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FinalArcadia Rambles About... (Updated May 3 - Learn more about my video game habits than you ever cared or wanted to learn)


♡ knight in shining armor ♡
Oct 18, 2011
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Hiya, I'm FinalArcadia and this is the start of my video game blog here. I pretty much eat, breathe, and sleep video games and have been playing them since before I was even in kindergarten, so I have a lot to say about them. And I've probably annoyed everyone in my house with my hyper-fixations and talking about them, so now I'm going to subject anyone brave enough to read my inane ramblings to them! "Ramblings" is no exaggeration because I tend to go 'round and 'round in my head about a topic and take what could be something concise and instead make it something akin to War and Peace in length. I'm... only sort of joking there. Truth is, though I LOVE to talk about video games and stuff, lately I've had major writer's block. For like... the last several years. Oops! So I'm hoping that trying to keep up with a blog here might force me to break out of it. Even rambling is better than nothing, I figure.

Table of Contents
Entry #1 - In which I reveal my terrible taste in a certain infamous video game
Entry #2 - Let's escape reality and go live in some cool video game towns!
Entry #3 - Guess who takes the Sonic series too seriously! It's me
Entry #4 - Dance Dance... REVOLUTION!
Entry #5 - N-no I don't have an addiction to gacha games, haha, what are you talking about?
Entry #6 - In which everyone learn that FinalArcadia is a huge baby scared of everything
Entry #7 - The answers to (video game) questions that nobody asked for

Thanks for reading if you do, and get ready for some at-length discussion of something Sonic the Hedgehog-related soon to follow!
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At this point I don’t even know if I’m a Sonic “fan”, but I grew up with him, I look back fondly at all his incredible missteps, and look forward to future ones. I played Sonic Adventure recently (for the first time since I was a kid) and it was really bad but hilarious, so I had a great time. Part of me hopes you’re gonna talk about Shadow the Hedgehog, I spent too much of my childhood thinking that awful game was so bad-butt...
At this point I don’t even know if I’m a Sonic “fan”, but I grew up with him, I look back fondly at all his incredible missteps, and look forward to future ones. I played Sonic Adventure recently (for the first time since I was a kid) and it was really bad but hilarious, so I had a great time. Part of me hopes you’re gonna talk about Shadow the Hedgehog, I spent too much of my childhood thinking that awful game was so bad-butt...
Oh man, I get what you mean about Sonic Adventure haha. I replayed it about 6 months ago and I definitely think it doesn't hold up as well as SA2 did in controls, voice acting... pretty much everything. Except the music, which is fantastic there. But there is something about it that still makes for a good time. I guess the cheesiness of it? "Aww yeah, this is happening!" And E-102 Gamma's story was surprisingly pretty good imo, I actually liked it more now than I did as a kid.

I'd love to talk about Shadow the Hedgehog sometime!! That's not next on my agenda though (it does get a mention in the upcoming blog post), but maybe next post after that about Sonic. The Sonic post is like 4/5 done in a draft in Word so it'll be up soon, and it is about another game fairly infamous in the series. But yeah, I also was really into Shadow the Hedgehog as a game years ago, it just felt really cool using guns and riding in vehicles. Getting to the true ending was a pain in the butt though, I'd probably never go through having to play all those different routes and hit every stage ever again (especially those horrible stages with Rouge and Espio where you're like in a computer program matrix thing, shivers).
@FinalArcadia; I don’t know if I ever got past the first couple stages of Shadow the Hedgehog as a kid, although for a while I didn’t have a GameCube memory card either. 90% of my memories of that game is the intro movie and Westopolis. And every single sound effect in the main menu being a stock gunshot sound.
Entry #1

I have a confession to make. A big one. Some people who know me are already aware of my dark secret, but once again, I confess…

I unabashedly love Sonic the Hedgehog. By which I mean the infamous “Sonic 2006.”

If you asked me to make a list of my top five or so favorite Sonic games, honestly Sonic 06 would be up there. Not in the number one slot, but in the top five regardless, and I’m sure that’s bad enough for a lot of people. And it is not even there in an ironic way! I just truly love that hot mess of a game, flaws and all.

Do I think it is an objectively “good” game? HA! No. No, it is not. It is a disaster and an example of what happens when you rush a game to a deadline while splitting your team up during development. Even so, there are obviously things that appealed to me, and I’m here to talk about those.

Let’s give the gaming community’s favorite punching bag some positivity, shall we?

Disclaimer: As you might guess given that this is in a blog post, this is purely an opinion piece. I do not claim to speak for people as a whole about Sonic 06, nor do I expect to change anyone’s mind on this game. No matter how much I love this little shitshow, I get why it has the reputation it has, trust me. Also, there will be spoilers here for Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, and - of course - Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). I doubt that will matter to anyone lol, but just a fair warning.

Without further ado, let’s get into the things that Sonic 06 actually did well!

<Now Loading…>

It Introduced Silver the Hedgehog

Who is – by the way – the best character in the Sonic games canon. I remember back when Silver first debuted in the series that a lot of people hated him (and his voice, for some reason? I always liked his original English dub voice, along with his current one), but I was one of the OG Silver fans.

Not only is his theme song from Sonic 06 absolutely fantastic, but he as a character is very endearing too.

Silver in 06 was a naïve, well-meaning individual who wanted desperately to save the world. He came from a ruined future that was ravaged by the flames of Iblis, and he was willing to do anything to try to prevent the Flames of Disaster from ever being unleashed in the first place. This led to him trusting in the clearly not evil, haha, what are you talking about mysterious Mephiles, who helped Silver (and Blaze, but she is… so weird in this game, like she’s there but not really) travel back to the point in the past where the Iblis Trigger awakened the Flames of Disaster.

You can give Silver some crap for trusting Mephiles, but it establishes Silver as being innocent to a fault. Someone who perhaps doesn’t think his actions through all the way, but is trying his best to find a way to fix the horrible world he hails from. From Mephiles’s manipulations, he ends up believing that Sonic is the dreaded Iblis Trigger, and thus the person that he must kill in order to save the future.

Along his story, he comes to realize that Sonic isn’t actually the real enemy here, and that maybe – just maybe – Mephiles is the real problem.

I actually really like the way this was handled. When Silver gets to the present, he becomes separated from Blaze, who came across as something of an emotional rock for him. He eventually meets up with Amy, and the two travel for a little bit together before Silver comes face-to-face with Sonic. Who he promptly tries to kill. Amy is understandably not too happy about this and stands in Silver’s way, buying Sonic time to escape.

AMY: The person you were looking for was Sonic?
AMY: Were you planning to kill him?
SILVER: He’s responsible for destroying my world!
AMY: That’s crazy!
AMY: Sonic would never do that!
SILVER: But it’s true!
SILVER: In the near future, his actions will cause the devastation of my world.
SILVER: So I must…
AMY: No! I don’t believe it.
AMY: Even if that was true, if I had to choose between the world and Sonic, I would choose Sonic!

He is left alone once again.

This event seems to shake his resolve, and when he meets up with Blaze again eventually, there’s a nice scene where he asks her:

BLAZE: What’s wrong?
SILVER: Well, uh, Blaze…
SILVER: To kill someone to save the world…
SILVER: Is that really the right thing to do?


Blaze tells him that she can’t say for sure whether it is wrong or right, but that they have to take the chance they’ve been given to change the future. Silver agrees, and once again is thrown into conflict with Sonic a bit later on. This time, his attempts on Sonic’s life are thwarted by Shadow… who frankly is A+++ in this game in characterization and god I wish he were still this good in the current games. More on Shadow later, though.

Shadow takes Silver into the past to see the truth behind Mephiles’s lies, showing him the origins of the Flames of Disaster, Iblis, and Mephiles himself. From this point forward, Silver understands what needs to be done to right the wrongs of the past that ruined his world in the future and ends up working together with Sonic, even being the one who comes up with the plan to save Sonic after the latter dies at the hands of Mephiles later.

Basically, Silver actually grows and gets some good character development. Something that this series has really lacked after this game, to be quite honest. Even so, Silver has remained a great character after this (even if Sonic 06 retcons itself), with him actually getting some nice scenes in Sonic Forces recently. The comics also do him justice, and honestly Ian Flynn’s fantastic writing for both the late Archie comics and the current IDW ones probably helped a lot in turning around the general opinion of Silver.

This all ignores the other great thing about Silver, which is the fact that he’s absolutely friggen adorable when, ya know… he’s not in the middle of an assassination plot on Sonic’s life. The scene after he gets over his initial unease at being without Blaze in the present where he marvels at how green and alive everything is shows this best, along with the scene where he tells Amy how much he loves the present for the sky being gorgeous and everyone seeming so happy.


Overall, a wonderful addition to the cast of the Sonic series, even if he came at that unfortunate time where a lot of people were whining about “too many characters” and anyone not named Sonic, Tails, or Eggman (or his lovely little Cubot and Orbot cronies who have THE SAME JOKES they peddle in every damn game they get shoved into) got sent to the background soon after. I’m not bitter about that. Nope, not at all. Where would you get that idea? Haha, I’m fine : )))))))))

Speaking of characters that got screwed over hard after Sonic 2006, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite edgelord who-was-only-really-edgy-in-ONE-game-but-haha-overused-jokes-are-so-funny!

The Evolution of Shadow the Hedgehog, and his Story Mode

Okay, I know I said that Silver is my favorite Sonic character, but I will always have a soft spot for Shadow in my heart even if he’s second to Silver. Sonic Adventure 2 is my favorite Sonic game after all (I replay it at least once a year), and Shadow’s role in that game was and still is a big part of why I love that game so much. I think this is why Shadow’s story in 06 is so appealing to me, because it is such a logical progression for the character.

In SA2, Shadow initially was out for revenge. He is eventually reminded of what Maria would have truly wanted: not vengeance for her death, but for Shadow to be a hope for the people of the Earth that she wanted to see. He saves the world at what appears to be the cost of his own life, but in Sonic Heroes, he returns in a somewhat amnesiac form. Honestly, I have a lot of issues with Sonic Heroes as a whole, but that’s for another time. Basically, that game introduces some ambiguity over whether or not this Shadow is the one we knew from SA2, or if he is a clone that Eggman made. Or something. The game doesn’t really give much attention to the matter, and it’s more relevant in Shadow the Hedgehog (…the game).

In Shadow’s own game, he comes to terms with a lot, like his connection to the villainous Black Doom and the Black Arms aliens. We also learn that, yes, this is SA2’s Shadow… as if anyone believed for a minute he wasn’t. Look, even as a kid, they weren’t fooling me. At the end of this game, Shadow seems to have finally and truly decided to live his life without being shackled to the tragedies of the past.

…And that brings us back to Sonic 2006. In this game, we see Shadow working with GUN, the very organization that led to Maria’s death 50 years ago. This alone is a great indicator of how Shadow has moved on, since he has acknowledged that the current GUN is not the same as the one that went and raided the ARK in the past. He’s working for the good of people as a whole by helping out GUN in the present.

Sonic 2006 really tests Shadow’s resolve through Mephiles, who winds up taking Shadow’s appearance and acting as his major antagonist. When Shadow goes to the ruined future that Silver hails from, he and Mephiles have a particularly great scene where Mephiles shows Shadow what the future holds for him (as Shadow doesn’t age, so he’d actually still be relevant in the future). It is a future where the world turned against him, capturing him and blaming him for the problems plaguing them. Though visibly shaken when shown this vision, Shadow doesn’t let it shake his resolve. I absolutely love this entire scene for showing how differently Shadow reacts here compared to how he may have retaliated in the past (like his attempt to pretty much kill everyone by sitting by and watching the Space Colony ARK collide with Earth lol).

MEPHILES: After the world was devastated by Iblis’ flames, what do you think happened?
MEPHILES: A search for the guilty.
MEPHILES: Who did this, you may ask?
MEPHILES: Humanity wasn’t just jealous of your power.
MEPHILES: They feared it.
MEPHILES: They used this incident as an excuse to hunt you down.
MEPHILES: Come with me, Shadow.
MEPHILES: Let us punish the foolish world of humanity.
MEPHILES: It is only fair to give back what was intended for you.
MEPHILES: You have every right to want justice.
SHADOW: That’s absurd.
SHADOW: Whatever it is you want to do, you can do it alone.
MEPHILES: You forgive humanity this folly then?
SHADOW: I determine my own destiny.


As an aside, Shadow’s story in Sonic 2006 is so obviously the best one. Like, you’d almost think this game’s plot was written with Shadow in mind as the main protagonist, because he’s the one who actually is fighting the game’s central antagonist from the get-go and doesn’t get sidetracked from it. The conflict between Mephiles and Shadow is the most compelling one here, and it gets reprised at the end of Shadow’s story with another fantastic affirmation of the latter’s character development.

MEPHILES: It’s futile. The world will betray you.
MEPHILES: Why fight at all? Why risk your life for those who will persecute you later?
SHADOW: If the world chooses to become my enemy,
SHADOW: I will fight like I always have!

…And of course the whole game’s story essentially get rendered non-canon due to the ending making the whole thing moot. But that doesn’t change the fact that Shadow’s story was – to me, anyway – some of the best writing this series has ever had. I don’t think it gets enough credit since it gets overshadowed by “lul Elise kissing Sonic” when people talk about the plot in Sonic 06.


Perhaps the largest ham this series has ever seen as a villain, Mephiles was a fun love-to-hate antagonist for the game. He was bombastic in a way that at least made him exciting to see, and he made some decent moves like manipulating Silver into trying to kill Sonic, his attempts to disillusion Shadow enough with humanity to make him want to join forces, and – the classic, the infamous – killing Sonic. Literally. Even when you know he’s going to come back by the end somehow, that was still a pretty gutsy move in a series primarily aimed at a younger audience, and I was down for that.

Also, can’t forget that his design is super cool when he’s in that crystalline-like form in several of the boss fights Shadow has against him. Just look at him!


Actually Being Able to Play as Non-Sonic Characters

Let me just get this out of the way: I am still mad about how this series has ditched playable characters other than Sonic in main games for the most part. Yeah, the Avatar in Sonic Forces is a thing, but… I want to play as the characters I actually CARE about, not my silent avatar… even if I like making them and picking out cool outfits.

Now, Sonic Heroes had TOO many characters. Granted, every team played almost exactly the same, but I blame that game for people getting fatigued with the large cast. UGH Sonic Heroes… sorry, I’ll save that for another time like I promised before. This is like a sin to admit in some Sonic circles, but I legitimately enjoyed playing as most of the other characters besides Sonic in the Adventure games. Treasure hunting is my jam, I like the mech stages (I actually enjoy them more NOW than I did as a kid), Amy’s stages were super fun in Adventure and I’m still angry to this day that she only had, like, three stages total in that game. I can’t defend Big’s levels though, those blew. But the rest!! They were good.

Sonic 2006 being the last major game to have multiple playable character that actually played differently will always give it some points in my book. Sonic’s gameplay is absolute garbage and the Mach Speed portions give me nightmares, but Shadow and Silver were much more fun. Dare I say… with more polish, their stages could have actually been truly good…? It was fun using Psychokinesis to throw things as Silver and paralyze enemies, and Shadow played like a better Sonic in that he wasn’t quite so slip-sliding around everywhere and didn’t have to rely on a finicky homing attack for damage. That’s not to say that the two didn’t have issues in their stages (hello, ball puzzle at Dusty Desert for Silver, and hello to you too, awful vehicle-over-water section in Kingdom Valley for Shadow), but they definitely came out better than the crapshoot Sonic made players endure. I actually S-ranked every stage for Silver and Shadow on normal and hard difficulties, and I’d like to believe that counts for something.

On top of that, the concept of amigo characters was great and something I really think Sonic Team should revisit! It mixes things up and also gives fans of some of the supporting cast a chance to see their favorites in action again. I particularly enjoyed the section of gameplay as Rouge in Kingdom Valley during Shadow’s story where you needed to find three keys in a manner reminiscent of the treasure hunting gameplay in SA2. …Okay, it was actually glitchy as all hell because Rouge got stuck to walls and was very hard to get off them… which was quite unfortunate when you had to climb to find those keys… But this is Sonic 2006 we’re talking about so I think some technical hiccups kinda go without saying. The concept was good, even if some of the game’s issues held it back, basically.

The Music

If there’s one thing that Sonic games almost always excel in, it’s music. Now, let it be known that I absolutely hate the soundtracks to the Sonic Rush games, and Sonic Chronicles has a soundtrack that deserves to burn in obscurity for eternity… but practically every other semi-main Sonic game has a killer soundtrack.

Sonic 2006 is no exception.

The vocal themes are on-point, with Silver’s theme “Dreams of an Absolution” being my favorite vocal song in the entire series. “His World” (Sonic’s theme) is no slouch either, and the rest are all varying degrees of good, too. I don't really get why of all of Shadow's themes from previous games, "All Hail Shadow" had to be the one to stick (I demand "Waking Up" become the de facto Shadow theme!), but eh, Crush 40's version is better than the one that was in Shadow the Hedgehog, so it's whatevs.

The actual stage music is great too! I regularly listen to the themes from sections of Crisis City, Aquatic Base (it’s so atmospheric and fitting to the place that was really the birth of the world-destroying Flames of Disaster), and White Acropolis in particular. The final boss theme was a fantastic instrumental version of “His World” that truly feels heroic and exciting to fight to. Overall, I really can’t think of a single misstep in the soundtrack. Imagine if the rest of the game was of such high quality!

The Rest

This is getting obscenely long and I really should cut it short, so I’ll just quickly list out some other things I really liked in Sonic 2006:

The many good Shadow/Rouge scenes that are candy for someone who ships them. I’m not really a shipper; there are only a handful of ships that I feel somewhat invested in. Shadow/Rouge is one of them, and it pleases me that there are a lot of great moments between them in Sonic 2006… and only one that is even slightly shippy between Knuckles and Rouge. HA! Take that, Knuxouge fans! Let’s never forget this bit of dialogue:

ROUGE: It's... It's so unfair! Shadow's always here to defend the world! Despite that!
OMEGA: Eventually, when something or someone is seen as too powerful... It is seen as a threat, and then the world becomes its enemy.
[Shadow walks away.]
ROUGE: Shadow... Even if you believe everyone in the world will be against you. Know that I'll always remain by your side. Remember that.
SHADOW: [Stops walking] I will.

The boss fights in the game are actually… fairly fun? Sonic’s final boss fight against Eggman in his story is horrible, but the rest are all at least mostly competent in gameplay. Silver’s in particular actually seem to function properly and weren’t frustrating, and Shadow’s fights against Mephiles are certainly cool-looking at least.

Stage design is decent-to-good overall. Flame Core is – from a design standpoint – probably my favorite fire/volcano type of level in the series, and I really love Aquatic Base. It’s such a neat laboratory that definitely has that feel of being abandoned after something went wrong there. Those stupid little floating ball things that you have to homing attack to cross gaps at some points are infuriating, but otherwise I really enjoy that stage. I wish that each character’s version of the stage was differentiated a little more – or maybe be like SA2 where no level was totally repeated, even if some were clearly parallels to each other ala White Jungle and Green Forest, Prison Lane and Iron Gate, etc – but that seems to have been a thing of the past as early as Sonic Heroes (grrrrr), unfortunately.

End of the World was really cool as a final stage with everyone (minus Sonic lol... and Blaze) going through weird, corrupted pieces of the previous stages. Well, it was cool conceptually. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. But I always run into glitches in End of the World (particularly Silver's portion where I sometimes die when touching a wall for some reason?), so that's kind of annoying. Neat aside from that, though!

Princess Elise was very pretty in the CG cutscenes. I actually don’t mind Elise to begin with. A bit much of a damsel-in-distress, but that’s okay since the Sonic series doesn’t really use that trope much surprisingly (Amy in Sonic CD and parts of Adventure are the only major instances I can recall off the top of my head). However… remember how I specifically said Elise was pretty “in the CG cutscenes”…? Yeah, in the in-game engine, she looks like an alien masquerading as a human. I dunno, something is just… off.

…Well, that’s a bit of a weird place to end this on, but I’ve never been good at conclusions.

Tl;dr: Sonic 2006 is a mess, but it’s MY mess and I love it and I will always have a soft spot for it. Mainly for some of the story-related aspects, but I do feel that underneath the glitches and questionable design choices there is a solid foundation that could’ve been turned into something great like a spiritual Sonic Adventure 3.
Entry #2

Hello again, welcome to another very-belated installment of me typing about video games instead of doing something productive! This time around, I’ll be talking about just a handful locales in video games that I think would be the best ones to live in if I got zapped into a video game… and boy do I wish that would happen sometimes, let me tell you what…

Wuhu Island (Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, etc)

You know, most of the other places that will be on this list are locations that I can think of some negatives for living there. Wuhu Island? Not so much. Place is like paradise; it’s a gorgeous and clean island with beautiful waterfalls and mountains, and that’s to say nothing of the town! The little town at the bottom of the island is so quaint and charming. I could see little market stalls being set up there by the big fountain, and you could just walk there in peace to go shopping and then go for a run around the island afterward.


There are also a lot of cats and dogs running around the island, at least in Wii Fit. They’re cute and friendly and what better way to be healthy and exercise than to be motivated by a cute little cat leading the way?

Oh, and what if the town was populated by Miis of your choosing? Hello there, Kurasame Susaya and Koyo Kasugai and every other character I’m obsessed with. I’m not really into tightly-knit communities since that’s way too personal for a mega-introvert like me, but for characters I like… I think I could make an exception.

Plus, I bet this place would have practically no crime. Just try to picture a Mii as a burglar or murderer. And no, I don’t mean the weird-and-sometimes-disturbing Miis people use on Mario Kart 8. Just nice, normal Miis living their lives peacefully.

Shiver City (Paper Mario)

Let it be known that I HATE hot weather. I wish I could be like Snowmeiser from The Year Without a Santa Claus and just make it snow and be cold all year round. You see where I’m going with this, right?

Shiver City is the obligatory “snow level” of sorts in the original Paper Mario (which is, by the way, the best Paper Mario game). This makes it perfect for an ice queen like me who just wants to not sweat and be able to sleep soundly underneath all my blankets at night. It’s also super cute as a city, look at how charming it is!

The Toads who reside in Shiver City are also the most adorable ones in the game, and I have always been fond of the little Bumpty penguins… even if the mayor’s wife is a huge jerk, and in my house, my sisters and I always joked that she probably wanted to kill her husband for his money and was disappointed that he lived.

This city is also not too far from Starborn Valley, which is the town with all the precious little Star Kids. It’s like everywhere you look in the Shiver Region, there’s something cute!

(Also the Crystal Palace in the region had some of the best music in the game, with the boss of that place having one of my favorite battle themes of all-time)

Glacia (Skies of Arcadia)

Okay, this… this one I will admit is a weird one. Mainly because this is the one time I’m going to get kinda “headcanon-y” since this location is pretty much an abandoned, frosty ghost-town during the events of Skies of Arcadia.


I’ve always loved the segment of the game that takes place in the Lands of Ice because a) it is under the purple moon and purple is my favorite color, b) it is ice-related and I am always fond of ice places in video games (remember Shiver City?), and c) it is haunting but beautiful. This is a civilization that hasn’t been heard from in a very long time, and when Vyse and co. arrive, there isn’t a soul in sight. You never meet any Glacians during Skies of Arcadia. It’s so fascinating though because they were clearly pretty advanced and their civilization was hidden under the ice, so you’d think it’d have been a pretty safe place unless war – as always – is the reason for the lack of life.

For someone like me who loves cold weather though, this location seems amazing. Imagine all the relics of a past age you could probably find there, it would be extremely interesting! I also like to imagine that there might still be some people down there, just hiding from sight from Vyse and the others when they explored. Or perhaps they built somewhere else in the ice and are somewhat reclusive after the events of the Rains of Destruction so long ago?

Hateno Village (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)

The moment I stepped foot in Hateno in BotW, I was in love. The music, the atmosphere… it’s so nice. Peaceful. It’s a nice, hilly town where the wind seemed to always be blowing, like it’d have a pleasant temperature and feel to it. The blue flames that you had to set on the torches also make for a very nice visual touch in Hateno.

You could also probably find some decent employment in Hateno. Go work at the lab, tend the farms, work at the inn… it’s not bad. Not bad at all, especially given how generally clean and calming the place is. It’d probably make working the day away feel slightly less soul-suckingly miserable and hopeless than it does in the real world.


Plus, there are those adorable little houses that are up near the shrine in the area that would be a great place to move in to! I love the colors of them, but even the regular houses in the town are surprisingly nice in the interior. They’ve definitely gotten better about making the houses look like actual places people would live in in this series.

Now, you may be thinking, “Um, Arcadia, wouldn’t you be concerned about Calamity Ganon menacingly swirling around Hyrule Castle and bringing potential doom while living in Hyrule?”

To that I say… I live every day of my life in a perpetual state of anxiety. At least in Hyrule I wouldn’t have my student debt to worry about. Calamity Ganon is like a fuzzy rabbit next to the monstrous villainy of student loans.
I have fond memories of Wuhu Island. The game mode where you just control an airplane flying around was my favorite in Wii Sports Resort, and I remember asking my dad to translate the Morse code that you hear near the lighthouse. It was always some funny jab, like “Does anyone use Morse code any more?”
Entry #3

This blog LIVES. I don’t know for how long, but I saw an ask meme on tumblr that was in the Sonic tag that I thought I could fit in here since lord knows I love to talk about Sonic the Hedgehog. I didn't write a massive post here about Sonic 2006 for nothing, after all! And… that’s really all there is to it, so here we go.

Favorite game?
Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is a masterpiece and anyone who says it doesn’t hold up well is lying to me and to their self. I replay this game at least once a year, and every single time is a blast. Screw the haters, I love treasure hunting and the mech stages! The mech stages in particular I’ve only really come to appreciate as an adult, strangely. Hilariously, I think Sonic’s stages are my least favorites (as in, literally Sonic’s; Shadow’s stages are great), but there’s really no part of the gameplay in SA2 that I don’t enjoy. The story never gets old either, even if I can pretty much quote the whole thing off-hand. And, of course, I would be remiss to not mention Chao Garden. Boy, is Chao Garden ever an addictive mode.

Favorite character?
Silver the Hedgehog! He had me hooked from the moment I saw him in Sonic 2006. Or did I play Sonic Rivals first? Actually, I might’ve got those games at the same time? Whatever. I just really like his somewhat impulsive-yet-naive self, and the way he fights as best he can to try to make things right for the future. He’s also adorable, and I’m fond of the kind of awkward, adorkable angle that they’ve been using for Silver since the Archie comics (Team Sonic Racing is definitely harking back to that portrayal of him).

Shout-out though to Elias Acorn from the Archie comics. imma be honest here, as a kid I kinda totally had a crush on him and maybe sort of still do a little lmao He was so cool and I loved the conflict he had between being the heir to a kingdom and wanting to just sort of be left to his own devices with his wife and just chill. How he ended up being a good leader (but one who understood that times change it was time for the monarchy to not hold all the power) and actually took an active role at times - like in the Secret Freedom Fighters (which was super awesome since Silver was in the team too!!) - was something I really enjoyed about his character. Losing him to the Ken Penders lawsuit/contract drama + the subsequent reboot was the greatest casualty of them all to come from that whole incident. ;_;

Favorite ship?
I am all about the Shadouge (Shadow/Rouge, just to be clear) up in here. They are such a great team together and they’ve saved each other so many times. I feel like Rouge is the one who really understands Shadow, and he clearly cares about her. I legitimately am not a big shipper in general, but this is one of the few ships I really do feel strongly about.

Favorite continuity?
I actually did enjoy the old Archie continuity (RIP) and some of the cartoon ones (I wish we had gotten more of the OVA in particular), but I’ll be boring and say the game continuity is my favorite. I’m not a fan of the dumb “two worlds” BS they’ve got going on now though in the games (with there being Sonic’s world and the human world...which makes no sense to me? Shadow is from the human world then? Why was this never mentioned at all when the games started to actually feature humans? It just feels like a kneejerk reaction to peoples’ problems with Elise and Sonic 2006 as a whole, and I don’t like it).

Favorite location/level?
There are so many zones and levels throughout such a long history that it’s hard to choose…In general, I like nearly all aspects of Space Colony ARK (I’ll stick a middle finger up to Sonic’s Final Rush though for being one of my worst stages to A-rank).

Okay, wait, I’m going to try to not just say SA2 stuff. Some others I like are Cool Edge from Unleashed, Twinkle Park (Amy’s version specifically) from Adventure, Mushroom Hill from S&K, White Acropolis from 2006… eh, that’s probably enough to list.

Favorite Badnik or henchman?
Errr... I don’t really have a favorite Badnik since they’re kind of interchangeable to me, which is probably sacrilege to say as someone who first started the series in the Classic Era games. But I just… don’t really care for them? Egg-Robo is okay, I guess? Does Tails Doll count?

Wait, wait, can I count E-101 Beta from Sonic Adventure? I’ll go with him, his boss fight had some slammin’ music and I really like his role in Gamma’s story.

What was your first Sonic game?
I’m, like, 99% sure it was Sonic the Hedgehog 3! I was very young when I first played a Sonic game on my aunt’s Genesis, but I think it was 3 rather than 2 because I vaguely remember playing as Tails at Angel Island. I’m pretty sure I picked Tails because I thought he was cuter than Sonic lol.

Any headcanons?
Okay, so, confession: I’m not really a headcanon person. I have this quirk about strictly following canon and being afraid to even write fanfics anymore because I’m scared of deviating too much. It’s a weird way to feel and I’m a weird person (as if that wasn't obvious even before this ha), I know. BUT!! I do kind of have one headcanon for Sonic, and it’s one that directly flies in the face of Takashi Iizuka’s own comments on the matter lmao. It’s that… I really like the idea of Silver being Shadow’s son from far in the future. L-Look, I don’t care about the “who” and “why” and “how” or anything of it, I just… really like the idea of it and think it’s cute! But, like, I like it in a way that neither of them would know it? It’s part of why I love any time the two are on-screen together and interacting ehehe…

Any OCs?
Ya know, you’d think I would’ve had some at least as a kid, but I don’t think I ever did! I’m more of the “straight up self-insert myself into established universes I like” type than making OCs for stuff. Unless we count my Avatar in Sonic Forces, who was a cute girl cat she’s replacing Blaze, who I don’t really like lol

A character you think needs more love?
Where to even begin at this point… Like, everyone who isn’t Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Eggman, and maybe Amy needs more love at this point.

Where has Cream been? Babylon Rogues please? I’m still mad they weren’t a team in Team Sonic Racing since Jet is one of my faves and I like Wave a lot too. Why are Mighty and Ray condemned to the Classic continuity and not allowed to be in both like every other member of the Chaotix? Why can’t Infinite be mentioned by name in the IDW comics, and why wasn’t he on Eggman’s team in TSR over Zavok? I like Infinite, he’s the right kind of edge for my tastes. Is Fang just doomed to minor cameos at this point? And that’s to say nothing about some of the characters who do get appearances still… but barely get to actually do anything in them (like nearly everyone).

...and that's it for my overly excited Sonic answers for now. I just... love talking about Sonic, I've been a fan for nearly my whole life and I just LOVE the series
Looks like I need therapy. Let’s get to the bottom of why I lie to myself and say that Sonic Adventure 2 blows.
Entry #4

Hey, this isn't about Sonic for once! This may or may not be known to anyone who may wander into the "What Video Games are You Playing Now?" thread, but I play a lot of Dance Dance Revolution. I've got access to all eight of the DDR games on PS2, and I really enjoy playing them for 30 minutes at a time for fun exercise. No joke, if you keep it up, it'll help you build leg strength and get toned. I've seen results myself, and thanks to DDR + Wii Fit U + the occasional stationary bike exercise, I've lost nearly 40 pounds since late December and feel really good now, probably best I've ever been health-wise. If anyone is looking for a fun way to get up and move, I highly recommend Dance Dance Revolution, especially if you have a Wii or PS2 and can get a hold of some cheap secondhand copies of the games and a dance pad. also, if anyone who happens to read this just happens to have an old DDR arcade machine lying around collecting dust, hit me up lmao

I really wish Konami would make home console versions of Dance Dance Revolution again. I'd ideally like a $20 game (maybe $40 or $60 + a soft pad to dance on) that maybe doesn't have as much music as the previous ones, but has access to a huge library of DLC of music from past games. Even if it was only Bemani original songs, there would be SO MUCH I'd love to have all in one convenient stop. They could even to a subscription thing like Just Dance does where you pay to have access to a whole library of extra songs. But... Konami gonna Konami and not do things right, so I've given up hope.

Anyway, because I listen to the music from these games on such a regular basis by playing, I felt like compiling a list of my top ten favorite songs from each of the PS2 installments of the series, whether those songs are licensed music or Bemani originals. Along with the occasional bit of commentary about the games them selves because that's just what I do. Oh, and within each game, I'm not putting the songs in order of favorites. Just a general top ten, and I'll try to hyperlink songs in case anyone actually a) reads this and b) wants to hear some. up to a point, because I might get tired of linking stuff lol

Dance Dance Revolution MAX
You Leave Me Alone by Venus
Look to the Sky by System S.F. feat. Anna
My Generation (Fat Beat Mix) by Captain Jack
Ordinary World by Aurora feat. Naimee Coleman
Love Again Tonight ~ For Melissa Mix ~ by NAOKI feat. Paula Terry
Synchronized Love (Red Monster Hype Mix) by Joe Rinoie
Broken My Heart by NAOKI feat. Paula Terry
Midnite Blaze by U1 Jewel Style
Dark Black Forest (Short Trip) by Steve Rhyner
Actually, I'm only putting nine songs from this one. This is the DDR I play the least because it has the smallest song list, and it also had the most annoying song unlock requirements. It was the first one on PS2, so I get why its a little weaker than the others. To be fair, some of the songs I have listed above I'd legitimately consider some of the best from any of the games (I love that cover of "Ordinary World" in particular), so it has that going for it.

Dance Dance Revolution MAX2
Dream A Dream by Captain Jack
The Shining Polaris by L.E.D feat. Sana
Celebrate Nite by N.M.R.
Will I by Ian Van Dahl
Destiny by NAOKI feat. Paula Terry
In the Navy '99 (XXL Disaster Remix) by Captain Jack
Still in My Heart by NAOKI
Long Train Runnin' by Bus Stop
Silent Hill by Thomas Howard
Okay, I think I'm done with the hyperlinks; I'm too lazy to keep this up haha. MAX2 is one of the games I'd put in the upper half as far as song quality goes, It's really good. This isn't necessarily specific to this game alone, but I feel like the licensed music was better in the earlier half of the PS2 DDR games than the later. Like, we'll get to his later, but there are some truly awful licensed song choices and step charts by the time of DDRX2.

Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME
KICK THE CAN by Bus Stop
Pink Rose by Kiyommy + Seiya
Simply Being Loved "Somnabulist" by BT
YMCA by Village People
Can't Stop Fallin' in Love (Speed Mix) by NAOKI
La Senorita by Captain. T
There You'll Be by DJ SPEEDO feat. Angelica
Ladies Night by ∠R
A Stupid Barber by Sho-T
Move Your Feet by Junior Senior
This one also has a stellar song list. The inclusion of "Simply Being Loved" alone is worth the price of admission because I just absolutely love that song. Anyone who doesn't love "YMCA" has no soul. And then there is "Move Your Feet," a song that I swear exists only in dancing video games (I first heard it through EyeToy Groove way, way back). My one issue with this game is the really janky WorkOut mode. For some reason, this is the ONLY one of the PS2 games (yes, even the earlier ones get this right) that makes you go back into WorkOut settings every 3-5 songs to turn the mode back on, and then you have to go into the normal game mode to dance. Every other game has you go into a specific WorkOut mode, adjust your settings, and then dance with no gameovers or song limits. It's just weird.

Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME2
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) by Déjà Vu featuring Tasmin
BOOM BOOM DOLLAR (K.O.G. G3 MIX) by King Kong & D.Jungle Girls
butterfly (Upswing Mix) by SMiLE.dk
CAPTAIN JACK (Grandale Remix) by Captain Jack
I Will Survive by AKIRA feat. Daline
Look At Us (Daddy DJ Mix) by Sarina Paris
MARIA (I believe...) by NAOKI feat. Paula Terry
Passion of Love by Paula Terry
TwinBee (Generation X) by FinalOffset
DIVE by BeForU
EXTREME2 might be my favorite PS2 DDR game. It's the game that I do 30 minutes of dancing on and then feel like, "oh, darn, I should've played [insert song] instead of [insert other song]" because there are so many good options. It's also the last one with the super outdated character models for the dancers, and I miss them because they have a lot of charm and some characters didn't make the leap to the SuperNOVA cast. I'll also mention that I'm a Phil Collins fan, but I just love that cover of "Against All Odds" that is in this game even more than his original.

Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA
The Other Side (Radio Mix) by Paul van Dyk feat. Wayne Jackson
Star Gate Heaven by Donna Burke
DYNAMITE RAVE (super euro version) by NAOKI with Y&Co.
Xepher by Tatsh
Mugen by TËЯRA
MOON by dj TAKA feat. Erika
TRUE♥LOVE by jun
CENTERFOLD (130BPM move it remix) by Captain Jack
This was actually the first console DDR game I ever played! I'm obviously fond of it for that reason, even if it's not my number 1 fave. It does have a good selection of songs though, especially the Japanese ones. I will always love "DoLL" for both the song and the cool video that accompanies it, and it bothers me that all those awesome character designs never got more use than just being visuals for some Bemani songs. In our household WAY back (like, when I was in middle school and my sisters in elementary school), you were like a god if you could beat "Xepher" on Basic or - gasp! - Difficult. Funny how it used to seem so difficult back then lol.

Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA2

Can't Stop the Rain by Cascada
Love on My Mind (Radio Mix) by Freemasons feat. Amanda Wilson
STARS★★★ (Re-tuned by HΛL) -DDR EDITION- by TЁЯRA
Baby's Tears (SKY GIRLS opening theme) by Riyu Kosaka
CRASH! by Mr. Brian & the Final Band
Feelings Won't Fade (Extend Trance Mix) by SySF.
Flowers by TЁЯRA
Morning Glory by BeForU
Seduction (Vocal Remix) by NC feat NRG Factory
Unreal by Black Rose Garden
Overall, this is probably my least favorite PS2 DDR, since it doesn't even have the excuse of being the first one like MAX. I was actually playing this one earlier today, and when I still had about eight minutes of dancing to do, I was struggling to even pick a song. There are some real standouts from my list, but I just wish they were in the others games so that I could play them more often (and with better songs accompanying them). This one is also the start of the poor licensed tracks IMO. One look at my list shows that since a lot of my favorites from the earlier games actually were licensed tracks. Only two are here, and beyond those two songs, most of the licensed songlist on SuperNOVA2 is slow and ill-suited to a dancing game.

Dance Dance Revolution X

Boys (2008 X-edit) by SMiLE.dk
HERO (2008 X-edit) by PAPAYA
Till the lonely's gone by Z-licious
Blind Justice ~Torn souls, Hurt Faiths~ by Zektbach
SUNKiSS♥DROP by jun with Alison
Why Not by Darwin
Venus by Tatsh+RayZY
30 Lives (Up-Up-Down-Down Mix) by The Motion Sick
X used to be my favorite of these games for a long time until EXTREME2 passed it one day. I still think this is one of the better DDR options on PS2, and I like the street presentation of the menus and everything. The characters also got much better outfits (mostly) than the ones they were wearing in the previous two games. Notably, this game also had a story mode. Yes, you read that right: a story mode. With actual dialogue. It's nothing mind-blowing, but it's silly, cheesy fun and I appreciate that the game attempted to give personalities to the dancers.

Dance Dance Revolution X2
Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song) by Enrique Iglesias
Gotta Dance by Naoki feat. Aleisha G.
Sacred Oath by TЁЯRA
THIS NIGHT by jun feat. Sonnet
You Are a Star by NAOKI feat. Anna Kaelin
A Geisha's Dream by NAOKI feat. SMiLE.dk
Chance & Dice by Nippon Shonen
Nadeshiko by Red Litmus
Only a single licensed song, because the rest are all crap. Either crap because nobody would want to dance to them (honestly, who the hell has ever listened to Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" and been like, "huh, this makes me want to get up and dance") or the step charts are truly atrocious (like for The Pussycat Dolls' "When I Grow Up"... which is bad even aside from the steps being hot doo doo). It's a shame, because the Bemani songs are pretty top-tier in X2. I will note, however, that when I mention "THIS NIGHT" on this list, I mean the English version specifically, because I like the singer's voice better in that one.

Annnnnd that's it. Except that I only just today learned that there was also a Disney Channel DDR game on PS2? I feel like nothing of value is lost by me not having a copy of it lol, so I'm just going to keep living my life believing I have all the PS2 games.
40 pounds?!?! Holy crap!!! Great job, keep it up!!! That blows my mind, I never would’ve guessed you could burn that much fat with a video game. I’ve only played DDR at arcades for a novelty with my friends, I was a cool kid so I played Guitar Hero (though I don’t think I’d trim any fat if I went back to those games). That makes me wonder if Guitar Hero was basically just DDR for boys who were too cool to get cooties.

I’ve also been looking for good cheesy early 2000s techno so your post came at a great time!

CAPTAIN JACK (Grandale Remix) by Captain Jack

So it turns out I’ve never played a console DDR game but I made music for it. Hmm.
40 pounds?!?! Holy crap!!! Great job, keep it up!!! That blows my mind, I never would’ve guessed you could burn that much fat with a video game. I’ve only played DDR at arcades for a novelty with my friends, I was a cool kid so I played Guitar Hero (though I don’t think I’d trim any fat if I went back to those games). That makes me wonder if Guitar Hero was basically just DDR for boys who were too cool to get cooties.

I’ve also been looking for good cheesy early 2000s techno so your post came at a great time!
Thanks!! Yeah, I've been really satisfied with the results. I haven't missed a single day exercising since December 26th, and having to weigh in on Wii Fit U helps too to keep motivation up. To be fair, I do eat a little bit better now too (as in, I finally use some self-control and try to stick to only one helping even if it's food I really like lol).

You might be on to something with Guitar Hero! It definitely seemed to be much more immediately popular with guys than DDR was, and it has a less pop-ish aesthetic that probably helped. Kinda miss those days when music games were really big; after Guitar Hero and Rock Band kinda died away in popularity, it feels like everything else did too unfortunately. Aside from Just Dance, which is still trucking along even on the original Wii to this day. I really need to try those games someday...
Cap'n Jack said:
So it turns out I’ve never played a console DDR game but I made music for it. Hmm.
tell Konami you want your royalty checks for your music lol
Thanks!! Yeah, I've been really satisfied with the results. I haven't missed a single day exercising since December 26th, and having to weigh in on Wii Fit U helps too to keep motivation up. To be fair, I do eat a little bit better now too (as in, I finally use some self-control and try to stick to only one helping even if it's food I really like lol).

That’s really great, I’ve been thinking about getting into some kind of exercise and this inspires me. :)

You might be on to something with Guitar Hero! It definitely seemed to be much more immediately popular with guys than DDR was, and it has a less pop-ish aesthetic that probably helped. Kinda miss those days when music games were really big; after Guitar Hero and Rock Band kinda died away in popularity, it feels like everything else did too unfortunately. Aside from Just Dance, which is still trucking along even on the original Wii to this day. I really need to try those games someday...

Oh man, I remember thinking it was so bad-butt when I faced the Devil (his went by the name Lou) in a guitar battle and played a corny butt-metal rendition of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. I have to admit that those games basically got me interested in music and in a way, most of the music I listen to even today is what I found along the path that started with Guitar Hero for me.
tell Konami you want your royalty checks for your music lol

Hah, I won’t press my luck, Konami crediting me is good enough.
Entry #5

I blame depression for this to some extent, but I play a LOT of mobile gacha games. No, I don’t spend money in them, but I do enjoy the fun of F2P gambling and trying to get stuff I want in them. They also give me something to look forward to throughout the week, sad as that may sound lol. So anyway, in this post, I’m gonna talk a little about the mobile games I still play (in order of when I started, and RIP to FFRK, FFBE, and Sonic Forces: Speed Battle that I quit along the way) and what my progress/goals are in them ‘cause I just like doing that aha.

Also, hit me up here if you want to add me in one of these games; I like seeing what other people are up to in them because I’m nosy, and I generally do try to help when people request it in Opera Omnia.

Fire Emblem Heroes
Been playing this one since within 10 minutes of when it launched, so I’m definitely a veteran. It has its ups and its downs, but I don’t really get angry about powercreep and stuff like a lot of /r/fireemblemheroes does. I guess it’s because I don’t take Arena and Aether Raids that seriously (I stay around tier 18-19 in Arena, and 19 in AR… and that’s all the effort I’m willing to put in).

I’m all about the characters in FEH. For over half a year, I’ve refused to summon on ANY banner beyond the free summon (or the tickets from Forging Bonds) because I want… no, I NEED Conrad. I’m hoping that he gets added in late October for the banner we always get at that time featuring some of the top-voted characters not in the game yet. Even if he ended up being absolute garbage stat-wise, I’d still throw everything I have toward him.

My orb count for Conrad - who ideally I would like to get 11 copies of, for a +10 - is currently at a little over 2,000. I still don’t feel like it is going to be enough given my usually terrible luck in this game lol, but I hope that the gacha gods smile upon me for my devotion to Conrad. This whole orb-hoarding experience made me realize that Conrad is my favorite Fire Emblem character, because I didn’t go this far for even Innes or Ephraim, who I’d always considered my favorites until then. Actually, I still don’t even have regular Ephraim to this day, which sucks. And my only Innes is +ATK… but -SPD. Yay.


Oh, and I also have never used any of my Heroic Grails, just in case Conrad gets added as a Tempest Trial unit. Assuming he’s just a regular, summonable unit, I’ll use the Grails on… I dunno, Aversa maybe, to get her the last 5-6 merges she needs? Her, Arvis, or Saias.

I don’t really feed premium skills to my units because I feel dirty foddering off 5-star units, but I will do that for Conrad (Nailah’s time is slowly ticking away, because she’s on the menu for Distant Counter and Null C-Disrupt if Conrad’s stats suit that kind of build). I did give Lukas Steady Breath from B!Ike, though. Can you tell I really liked Shadows of Valentia lol?

My 5-star +10 units in FEH as of now are Eirika, Cecilia, Mae, Boey, Reinhardt, Klein, Marth, and Ares. I’ve also got Lilina at +9, which haunts me because I’ve been waiting to pull one more copy for nearly a year now. I’m also working on Lukas (+6, will probably finish him once Conrad is added since I’ll be pulling an ungodly amount of blues), Shigure (+4), and Reyson (+4).

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp
Let me start by saying that gardening events fill me with dread when I know one is coming up (one is happening right now). Between the poor catch rates for bugs and having to constantly restock on items for villager requests, it is annoying. However, aside from that, I do have fun with Pocket Camp. I like collecting furniture and clothes, and I’ve had pretty decent luck with fortune cookies (I have the 5-star items for Colton, Julian, Marshal, Bluebear, Tia, Hamlet, Poppy, Beau, and the Pompompurin one, and all but 2-3 of them were from the “free” 5,000 Bell cookies).

Currently, my camp is kind of spooky-themed. It is a graveyard with Colton’s weird heavenly gate item in the middle, which I included to try to make it unsettling as a contrast between the graves and apocalyptic red sky. Did I succeed? Probably not, but it works for now with Halloween coming up. If I had one more Will o’Wisp item from Phoebe’s cookie, I’d probably replace some of the feathers with those, but alas.



My cabin is supposed to be a cute, pastel cafe. I might change it to something with the items from Beau’s Artisanal cookie because I have most of those, but I’m in no rush.



I’m at a little over 1,500 Leaf Tickets (I barely ever use them, aside from the odd LT collection item or camp background, and very sparingly a 250 LT box of fortune cookies), and I’m holding on to them to see what kind of holiday-themed stuff we get later this year. I want a permanent night sky with snowflakes falling down, personally.

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia
The last man standing, in that it is the only Final Fantasy mobile game I still play (I quit FFRK due to storage issues on my old phone and then just never reinstalled, while FFBE became a chore and I quit when I realized I just didn’t enjoy anything in it anymore, not even getting rainbows in a summon). I feel like Opera Omnia is fairly generous as far as gacha games go (there’s a pity system in place, we get free 10+1 pulls for various holidays and events, plenty of tickets to summon with from all sorts of events, etc.), and that’s why it’s the one I continued playing.

Right now, I’ve got about 160,000 gems. I refuse to go lower than 150,000 at a time because I need 75,000 for Noel in about two weeks (Noel is one of my top three Final Fantasy characters) and 75,000 for Ignis several months away (another fave, though not quite top three). I appreciate how you can just save up for characters and know for sure you’ll get their EX weapon (the highest tier, necessary for unit kits at this point), and there’s a chance you’ll get lucky and not even need the full 75,000 for it.

As far as full kits with 15CP, 35CP, and EX passives (along with the World of Illusions weapons for characters that is applicable for) go, I’ve got Warrior of Light, Lenna, Terra, Cloud, Squall, Rinoa, Zidane, Kuja, Vaan, Vayne, Vanille, Serah, Noctis, Prompto, Ace, Ramza, and Lann+Reynn.

I really enjoy co-op in this game, even more so during the rare events where nobody or everybody is a boosted character. Those are great since you see a larger variety of characters in use and I can dust off some characters I haven’t used recently. I always try to play in the “Just For Fun” rooms because I see a lot of low rank players there who are clearly new, and I like trying to help them out (since I’ve seen many times where hosts will disband once they see someone who is new join the room, it’s rude).

SEGA Heroes
Hoo boy, this one is kind of cash-grabby, but you can still be F2P and do pretty well. That’s how I play, and I’m always top 50 in my arena server (usually top 30-ish). I’m also lucky in that I’m in a good guild that places in the top 30 during events, which helps get some extra resources.

My main team consists of Shadow, Alis, Welkin, and Agent G. It used to have Gum and Rouge in place of Welkin and Agent G, but a) Gum was the weak link, so I cut her in place of Welkin (who can attack with Rally tiles and is a character I do like from his home series) and b) Agent G is so easy to promote even as a legendary for someone like me who hoarded Mega Survival Tokens for so long.


The issues with this game are that it can be kind of repetitive in the event structure, and it’s hard to get the new characters without spending money or having restraint to hoard gems until you need them. Even so, it’s a fun basic Candy Crush-type thing for a SEGA fan like me, and I mainly play waiting for the day that Skies of Arcadia gets added. My dream set would be Vyse as blue, Aika as yellow, Fina as green, and Ramirez as red; this way, the main three are represented along with a villain.

Oh, and screw Hotsuma. He’s my most hated character to fight in Arena, and I judge everyone who uses him.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
I’m super late to the party here lol, I only started playing, like, a little over a month ago. Imma be real with everyone: I installed because I just wanted Zane. Yes, that’s really why. Being able to actually make decks and stuff again in a post-Dueling Network world is a nice bonus though haha.

I didn’t realize that unlocking Zane would be so frustrating. You need Syrus, Jaden, Jesse, and Aster to be able to do Zane’s unlock missions, and getting THOSE characters requires other ones. Like, to get Jesse? I had to unlock Yami Yugi (who I didn’t have because I chose Kaiba at the beginning) to then unlock Pegasus to get Jesse. And then you need specific drops from Jaden (Sparkman and Thunder Giant) to unlock Syrus, who then you also need to farm drops from (Pair Cycroid can go straight to hell honestly for the torture it put me through in farming Syrus duels over… and over... and OVER….). But it’s okay now because I have Zane, and that’s what matters. You can tell he and Aster are my favorites because they’re both in the level 30s while everyone else is in the early 20s at best lmao.

My decks are crap because I open packs with my heart rather than my brain. What I mean is… yes, I used a TON of gems just to get two copies of Cyber Dragon, one of which was in the very last pack of its box. It’s not meta by any means, but I do like using my Frankenstein’s monster of a Cyber Dragon deck, and I can pretty reliably get Cyber Twin Dragon on the field, at least. Sometimes even Cyber End Dragon if I want to flex on some fools.

I also use Destiny Heroes, Aromages, and Blackwings. I’m considering using the Dream Ticket we just got for the DSoD world debut for another Bora the Spear for my Blackwings, but I can’t pull the trigger on that. It’s too much pressure trying to figure out what is best to get from that ticket.

My hope for the near future in Duel Links is that Bruno from 5D’s gets added. He’s my favorite 5D’s character and one of my favorites from the whole franchise in general, and I’d like to see him either in his outfit from when he was hanging out in Team 5D’s or in his Dark Glass/Vizor appearance.

Mario Kart Tour
Not much to say about this one since it’s so new and there’s not a ton going on. I think the rubie economy is pretty effed up in this game though. Like, getting a single rubie for some things in this game is the equivalent of getting paid a penny to do a chore. It’s chump change and incredibly stingy. We didn’t even get a free multi-pull for a launch celebration? Like… what? I’ve only been able to do one 45 rubie draw the first day I played, and thankfully I did get one high-end driver (Musician Mario, which is cool and all, but I wanted Pauline).

Oh, and I was like, “okay, I’ll do the free trial for the Gold Pass and get those rubies at least.” WRONG! You need to have some form of payment linked to your Google Play account, and over my dead body am I linking a credit card or anything to my account. It’s dumb that you can’t do the free trial without that.

Regardless, the gameplay is fun because it’s pretty much touchscreen Mario Kart. I also appreciate that they resurrected my beloved Mega Mushroom item, which I miss in MK8D. Why they’d put Dino Dino Jungle in as one of the only tracks right now - of ALL the options in this series - is beyond me, though. Not only is it probably my least favorite Double Dash!! track, but it’s among my least favorite in the whole series. Oh well, though, can’t complain too much when I can at least be happy for the Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart: Super Circuit tracks being represented.


Oh, and if you’re curious about why I don’t play Pokemon Masters despite having been excited for it pre-launch? Well, the reason is that I literally CAN’T play it. I can run everything else fine on my Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablet, but Pokemon Masters isn’t compatible, and my only other option is my ancient phone that is literally 5-6 years old and has 1 GB of RAM at best. SO… yeah, that’s why I don’t play it. Sucks, but what can you do. It might be doing me a favor honestly; do I really need ANOTHER game to get addicted to lol?
Entry #6

Welcome to a “spooky” edition of my inane blog series! Why the quotation marks around “spooky?” Well, I figured that this time of year was a good time for a blog about things I found scary in video games as a kid. And, well… I was and am a scaredy cat. I jump when my toast pops out of the toaster, that’s how bad it is. The things I was scared of will probably be comical to most people, and hey, that’s fine. I’m self-aware of how easily frightened I am, I’ll own that. So whether you sympathize with the items on this list or get a laugh out of how silly they are, here we go!

Ghost Houses (Super Mario World)
This one is probably the least ridiculous on this list if I clarify that Super Mario World was one of the first games I ever played. I was preschool-aged or a little younger. For a kid that was scared of a big bank in our local Kroger that was shaped like a baby bottle (which my parents still joke about to this day, noting how I’d cry “big bottle, big bottle!”), it’s not too surprising that the somewhat maze-like Ghost Houses that were dark and had ghosts in them would have that effect on me.

Unagi (Super Mario 64)
There are actually several parts of SM64 that unsettled me as a kid (like the cavern area with the gas that you get to through that black goop stuff that some reason was creepy to me), but nothing is as bad as Unagi. Here I am just minding my own business, swimming in this cool water level with a pirate ship… and then I see IT. A menacing eel popping out of a hole in the ship, obstructing my path. And then the game has the audacity to let Unagi start swimming around? Oh man, it was like a horror game for child!me. There’s something about the original design of Unagi that is most intimidating. I think it’s the face that just screams “I’m going to eviscerate you.”
Nearly everything about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The N64 Zelda games have the best atmosphere. Neither is my absolute favorite in the series, but I stand by them having a great, eerie feel to them, which I attribute at least partially to the very muddy colors and textures of them on the N64. I love it. But as a kid? Nightmare fuel. Some of the things that scared me in Ocarina of Time were the Lost Woods as a whole, the house with the weird Skulltula curse people, the graveyard in Kakariko Village (that one cutscene when there’s lightning and it flashes and Link has that stunned look on his face scared the ever-loving crap out of me), the ReDeads, the ruined Hyrule Castle Town…


One thing that scared me the most wasn’t even an intentional part of the game. One day, I was just playing Ocarina of Time with the blinds closed in the room. It was dark. I was at the Forest Temple, and one of those wolf-looking enemies jumped at me. Suddenly, my game just froze and got all creepy glitchy-looking. It freaked me out so bad that I didn’t play the game again for literal years.

Let’s take a dive in Aquatic Mine (Sonic Adventure 2)
Another water-related item on this list! Aquatic Mine certainly lives up to the “aquatic” part of its name, forcing the player to change the water level around in the level in order to find the Master Emerald shards. I never liked the ghosts that would pop out of the walls and stuff at you in some parts of this level, but that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part is going to get the Air Necklace power-up, which is almost mandatory for later in the game at Cannon’s Core. This segment of the level combines two scary things: 1) a claustrophobic, long passageway underwater that feels like it lasts an eternity and 2) the drowning theme from the Sonic series, which still makes me panic. This is one of the things I dread the absolute most when I replay SA2.

King Boom Boo (Sonic Adventure 2)
Okay, I’m sure this character looks ridiculous to anyone who didn’t play this as a kid (or even to those who did lol), but this boss fight horrified me back then. It’s partly the sounds he makes, and partly the way he can just suddenly turn around and catch you off guard. I’m not sure why Knuckles became the go-to ghost guy in SA2, but it had the effect of making his levels some of the scariest to me as a kid.

Lavender Town (Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow)
This one needs no real explanation given the site we’re on. The music definitely has a very unsettling sound to it, and the ghosts in the Pokemon Tower that make you “too scared to move” scared the bajeesus out of me.

Scooby-Doo Mystery (...that’s it, that’s the name)
Okay, if you haven’t found my childhood fears comical yet, this might be the one to do it. This game scared me so bad as a kid that you’d think I was playing P.T. or Fatal Frame 2 or something. I barely ever made it anywhere in the game because I was too afraid of doing anything. The “death” screen of the game was something I wanted to avoid at all costs, because it was just very… weird and made me uncomfortable for some reason. Doesn’t help that Shaggy and Scooby got scared of literally EVERYTHING (which is how you lost health), so it was hard to avoid losing when you’re just a preschooler and have no clue what to do. As if I have any room to laugh at Shaggy and Scooby being so easily spooked though, ha! My mom tried to sell this game at a garage sale (more than once) because I was so scared of it, but I never let her. Still have it to this day, actually… and have never beaten it.

SNES Pinball
Look, I can’t even try to justify this one. A damn pinball game scared me. I have no excuse.

The jingles when a fire happens or when you miss work (The Sims)
This is embarrassing, but one time a few years ago I listened to a video of all the “danger” jingles in the original Sims when I was by myself, and I legitimately was uneasy the rest of the night. I didn’t have fires happen too often; after the first time, I was paranoid and made sure to always teach a Sim at least one level of the cooking skill ASAP. However, missing work? That happened a lot, almost never purposely. Sometimes I’d send a Sim to work, but they’d defy me and not go. I hated it because then I knew. I KNEW. I knew that I’d have to dread hearing the phone ring in-game and try to stop my Sim from answering it, for fear of that tune that played.

Jinzo (Yu-Gi-Oh!)
Yeah, okay, this one is more of an anime and trading card game thing, but there are Yu-Gi-Oh! video games and I played several, so I’ll count it anyway. I didn’t even like looking at Jinzo because it freaked me out. I hated that episode in GX where Jaden dueled Jinzo, I didn’t like when Joey got it, and I most certainly didn’t like dueling against it in the Tag Force game where he now had a 3D character model.

Escaping Tubba Blubba (Paper Mario)
Tubba Blubba looks like a big goofball, I know. But, oh man… you don’t even know how much I always dreaded the part when that stupid Yakkey alerts him to your presence and you have to run away from him and escape the castle. The thought of Tubba Blubba actually catching me terrified me for some reason.

Speaking of Paper Mario, I’ll also shout out to the Forever Forest in the first game. It was very confusing to navigate when I was younger and dumb, and those little flowers that move and giggle… yeah, I didn’t appreciate that.

Doopliss (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door)
This is another character that looks silly, but I always thought he was really menacing when he stole your appearance and name in TTYD? It was the unsettling trifecta of “oh my god, I’m the dark one now WHAT IS HAPPENING,” plus the way you’d have to run from him because you weren’t strong enough to fight him until later, PLUS his theme song that was creepy,

Puppet Master (Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow)
Look at this thing’s face! He also had a creepy voice. I have no idea what he says because the voice acting in DoS was all in Japanese, but it sure as hell sounded terrifying. The thought of getting crushed in those iron maidens sent shivers down my spine, especially when it can happen so fast if you aren’t paying attention in the boss fight.

You know, if I actually listed out everything from games that scared me, we'd be here forever. I don't think anyone wants that haha, so with that, I abruptly end this and wish everyone an early "Happy Halloween." I really need to work on my conclusions to these things, yikes.
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You’re very big to admit to some of these, haha. How do you mention the eel in Mario 64 without mentioning that piano in the Boo mansion?! Whoever put that red coin near the piano was devious and hated kids. The sound of the piano going CHUNG CHUNG CHUNG CHUNG as it gnashed its teeth is permanently burned into my head.

Lavender Town and Ocarina of Time, we suffer together in. That ghost that told you to “GO...” scared the absolute piss out of way, my little brain couldn’t fathom how that even existed in the game. It felt alien to Pokémon, yknow? I only played a friend’s copy of Ocarina or something, because my only memory of playing it as a kid was walking out into Castle Town after the time skip, when everyone in town has been turned into a Re-Dead and the place looks like an atom bomb went off. I was so scared that I never played the game again on N64, lol.

From my childhood I can put a few more games on the table. I had Spider-Man on the N64, which is not the Spider-Man game that everyone knows which came out a couple years later. The final boss of this game was a gross cross between Dr. Octopus and Carnage and you didn’t even fight it, Spider-Man’s only recourse was to run away from it as it breathed down your neck and made the most terrible sound some voice actor could strangle out of themselves in the studio.

Another licensed N64 game I had was Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, which was like a third-person shooter I think. One of the earlier levels (I’m assuming it’s an earlier level because I was very bad at games when I was a kid) was on Hoth, the ice planet. I don’t remember if this place was necessary to enter to finish the level, but tucked away in some hallway was a room with like six Wampas (the big woolly monster that kidnaps Luke in The Empire Strikes Back). The way that these things took forever to kill, and shambled ever so slowly but would seemingly hunt you down to the ends of the earth really creeped me out.

This is probably the most embarrassing one but it probably played a hand in my deep-seated hatred for cheap, poorly-plotted jump scares. I’m making it sound like I played a shitty Gmod horror map as a kid, but no. I’m talking about a Fairly Oddparents game that I rented on GameCube... I still remember the introductory camera sweep of this level, which had like a sinking pirate ship in it or something? Anyway, just past the dock where this pirate ship was, you had to walk through a large room filled with these floating, disembodied three-piece suits. Imagine like a bunch of Invisible Men, just standing around. They had an invisible radius around them (or if there was a hint as to their range, I didn’t catch it as a kid), and if you got in their range they would fly toward you and open up their shirt and gobble you up. The terror of trying to keep my distance from this dead silent, ramrod-stiff thing only to mess up and get rewarded with the rustling of the suit as it pounced at me at Mach 2, I hated it and stopped playing the game there... and now I’m a grown-ass man who still remembers this. I can’t even find a screenshot of what I’m talking about. Hopefully I’m the last man on earth who carries the weight of that trauma.
You’re very big to admit to some of these, haha. How do you mention the eel in Mario 64 without mentioning that piano in the Boo mansion?! Whoever put that red coin near the piano was devious and hated kids. The sound of the piano going CHUNG CHUNG CHUNG CHUNG as it gnashed its teeth is permanently burned into my head.
You're right, that should have got an honorable mention too (the entirety of Boo Mansion, honestly). And I totally forgot about it until now, but also the neverending staircase on Super Mario 64 was also creepy. For such a bright, colorful game, it's funny to think how many kids must've had at least one moment that scared them in it lol.
From my childhood I can put a few more games on the table. I had Spider-Man on the N64, which is not the Spider-Man game that everyone knows which came out a couple years later. The final boss of this game was a gross cross between Dr. Octopus and Carnage and you didn’t even fight it, Spider-Man’s only recourse was to run away from it as it breathed down your neck and made the most terrible sound some voice actor could strangle out of themselves in the studio.
Oh man, I can see where this one would be scary! Chase sequences are so stressful, and that thing's face is... not very pleasant and inviting either. Interesting that a superhero game had a final boss that was a chase like that, but also kinda neat. I'm tempted to go look up the fight on YouTube to hear the sounds it makes haha. And to see the thing from the Fairly Oddparents game you mentioned. Just reading it, it sort of reminds me of the kind of stuff in this Scooby-Doo (why did I have another Scooby-Doo game when I barely played the old SNES one I had? who knows lol) Gamecube game I had that scared me even though it probably wasn't supposed to. I dunno, it's like the graphics in games in the N64-Gamecube era had a certain uncanny look to them sometimes that made stuff like that worse scare-wise? Well, and being kids playing them, that helps too lol.
@FinalArcadia ; I just remembered a spooky childhood gaming moment you probably have too - remember the Forbidden Fortress in Wind Waker? It was really weird to have a stealth section so early in that game but anyway, something about the animation, the sound design, the lighting, and the art style made that stealth section really tense for little me, and it still gets a flinch out of me sometimes today! Trying to find a barrel to hide in and sneak as slowly as possible, letting go of the controller when the camera swings around to show a Moblin noticing you, and sitting there powerless as it tries to sniff you out - I think Wind Waker prepared me for the more mature stealth games I played later in life. I never even got past Windfall Island as a kid, so for many years my mental image of Wind Waker was just “the game where you get thrown in jail a lot”.
@FinalArcadia ; I just remembered a spooky childhood gaming moment you probably have too - remember the Forbidden Fortress in Wind Waker? It was really weird to have a stealth section so early in that game but anyway, something about the animation, the sound design, the lighting, and the art style made that stealth section really tense for little me, and it still gets a flinch out of me sometimes today! Trying to find a barrel to hide in and sneak as slowly as possible, letting go of the controller when the camera swings around to show a Moblin noticing you, and sitting there powerless as it tries to sniff you out - I think Wind Waker prepared me for the more mature stealth games I played later in life. I never even got past Windfall Island as a kid, so for many years my mental image of Wind Waker was just “the game where you get thrown in jail a lot”.
The worst part of the Forsaken Fortress was when the Moblins would catch you and set the barrel you were hiding under on fire, that freaked me out every time! It was a really hard part of the game the first time I played Wind Waker, though the part I usually got legitimately "stuck" on and gave up on was usually the Wind Temple, which had creepy Floormaster enemies that'd grab you. Still hold a grudge against that dungeon to this day honestly lol. Ocarina of Time also had a stealth segment when you have to sneak past the guards at Hyrule Castle, though it wasn't as stressful as the Wind Waker one since the setting wasn't really ominous at all. It definitely might have been good prep for Metal Gear games and other ones, teaching patience and being aware of your surroundings in what was otherwise a more action-oriented game.
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