was an accident!” – May

“Sure, it was…” Cody sarcastically muttered. 

We both laughed at it a little. I did tell Shaggy that I did not actually mean to hit him. He knew that and said that dialog had made it worth it. Naturally, I agreed, the dialog was funny and it made hitting him that much more fun.

The other memorable moment from our playthrough was when I freaked out Shaggy. At the time, he had a gun with three nails. He used this to shoot nails into the wall so I could swing off of them and to shoot platforms to keep them in place. During one of these sections, I had to jump my way through while Shaggy was pinning platforms in place. We got to one and as soon as we realized which platform he would have to shoot, I said “Okay” and wall-jumped off. He was not prepared for me to do that so fast. At the last possible moment, Shaggy got the platform in place just before I fell to my certain death. 

As soon as I landed on the platform Shaggy told me, “Geez, that was a freaking trust fall! Just believed I was going to make it in time huh?”

I told him, “What? I knew you would get it.” I was right he did. But I did say sorry for the short notice. 

It probably would have been funny to watch that happen. I mean, I was pretty amused at his reaction. Still, it made me feel happy that he caught me, especially since he framed it in the way he did. Looks like I picked the right person to play It Takes Two with. Perhaps it is a little silly, but that successful trust fall did give me the warm fuzzies for a few minutes. That was one of those moments where I thought, “Yeah, I married the right person.”

*Image does not belong to me. It belongs to the developers of It Takes Two.

Petty Review: Fallout 4

I’m a pretty chill person. Normally… You want to know the fastest way to make me lose my sanity? Insects and spiders. I swear seeing either one in MY HOME is enough to turn me into a frantic murder machine. I’m willing to use whatever it takes to destroy these tiny, villainous abominations who have the AUDACITY to trespass into my territory. I don’t know exactly what it is about them, but I hate them. Yes, I know they play an important part in the environment, but they can do that somewhere else. Far, FAR away. 

There is one game I will not play. I don’t care how many people like it. I won’t do it. I refuse. Fallout 4 and the rest of the Fallout series are games I will not play. Not because I have any particular issues with the gameplay or the narrative. No, it’s those giant irradiated monstrosities of insects! Those things are absolutely terrifying! 

I was just minding my own business, getting the laundry done, when I happened to see my husband playing Fallout 4 on the PS4. Seeing those things… I immediately reacted in horror. I said a lot of things, none of which I’m willing to write about online. There was no higher thought process occurring. It was a purely visceral reaction of horror, disgust, and “what are THOSE??!”. The answer to that question turned out to be giant mutated mosquitos and bees. Knowing what they were did not make it any better. In fact, that made it worse. The idea of bugs becoming THAT is absolutely terrifying. 

Naturally, my husband being the loving and supportive man he is, thought the whole thing was hilarious. 

After seeing those mini Lovecraftian terrors, I had no desire to ever play the game. Before I had heard good things about Fallout 4 and it was on my “to play” list. But once I saw the giant bugs, my entire reaction to the game was “Nope”. 

*Image doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the developers of Fallout 4.

Don’t Care Bear: Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc

Danganronpa is one of the most bizarre anime games I’ve ever played. The art style for the cutscenes is unique and adds to the surrealness of the experience. The story is intriguing. Right from the start of the game, it goes from 0 to 100 real quick. There are a ton of “what the heck” moments caused by both confusion and horror. Even for an anime game, it is weird. The best part of the game is the characters. They aren’t exactly realistic characters, but they are dynamic and memorable. The player gets invested so easily because of how engaging these characters are. This is what makes Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc such an unforgettable experience.   


Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc (PS4): ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

I highly recommend this game. The story and the characters create a truly phenomenal experience. 

Dangonronpa is rated M, so while it may look like a happy school-life visual novel, it is not. There are a lot of gruesome moments. You have been warned. 

It’s hard to capture the vibrant weirdness of this game in a review. Several factors mesh together to create a vibe of ridiculous anime awesomeness. The music is intense, immediately recognizable, and creates the perfect emotional background to what’s occurring. The character design is fantastic. All of the characters have unique personalities, designs, and reactions. When cutscenes begin art styles shift abruptly. This adds even more drama. The gameplay is most definitely dated and at times frustrating, but this adds to the experience. Danganronpa is a great game because of its weirdness, insane story, and memorable characters.

You would like this game if

  • Like watching anime
  • Own a PSP or PS Vita and want to actually use them 
  • Enjoy wacky characters
  • Want a visual novel that’s not about the romance
  • Think murder mysteries are fun 


There is a school called Hope’s Peak Academy. At this school only the very best are admitted. It doesn’t matter what skill it is, so long as you are the best. There is one exception, every year a lottery is held. The winner can attend Hope’s Peak Academy as the Ultimate Lucky Student. 

The protagonist of this game is Makoto Naegi, the Ultimate Lucky Student of the 78th class of Hope’s Peak Academy. He goes to school early on his first day. The next thing he is aware of is waking up in a classroom without remembering how he got there. He soon realizes something is wrong when he sees giant, heavy metal plates bolted to the wall covering up windows. Once he leaves the classroom he finds a group of fourteen people standing in front of a sealed entrance. After talking to them, it becomes apparent that these people are Makoto’s new classmates. They are in the same position as him, they don’t remember how they got there or why. 

This is when a strange talking bear named Monokuma shows up. He claims to be the headmaster of the school. Monokuma tells them that this place is, in fact, Hope’s Peak Academy and that they are to spend the rest of their lives here. Naturally, everyone is upset at this news. Which causes Monokuma to elaborate on the rules. There is a way to “graduate” and earn the right to leave the school. If someone murders someone else they will no longer be allowed to stay. Once this happens, an investigation and a class trial will commence determining who the murderer (the “blackened”) is. During the class trial, if the correct person is identified as the “blackened” then they will be executed. Then the rest of the students can return to their communal life at the academy. If they convict the wrong person, then the “blackened” gets to go free while all of the other students are executed.  

Now Makoto must try to survive while attempting to solve the many mysteries of Hope’s Peak Academy. 


Danganronpa, for the most part, operates as a visual novel. It’s always in first-person view. You explore rooms by panning the camera and selecting items to examine and people to talk to. When you leave rooms you can freely roam the halls to navigate to different areas of Hope’s Peak Academy. You have an electronic handbook that serves as the menu system. The most important thing to remember is to use the map. The map can be used to fast-travel and to see where all of the other students are. 

There are story sections where you can only scroll through dialog and can’t control what’s happening. However, you will have several days in between events called “Free Time”. During this time you can choose to hang out with the other characters. You can even give them a present after hanging out with them. The dialog options you choose can increase or decrease their opinion of you. As you become better friends with your classmates you unlock more of their information in the handbook and it will unlock abilities that make class trials easier. 

Spoiler alert, I guess. Class trials do happen, meaning characters are going to die. That’s all the non-gameplay details you’ll get from me. The story and characters are the best part of the game and I don’t want to spoil it. 

Once a body is found an investigation is started to collect evidence. During the investigation, you interview classmates to figure out their alibis and what other information they may know. You also scan through multiple rooms to find evidence. The handbook is very helpful during the investigation because rooms that need to be investigated will be marked with an exclamation point. 

The class trials function as a giant group debate. People present evidence and make statements, assumptions, and ultimately conclusions based on the evidence found during the investigation. This happens as a mini-game. Everyone’s dialog will be moving across the screen. The evidence you gathered during the investigation becomes “truth bullets” that you use to shoot down the incorrect statements made by the others. You have to use the correct evidence with the correct statement to continue the trial. If you get it wrong too many times, game over and you will have to do the trial again from the beginning. 

There are also other minigames as a part of the class trials. They will be added in as time goes and the rules will always be explained before you start. One is a spelling game where you shoot the letters to fill in the missing blanks. I don’t know why it’s important to know how to spell “knife” to present it as evidence. Best not to question it. Then there is a rhythm game. My best guess, the purpose is to make people shut up by throwing off their groove. At the end of the trial, you will build your “closing argument” by placing the missing pictures in the comic book that sums up the events. It’s trickier than it sounds because there are more pictures than there are empty panels, and which picture is the right picture is unclear at times.  

Worst Parts

  • I like the minigames of the class trials and all, but they could get annoying sometimes. 
  • Getting the perfect present for someone only for them to die off. What am I supposed to do with this now? The perfect person is dead now. 
  • The game treats you like an idiot by repeating information multiple times. I am not a child, I am paying attention, you don’t have to tell me the same thing five times within ten minutes. 
  • I wish there had been more voice acting. I get that they had limitations when the game was first released and couldn’t have voice acting for every line. It still would have been nice as when the voice actors did a fantastic job. 

Best Parts

  • Telling people they’re wrong in the class trials. It’s just so much fun to dramatically destroy their arguments. 
  • The story is intriguing right from the start and it’s easy to get invested in figuring out why things are happening. 
  • All of the characters had so much personality to them. Admittedly, they were somewhat exaggerated and trope-heavy at times. Instead of breaking the immersion by being unrealistic, it made them fit in with the over the top, anime weirdness. They also got further character development throughout the events of the game. The Danganronpa characters are all unique and memorable. 
  • Hot pink blood. I know the developers did this to prevent the game rating from going higher than “M” but it adds to the surrealness of the art. 
  • The big plot twist at the end. I won’t spoil anything, but the mastermind is one of my all-time favorite video game villains. 
  • There’s a lot of shocking moments throughout the game. I appreciate that as it’s not easy to surprise me multiple times in a story.
  • When the dialog was good, it was fantastic! 
  • I really like the music in the game. It’s especially cool to see the audio equalizer in the corner. 

*Image does not belong to me. It belongs to the creators of Danganronpa.

Memoirs of a Geek: Nancy Drew Games

Out of all the games I played as a kid, Nancy Drew games were the most challenging ones. Not because of the gameplay challenges, no it was those gosh dang puzzles. Sometimes the puzzles and minigames would be fairly straightforward. It might take a few tries before I got it, but it was usually possible to solve the puzzle or beat the game. 

However, it seemed like in every Nancy Drew game I played at some point I would eventually reach the Nope Wall. Now the Nope Wall had different forms in each game. It was puzzle minigames that I could not beat or figure out no matter how many times I attempted it. Other times it was the simple problem of not knowing how to progress the story. On the rare occasion, it was even dying repeatedly due to my own stupidity or the blatant unfairness of the game. 

I’m not here to tell you about how hard these games could get or how ragey I could get while playing. I’ll save that for a Petty Review. Instead today, I’ll tell you about the one and only time I encountered The Nope Wall while playing one of these games and I got past it. After many attempts, I had finally beaten a Nancy Drew game!

My Nancy Drew phase was during late elementary/young middle school. At the time I wasn’t as patient as I am now. Though, even now describing myself as patient seems too generous. Still, I was definitely worse as a kid. I was, however, very stubborn. That stubbornness is what made me able to beat the game.  

The one I completed was Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek. It’s been so many years but I remember those two puzzles in particular that made me almost quit the game. The first one was basically Minesweeper on ice. Naturally, if you got it wrong you would fall through the ice and die. It took many (so many) attempts before I got it right. Each time I failed it reset the locations of the thin ice so I actually had to take my time and not make hasty decisions. 

The second puzzle that almost made me quit I don’t remember as well. It was a puzzle about connecting pipes (I think). Unlike the first, it was not randomly generated. For whatever reason, I had a hard time figuring it out. Eventually, it got to a point when I was finally willing to sacrifice my pride and look up a walkthrough. Which naturally, having the answers in front of me made the puzzle pretty easy. 

Beating the game was one of the most euphoric victories. Not only did I beat the game, but I had also finally succeeded at beating one of the games in the Nancy Drew series. The White Wolf of Icicle Creek was the fourth game in this series that I played. It took me four games before I finally beat one. More than the momentary victory, this was the first game I beat using a walkthrough. It made me realize that while I don’t like resorting to walkthroughs, there’s nothing wrong with using them. The most important part of playing video games is that you enjoy them. There’s no right or wrong way to play a game.

*Image does not belong to me, it belongs to Her Interactive.

Pokémon Snap Chat

After the long, long, loooong, wait the shiny new Pokémon Snap was released last week! I wanted to talk about what I like about my first impressions of the upgraded Switch version. To be truly accurate, I played the old Nintendo 64 game right before the new one. I meant to write and post this last week… But I got too wrapped up playing Pokémon Snap to notice that I wasted all my writing time with video games. Sorry about that! Sometimes I’m a responsible adult, other times, not so much. Guess that itself speaks to how much fun it was if I completely lost track of time. 

There’s something fun in the simple goal of taking pictures of wild pokémon. Unlike most video games I play, it’s a very chill experience. Seeing the environments and how the pokémon act is cool. It makes you feel like a kid at the zoo, but with the fun of pokémon. This is true with both the N64 and the Switch versions of Pokémon Snap. Yet the new game has many drastic improvements. 

The most obvious upgrade is the graphics. Everything looks smoother with much more detail in the environment. The pokémon are surprisingly just as recognizable in both versions of Pokémon Snap. They are designed to be that way I suppose. However, they look much better and show more emotion on the Switch Pokémon Snap. As the original Pokémon Snap was for the N64, naturally the graphics are better than those from the age of 3D polygons. 

There are less obvious improvements to the gameplay that aren’t apparent to those who haven’t had the chance to play the first game. In the Switch version, you can change the speed of the camera and the reticle. This doesn’t sound like an important change but believe me, it is. In the N64 game, you moved so slow! It was easy to miss something and hard to aim the camera where you wanted in time. Lucky for us, the developers added the ability to choose the speed that feels the most comfortable. 

The levels themselves don’t remain static. By repeating the stages of each location you can increase the level of that area. When this happens more pokémon show up and the pokémon that are already there behave differently. It keeps things interesting and creates a reason to keep playing. This isn’t the case for the N64 Pokémon Snap. The levels remained the same. Eventually, as you learn the levels and get the needed tools you can trigger events. Despite this, the levels and the pokémon never changed. 

There are things that the new Pokémon Snap could have done better. Most of my issues with the Switch Pokémon Snap are nitpicky annoyances (I’ll save those for a review). Except for the lack of voice acting. That was honestly a big disappointment. I’m not asking for an Emmy-level performance, however, both Game Freak and Nintendo have the money to add voice acting for the entire game. The fact that they didn’t was just lazy.  

All in all, Pokémon Snap was a really fun and relaxing game. It was fun to see the pokémon run around and made me feel like a kid for a few hours. Throwing fruit at pokémon and snapping pictures of their shocked and angry faces was a blast! It’s the best way to play the game trust me. 

*Image does not belong to me, it belongs to Pokémon Snap.

Memoirs of a Geek: Gaming with Dad

My dad does not care about video games at all. It’s not something he enjoys. He’s not interested in any of my nerd hobbies. Which is okay. Anime, video games, cartoons, sci-fi/fantasy movies/tv, Dungeons & Dragons, and things like these aren’t for everyone. 

That’s why I always remember the first and last time Dad ever played video games with me. I was a lot younger, probably around 5th grade or so, when I was playing The Emperor’s New Groove, the video game on PC. The Emperor’s New Groove game is the video game version of the movie. It was one of my favorite games as a kid. The humor is top-notch, just like the movie. 

Unfortunately, there was one super hard level. *Spoilers for a scene in a movie everyone should have seen by now* In The Emperor’s New Groove, there is a scene of Kuzco running for his life from a group of panthers eager to eat him. The video game version of this scene was stupid hard. To beat the level you had to constantly mash the spacebar to continually sprint while jumping and navigating around obstacles. For whatever reason, I could not manage furiously button mashing while controlling where I was going. I had tried to beat it so many times! I even tried changing the keyboard controls but nothing worked. 

After several rage quits and a couple of frustration cries, I had all but given up entirely. Until I realized that nowhere in the rules did it say that I had to do it alone. I couldn’t ask Mom for help, she pretty much hated all non-educational video games. My only option was Dad. He might not like video games, but at least he didn’t hate them. Still, I was a bit nervous to ask for help. I didn’t think he would actually do it. 

Dad proved me wrong. He listened while I explained the situation. Not that my explanation helped much, I’m pretty sure he was befuddled the entire time. Despite his lack of interest, he was willing to be the person to button mash while I did the harder part of navigating. It took us four or five tries to get it right, but we did it! With his help, I beat the level. After all that time, I spent trying to get past this to continue with the game I finally won! Dad didn’t understand why I was so excited but he told me he was glad he could help out. 

This was such a long time ago. Yet I still remember everything very clearly. I remember how frustrated I was trying and failing time and time again. I remember how awkward it was to ask Dad for help. Then finally I remember how happy I was to beat the level. Playing with him had been fun. For one moment I could finally participate in a hobby I loved with him. It was the only time we ever played video games together. He may not have cared about video games, but he helped me because I had asked. Most likely, Dad has forgotten all about this. To him, it was just one of many instances when his daughter asked for help with something, but to me, it was more than that.