Category Archives: JRPG

More Pokémon Violet Thoughts 💜🌈

WARNING: SPOILERS!

As I might have mentioned here or elsewhere, I decided to continue playing Pokémon Violet partly because my friend Shelly got Scarlet upon my urging, partly because there are some aspects of the game I do enjoy, and partly because I want to be able to say “yes, I played the whole game” to people that are discarding the negative opinion of the game overall from players like myself that are so put off by the performance issues and poorly rendered graphics (which, I should note, is me comparing with prior Pokémon games: this franchise was never great in terms of visuals, but I felt prior entries were better, particularly Sword and Shield).

Another reason is that I’ve heard great things about the story, even from players who, like me, had a lot of issues with the game overall. I want to experience that story, and whatever else is good here, in spite of the bad. 😊 At my core I am a hardcore Pokémon fan since I was 15 years old (now almost 40). I’ll almost always enjoy a Pokémon game that is at least playable, even if plagued with issues like Scarlet/Violet are. It’s just that I don’t want to let my fan rosy-colored glasses make me unable to give the series criticism, especially when it is deserved.

My criticisms don’t mean “if the bugs didn’t bother you as much as they did me, you’re too easily satisfied”. They don’t mean “my experience is more valid than yours”. It is simply my experience, and I’ve never had such a buggy one playing Pokémon, ever, so I cannot simply ignore that, even if I am having fun otherwise.

🌈 Mystery Gift Pikachu 🌈

I downloaded my flying tera Pikachu so as not to miss out on it, but it was promptly boxed. I don’t care for this tera stuff. I really liked Gigantamaxing my Pokémon though… it was so silly. I’ll miss that.

🌈 Psyduck Pal 🌈

One of my favorite things in this game so far have been the Psyduck waddling all over the place. I am very fond of Psyduck, they were my first best friend’s favorite Pokémon. I couldn’t resist adding one to my permanent team for this gen. Just look how cute!

HIM SILLY

I name all my Pokémon. I named him “Ouchie”.

Following me around…

🌈 Exploring The World 🌈

The open world has a lot of shortcomings, all of which are better documented elsewhere. I was able to, at times, to completely lose myself in the moment, however. I don’t feel that the areas are too sparsely populated. There do seem to be too many items lying around though.

Here are some screenshots from when I was just enjoying getting lost, or enjoying the scenery.

🌈 School Life 🌈

I don’t have much to say about the whole school thing, except HOLY FRAME RATE, BATMAN. Ouch. Otherwise, I mean, it’s ok. I took a class or two. I have some screenshots.

I didn’t mention it until now but I should add I finally got my trainer looking “right”. I don’t have freckles IRL but I liked how they looked here, I like her colors. I wish for a skirt, but it is what it is, I’m much happier with this outfit than I was at the beginning of the game.

I admit, when Nemona took my to my room I had a moment of “oh man, I can’t wait to see how I can customize this room!” before I remembered what game I am playing. 😞 Lol.

🌈 Miraidon 🌈

Miraidon continues to be adorable. I was so put off by the “robotic” aspect of him at the start, but he’s so cute.

I do wonder how he processes organic food, however.

Finally got to ride him!

A little video…

🌈 First Gym Battle 🌈

My eyes are up here, pal.

The olive roll thing was silly, but easy enough. I do think battling some trainers before getting to the gym leader should be something you are forced to do. In general, though it’s annoying, the whole “we locked eyes –we must battle!” aspect of Pokémon is something that always felt important to me.

Not much to say about Katy. Her hat design was cute.

My trainer’s eyebrows make all selfies look like she’s being forced to take the photo under duress, I find it hilarious.

🌈 Picnics 🌈

I’m trying to concentrate on the good here… I’m trying… but I find picnics one of the worst aspects of this game, so inferior compared to camping, WHAT HAPPENED?? And the graphical issues jump out even more than at other times. Anyway have a cropped screenshot of me interacting with my new Goomy, Booger. I struggled a lot to catch one.

Miraidon napped during picnics. Again, being adorable.

🌈 Pokémon In The Open World 🌈

Along with getting hopelessly lost, a wonderful bonus of this game are the Pokémon roaming the open world, interacting with it, and with you, the trainer, in different and interesting ways.

Some are curious, some are shy, and some are aggressive. I enjoyed that.

🌈 Fuecoco 🌈

My Fuecoco, Scorchy, continues to grow strong and cute. Here he is taking a nap after running around.

I also got to terastallize him for the first time.

🌈 Bugs 🌈

Though usually minor, the bugs I’ve encountered definitely have taken me out of the moment. For me personally, the low frame rates are the worst. It is very, very annoying every time I notice it.

I’ve also had Pokémon clip through the floor pretty regularly:

Or float –sometimes a little, like in the example below, but sometimes a lot.

The worst bug is one I wasn’t able to capture. When the camera got too close to my face in one specific spot, my trainer’s face broke in a true body horror manner, floating teeth, the works, it was horrid, but every time I tried to screenshot it, all I got was an empty background, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. 🤷‍♀️ It was really something though since the face filled the entire screen. Lol.

I’ll have another post of my playthrough soon! I’m also still playing Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, and other games to a lesser extent. They are not abandoned, I just hop from game to game.

Pokémon Violet: First Impressions

TL,DR: The game is fun. It is also broken, embarrassingly so. It is very deserving of criticism, on which I go into full detail below. Should you get it? Your mileage may vary. Is it worth $60 if you’re not a hardcore Pokémon fan? IMO -not really. Not in its current state. Am I enjoying it? Yes. But I am a hardcore Pokémon fan, and that makes ignoring some of the issues somewhat (but not completely) possible.

WARNING: SPOILERS!

The starters in this game are all very cute –a bonus. I do hate all their evolutions though. 🙃

Starting the game…

First, I’m going to get the more fun stuff out of the way. As mentioned above, they did great with the starters. They are all simply lovable.

My choice was made before I even started the game up, though. How could I not pick this doofus?

He just looks so happy.

I’ll never evolve him. He’s so adorable! I named my Fuecoco “Scorchy”, though for a short while he was jokingly named “Taco Bell”.

Something that surprised me was Miraidon. When I first learned about this Pokémon I frankly hated everything about it. I also don’t like that we are stuck with this Pokémon (or Koraidon if you have Scarlet) for getting around. But I didn’t expect it to be anywhere near this loveable.

Or to literally manhandle me:

And I do like being able to take my Pokémon out of its ball:

This is cute, but similar fluff in previous games had much more appeal to me. It’s alright, though.

👎 And Now For My Griping 👎

I am sad to agree that it is not the best looking or playing Pokémon game I’ve experienced and particularly bad for any Switch AAA game. “Not the best” would be okay, really. The issue is that it’s the worst. By far.

I think I can absolutely love the Pokémon franchise and still offer valid criticism, and this time around I feel that criticisms are being WAY too easily brushed aside as “fans being fans”.

The stuff that is happening should in no way be acceptable for a $60 game one of the world’s best-selling media and video game franchises with a total revenue of $90,000,000,000 and counting. I’ll grant you that this is the entire franchise and not just videogames, but it’s still one of the top in that regard, currently somewhere in the neighborhood of 440 million at the smallest number I could find for video game sales ONLY.

It should be OK to voice that. It should not be brushed aside as “Pokémon fans being Pokémon fans”. And it should be OK to ask that they do better, we all know they can. Or rather, to ask Nintendo to give Gamefreak enough time to do the job they can do so well.

I’ll happily wait twice as long for a better game. And if fans who voice these complaints then whined about how long a properly finished game takes to build, I’d absolutely call that “Pokémon fans being Pokémon fans”, but that is not what this is.

On my end, I have experienced lags, my character sliding instead of walking, townspeople stuttering along rather than properly walking (in low populated areas!) Pokémon disappearing in and out of existence on the field, and gems like these:

(I slid off the wall after that scene.)

I love Pokémon. I want the franchise to continue to be awesome. This is not awesome, but it’s an OK game, I’m having fun. But I don’t feel emotionally invested at all the way I normally do because the glitches take me out of immersion again and again. I really loved Sword and Shield, and those games had valid graphical criticisms too, but they didn’t detract from my experience the way this one does.

I’ve only experienced mild issues yet, it might get worse (and has indeed been getting worse as I continue to play). This shouldn’t be happening, but I don’t blame the developers, I don’t think they are lazy. I think the deadlines being given are unrealistic and we are seeing an evident drop of quality as a result. We have been seeing it for a while, but only now is gameplay being genuinely affected, and I believe Nintendo needs to fix this immediately.

Even the most favorable reviews I’ve seen mention these issues to some degree, so I really hope Nintendo takes it to heart and allows the next game to be in development as long as needed, as well as release a patch to fix whatever is causing the worst problems. This beloved franchise deserves it!

Btw, I decided to not allow comments on this post because I don’t want to get piled on by the people that dismiss criticism as “hating”. I don’t hate the game. But I would bet money that even Gamefreak developers are upset at this release, that was likely rushed below their standards to meet a holiday shopping deadline.

Anyway, many years ago, I took a break between Pokémon generations and skipped like two of them. I may skip at least the next one to see if they get their act back together, and just play stuff in my backlog like Nexomon or Monster Crown instead. 😀

Hopefully I’ll finish Violet though… I’ll keep you posted! I do find humor in some of the bugginess, and since it’s not like I can’t make it disappear, I suppose that’s a good thing.

Jurassic World Evolution, Pokémon Legends: Arceus & More! 🎮🌈

Time for a gaming update! I’ve been trying to game more, because I have such a backlog. To that end, I made a new gaming-only Twitch account:

As well as an accompanying Twitter:

On this post I’m going to catch up on my gaming of the last few weeks. 😊

🦕 Jurassic World Evolution 🦕

I finally started playing Jurassic World Evolution. I love it!

Originally, I wanted to try it right as Jurassic World Evolution 2 was about to come out, so I asked for that as my only Christmas present from Christopher, and waited.

Well… I found JWE2 unintuitive, difficult, and just plain boring, since I couldn’t progress through the campaign. After being so hyped, I was so disappointed. Nonetheless, when JWE1 went on sale, I decided to get it and try. It was a huge difference for me! I put 10 hours in it in less than two days and got my first island to four stars. I did have some hiccups but got past them so much more easily.

Also, as soon as I created my first carnivore it immediately escaped and ate three people because I didn’t build the fence correctly. Whoops.

Once I beat this game I’ll likely try to go back to JWE2 and see if, with a solid understanding of the original, I do better at the second one.

⚔️ Pokémon Sword ⚔️

I FINALLY finished Pokémon Sword! That didn’t take long at all. Okay, in fairness I didn’t touch it in months.

CW: Some Pokémon Sword spoilers below I guess? Not really but still. Kinda.

Can I just say I really love the atmosphere in a lot of scenes in this game…

Curry time! Making curry for my Pokémon is kinda pointless (well, for the most part) but it’s still fun (and makes me crave real curry, every time):

I was so happy to see Bede come back at the end. He was my favorite character, honestly I wish he had been the main rival.

Here’s a few more shots I just really liked.

This was ultimately my winning team. I had to evolve my Mudbray to beat the game.

Here are all my favorite screenshots of the end of the game:

It didn’t bring me to tears or anything (I don’t think a modern Pokemon game can do that to me, unfortunately) but it was still fun. Might even get the expansion pass eventually.

Also –it had been so long since I started playing this game that I completely forgot how pretty the starting area is:

I’m done with Sword for a while, at least. Time for Arceus!

🗻 Pokémon Legends: Arceus 🗻

I got this game for Valentine’s Day. So it’s high time I put some hours in it!

It’s really pretty looking, though I’m not sure if it’s as polished as Sword/Shield. Somehow it feels like it isn’t? But that doesn’t make much sense. Don’t get me wrong though, it is clearly beautiful:

Also I love the shifty eyes everyone is giving you at the beginning:

My biggest gripe currently, coming out of Sword, is that I keep pressing the wrong controller buttons. But I’m sure the more I play the more I’ll get used to it. Right now it feels like it’s gonna be a very grindy game… but we’ll see!

⚙️ Chrono Cross Get! ⚙️

Finally, after weeks (actually, months?) of waiting, my copy of Chrono Cross arrived from PlayAsia! I’m so, so, SO super excited to revisit these memories!

That’s all I’ve got to share with you for now, gaming wise. Hope to catch you when I stream next!

Back To Normal 🌞

Happy Sunday, everyone! Time for yet another week’s recap. All of this week I felt very overwhelmed. There is so much to do… I don’t know how I can ever catch up… but I guess eventually I’ll manage it. Anyway, let’s get to what happened this week!

🌈 Monday 🌈

Monday was Mwako’s last day with us. We went out to breakfast and shopping one final time, and then he was off to the airport.

At Publix he sneakily got this Jurassic World Dominion shopping bag that he surprised me with before leaving… I love it!

We did one final Target stop, where I finally caved and got the Ankylosaurus that I’d picked up and put back on the shelf three times prior. At home, he quickly made friends with Bumpy!

Also at Target, I found this awesome coloring book of Turning Red. It has wonderful illustrations and activities –stickers, too!

I also got another Highlights Hidden Pictures book. I love these so much. The old-timey pen and ink illustrations give me life!

The last lovely find was this little gliding Bowser Jr.! Isn’t he adorable?

For dinner we had salmon. And that was that for Monday. I don’t have anything to share until Thursday because I was just so busy.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

For Thursday I have a few odds-and-ends. Firstly, I installed the bird feeder that my mom in law gave to me, and added a cob of corn for good measure:

Also –this is older, but I only photographed it today. It’s a very gently used The Lost World: Jurassic Park baby triceratops figure by Kenner:

Brand new, this can go well over a hundred dollars. She came out of the box and with no egg, but she was only $25… so I am happy.

Also, I hung my little Bowser Jr. from the studio ceiling so he looks like he’s gliding!

Today our partner and I released some ladybugs to fight the aphids in our brand new almond bush. The ladybugs were exposed to the heat for too long on the way to us, but most of them revived and immediately went to work:

Later in the afternoon, at the insistence of friends, I took a break to play some Pokémon Sword and have a snack:

I drank another of my Good2Grow Podz, this one is a baby T. rex, so cute!

🌈 Saturday 🌈

Saturday was stressful. Kotoko has been vomiting, sometimes a little pink (meaning there was blood, at least once). We’ve been in constant contact with our vet, and finally at her advice we brought her in. Kotoko was a very good girl, as always.

Multiple tests were done and we will see what the results say, for now we have special foods and nausea meds. Hopefully it is nothing serious.

In the evening, the three of us went out to dinner. We ate at El Balcón De Las Americas. It was a good place, we will go there again. Since we were a bilingual table, our very nice waiter gave us a bilingual dessert:

Later that night I decided to dress Grover up in pajamas, since all he ever does is sleep with me anyway:

🌈 Sunday 🌈

On Sunday I went on a little date with our partner while Christopher rested and enjoyed some solitude. He couldn’t get us out the door fast enough, but I think he would have enjoyed this place were it not for the heat. We went to the Yellow Green Farmers Market. The best thing was the smells –like fair food stalls on steroids! We had carne a la vara, with arepas. It was awesome.

The people at this stall could use some help spelling, but it was pretty hilarious:

A lot of people bring their dogs here. This pupper was at a stall that sold… either carved wood items of some sort, or candles, or both. I forget.

He or she was in fact a good guard dog, but only as far as other puppers were concerned. I could get this close without any sort of reaction! If any dogs got anywhere in sight though (even far off!) this pupper would perk up and bark fiercely… without ever leaving his or her little perch. 😁

Anyway, that was a lovely time. I’m really treasuring the memories made. 💕

Back To Pokémon Sword!

After a couple of years’ break, I’ve returned to finish this! I’ve been in a big Pokémon mood recently, listening to old songs from the show and movies, and really enjoying battling again.

For what I’m sure are obvious reasons, my Greedent Nut Cake became my favorite Pokémon of this generation. He’s so fun to battle with! And he’s a squirrel!

Just look at my guy… such a cutie…

I saved some video of him playing:

And I’ll never get tired of Gigantamaxing him. It’s hilarious:

My second favorite Pokémon to battle with, from this particular team, is my trusty Mudbray, Sriracha:

Raichu is very cute too, but I still have to name her:

One aspect of Pokémon Sword that I’m not crazy about is choices that aren’t really choices? Like this…

It’s so annoying to me. More recent gens seem to always have this. Don’t give me choices that are virtually the same or won’t have any weight in game AT ALL, you know?

I do like this guy though, he has a really strong presence:

Anyway that’s it for now, I’ll be sure to post again as I complete my Pokémon Sword playthrough, for which I hope to get the expansion pass as well.

Some Kind Of Friday

I’m not sure if today was good or bad. I guess part of the day was pretty good. I got a lot of commission progress done —this is the current piece, but everything that is due this month is fully inked or half colored already:

I also did a lot of chores, and gamed a bit here and there…

…and I put together a new outfit that I was pretty happy with:

But today was also a bit lonely for me, especially in the evening. 😞 Christopher was home later than usual for a Friday. And I just kept running into little issues during the day that soured my mood. It was too humid to do my full walk. I was spacing out and had a bag of steamed rice explode in the microwave. Taking a break after working for hours, I couldn’t get my Switch to play on the TV, and when I played handheld I kept dying with the same boss. 😫

But really… that’s all a bunch of nonsense. In reality, I’m worried about more serious things. I’m worried about someone I love, and about things I can do nothing to help or improve, as it is out of my hands. I can only offer support, with the knowledge in the back of my mind that, having been in a painfully similar mental place, there is no support I can give that can make a tangible difference. At least not beyond what I have done already. Only time can help.

Well… I suppose I can also work as hard as possible, because money helps indirectly. I can also not be a nuisance, a bit harder for someone like me, but I’m trying. 😔

Really don’t know what to expect from the weekend. It’s early, but I’m gonna try to get some sleep and see what it brings. It might be a good one. You never know!

First Day Of Fall 🍂

Hi everyone. I hope you’re having a good Wednesday! I’m under the weather because of my period but still trying my best even with my walks and all. Today I took yet another different route.

This time I ran into a group of ducks. They were very tame. When I knelt down by them, they all scurried in my direction and got very close, perhaps waiting for a snack.

I had strong cramps during my walk so it didn’t feel great. Plus, the sky went from fairly clear…

…to doomsday-like by the time I turned back.

Once I reached Pines though, I’d left the worst behind me. Somehow, I didn’t get rained on.

By the time I was in our neighborhood again, the sky was clear and stunning:

In the afternoon I zoomed with my mom and worked on one of the next illustrations for Meganeea. This illustration, which features Gideon, will also be the next chapter banner for a few chapters going forward, replacing that of young Faahvrigüo. The book (pen and ink) version is fully finished. Now I just have to color it for the banner.

I also played more Legend of Mana. I’m blown away all over again by these gorgeous backgrounds…

The weather is quite bad… I’m not sure I can go on my second walk, but I want to try. In between that and my period I get depressed. But funnily enough it’s a really good gaming mood. So maybe I’ll do more of that!

LAN Time!! 🎮🌈✨

Today is the first day of the LAN! I was up early to head to Gamestop about an hour and a half before opening. I promised Christopher I would do whatever it took to get his Skyward Sword joy-cons. I was first in line!

They only had eight. I was able to get one! Later in the day, the game, which he pre-ordered, arrived too:

After I got home I spent the rest of the day prepping. Finally right before everyone arrived I changed into my usual “first day of LAN” outfit:

Grogu was my little LAN companion. He has a necklace now –I’ll post a photo of that later.

A little later people began to arrive and soon things were quite busy. I accompanied our friend Ezequiel to get cider and he got me an early birthday present, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings Of Ruin! 😍

Buuuut… for now, I have something much more important to play first… 😏

🌈 Back To Domina 🌈

As you all known I’m beyond excited about finally getting my hands on my Collector’s Edition copy of the remastered Legend of Mana for the Nintendo Switch.

Originally a PS1 game, it is one of the most important games in my life and one of those media experiences that was life-changing: like a good book, there is a time before and after Legend of Mana in my life. To be able to return to this world in HD is simply beyond amazing.

Everything from the art, to the music (most of all the music) is sublime and gives me chills. The moment when you place down the mailbox and the music begins I just truly feel like I’m home.

The story is kind of all over the place, still, I love it just the way it is.

The Sproutling’s description of how you create the world from your imagination is very “Neverending Story” to me (which also happens to be my favorite book.)

Domina exists once again!

But before I actually ventured into town, I went back to visit Li’l Cactus, one of my (and many people’s) fondest memories about this game:

Part of my reason to love Li’l Cactus so much as that growing up we had a cactus exactly like this one. Well, it didn’t have a face or keep a diary, but you know what I mean. 😅 It bloomed once a year, I think for just one night.

Li’l Cactus, as his bio points out, is of few words. But he will write at length in his diary, as long as you go and talk to him after each adventure you have. It’s a pointless and adorable concept.

I didn’t get to record that bit, but after the above, he hops out of the pot and goes to write on those hanging leaves on the wood beam.

Here’s examples of his diary entries:

Then I did go to Domina, eager to see my favorite character not just of this game, but any and all games I’ve ever played:

I wondered in the back of my mind, why did I like him so much? I was soon reminded. Lol.

Add all of that to his uber-protective streak and he’s irresistible. 😁

Every character in this game is delightful. There’s funny things and hilarious bits of dialogue all over the place. Repeatedly talking to characters is rewarded.

The first boss! I remember shitting a brick when his massive shape filled my TV screen!

The nice thing about LoM is that, while it has an overarching story (…I think?) it’s comprised of many little ones. So you feel a quick boost of accomplishment time and time again.

With Elazul and Pearl’s first quest complete, it’s time to meet another two favorites once again –Bud and Lisa:

I remember that the first time (just as this time!) I felt terribly having to defeat them, especially poor Lisa…

But, Bud is so thrilled by your might that he begs to become your apprentice:

I’ve played further, but I’ll share that later. I wanted to at least share this bit for now. I really, really recommend this game. Especially to fellow Littles. It’s such a cute and colorful journey.

Legend Of Mana: Collector’s Edition 🌳✨

(Cursed GIF, my apologies.)

Today is an incredible, amazing, long awaited day! My Remambo package arrived with my collector’s edition of the remastered version of Legend Of Mana for the Switch!

I placed my order back in February I think? I don’t remember exactly, other than the game had just been announced and this edition had popped up for sale only on Square-Enix’s Japanese site for sale in Japan only. Now… I’ve gone on and on about this in multiple platforms, but Legend of Mana was a life changing game for me. It’s hard to explain what it means to me and why. It’s the first game I completed. It’s the first game that made me cry. The music still gives me chills.

I paid more for this edition when all is said and done (including shipping, shopping service fees, and the game itself) than I ever have for any game. Now that I’ve beheld what I got for my money I can tell you I could have paid twice as much as been just as happy. It’s incredible.

For starters, while the game was well protected, padding was minimal: the size of the box was almost the size of what I received! Just look at the comparison with the Switch game case. The goodies box is huge!

The sides of the goodie box are made to look like a book, something that is more evident when you remove the beautiful protective cardboard sleeve:

Opening that sleeve, you are greeted by the remastered soundtrack (two beautiful CDs) and of course, the one and only… Li’l Cactus!! 😭🌵🌸

The gorgeous CDs have Elazul and Pearl as the CD art:

Close-up of HIM!! Original videogame daddy husbando 👀💧

Now for the art book, hardcover and generously sized!

Truly a beauty, I was speechless…

My one and only gripe about it all, was that they didn’t make at least a few of the backgrounds full page. Or even two to a page. That is a missed opportunity to enjoy their beauty if you ask me.

Anyway, Li’l Cactus quickly found his new home upon my desk:

All of this stuff had me pretty overcome. I decided to put the game cartridge in for the hour of truth: would there be an English option or would I have to buy the digital English version? The entire box was in Japanese so I was mentally prepared for the latter.

What I was not prepared for (because I missed the release of it a month ago) was this sublime cinematic, a remake of the original opening:

I was shaking with tears going down my face when it was done, something this game repeatedly has the ability to do to me. This is the original cinematic, which for all its kitschiness (honestly, it looks like a PowerPoint presentation at times) continues to fill me with emotion to this day:

The new version is a perfect nostalgic reimagining, with the character and weapon selection progress flawlessly embedded into the visuals. It is simply perfect. I must have watched it six times already. 😅

I did confirm after the cinematic was over that the language selection was there, with English as my default. So truly, everything is perfect. Expect much LoM talk over the next couple of months!