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What video games are you playing now?

I tried popping in Persona Q the other day on my 3DS but apparently the cartridge has died. RIP :(

In the meantime, this week I picked up indie game "Spirit of the North", a game where you play a fox following a spirit fox on a journey through some very Nordic inspired snowland. It's quite beautiful, the story has not a single word of dialogue (it's all "show, don't tell", which limits the kinds of story you can tell but when you can tell one, dang) though it's not without its share of "indie game wonk", like: the fox's bark sounding a little too much like a dog's, the finicky jump physics (when near walls), time-based puzzles with thin margins for error, the legitimate difficulty of animating/placing a creature's feet on arbitrary terrain, the one spot I got nearly softlocked in (but ultimately navigated out of), the one spot I got actually softlocked in (which was apparently just 30 seconds away from the next autosave/checkpoint, too), and one or two areas that are probably too big for their own good. But it was a great experience overall.

Chapter 1:
You are a fox, well furred against the snowy lands. There's a strange red band stretching across the sky, and a glowing spirit fox leading you somewhere. There are also remains of an ancient people, where you can return their staffs to release their spirits or something. Anyway, your path goes through snow, ice, crevasses and caves until you reach the end of a small cavern covered by glowing red hazardous growths that slowly choke the breath out of your fox the closer you get -- but the spirit fox comes to your rescue, releasing a blast of light that completely obliterates it ... and the floor, too, plummeting your fox into --

Chapter 2:
You survived the fall, but just barely, and your fox seems to have broken a leg. The spirit fox beckons you onward still, making sure to not leave you behind, as it illuminates various wall carvings illustrating lore. Something about a mountain, a fox, and the people who revered it (stuff which will make MUCH more sense after Chapter 4). You are led to a circle of stones before your fox's strength fails, but the spirit fox comes to the rescue again, lighting up the surrounding stones and passing its spirit energy to you, healing the fox and giving you the ability to collect, store, and deposit spirit light (for various mechanisms and puzzles throughout the game).

Chapter 3:
The spirit fox is reduced to a mere wisp but still accompanies you, occasionally pointing out things of interest, such as white flowers that charge you with spirit energy, and assisting with various mechanisms: the puzzle-solving mantra thus becomes (1) collect spirit energy then (2) deposit it in some mechanism to progress. As you arrive at an ancient ruin, you discover a room choked with the same hazardous red growths as seen in Chapter 1, but you receive the ability to charge your spirit light and release a blast to purify it, just as the spirit fox did to save you earlier. Onwards!

Chapter 4:
As your path leads into the ruins of an ancient settlement, the sky turns red and the lore starts piecing itself together: the red bands across the sky are a volcanic pollution from the nearby mountain, and it fell on this civilization, slowly choking and killing them off, and various wall carvings reprise what you learned in Chapter 2. There's some connection between the mountain and the fox ... or was it maybe two foxes? You now receive the ability to separate spirit from fox, used to pass through hazardous brambles (or walk on water) to access mechanisms you can't reach physically. After a lot of effort purifying numerous growths left behind by the volcanic pollution, you trek onwards to...

Chapter 5:
The mountain seems to be your destination, and you receive your final ability: a spirit dash that also serves as a sort of double-jump. Streams of water turn to solid volcanic flows (tar? silt?) that actually aren't as dangerous as they look, and while it is quite a long road, eventually you enter the mountain itself for...

Chapter 6:
The interior of the mountain is dark, claustrophobic, and there's only one patch of flowers for you to collect spirit energy with. But upon attempting to access what looks like (by now) a fairly standard rotating pillars puzzle, everything suddenly goes wrong: The spirit wisp with you cries out in pain, turns red, seemingly panics and now flees from you. You still have one "charge" of spirit energy to operate mechanisms with, but without flowers to "refill" this energy you have to store and retrieve it strategically to progress. Your path winds into the heart of the mountain, but at some point you are required to leave the energy behind and proceed alone in pursuit of the wisp still fleeing from you, despite a long path choked by volcanic ash and hazardous growths, and with no ability to purify it your fox suffers, slows, and ultimately collapses, proceeding onwards in spirit form while its body is left to die. Which leads to...

Chapter 7:
Separated from its body, your fox arrives in a bright spirit forest with the wisp still fleeing from you in ... fear? pain? The forest is massive and it's easy to get lost, but the path ultimately leads to a temple dedicated to the fox (foxes?), attended by spirits of the ancient people you've freed along the way. Deep in the heart of this temple you find the spirit fox, its true form lying motionless and decaying while the ancient keepers look on. But with your help the spirit fox is healed, and now it follows you: your path leads out of the temple, along an aurora spanning the whole forest and, ultimately, back to the body you left behind and with it --

Chapter 8:
Your fox is revived! The spirit fox is still following you, and your path ascends out of the mountain's depths to its peak, where you find a statue of two foxes, with a pedestal on each side, one of which holds the body of the spirit fox. The other pedestal is yours, which heals the mountain, and frees the two foxes to run and play across the sky, leaving bands of aurora in their wake as the credits roll.

If I had a dollar every time I saw a story about a fox creating the Aurora Borealis, I'd have ... two dollars. Weird that it's happened more than once.
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Skyrim, once again. I adopted an orphan child from Windhelm. She was selling flowers and since I'm siding with the Imperials in this file, I can't justify taking her in before basically taking over the city. Khajiit dad powerz~
Got my 7th Gym Badge and am now in the Desert Ruins to stop Team Plasma as well as reaching about Lv. 42 to capture Cabalion.
Planet Zoo: pumped for free update 1.14 and what I assume will be the Desert Animal Pack DLC both on the 20th of this month

Edit: it's apparently called the Arid Animal Pack
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Finally started Xenoblade Definitive! Fun so far even if I'm just 1-2 hours in. Took me 55 hours or so to beat the Temtem main story and it's nice to finally be able to jump into this game with how much people I know love it.
Still am on Black training at the Relic Castle and beating the wild Krokorok and wild Configraus down to reach around Lv. 42+ to take on Cobalion.

With LeafGreen, am training Emerald team to Lv. 75+ to take on Steven back in original game be rematching trainers on Seven Island.
I've played Pokémon Scarlet earlier to trade with my girlfriend each other's exclusive Paldean Tauros (she has the water variant, I got the fire variant). I'm also planning to make another character in Skyrim where my goal is to screw over Maven Blackbriar as much as possible. And my character is going to look like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat 11.
Pokémon Black: I have my Samurott at Lv. 45 and will train more Pokémon Lv. 45 and maybe expand my obtaining.

Pokémon LeafGreen: Still am on the verge for my of Lv. 75 but will get there. Just have some Pokémon in the 70s Lvs.
Saw Dark Souls 3: Special Edition real cheap in a sale and so I've descended into my second ever souls-like game. I don't know what it was about Sekiro that gave me conniptions, but in comparison I am flying through this game. I beat Gundyr on my first try and even Sword Master and Vordt only took a couple of runs before I defeated them handily. Despite not having played the prior DS games and thus not always recognizing references, I am definitely more invested in the lore and NPCs than I was with Sekiro. My only real criticism is that the game doesn't explain all of its mechanics very well, some things I literally stumbled into using such as Summons.

Overall good stuff so far. Not sure which ending I'll shoot for but that'll be a long way off since I aim to do as many side-quests as possible.
Pokemon Unite got a hard update (as in clientside software update) the other day. Leafeon is newly released and kinda fun to play (not as much fun as Umbreon though). There's a new feature called the "Prize Machine" which -- actually, don't use it. Just don't.

Once you start any kind of analysis, it becomes clear this is an Aeos Gem "sink" (i.e. for paying customers only). If you play for free (even only "mostly free") then not only do you not get anything "of value", you don't actually get anything at all!

So where do we start? Sure it looks good at first glance, and the tutorial gives you a free Gold Emblem after demonstrating how it works: You get two "Poke Balls" to throw at a prize to score points, and if you score enough points to afford the item then it's yours. (The tutorial Gold Emblem, for example, was priced at 10 points and the first two balls thrown I suspect were scripted to always award +1 then +10 points)

At least the game discloses how many points a Poke Ball scores, right?
  • +1 point: 66%
  • +2 points: 30%
  • +3 points: 3.3%
  • +5 points: 0.6%
  • +10 points: 0.1%

While every Ball thrown is guaranteed +1 point, on average it will net about +1.4 points. Looks good, right?

After use, each Poke Ball goes on (individual) cooldowns for 12 hours real time. If you have Aeos Gems, you can skip the cooldown for 10 Gems per hour remaining (i.e. up to 120 Gems per cooldown, cheaper one resets first) then try again.

But then you see the cost of the prizes, such as:
  • Bronze emblem: 6 points
  • Simple Pokemon holowear: 15 points
  • Fancy Trainer apparel: 30 points
  • Fancy (and/or Battle Pass) Pokemon holowear: 40 points

And that the current prize lineup rotates every two weeks.

Now for more math. If you only throw 2 Poke Balls per day, then across 2 weeks you can expect to score ... about 28 points (and for free play), right? Enough to afford the simple Holowear and have plenty left over for smaller prizes.

Or if you can manage to play the prize machine every 12 hours, you can expect to get about 56 points across 2 weeks, right? Enough for a fancy holowear AND a simple holowear, among other combinations.

But here's the first problem: Though only six prizes are available, they are shuffled with each daily reset (i.e: midnight Japan) from a pool of over 20 possible prizes. So a prize that shows up today might not show up tomorrow.

And here's the REAL problem: With every daily reset, the progress gauges toward all prizes are reset to zero. So if you want to get a prize at all, you have to get it ALL WITHIN THE SAME DAY.

The game is at least fair in mentioning this: "Next prize update in ##" (until next daily reset) / "Gauges reset when the prizes change".

But it completely KILLS the mode.

Fancy Holowear? At a "price" of 40 points, you'll need an average of about 29 Poke Balls IN ONE DAY, meaning you have to reset at least 28 cooldowns -- for an expected cost of no less than 3,360 Aeos Gems. Which is ... actually MORE expensive than purchasing the same Holowear directly from the shop (assuming it's even available)!

I understand that Holowear being acquired (almost) exclusively via Aeos Gems is the game's primary actual monetization strategy. But I don't have to like it.

If you want to just shoot for the cheapest prize in the lineup (a Bronze Emblem, 6 points), two free throws have only a 1.5% chance of getting you enough points for it. (If you can manage four free throws in the same day, the probability is oddly much higher, about 46%) And you can completely forget about scoring 10 points or higher, because even with 4 throws that's still a probability of only 1.2% .
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I got all 8 Gym Badges in Black and I answered no to the guy at Shopping Nine. But was a bit sleepy. Am training some more Pokémon and expanding on obtaining more Pokémon (despite data is having them seen).
Am switching between Black and HeartGold. I unfortunately don’t have a Lucky Egg. Why didn’t GameFreak has an NPC give us a Lucky Egg when it was introduced. I obtained data on Amonguss and unfortunately didn’t get all the wild ones as fake items (as well as Foongus) but I got the data.

I just need a few more Pokémon to level up and maybe obtain more while I’m at it in my GBA games.
Just beat Katamari Damacy on PS2.

Beaten Steven finally in Emerald and my Ludicolo was 1 extra level but my team is at least 75.

In Black, I evolved more Pokémon and am aiming to Lv. 64-70 to take on the Pokémon League. Will also catch Terrakion and Tornadus.
Been playing Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 for the last few months since I'd started a new file. Finally got my character to level 95 to unlock Super Saiyan Blue Evolved, and am now working on all the branches that you can do of the Infinite History Saga. Beyond that when I've had my Switch loaded up I've just been playing Legends Arceus working on getting that full Pokedex.
Currently getting my but kicked by Volo. At least the music is great.
Still am in Black. I can train other Pokémon while at it. I’m okay with Pokémon that evolve in the 50s gap but why make Zwelious evolve at somewhere in the 60s? A website even says that Lv. 49 is high when it’s on the lower half.
Finished Tears of the Kingdom yesterday! I'll be finishing up the rest of the shrines/lightroots over the course of the next couple weeks, but my focus is shifting back to Paper Mario and Skyward Sword.
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