2016 Wrap-Up and 2017 Plans

I hadn’t planned on writing a 2016 wrap-up post or a plans for 2017 post, but here we are. I’m not going to review every month of last year instead I want to hit some of the highlights throughout the year that are both life and gaming related.

March

During March I finished off my classes for my Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology. It felt really good to be done, but this achievement didn’t feel capped off until the commencement ceremony in June.

April

I didn’t play many single player games in 2016, two to be exact, but in April I played Papo & Yo and absolutely loved it. I was saving this game until I knew I would have time to play it in only one or two sessions. While I had planned to write an impressions post of the game I never got around to it. If you happen to have this game sitting around I definitely recommend you give it a play through. It took me 4-5 hours to complete the game. If you are going to play Papo & Yo, come for the story and the experience. The story revolves around some heavy topics such as addiction and its effects on relationships and tends to pull at the heartstrings.20160427131758_1

July

Early in July, I received an unexpected e-mail from a former professor offering me a position in her lab if I was still interested. I jumped at the chance. Back in March of 2015, I had contacted this same professor about working in her lab, but at the time she had no available positions. So in late July I started working with one of her graduate students.

August

August was interesting. I was at a church picnic and was running after a frisbee when suddenly I found myself on the ground. I thought I had run into the chair of someone nearby, but when I sat up I saw that I had broken my leg (specifically my left tibia and fibula). My first priority was making sure my sister took a picture of it for me.

If you’re curious what the break looked like and don’t get queasy when it comes to injuries do a search for the French Gymnast that broke his leg during the Summer 2016 Olympics and you’ll have a pretty good idea of my break.

I had surgery about a week later. Titanium ftw!

September/October

By early-mid October I was out of my boot, back in a normal shoe, and walking without crutches. And by mid-late October I returned back to work. I can’t describe how thankful I am for quick healing, a supportive family, and an understanding boss.

If we rewind a little bit, at the end of September I started gaming more regularly and was able to finish up the Guild Wars 2 personal story by mid-October. Had lots of spare time as I was recovering, didn’t take full advantage of the time, but at least I got that done.

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November

During November I had my last x-ray and final doctor’s appointment. I also completed Beneath a Steel Sky the 1994 point-and-click adventure game from Revolution Software. I don’t have much experience with point-and-click adventure games from this era, so it took me some time to get used to things, but overall I enjoyed my time with the game.

Leftovers: A few things that don’t necessarily fall within a specific month.

Back in May, I posted that I was going to start playing DCUO, and I did. I played it on and off, and while I enjoyed my time playing, the past three times I have played I have been getting a lot of lag and weird performance issues. So, for now, I am going to set DCUO aside and hopefully come back to it in the future.

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Something I have played more than I expected this year especially the last few weeks is Paladins. In November I jumped in after not having played for some time and found that the game felt much improved from my previous time playing it.

2017 Plans

A few of my goals for 2017.

  • Focus and simplify.
  • Slow down. Be deliberate with my time.
  • Get digitally and physically organized.
  • Draw. Draw a lot.
  • Read. I’ve got a stack of books that have been waiting a few years to be read.
  • Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Research potential Graduate Schools.
  • Apply to Graduate School.
  • Complete Guild Wars 2 Story Content (Living World Season 2 and Heart of Thorns)/Catch-up to current Living World Season 3 content.
  • Get through more sinlge player games and MMOs.
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Took Me Long Enough

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Well, after many sporadic play sessions since February of 2013 I finally reached level 80 on my only Guild Wars 2 character.

Next steps, defeat Zhaitan and then move on to the Living Story, Heart of Thorns, and more Living Story.

 

NBI 2016: Gaming with Grandparents

NBI 2016: Writing Prompt- Week 1

It never really struck me as odd— my papaw and I playing SNES together, we were just two people enjoying Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Kart. Now I realize how fortunate I was to get a chance to game with not one, but eventually both of my grandparents.

I don’t have many singular memories that I can pick out pertaining to gaming with my papaw, except one particularly strong memory, but it involves sneezing…so I will spare you the details. What I do remember is that even though gaming wasn’t one of his main hobbies, he enjoyed sitting down with my sister and I to play some Mario, and we really enjoyed playing Mario with him. Although he was in his eighties and he didn’t grow up with video games he had a lot of fun playing them. I assume he must have bought the SNES but I have no idea how he convinced my mamaw. As far as I know she had no interest in video games or most new technology at the time, and I can’t recall a time she ever picked up a controller and played some Mario with us.

With the introduction of the Wii and Wii Sports, I saw the first opportunity in years to get my mother and my mamaw to play video games. Once we got past the creation of their Miis, as well as the hesitation and resistance towards playing a video game my sister and I started a game of bowling. Bowling on the Wii soon became a tradition. Every time my mamaw would come over for a special occasion and after we ate a meal we would all bowl together. Not only did my mom and mamaw both really enjoy bowling on the Wii, becoming quite competitive at times, it also afforded them the opportunity to engage in an activity neither of them had for quite some time due to its physical demands.

The fun I had gaming with my papaw and mamaw is something that I will hold on to and cherish. It’s a reminder that once we hit a certain age we don’t have to stop gaming, and how special gaming with people you care for can be.

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What does it take to scratch that gaming itch?

Blaugust Day 19

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I’ve always been a casual gamer, but my gaming habits have changed over time as life has become busier and I’ve transitioned from varying levels of education.

This past year I have been especially discontent with the amount of gaming I’ve done. Most of the time it was: load up something every few weeks, play a little, and then go a few weeks with nothing. Sometime between April and June this year I asked myself “How much time do I need to put in, and what do I need to get done to feel like I’ve scratched that gaming itch?”

It turns out not very much. So between April and June my gaming schedule, for the most part, looked like the following:

Step 1: Log in to Marvel Heroes. Claim daily login reward. Exit game.

Step 2: Log in to Guild Wars 2. Claim daily login reward. Run around and take some screenshots. Exit game.

Step 3: Log in to RuneScape. Use daily keys on Treasure Hunter chests. Exit game.

And that’s what my gaming schedule looked like most days. There were some exceptions. Some days I got carried away taking screenshots in Guild Wars 2 or I battled with my inventory and bank space in Marvel Heroes. And a few times I did Penguin Hide and Seek- I’ll have to talk about penguins in RuneScape sometime. All you need to know right now is that there is an organization of penguins known as the Killer Gentoo Penguins (KGP) and they’re on a mission to destroy humans and control the world. And occasionally I would get a good hour or more in one game or the other, but not very often.

duck-435659_1920So far this summer my gaming habits have looked pretty similar to what they were in June. I surprised myself when I realized how little gaming (if we can even call it that, I’ll save that discussion for another day) it takes to scratch that itch. But for now I’m pretty content logging in, do something really quick, logging out, and saving those longer gaming sessions for another day. There are days where I dream about playing for hours, because sometimes we all need to just sit down and get lost in these virtual worlds. And those days do come around here and there, and last just long enough to hold me over until next time.

Maybe I’m just content with an inconsistent gaming schedule/habits instead of very little gaming.

Let’s make this a writing prompt, or just let me know in the comments.

What does it take for you to scratch that gaming itch?

worded another way…

What does it take for you to be content with your gaming schedule/habits?

or how about another way…

How much time do you need to put in, and what do you need to get done to feel like you’ve scratched that gaming itch?

Word it however you like. I’m really curious to see what other people say.


Blaugust Initiative Page

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The Gamer To-Do List

Blaugust Day 12

The Gamer To-Do List

This is inspired by Izlain over at Me vs Myself and I and Chestnut over at Gamer Girl Confessions. They both put together to-do lists of what they want to get done in a variety of games, and while I haven’t done a lot of gaming this summer maybe a few goals will give me that extra push.

I am going to try and keep what I want to get done very manageable, and if I happen to get everything done then I will will update the list accordingly.

RuneScape
  • Level Cooking to 92
  • Try Player-Owned Ports: a minigame where you manage and send out a fleet of ships.
  • Try Dominion Tower: a minigame where you can re-fight bosses from quests you have completed.
Guild Wars 2
  • Complete Part V of the Personal Story
  • Map Completion: Gendarran Fields
  • Reach level 60

This month I would also like to try out Star Wars: The Old Republic. I don’t know for sure if it will happen, mostly because when I try Swtor I would like to be able to dedicate at least 1-2 hours to my first play session. When I start playing a new game I much prefer to start with a longer play session than a short one. If there is story I have more time to get hooked in the beginning and I find I am much more likely to remember my first time in a game when I can dedicate at least an hour.

Yesterday, when I put together my non-gaming goals I forgot quite possibly the most important one which is to write up my blog posts prior to 10 or 11pm. I’ve fell into this nasty habit of not writing my blog posts until after 10pm and not publishing until almost midnight. I don’t recommend it. And I don’t like feeling that self-imposed deadline to be done before midnight so I have my post out for the day. Nevertheless, this schedule has gotten me this far so maybe it’s not all bad.

If you’ve come this far and still haven’t checked out Me vs Myself and I and Gamer Girl Confessions you should.

Trove First Impressions: Part II

Blaugust Day 6

Trove First Impressions: Part I

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One of the first things I came upon after I started exploring was a small dungeon where a Golden Scarab resided. As you approach one of these small dungeons an objective will pop up in the right hand corner of your screen telling you to slay whatever is contained in that dungeon. During my time exploring I ran into the Golden Scarab, a Fungal King, and a Dire Wasp. The Dire Wasp was actually in a more open area below some structures resembling honeycombs compared to the Golden Scarab and Fungal King which were in slightly more cramped spaces. From each, I received a weapon and a hat or mask. One of the hats I received was known as a “Ripening Compost Cap”. The description for the hat included the designer of the hat, and I assume this was a player. I had completely forgotten that Trove allowed player creations like this, and I particularly like that they can be distributed to other players via drops.

Birdo Trove First Impressions
Birdo

When I was fighting I had a bad habit of hitting Q. I was trying to strafe (I blame Guild Wars 2), but instead consumed multiple Elysian Flasks which are used to restore 40% of health on use.

Combat for the Candy Barbarian felt a bit sluggish when only performing the basic attack, but occasionally when attacked the Candy Barbarian will drop rage-inducing Gum Drops which increase attack and movement speed. During those moments combat felt pretty good. I could also tolerate the sluggish basic attack because the accompanying sound effect reminded me of a Birdo when it launches an egg.

If I had to be nitpicky about anything during my short time playing Trove it would have to be the UI. The UI doesn’t quite match the feeling I get from the world of Trove. It’s a little bland and I guess just not as fun as the world it’s pasted on top of.

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Trove and plan to return in the future.

My play session ended with me happening upon a cornerstone, where I decided to take a rest among the dancing fireflies and watch as the colors of the sky changed.

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Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

Trove First Impressions: Part I

Blaugust Day 5

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This summer has been interesting in that I have been doing very little gaming. I keep telling myself I don’t have any time to get in a good play session, so instead I jump into a couple games for daily login rewards jump out and call it a day. I tell myself I don’t have time for this or that, when most of the time, I’m just not making the time.

So, on Monday before I dove into my feedly to catch-up with Blaugust I forced myself to take 20-30 minutes and actually play a game. Trove, like Star Wars: The Old Republic, is something I have been meaning to play. I’ve kept it updated for awhile but just haven’t taken the time to give it a try.

After being welcomed by some charming music as I waited for the game to load I was presented with a choice between 9 different classes with names like Pirate Captain, Neon Ninja, and Candy Barbarian to name a few. Having done no previous research I elected for the Candy Barbarian and was dropped into the game.

First thing I did was open up the control settings to find out how to turn on and off the UI, because screenshots. Once that very important step was taken care of I paused to take in the colorful world of Trove. The clouds immediately caught my eye. I have’t pinpointed exactly why yet, but I love the clouds in Trove.

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The next thing I noticed was a small cube with a mustache. Turns out the cube’s name is Qubesly, and he is your cubic butler. His purpose is still a mystery to me besides featuring in a tip screen, which I just noticed as I write this post. Although it was nice to have a little companion with me as I traveled.

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After defeating the tutorial boss I was sent to the Hub world and was immediately directed toward the Novice world. The Novice world was where I spent most of my play time. When I got to the Novice world my objective was to claim a cornerstone which would act as a persistent home that would travel with me between worlds. Since I knew I only wanted to play for a short time that day I decided I didn’t want to commit to anything and chose to go off and explore.

To be continued…

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook