Mother's Day and Second Dose Vaccine Side Effects

Obviously Mother's Day was yesterday. Grammy came over and we had Subway sandwiches for lunch. Then we talked some. My mom showed off her photos of her tennis team's second place win. They got a trophy for good sportsmanship. And so there was a photo of my mom holding the trophy. Pretty cool. Then we spent some time outside where my parents got into a sort of argument with Grammy because of confusion over a street/trail. Hard to explain that one. Then we went back inside and exchanged gifts and cards. I got my mom some bath bombs, which she really appreciated. I knew she'd like them. :) I also got her the prettiest card I could find too, even though I wasn't 100% satisfied with the message inside, but it was still fine. My dad and I had gone to the store beforehand to pick out a cake, but as usual my dad was irritating me with his pushiness. They didn't have much at the store. That's what you get for waiting until the last minute. I wanted to look around more, but my dad wouldn't let me. He just settled on a cake I wasn't completely satisfied with. There were sugar bits on top, and I didn't think my mom would like that. I was wrong. And the cake was actually good, so everything turned out all right in the end.

Then we played a round of Skip-Bo and talked some more about American Idol. That's the reason we did a lunch thing instead of dinner because it was on at 5pm live from coast to coast, which I find annoying. Yes, I watch the show. It can make you mad though because I don't know what the people at home voting are thinking when they send certain people through. That's kind of the reason I stopped watching a while back, but decided to tune in again after they brought the show back on ABC. They've had incredible singers this season and let some incredible ones go too. I just try to tell myself it's not often the winner that gets the most success. Look at Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert for example. Anyway that's my guilty sin show I watch lol. It was a pretty nice Mother's Day. My brother didn't come because he was sick. Not COVID fortunately, he was tested, and it was negative. He's going to stop by some time probably this week.

I also thought I'd share the side effects I got from the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I got the shot on Friday. I just had a slightly sore arm at first, similar to the first shot, but actually even less so. Then when I went to bed that night I started having full body aches. This happened around the twelve hour mark, which I've often heard from people that's when their side effects kicked in. At first I was wondering if they were really real or just psychosomatic, but then the pain increased and yeah definitely real. Muscle pain practically all over my body. My arms hurt, the back of my legs, back, side, and even my feet hurt. It was really uncomfortable and painful and I couldn't sleep as a result. It felt like someone had beaten me up with a stick. I didn't take anything because the woman who gave me the shot told me not to take anything for 24 hours. Eventually I gave in at 23 hours. :P I also woke up from a dream suddenly at 6am, and felt really hot, so I probably got a fever too, but it went away quickly. I'd say like within ten minutes, so that was weird. The next day, Saturday, I still felt achey, mostly in the lower half of my body. Mainly my back and the back of my legs. Felt like I was kicked in the back. And so it was then I gave in and took Tylenol after lunch. By Sunday (yesterday), the side effects were gone. So a rough night, and slightly rough following day. That was it. It did hit me hard, but I think I've heard other people have it worse, and again it wasn't super horrible. One night of insomnia is not too bad I guess. :P And soon I will be fully vaccinated. So looking forward to doing more of the things I once enjoyed again. I know it's going to still take a while for things to be back to the way they were again (as in no more masks, no more physical distancing), but at least I don't have to worry so much anymore.

Now I'm going to have to deal with something more tragic soon, but I really don't want to talk about it or think about it right now. So, I'll have to get back to you on that. *sigh* :'(

Mutazione and Got My First Vaccination!

I finished Mutazione. I wasn't sure how to pronounce the title of this game, but apparently it's Italian for "Mutation," so that's probably how it's pronounced. But turns out the developers are Danish. I was trying to figure out what kind of setting this game was, but I couldn't wrap my head around it. Anyway, it centers around a teenage girl named Kai. She's sent by her mom to visit her grandfather who is very ill. Her grandfather lives on an island that is cut off from the mainland because well a comet struck there a while ago, which changed things. It caused mutations to the land and its inhabitants. And of course probably mostly because of xenophobia, no one wants to travel there. Kai is tasked with trying to help her grandfather and eventually restoring balance to the island itself due to a past tragedy her grandfather had something to do with. Kai only stays for a week, but gets to know and grow close to the people who live there and planting gardens bringing harmony to the island.

This game was fine. I think 4.5 stars on Adventure Gamers is a bit high of a score for this, only because there is not much gameplay. You're mainly just interacting with the characters. And they are likeable. My favorite was Miu (the cat lady :P) and what I call the little hot dog creatures (they look like hot dogs) who were always trying to come up with the next greatest marketing opportunity. Yeah, this game is weird. Cat people, green giants, fungi, unusual plants. The only other thing you do is the gardening, which was interesting. You plant a total of seven gardens and they each reflect a different mood. For example, melancholia, creepy, or wanderlust. And so you have to plant the right kind of plants that reflect those moods. It's very easy to do and you collect the plants around the island. Then you have a drum to play that makes the plants grow as if by magic. The game ends shortly after you plant the last garden. And there are a few freaky spiritual journeys too. There's no voice acting. The characters make sounds that sound recognizable like the typing of keys or strumming strings. I could tell they were homemade sounds. So, cool I guess.

I liked the game well enough, but there is not that much to it besides talking to the characters and planting gardens. You have a journal that tells you exactly what to do, so there's no challenge here. I wanted more from this game. It reminded me much of Night in the Woods, which I think is a better game. I reiterate that I liked it however, it's still a nice diversion from the chaos of life. So it does make for a good pandemic game. Here's a screenshot. This is basically like the center of the town.



Now I've started The Pillars of the Earth, which is based on the book by the same name by Ken Follett. I kind of want to read that book someday, but I have said that about many books. :P I don't usually watch/play adaptations before reading the book, unless I already decided I'm not going to read it. I'm just making an exception here, and I'm OK with that. The story is about building a cathedral and that's about as much as I know about it. I have played the prologue so far, and it's off to a good start. I think this may be the last adventureish game Daedalic ever made, but I could be wrong. Edit: Looked them up and it looks like there's another they made after this, so I'll have to look into it. But otherwise I think their days of making adventure games are done, which makes me sad because they made some great games.

Also I don't know if I mentioned it before but I got my first vaccine dose! Yeah! It was a week ago today. It's weird because I kept searching online and refreshing for an appointment to pop up, and my parents were able to get me one. I don't know what magic trick they pulled because I couldn't find anything. I got it at the grocery store. A grocery store that is well stocked with food I might add, compared to our store we shop at regularly. So, might have to visit that one more often. :P But as far as the vaccine goes, it was a quick process. They used the cafe seating area in the grocery store. I sat on the chair and got the shot in front of everyone. I only got a bit of a sore arm an hour or two later and the next day. That was it. I heard about people getting worse side effects from the first shot if they had COVID already. So, I guess maybe I didn't have COVID in Feb 2020, and the illness from hell was the flu instead. But I'll never know. I know that the second dose can pack a punch especially for younger people, so that has me kind of nervous, but at least I know it will be temporary, and it's way better than getting COVID. I got the Pfizer vaccine, which is the same one Grammy and my parents got. I go back for the second dose on May 7th. I have no idea if my brother's gotten the vaccine yet, but he really needs to if he hasn't yet. :/

Doctor Who: Lonely Assassins and Probably Leaving MJJC

I finished Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins yesterday. Surprise surprise this game was actually a sequel to "Blink," so that was really cool. You find the cell phone of Lawrence who has gone missing. We learn that Sally Sparrow moved to America and left the shop to him and his wife. So you're looking through his phone to try to find clues about his disappearance. Meanwhile, Osgood contacts you and sends you information through text. I really liked how interactive this game was, making you part of the story. It feels like you get to be a part of a Doctor Who episode as a character in the story. I loved that. It's even more fun when you know about the show, not only because there are easter eggs here and there for fans, but it makes for funny conversations with Osgood when you say things like you know about UNIT, and it shocks her lol. Besides going through the photos, chats, and emails, there are a few puzzles. Most of them are easy, like putting jigsaw pieces together and fighting back against a Weeping Angel in the phone, which is causing a lot of glitches. An image of an Angel becomes an Angel. Makes for an added creepy factor. Especially when you feel like you have to keep looking at it or it will get you. There was one puzzle that was more involved and you really had to look more deeply into the information, and hope you found what you were looking for to add it to the "find a missing person" website. I had to actually look up the answer to that one. I was entering info for Lawrence when I needed to be entering the info for his wife. That was the puzzle that had a little "challenge" to it. The rest were easy peasy, but I didn't mind that. The whole experience made it worthwhile.

I guess if I had to give a couple criticisms, I'd say the game was too short. I wanted more. I hope they make another one of these games. And what happened to Lawrence was left unresolved, which I felt was disappointing. I did get a message from the Doctor though at the end addressed to me, which made my day. :P There were actually signs of the Doctor I was supposed to find too, but I guess I didn't find them all. The end of the game tells you which puzzles were a success and which were failures. I did fail one other puzzle apparently, but I can't remember what it was. Something to do with the Angels. Despite the shortness, I thought the game was great. Loved being a part of it, and loved having Osgood back again. I'd say a non-fan could play this game too, but you might miss out on some of the context. Have a screenshot. There are a few clips in the game and this one is of Osgood in the Angel infested Wester Drumlins (also a location from "Blink"). I thought about putting a screenshot of a Weeping Angel, but I don't want to be held responsible for the carnage that could incur.



Next I'm going to play a game called Mutazione. I don't know anything about it, but I do know it has a high rating on Adventure Gamers, so here's hoping it lives up to it.

There was one more thing I wanted to talk about. I doubt anyone is going to understand this or care or know the drama, but that doesn't matter. I just wanted to get this off my chest. I'm probably going to leave MJJC, starting today. It's something I've been thinking about for a while. The forum is just not what it used to be. Most of the time I skim the posts there and it seems like Michael's estate doesn't really care anymore about putting out content that is worthwhile. And so the forum gets pretty barren because there is not much to talk about anymore. I mostly wanted to stick around to see what the outcome of the Wade Robson case is going to be. It looks like it's going to be dismissed anyway, but that was not the tipping point for me when it comes to leaving the forum.

MJJC just isn't what it used to be. It used to be a great place to be at least when I first joined after Michael's death. I'm sure it was good before then too. But increasingly it would get hostile at times, especially when the Cascio tracks fiasco took place. I never really liked the owner too much because I think he has a real attitude problem, and tends to react emotionally. The ban hammer came down a lot around that time. A lot of people left and never came back, including some of my friends. I stuck around though because I didn't really want to leave. Eventually things calmed down, but my opinion of the place soured a bit. Maybe I should have left then too. I don't know.

Now days, MJJC is kind of a shell of what it used to be. They rely on donors now to keep the site alive, so I honestly don't think it's going to survive that much longer. I already was going to change the way I engage with the site, by just viewing it on my phone because it's quicker to go through. I rarely ever post anymore because there's nothing really worth talking about. What was the final straw for me, that has pushed me to leave though is the treatment of a certain individual. She has intellectual disabilities and mental health issues, and I think the mods just don't know how to handle it and certainly don't handle it well because she doesn't always understand the rules of the forum. It's not really her fault. And they've been nasty with her, and the owner of the site left a response to her, which I thought was really uncalled for. And it's an inappropriate way to be speaking to a vulnerable person. It made me so angry, so that clinched it for me. I just can't abide by that ableism at all. I thought about replying, but chose not to. It probably would have gotten me banned, and I'd rather just leave the site quietly. I doubt anyone would notice I was gone. Most of the time I would just read there and not contribute anything. So, I think it's time to let go.

Now I did use MJJC as my main source of Michael Jackson news, so I would lose that. But there are other sources for me to get news from if I really wanted to. I don't think the Estate is going to put out another project I would actually be interested in though, so it's not a big loss to me. And as for all the slandering, and lawsuits, accusations, and hate that continues to be directed towards Michael over the years, well ... ignorance is sometimes bliss.

By not visiting MJJC anymore, it will actually free up some time for me too. I will dedicate that time to reading, which will make me happier anyway, so I doubt I will change my mind about this, and I think it's the right decision. I've spent nearly twelve years on that site, longer than any other time I've been a member of a forum, and now I think it's time to move on. I just can't do it anymore. It's rubbed me the wrong way enough times. I will always be a Michael Jackson fan though. Nothing will change that. I still have Twitter followers who are fans, so anything new relating to Michael I can probably learn from them.

Zniw Adventure

I believe I was meant to play Old Gods Rising next. Well, it didn't work out. My game got stuck on a loading screen, and I just had to accept that my computer was probably going to be too incompetent to run this game. So instead I played a game called Zniw Advenutre, which is a cartoony dinosaur adventure from a Polish developer, which is something that's right up my alley. The idea was to emulate the old adventure game days of yore, and I believe they were successful at that. You are playing as Zniw (Pronounced "Zniff"), a young female dino of unknown species who is trying to find a gift for her mother's birthday, and it has to be something good to outdo her siblings. Unfortunately during her quest, she gets lost on her way, and far away from home encountering many other dinos along the way, some helpful, others not so much. Will she ever find her way back home?

This was a really cute game and suitable for younger audiences for sure. At least in the beginning I found the game easy enough, but when I got to the middle I started getting more stuck, and think it actually might be challenging for a kid to play. Much of the game is spent in a village under a cavern called Fungilla. But there are plenty of locations to discover and a wide variety of dinosaurs and other creatures. There were actually quite a few dinosaurs I hadn't heard of in this game, and I know my dinosaurs, but admittedly I don't follow new discoveries of fossils as closely as I used to. But I was impressed with the authenticity of it all. It definitely had that edutainment aspect because included is the encyclopedia feature where you can read about the different dinosaurs, locations, and objects. I was also impressed with how well thought out the world was with the cultures and civilized life of the dinosaurs. A good amount of effort went into the dinosaur society, all put together in a believable way. The music is also nice, and the texts and dialogs are well translated into English. There is no voice acting, but especially in this case, I'm not bothered by that. And the character portraits portray all the emotions I needed.

The animation is really excellent. It looks kind of like traditional hand drawn animation, and the cut-scenes, short though they are, add to that. The characters are also likeable and especially adorable to look at. Not usually ferocious looking. This is not that kind of game lol. And lastly of course the story was good too and pretty well developed. I expected this to be a short game, but no it's actually fairly lengthy, so you get a good amount of play time out it. Also along the way you can collect these pebbles and some are well hidden. The more you collect, the more extras become unlocked, which you can view at your convenience. I didn't try to collect them all, but the extras include things like concept art, sound tests, and mini games. And that's pretty cool, if you want to be a completionist and collect all the pebbles.

I do have a couple of negatives about this game however. One of them is the inventory. To start with you have no place to store your inventory, so you can only hold one item at a time. You do soon get a backpack, but it has limited space, so you still have to drop an item if there's no room. Finally, you get a bigger backpack midway through the game with more space, but guess what? It's still not enough. You end up collecting a bunch of items and there's just no space for them all, so you have no choice, but to drop them all over the place (or at least I did), and go back and get them when you need them. This started getting pretty frustrating for me, especially when I dropped an item far away from the place that I actually needed it. It also doesn't help that there is no way to fast travel anywhere. You can't double click to get to the next area like in other games. No you have to walk relatively slowly everywhere. At first this isn't really a big issue because the locations are limited, but when you get to Fungilla, it's a much bigger area, and takes time to get anywhere. Why the game developers chose to handle the inventory this way, I don't know. Why not just make enough slots for all your items? I mean, I'm no game developer, but this kind of design choice seems to reek of laziness to me. Of course towards the end, it seems like they figured the problem out when you suddenly "lose" some of your items. If only it worked that way through the whole game.

The times I would get stuck was mostly because I missed seeing hotspots, even when they were in front of my face. :/ There is no hotspot finder in this game either. Some puzzle solutions are out of the box, but I wouldn't say any were actually too out there in an extremely illogical way. I found exactly one written walkthrough online. In Dutch. Luckily Google Translate was able to help me there. The game also had a weird thing about hidden passageways off the beaten path that weren't always easy to find. It was slightly annoying. I also could complain about a lack of enough save game slots, but I won't. Despite a few faults I did really enjoy this game a lot. I was taken in by the cuteness and its charms and sweetness. It is very well made with some of the best animation I've seen in a while. Here's a screenshot. Zniw in the village of Fungilla.



Next I'm going to be playing a Doctor Who game. Yes. Just what I always wanted. A Doctor Who adventure game. It's called Doctor Who: Lonely Assassins, and if you're a fan, I think you can guess what it's about. It's in what they call the "found phone" genre. I've never played one of those before, but I do have a few on my lengthy list of adventure games to check out. Looking forward to this. I don't think there's any Doctor in this, but there is Osgood, which is cool. I hope it's good, and of course I'm playing it on my phone.

Endo Appt and Vaccines Soon

I thought I'd give a "short" personal update this time. I had my semi-annual endo appointment on Wednesday. I got to go in person this time, which I was grateful for because I really do hate Zoom. No, I'm not as afraid of Covid as I used to be. Vaccines are rolling out, Grammy is fully vaccinated, and cases are continuing to trend downward. More on the vaccines in a bit. My nerves were still running high for this appointment because ordinarily I'd be going in with my mom, but they only had one appointment available in March. The next available wasn't until May. I guess they're getting the backlog of patients. My mom was playing tennis that day though, so my dad had to take me. And my worries were about him being able to find the doctor's office because I sure couldn't tell him how to get there. And also wondering if would be more awkward having my dad there and having female issues discussed. Plus just general other uncertainties because of the new health protocols, and the fact that I either never got my new medical card this year or it's been missing, so I had to have a printed copy of the info.

These worries were really unfounded though as usual. My dad found the place just fine. I did have to fill out a couple of forms. One had to do with Covid of course. And the other was about releasing my medical info. I was still nervous about filling things out and hope I did everything right with my sloppy handwriting. I signed to have that info released and I hope it was the right decision. Then I was called in, was weighed and found out I lost weight, which I was happy about. Not that I wasn't at a normal weight before, but I feel like I'm at my ideal weight right now. I do a little jogging in place in my room and maybe that has factored in. Might as well keep it up. :P Blood pressure was perfect. Then my doctor came in and went over my blood test results. Everything looked good and the DHEA-S was down again. When I saw on my test order that he was testing my A1C levels, that was another reason I was worried because that test is often used to check for Diabetes. But he didn't say anything about it. Just said my blood sugars were fine, so I assume I'm good. And nothing really embarrassing was said about female stuff. He did kind of explain my condition to my dad, since this is the first time he's met my doctor, and so he got to learn a bit about it. Because the DHEA-S is down again, I don't have to come back for another visit until next year, and then I'm sure the pandemic will be behind us. Otherwise if the DHEA-S was high, my endo doc probably would have wanted me to do screening for a tumor on my adrenal gland. I wouldn't think a tumor would cause that to go up and down though would it? Just seems pretty unlikely to me.

The only kind of annoying part of this visit was my endo doc went out to tell the nurse or whoever to see about scheduling another appointment for me, or to check if it was too far in advance to schedule. He told us to wait there. And we waited about ten minutes. My dad decided to open the door at that point and the nurse was right there saying she was just about to come in. Sure. She made an appointment without asking me about a date or time. It seemed fine though. We can always change it later.

I of course have some minor issues that go along with the PCOS, but I just kind of deal with them. I don't want to take more drugs, which might not even help. If I was having more major issues, then yeah, sure, I might see about treating it. As it is now, there are worse things I could have. I think I got off pretty easy with this condition.

Ok, that was a bit longer than intended, but the other thing was I finally found out that my parents will be eligible for the vaccine on April 1st! And I'll be eligible on April 15th! Assuming everything goes well. That's great news! This wait has been so long and soon it will be over! I honestly thought I wasn't going to be able to get a vaccine until May, so this is awesome. And I'm glad I soon won't have to worry about my parents getting the virus. I'm definitely going to do more things afterwards. Go to the bookstore again, eat out at a restaurant, maybe see a movie if they're open. We just got to not do anything stupid before we are fully vaccinated. They already had a close enough call back in October. My mom really wants celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary on the 25th and go out to eat, but I think we still need to be careful. I do feel bad for them (well mostly my mom). It's such a big event and we probably would have gone on a trip somewhere, but we can't now.

I'm not sure about Disneyland yet. They open again on April 30th, but masks will be required and at limited capacity with limited rides. I don't know about walking around for hours with a mask on. I went for a walk a couple weeks ago with the mask, and it wasn't such a great time. Grocery store, I'm fine with. But more vigorous exercising kind of tests my lungs, or I'm just out of shape. Also we have no pass anymore. Cancelled. That was super upsetting to me, as if a pandemic wasn't enough. I definitely went through a mourning stages of grief period lol. It honestly felt like I was being punished. But I'm OK with it now. There are some bright sides to that. I sort of want to wait and see what the new membership offerings are going to be. I don't think it will be the end of Disneyland for me. Worst comes to worst, if the options are not the best, I guess I'd just go to the parks less. I honestly can't see myself going back until the Fall however, or possibly not even until 2022. It all depends again on the membership thing, and I don't know if that will even start rolling out this year. Without a pass, Disneyland is really pricey. And I'm not the type to stay there from opening until closing to get my money's worth. I do definitely want to see the Avengers Campus at some point though, whenever it opens.

Anyway, looking forward to doing those things I used to do before the pandemic. It might feel a little weird though going back to the old routine because I kind of got used to the new routine of mostly just staying at home besides going to the grocery store.

Florence

I finished Florence. I would call it a visual novel with some interactive elements. I'd even say it felt autobiographical in a way. It's really just about life and relationships. You're following the story of a young Korean woman who has a passion for art and falls in love with Krish, a young Indian? Middle Eastern? man who has a passion for music. Florence hopes Krish will bring some new light into her life and at first their romance seems perfect, but then their relationship grows stale and ultimately falls apart, but by the end Florence achieves her dream of becoming a famous artist. It's a sweet tale turned bittersweet. I truly felt sorry Florence and Krish's relationship didn't work out because they were such a happy couple. Yes, I felt for the characters even though there was no dialog and it was basically like watching a comic with interactive elements like putting puzzle pieces together, brushing teeth, or choosing which items to keep, and which to store. It's a slice of life that felt very authentic. What I got out of it was the path you take in following your dreams may not always be the right one, and you have to find your own way even if it takes a while to get there. It was quite meaningful. I liked it, but it is a short blip of a game. I do again wonder if it was inspired by a true story because it felt true to me. Here's a screenshot. An example of one of the interactive moments where you have to fit speech bubbles together.



So, I had some internet connection issues, but I resolved them today. I was concerned I would be stuck without a game to play and just go back to Stardew Valley because the new game was downloading slowly. But it's just now ready to go. Assuming all goes well. The game's called Old Gods Rising, and it's supposed to be a creepy horror game. The title speaks Lovecraft to me. Hmm.

Creaks and Show Stuff

I finally finished Creaks, or should I say I begrudgingly finished it, but I'll get to that. First the story. I didn't fully understand it, but you're playing as a boy who is busy studying or whatever he is doing in his room, when a noise keeps interrupting him. So, he goes to investigate and learns it's coming from behind the wall. He's able to get behind it through a hole and goes down a very long ladder that leads to a city beneath an underground cavern. And this is when the game truly begins. Level by level you make your way down and some kind of monster is destroying the city, which is causing all the ruckus. Later you meet some bird people who are trying to stop the monster. I think one of them had created it, but something went wrong and now the monster's been going on a rampage.

Each level has a puzzle for you to solve, which involves a lot of mechanical manipulations that require a lot of thinking through. There are also monsters in your way from robot dogs, to jellyfish, shadow figures that move both with and and opposite to you, and goats. They all have their own quirks, but often you're trying to position them in a certain way in the light so that they turn into furniture that you can use. Get close to any of these monsters though and they will kill you. Up to certain points you're introduced to a new monster, learn how they work, and then they're combined with the other monsters. In the beginning, most of the time I could solve the puzzles eventually, but it would take me such a long time to figure them out that I'd only be finishing one or two puzzles per play session, and there are a lot of levels, so it made a long game longer. Midway through I was becoming frustrated and really had it with the game and was ready for it to end. The puzzles would get somewhat tougher and if I couldn't solve them in my allotted gameplay time for myself, I would look it up in the walkthrough. This too could be tedious though when there were a lot of steps to complete the puzzle. And I couldn't really solve the later puzzles without help.

So, really, the game had ceased to be fun to play. I knew early on, this probably wasn't going to be my kind of game, especially since I knew the puzzles would probably get progressively harder. I should have aborted when I realized that. I actually almost rage quitted in one section, when I realized I was doing a couple of levels out of order and had to do them over again. I don't know how the game let me do that. But I pressed on to the end.

There were a few positives though despite this really not being my game. I did like the ending. I literally was gearing up for the most difficult puzzle at the end, but there was no puzzle whatsoever. So, I was kind of grateful for that lol. And the ending was pretty cute too with all the monsters dancing, even though they had tried to kill me before. The animation was also good, as it always has been with Amanita games. But now I'm really going to think twice about playing another of their games. I've only enjoyed one of the games they've made. I just don't like being frustrated lol. If it gets to the point where I'm not really enjoying the game, it's probably not something I should be playing. Here's a screenshot. One of the puzzles to be solved with robot dogs and one of the trickier ones (to be fair most of them were tricky)



I'm now going to start a game called Florence. Again I know nothing, but I'm playing it on my phone this time. It's very short though, so it will probably only take me one to two sessions to get through it. I get the feeling it's going to be more like interactive fiction, but I could be wrong.

And I thought I'd give some updates with shows I've recently watched and am watching. I recently finished season two of The Legend of Korra. At the start, I didn't know if this season was going to keep up the same quality as the first, but then it went in a different direction and I liked it more. I'd still probably say I preferred the first season, but this season was very good too. I really loved the two episodes about Wan, the first Avatar. It provided needed backstory about all of that and it was cool. Loved the different spirit creatures. And of course from there, most of the rest of the season is spent in that spiritual world. And so it was all about Korra connecting with that world and ultimately restoring the connection. So, the spirits live among the humans now. I'm curious to see where that will take the show next as I'm sure there will be both positive and negative consequences. Of course it will be a while yet before I continue and start season three because as I always do, I alternate between that and Doctor Who reviews and reactions.

But that's my nighttime schedule as I call it. During the day I've started watching the show Dinosaurs on Disney+ I grew up with this show. Loved it when I was a kid, and was happy when they brought it to Disney+. It's a weird show really, looking back on it now, but at the same time very funny and entertaining and clever. I'm enjoying myself. Once I've gone through those episodes, I plan to tackle The Muppet Show, also on Disney+. Finally you can watch all the seasons in one place. This one I've actually only seen bits and pieces of, but I've wanted to watch it in full for a while and now I finally can. :) I guess you could say my show watching has turned Muppety. ;) My plan after that was also to check out Schitt's Creek on Netflix. Main reason is it has some actors I like. The kind you would see in Christopher Guest films, which I've always liked. Not that I think that this show would be like those movies, but we'll see. That's a ways off yet though. I might watch a classic live action Disney film or two in between these series. I do want to get back to watching those again. Right now they're on hiatus, but I fully intend to get back to them down the road. And of course this isn't counting Netflix shows because whenever a show on there I follow returns, I drop everything to watch it.

I almost forgot about WandaVision because I watched that too. I'll just briefly say it was fantastic, well done, and emotional. A perfect exploration of grief. I'm looking forward to Falcon and the Winter Soldier coming up next week too, and the other shows Marvel has planned for Disney+. I've been watching these with my parents because they kind of have to be in the know for upcoming movies that likely tie into these. Well, that plus they were mad when I watched the first two episodes of WandaVision without them. :P It is nice to have these shows though when I can't see a new Marvel film at the theater. These shows fulfill that need and they're just as good. I'm hoping I will be able to get back to the theater though later this year. I would willingly go once I and my family are fully vaccinated and they are open.

OK, I think I'm done rambling. Times have been a bit hard right now tbh, especially with Luke, but I don't really feel like getting into it.

Superliminal

I finished Superliminal. I mentioned before that I had watched Call Me Kevin play this, so I knew a bit of how the gameplay worked. I still managed to get stuck at times however. It's a really crazy game that challenges your perception, and it gets especially insane towards the end. I guess it's like Portal on steroids, even though I haven't played those. I did manage to break the game a couple times. I accidentally left a block on top of a wall and I nearly almost couldn't get it back. Luckily if you screw things up you can reset to the nearest checkpoint. To get through the levels you have to use the environment around you and figure out what you can pick up. And you can either grow or shrink the objects. Your main goal is to get through the next door to get to the next section. Not everything is what it seems in this game, so you kind of have to think outside the box.

So, what is the reason behind this craziness? Well, it doesn't have much of a story, but basically you're a patient testing out this technology called somnasculpting, which is a type psychotherapy that makes use of lucid dreaming. So yeah, you're in a dream and you're trying to break out of it. It's not a very interesting dream because you're just navigating your way through an industrialized building, but things are definitely wacky. Kind of makes me think of The Stanley Parable. And you occasionally listen to the doctor's messages through the radio. I couldn't always make sense of that. It's a perfectly plausible idea actually to treat mental illness with lucid dreams. Unfortunately though, after what I went through, I think the treatment would lead the patient to come out even more insane than before. But I guess in a brutally blunt and metaphorical way, they are teaching you to change your perspective.

I had a pretty fun time with this game. You never knew what the game was going to throw at you next. It was completely batty. The only thing I would say is that the game is fairly short. Here is a screenshot. A good example of tossing a chess piece in the air to make it bigger. I know how to make the objects larger, but I never really got the hang of how to make them smaller, but somehow I did it.



I'm going to play another puzzle game next from Amanita Design. You know, the guys who made Machinarium and Botanicula. I wasn't in love with the former, but did enjoy the latter, so we'll see how this one goes. It's called Creaks, and as usual, I don't really know what it's about.

The Complex

I "finished" The Complex. I put finished in quotes because there were nine different endings you could get, but I just couldn't be bothered to replay and see the different ones. So, I left it at that which makes the game short, but my choice. This game is basically an interactive movie and that's all it is. It's like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, but that film on Netflix actually had more interactivity than this actual "game." So you're watching the movie and every so often there is a choice you have to make that leads to consequences like TellTale. The story starts where you are in a foreign country called Kindar, which is ruled by a dictatorship that uses chemical attacks against its people. But this is not North Korea at all. Nope. Fast forward and a biotech company partners with Kindar to help their citizens out and employ them to create nanocells, which is a type of nanotechnology designed to heal and repair bodies. But then the lab is infiltrated by Kindar terrorists seeking the tech and a former intern injected the nanocells into her body, which is now killing her.

The story is kind of predictable and the dialog is cringey in parts, but it was definitely thrilling like a decent sci-fi thriller and entertaining. It did leave me with some unanswered questions though, like why would the Kindarian girl inject the nanocells into her body rather than just take them? That might be a little detail I might have missed if I wasn't paying full attention. And she wasn't with the terrorists who broke into the complex. So things seem to be a little more complicated than they first appear. In this sense, I felt like there were plot holes, but maybe the other scenes I missed fill in those blanks. I didn't quite get the story fully, but I did enjoy watching it. There was some squicky body horror stuff. Imagine nanocells just entirely rewriting your body structure. It's horrifying to contemplate. Truly the stuff of nightmares.

My one issue was there was no indication of when the game saved your progress. So, I would quit and just hope it started back again close to where I left off. I'm sure plenty of people would play this whole game in one session as it's only about ninety minutes long, but I'm not one of those people, as I like to do other things with my time. So, I found that annoying. But other than that, and small bits of cringe and confusion, it was a pretty good experience. And I felt like the ending I got was a good one. At any time during the game you can check your stats which show your personality and relationships to the characters. It's not as impressive as TellTale, which shows you the impact of your choices. This game doesn't show that. It does show who died though. For my personality, I scored the highest on intelligence. No surprise there. ;) As for the relationships, the only one I was surprised didn't have a higher percentage was Clare. The one who injected the nanocells. I tried to be nice and honest with her, but I think the percentage only got to about 66%. Here is a screenshot. That's Clare in the protective tube thing that keeps her alive. And yes I would have chose compassionate. But doing another playthrough where I'm evil or don't make any choices, would be fun. Just not anytime in the near future.



I am playing Superliminal now. I've actually already watched some gameplay of this game from my new favorite YouTuber: Call Me Kevin. So I kind of know already how to play it. So far it's fun, but I know it will soon become batshit insane.
  • Current Music
    Hijack - Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch
  • Tags

Röki

I finished Röki yesterday. Pretty lengthy game. The story is lovely. It's about two children named Tove and Lars who live with their father. Tove tells her younger brother fairy tale stories and soon they learn that the fairy tales are all too real when a monster shows up and chases them out of their house and into the woods. The monster was a bit of nightmare fuel to me because I was getting some flashbacks of the Mad Hunter from Tell Me Lies. We later learn that the monster is Röki. Unfortunately, he captures Lars and takes him through a portal. Tove follows the trail and finds the portal leads to the fairy tale world. If she wants to get her brother back, Tove will have to wake the animal guardians to help her find her way to the castle where he's being kept. With each guardian Tove awakens, you get to experience Tove's flashbacks about her mother, and you learn more and more about what happened to her despite Tove not wanting to remember. So the story is really one part Scandinavian folkore and one part an exploration of childhood trauma. In the end she will have to face off against Rorka who looks like a dark elf.

I really did enjoy this game. I thought the story was well done and the characters are charming. I loved the fantasy elements. The setting is nice too. The puzzles were also good. Most of them were inventory based except when you get to the final chapter where most of the puzzles are of the mechanical variety. And during that chapter is when Tove's father comes in and you have to work together to solve puzzles. I've seen this done before in other games, but not where the characters are sharing each other's inventory between two worlds. That was kind of strange, but at least it made things easier. I never found the puzzles to be too difficult. Most are logical. There were a handful of times I looked up hints though, mainly in the final chapter. And there was one puzzle where you're trying to escape a spider and redirect light beams. That took me a long time to solve, but I was able to get through it on my own eventually.

I guess I do have a few criticisms. Keyboard controls with a fixed camera are not my favorite. Walking pace was modest, but when I wanted to run, I had to resort to finger gymnastics and it was very clumsy. And I don't believe I could do keyboard mapping for the game. Would have preferred all point-and-click here. Sometimes keyboard controls work well and sometimes they just don't. But it didn't disrupt my playing too much. The other thing is there is no voice acting. Instead you get vocalizations like grunting, gasping, laughing, and the occasional word like "Lars." I swear there was another game that did this, but I can't think of what. But I always found this weird, and occasionally I felt the reaction didn't exactly fit the situation. Even more weird is you can see the characters' mouths move, but they don't speak. So, I wonder if possibly this game was meant to have spoken dialogue, but they just never went ahead with that? Also for the times I got stuck, most of the time it was because I just missed a hotspot. And that was even with the hotspot finder turned on. Some items were difficult to spot because they were so small.

Anyway, the game was very good. Here's a screenshot. One of the friendly trolls you get to meet in the game.



Next up I'm going to start a game called The Complex. It's a FMV game and that's all I know, but I've always enjoyed FMV games.