Gaming Progress: March

Hey, Gamers! March went by so quickly! Before I write this report, if I hadn’t made a list of stuff throughout the month, I usually try to at least think about the ‘main’ gaming moments, and I was drawing a blank. March went by so fast, it’s been such a blur. Luckily, I do keep a log of every game I’ve played in my bullet journal, so with that, let’s get into it!

What are you saying about my mum?

I’m throwing Elden Ring out there first because some people messaged me to ask if I’m playing it or if it’s just Josh. I am playing it. The reason I didn’t talk about my playthrough much last month was because I had so little time on it (because Josh was playing it so much) that I felt like I couldn’t write much about it.
So, first off, the game is bloody beautiful. I’m taking a different route this time- I’m a magic person! I feel like I tend to just do what Josh does a lot when it comes to games that he’s played before me, but this time (because I was actually looking forward to Elden Ring too), I decided to be different. I actually based my character on Yennefer from the Witcher series because I’ve just finished the books and apparently I’m basing my entire life on her now so why not just go for it? For real though, Yen is strong, powerful and so resilient. I thought that putting her in a SoulsBorne game would be fitting.
 Josh tried to help me (he made a character based on Geralt, very cute) fight Margit but he died at least twice. I decided that I wanted to do it on my own (as in, without Josh), so I tried to use the NPC summon. That didn’t work. I tried a few times more, and as each time failed, I wondered if all the bosses I had killed prior were just beginner’s luck. I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew, so to speak. Then, I remembered about a different kind of summon – one that I much prefer and had used often against the not-boss enemies. The wolves. Suddenly, Margit’s health bar became slower and slower, and I still had heals. After a few attempts, we were barely a hit away and – he struck me. He killed me. And then my wolves killed him. The whole thing happened within maybe 3 seconds, and I was so confused and happy and – I was very confused. I posted the video of it on my Twitter if you want to check it out!
I really struggle with open worlds. They easily overwhelm me, especially with the lack of direction that comes with Elden Ring. But I really have been trying to step out of my comfort zone with Elden Ring. I’ve been trying to explore more and more. Josh explained to me how he finds interesting places on the map to explore, and I’ve based my exploration on that. I’m finding that I still get a lot of anxiety if Josh isn’t sitting with me. I feel like it’s because I know if he sees me in an area that is too high for me, he’ll tell me; when he’s not there, I feel like every level is too high for me. I think it’s something I might try to slowly work on. I’m not going to make it a goal for April because I do have a ton of uni to do, but it’s definitely a goal I’m going to try to keep in mind over the next few months.
Speaking of Josh, I believe at the end of March, he was just at the point where he had to choose an ending. He was trying to get the plat so he had to work out a way of backing up his save data. His words are “Elden Ring is a very good game that had very hard bosses but also some bosses that are a bit rubbish. It has quite a few repeats of bosses but all in all, most boss encounters feel new in some way. Having to fight Godskin Apostle like three times is not fun” he then said a bunch of spoilers that I will not put (at his request, after I started typing). He said (and I agree) that the build variety in Elden Ring is a whole lot bigger than a bunch of other games, especially if you’re thinking about its predecessors.

Speaking of Elden Ring, my greatest achievement of March happened spontaneously in Bloodborne. I had just finished streaming Persona 5 Royal, gone to the shop, and Josh and I were talking about streaming. He said he thinks that I should stream Elden Ring and make the title “person who hasn’t beat Father Gascoigne tries to become Elden Lord”, and I lost it. Within… 5 minutes, we were streaming Bloodborne and don’t think I’ve ever been so determined to beat a boss there and then before. The whole thing lasted 30 minutes, I believe there are some clips of our stream still up (like the exact moment I beat him, and like Josh laughing at me for running into a crowd of enemies and getting stuck on them). I did it. I beat him. It took… four attempts, I think. It was… magical. Honestly, the thrill of adrenaline lasted for a really long time. My brain didn’t fully process what happened until the next day, and I’m still riding on that high.

My ‘special’ game this month was Little Big Planet 3. For those who don’t know, I’m trying to expand my gaming experiences by picking a game that I’ve wanted/ intended to play out of a bag. The rule is that I have to play 5 hours each month to make sure I’m giving it a good chance. I hated it this month. I did not enjoy Little Big Planet 3 for a single second. I did not like it. I think it was too… childish for me. Which is obviously fine, I’m just not the intended audience. I just didn’t expect to not enjoy it as much as I did.

Throwing the Atlus games out there- I’m in the middle of Futaba’s palace in my AI Takeover. It’s going well, I think. I’m just getting into playing it again, and honestly, I am enjoying it. I think I’m going to start playing my playthrough off-stream, and hopefully, I just get less frustrated and enjoy it more. For Shin Megami Tensei V, I’ve just been grinding… but I realised I had been grinding in the wrong area and I was actually okay to grind in the higher-level area. I’m just trying things out still. I transferred my save data over to our little switch (which is what I play Pokemon on… it’s become my switch, really) so I can play it more now (the big switch has drift). Finally, with Catherine: Full Body, I’m still slowly tackling Babble. I got to 113, which took me 07:54. It’s really just something I work on whenever I have a spare 10 minutes or so.

Pokemon time? Pokemon time.

Like I said last month, Pokemon has literally taken over my life. I wasn’t sure whether I should talk about the TCG here or not, but since I still class it as gaming, I might as well. I got my first bunch of Pokemon cards this month. I’m actually planning on doing a review of the box I got because I felt like it was really great for new players, but yeah. I got a binder and it’s nearly full of Pokemon. I wanted a separate binder for energy but now I’m thinking of just keeping them in a box. Josh and I are both enjoying learning the TCG together, and it’s so fun. It’s weird because I’m usually a pretty bad loser, but with the Pokemon TCG, it’s fine because I’m just enjoying the game so much.
As for BDSP, I caught 2 legendaries. I successfully caught Shaymin and Giratina, and then I attempted to catch Heatran and failed several times. Poor thing kept fainting to my Garchomp. I’ve just been working on filling out my Pokedex, just doing general post-game stuff and wonder trading!

Now, I said that I was going to restart Sword again and I did. I am absolutely loving it. Part of me is still wishing it was Shield, but I know I’ll just be able to transfer the Pokemon I’m attached to into Home and then onto Shield if we get it anytime soon. But as of the end of March, I had defeated 3 gyms (the grass, water and fire gyms), gotten x amount of Pokemon seen, x amount caught and I spend way too much money on clothes that I do not wear. I adore the customisation of this game! I like that the gym missions are a lot different to the puzzles that you had to get through to fight the gym leader. Like, I know it’s virtually the same thing but it feels a lot different to me and it’s a lot less frustrating. I’ve also been thinking a lot about random encounters vs overworld encounters, and I think I personally prefer random encounters but I don’t see much wrong with overworld encounters either.

Moving on a little- I started Pokemon Emerald. Josh installed an emulator for me and Pokemon Emerald (he’s since walked me through it so I can get games myself) because I really wanted to experience the older Pokemon games. My favourite Pokemon YouTuber started with Gen 3, so I was happy with Josh’s choice. After moving (who makes their child travel in the back of a van? Is that even legal?), meeting my dad’s friend and his son, I got my hands on my starter, Mudkip, who I called Kippy (My Piplup was called Pippy, my Sobble is called Sobby, so there seems to be a theme… that’s going to end when Gen 9 comes out because I’m calling my Quaxley Josuke). He’s level 20. I got a very small amount of Pokemon until I beat the first gym. Then I was like “oh I should actually be filling out my dex” and uh yeah. I went into the tunnel to get a pokemon back for the sailor guy and also to get the goods back for the company, had a run-in with team… something and then I got my phone. Then I got told to go somewhere, got overwhelmed, tried to find a pokemon that could learn cut and then I think that’s how far I got before March was over. I am really, really enjoying it. I thought the lack of exp share would bother me, but it’s not. It’s all going good!

Lastly, I wanted to do a final update on my reading. I have officially finished all of the Witcher books. This was a huge thing for me because the Witcher 3 was the first RPG that I tackled, and obviously Josh got the books for me just after I was diagnosed with dyslexia. I am planning on doing a whole post about the Witcher books because they’re so dear to my heart with some obvious… uh, issues? But I adored the story, and I fully intend on writing so much more about it. I’ve been trying to hold back until I was finished with the books, but now I can be let loose. For those wanting to know, I did enjoy it. These books have been such a big part of my life for so long, and I’ve developed a full habit because of them. I’ve discovered my love for reading again, so I will forever be thankful for that. The writing wasn’t always the best, and some character’s got way more attention than they deserved (looking at you, Jarre!), and oh my gosh I wished so much that all these women would stop falling at Geralt’s feet… but it’s made me have a much deeper appreciation for Yen and Ciri. Ciri’s character development was astonishing and I was so emotionally invested in her part of the story. There’s another character who I loved to bits called Milva, and I felt so happy that I was able to go on her story. She felt so different to all the other women who just wanted to have sex with Geralt, and I loved her for that. She commanded and earned the respect that she was given. But overall, I would recommend these books to anyone who wants more of the characters. Don’t expect the greatest writing, and some parts are overly cringe, but the characters truly are what makes these books so great.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! Things are slowing down gaming-wise because Uni is getting really intense, but I hope you still enjoyed this post! Hopefully, when Uni is over, I’ll have more time to write more posts, which is exciting because I have so many new ideas! How is your gaming progress coming along? Are there any games you’d like me to try? Let me know in the comments below! Follow this blog for more gaming content, and check out our Twitch to catch us streaming! See you next post, Gamers!

Hogwarts Legacy- The Game to Heal a Generation

Hey, Gamers! First of all, sorry for not posting much during March. I actually got COVID (the one time I leave the house), and I got super sick with it. I couldn’t really look at the screen because my head was hurting a ton, so I apologise for the lack of posts. But this post is super important to me. Once I watched the State of Play, all I could think of was how healing this game is going to be. I am so happy about this game, purely because of the impact it is going to have on a community that largely felt betrayed by the person who created it. Before we get into it, any transphobic comments or comments supporting JKR’s views will be swiftly deleted. I don’t do this a lot, but this is something I feel strongly about. So, with that out of the way, let’s get into it!

I’ve not really spoken about Harry Potter much on this blog… because out of all the games I’ve played, I’ve not enjoyed any of them. Harry Potter was a huge special interest of mine from around 11 (I got into it at the perfect age). Like, I was bullied for how much I loved Harry Potter. I loved it so much that once when we went to the library under the direction “get a book you’ve never read before”, I got given detention for picking Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I hadn’t read it, we didn’t have enough money for new books so the only ones I had read were the ones my father found at the charity shops. I went through a bunch of trauma as a kid, and Harry Potter became my escapism. Due to how much I valued it and how much I felt like I owed to it, I started writing. It was just fanfiction at first, but it soon developed into my own work. I won several writing competitions throughout High School and was often called JK Rowling.

So, as you could probably imagine, when the controversy surrounding JKR came out, I had several people message me about it. I was on TikTok and I saw how hurt people were. Heck, the person who introduced me to Harry Potter is trans. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the hurt that these people were and still are feeling.

For those of you who don’t understand, let me try to put it simply. I am a cis-gendered woman, so obviously I don’t want to take away any power of the voices of those who were directly affected, but I thought I might be able to offer another way of thinking about it (maybe a more simple way, but it’s the way I think of it and explain it to family and friends). Please look into trans people who have spoken out about this topic and their feelings directly, because I’m just a messenger in this situation and there are so many people who have been hurt by JKR.

 A huge thing in Harry Potter is ‘Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home’. So many fans believed that, and had to believe that. The people who are most affected by JKR’s actions and words are those whose home was not safe growing up. They had to think of Hogwarts as their home because the other option was not safe. So for the person who created this home to turn around and be directly against who you are, that sucks. It’s like a kick in the face. Not only that, but she donates money to charities that are trying to limit or remove your human rights. This is the same person who created the only safe home you had growing up, so everything just feels wrong. Especially because it’s a high likelihood that some of your money contributed to her wealth.

So, that’s what people need to heal from, in case you’ve been living under a rock or something. Now, let’s talk about how Hogwarts Legacy might help to heal so many people.

First, let’s talk about JKR’s involvement in the game. It is basically 0. JKR has had no involvement in Hogwarts Legacy. The only thing she did was give permission. Obviously, some money is going to go to her but it’s so insignificant in the grander scheme of things. Especially when you think about the other people who are going to get money from this: the people who made the game.

From what I can tell, this game was made by fans, for fans. After watching the State of Play, it’s very clear that this project is their baby. So much love and passion went into this project, and you can see that in the way that they talk about the game. They’re the main people that the money is going to go to, and they deserve it because they’ve worked so hard.

This game gives Hogwarts back to the fans.

I don’t know how to explain how much this means to people. I think there’s a song in a musical by StarKid called ‘to have a home’ or something like that, and it’s actually about Hogwarts and it puts into words how emotive this place is, and what this place means to so many people. I know so many people are going to be like “uh, it’s just a fictional place, what’s the big deal?” but that just shows that those people aren’t the people who need this place. I know this is a bit cliché, but I think it applies: if you don’t get it, it’s not for you.

This place was so many people’s safe place. And it got ripped away because the person who created it turned out to be another person who makes our homes unsafe. Hogwarts, in the books and movies, because unsafe because of her involvement in it. The one place we had got taken away in a blink of an eye. And now, someone is offering us a fresh start.

Whilst she’s involved in the sense of she originated the idea, there are so many new things in Hogwarts Legacy that… it’s not the same. She didn’t intricately design the entirety of Hogwarts in the 1800s like the people who made this game did. She had nothing to do with the story that sounds so amazing and is not related at all to the original Potter story. She didn’t code the way that physics works with Quidditch. She had so little to do with this game that she might as well of had nothing to do with it, and that’s what makes it okay. She’s going to be funded no matter what. She’s a woman with a lot of money, more money than most of us would know what to do with, and whether or not a game that she had no involvement in sells will not impact her bank account as much as people claim it will. Like, it would barely make a dent (wrong saying but same premise). She’s going to do whatever she wants to do whether this game sells or not. It’s the fans and developers that will get most of this money, and they deserve that.

It’s what gives Hogwarts back to the fans. The fans who still need that home, that safe place.

And after a year or so of us not having that safe place, it’s back without her involvement. We not only have a place to belong again – a safe place – but it’s interactive. I’ve always adored the fact that gaming means you can interact with the stories, but this time you can interact with a whole new story in a place that’s always felt like home. It’s about relearning that safe place, and it becoming safe again.

I truly believe that this game is going to heal so many people who were hurt by JKR’s words and actions. It might not heal everyone, but if it helps to heal some people, then I think it’s worth it.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I wrote this post on the days I felt slightly okay during COVID, and I’ve tried my best to make it… coherent. I am so passionate about this game and how it is going to impact the community, and I am personally excited for it. It’s the first open-world that I’ve not felt overwhelmed at the thought of. Remember to like this post if you liked it, give my blog a follow and leave a comment if you have an opinion on Hogwarts Legacy that you want to share. See you next post, Gamers!

Burnout in Gaming

Hey, Gamers! This week, I want to talk about something pretty serious that happens to a lot of gamers: burnout. I’m sure some people suffer from this more than others, and there are a lot of contributing factors such as mental illness, neurotype and so on. I want to talk about why burnout in something like gaming hurts so much, what it might look like if you haven’t identified it and how you could help yourself or others. Before we get into it, I want to warn you that this post will likely talk about mental illness, which is obviously a very serious topic. I did a list of self-care tips that could be helpful to gamers with mental illness, as a gamer with mental illness myself. Here is the link:

10 self-care tips for Gamers who are struggling with mental illness

So, I think we can all agree that burnout sucks. Like, really sucks. What it might look like in regards to gaming might be different compared to other aspects of life? Honestly, it can look and feel very similar to depression.

When you get burnt out in gaming, you can no longer enjoy the things you are so used to bringing you joy. The games that once brought back that spark in your eyes now make you feel nothing. And if you can’t enjoy the things that have been making you feel joy for months or years, what else could possibly bring you joy?

I’m not writing about this to upset anyone, or even to make a point. I’m writing this to bring awareness to it because I feel like no one talks about this. It’s such an isolating problem, especially if you typically game with other people because they’re all still enjoying the game that you used to be able to enjoy. This can lead to serious issues with isolation, lack of motivation and yes, it can lead to depression.

What can cause burnout? Well, a lot of things. Playing a game over and over again might not ‘be enough’ for some people, but it also might be enough to make someone burn out. I guess, from using my own experience, it depends on how much you care about the game, how much time and energy you’re putting into it, and how it’s making you feel when you play it.

I’m going to use my own example here because it’s something I’m still thinking about a lot and coming to terms with. My favourite thing in the entire universe used to be Persona 5. I played it so, so much. I loved it with every fibre of my being. Hell, I even wanted to get a Persona 5 tattoo sleeve. I was completely fine playing Persona 5 over and over again. It wasn’t until I was doing a challenge run that I started to get burnt out. The story no longer made me feel things, because I was so busy worrying about how I was going to do a particular fight. If you read my blog a lot, you know there’s been a few times in my monthly gaming progress reports that I’ve just glossed over my AI P5R run because I’ve “been sick” or Josh has been streaming a lot, or I’ve just not felt okay. All of those things are true, but I do think it’s been difficult for me and my mental illnesses to just do this run. I love this game, even now when I’ve found something I love more, I still adore this game. But if I have to sit silently through more dialogue because my brain is thinking about the boss fight three palaces ahead, I might have to uninstall it.
For me, in this instance, burnout looked like not wanting to play the PlayStation. It looked like finding comfort in Nintendo games. It looked like losing track of time on days I’m meant to stream. It looked like not showering so I can’t stream. It looked like not wanting to talk about something I loved because thinking about it was too stressful for me.

Coming to terms with the fact that you’re burnt out is sometimes extremely difficult. I know it took me… a really, incredibly long time. During that time, you’re in denial. It’s awful. You try over and over again to make yourself feel how you usually feel, but the passion is gone.

So, what can you do if you are burnt out?

Rest. And I don’t just mean to sleep all day. Take a break from that game. If you can, take a break from the console. I know for me, my saving grace was my Switch. Make sure you’re looking after yourself (and you can use the link above for some suggestions on that). Just take some time to yourself to remember who you are and why the game meant so much to you. Work on yourself, work on other things. It’s nice having other people around you who have been through a similar thing, so maybe reach out to some gamer friends.

Most importantly, if you do feel like your burnout is turning into a depression of any kind, please reach out to your doctor. If you can’t do that, try to stay in contact with people you can trust. People you can be open and honest with, who won’t judge you and make you or your issues feel small. Remember that your feelings are worth feeling, even if they’re difficult.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers. It’s a bit more emotional and less upbeat than my usual posts, but I feel like talking about this stuff really helps. I hope you are all having a wonderful day, and remember that you are worthy of happiness and love. See you next post, Gamers!

Gaming Progress: February

Hey, Gamers! Some big things happened this month, and I did not keep track so I am crossing my fingers hoping that I remember everything. This post will mainly focus on Pokemon because… my life has become nothing but Pokemon. But I did play other games too, so I’ll talk about them as well!

First off, Persona. I beat Floor 10 of Tartarus in Persona 3 FES, but the following days were filled with people being sick. As annoying as that mechanic is, I hope they bring it back in Persona 6 because I think it humanises the characters more. I think I’m just struggling because of the PS3 controls, but there’s not much we can do about that unless Atlus remakes the game (which I am doubting at this point). While everyone is sick or tired, I’ve been working on social stats and confidants.
As for my AI-run of Persona 5 Royal, I’m at a standstill. I’m at the awkward part of being in-between palaces. I am trying my best to stock up on items ready for the Okumura boss fight because I genuinely have no idea how I’m going to do that. Usually, I have a good idea about how it’s going to go but I just don’t with Okumura. I know I have Futaba’s palace to get through first, but just the idea of Okumura being there is putting me off.

Now for a quick Witcher book update: I’ve finished Lady of the Lake. That’s the last one of the main series. My mum got me Season of Storms for my birthday, so I’ve been reading that and I’ve decided I’m going to wait until I’ve finished that before playing The Witcher 3 again because I’m going to make a video for our YouTube channel where I tell cool stories about the books when they’re referenced in the games. I don’t think it’ll work as good as a stream so yeah, it’ll be the first video I make as a video so I’m excited! As for Lady of the Lake… it was meh. As expected, it was much more conclusive than the previous books but riddled with inconsistencies and characters acting out of character. It does show some good characterisation and progress, particularly of Ciri.

I think I did a post pretty recently about how Stardew Valley helped me through a really rough patch. I haven’t played it in months because I was constantly on it, but after writing that post, I felt the urge to go on it again. I felt my blood pressure rise almost as soon as it loaded in. Oh my gosh, my farm was so stressful. I had so many animals and plants and a greenhouse and oh my goodness it was so much. So I quit that game, started a new one and it just didn’t feel the same to me. I guess it’s because my life isn’t completely falling apart anymore, but I liked that I was able to go on the game and realise and appreciate that it just isn’t for me right now. I still have so much love for that game, it’s just so much more stressful than I ever realised.

I played Yakuza 3. I’m not having much trouble with it. I did a couple of bosses, a couple of really long cutscenes and now I’m going back to Okinawa. I really do like the Okinawa map, so I’m excited for that (and to see the kids again because they’re super cute).

“He’s clearly guilty… because his name… is Akechi”

Another game that I briefly played was one that I was looking forward to playing and have been for a while: Planet Coaster (console edition). My family and I used to go to theme parks every year when I was growing up (my mum booked a coach and a bunch of people would go and I have the best memories from those times), and when I was a kid, I remember playing games on my mum’s computer where I could build my own park. This game, however, seemed unplayable. I was going through the tutorial to make sure I understood everything, and I couldn’t do something that I was instructed. I went on the sandbox mode and I couldn’t do it there, either. The thing I couldn’t do was building a roller-coaster. You know, the entire point of the game? So the game got swiftly deleted and I am left feeling disappointed.

Animal Crossing time! Again, we’re just trying to get our island to be okay. We are shifting a row of houses back a bit to have a 4 tile wide path to put a bridge in between Ione’s and Kody’s houses. I’ve also made a little plaza area that I can put stuff down on. It’s actually a really cute area and I’m hoping it sticks to the final island. I’ve also decided to get rid of our little flower garden area and spread out our farm area to the two tiers. I haven’t started working on this yet because I want it to be organised and I would really like to have carrots and tomatoes before we start moving everything (I think it’s just the two things that we’re missing). More importantly, though, is that I got Croque’s photo! Finally! It felt so good when he gave it to me, and I think it was after I gave him something not worth very much too, so I was really surprised. I want to work on getting Ione’s photo but I don’t want to give her too much because I love her house as it is! I think I might just have to give her some clothes.

So, for this month, the special game (I try a new game each month for at least 5 hours to try to expand my world) was Jedi: Fallen Order! This was a game Josh got for me either last year or the year before. I was super sick when we got it so I couldn’t play it at the time… and I just never really picked it up again. Until now, that is! I was able to parry more in this game than I ever could in Dark Souls or Bloodborne (or other games you’re meant to parry in). That made me feel… powerful. However, despite the story being good enough to draw me in, the maps, menus and objective layout were just… confusing to me. I get that if I really, really tried, I would probably like this game. But as for right now, I am not in a position where I can put time and effort into understanding the complicated maps and menus. The droid was cute though.

We also got Cyberpunk 2077. I like it. It’s a bit weird for me because I am so used to playing ‘good guys’ rather than… well, mercenaries. I like the familiarity in the HUD and the menu navigation. I didn’t get too far; it’s another game I am streaming and we got it just before Elden Ring and that’s been a priority. With Uni finally coming to a close soon, I’m actually hoping to put it on hold until after I’m done with all my assignments and we sort out a place to live because then I can just spend some time enjoying the game, getting used to the mechanics and everything like that.

Josh played a ton of Yugioh Master Duel in February. Josh has always been super into Yugioh, so it wasn’t surprising at all when he started putting a lot of time and energy into this game. I was actually super excited for him. We used to duel a lot early on in our relationship, and life just gets in the way sometimes and he doesn’t really have anyone else to duel with, so it was nice seeing him being able to duel his way up to Gold Rank 5 (I think… I mean, I do get him to fact check these posts so if it’s in, it’s right) (Josh’s edit: They got it wrong, I got to Gold Rank 3, what a hack). I did start Master Duel on the Switch but Yugioh has just always been Josh’s thing and I can never think about how to build a deck that would be anything close to meta. I don’t think I even got round to making an actual deck, to be honest. Sadly, Yugioh has become one of those things that I always intend on participating in… but life gets in the way. It’s hard to just have one duel with Josh when it’s his favourite thing, so it’s always three or four and he’s usually the one who builds all the decks so I have no chance and it’s demoralising. Maybe when university is over, we’ll have more time to spend dueling. I’d like that a lot.

Okay, so, uh, Pokemon now?


Okay so before I get too hyped about Gen 9, I should probably explain why. Not only did I finish Pokemon Shining Pearl this month, but I also beat Cynthia first try and I caught Mewtwo in Let’s Go! These were huge accomplishments for me. I always thought ‘catching em all’ was something only die-hard fans did. Now I know it’s something I want to do. Even though saving the world from Team Badguy and defeating the Elite 4 and the campion are the goals of the game, I now think that loving your pokemon and creating a unique bond with them is. Especially when you’re hunting a specific pokemon for a specific role in your team. You have to work so hard for some pokemon that you can’t help but love them…

 I wrote in my bullet journal for January that my gaming highlight was ‘falling in love with Pokemon’ and that is exactly what happened. In February, not only did I continue to love Pokemon but I felt worthy of loving Pokemon. I got into gaming pretty late, and because of that, I tend to stay away from older series because I don’t think I deserve them. It’s different with Pokemon. It’s so different. Like, so a lot of you guys know I love Persona 5, right? But I don’t watch other people’s videos on it, or even watch other people stream it because to me and my autistic brain, they’re doing it wrong. It makes me feel… for lack of a better word, icky. And it’s been like that my whole life with most of my special interests. Oh, you read The Hunger Games? Cool but my theories and opinions are the only ones allowed to exist in my brain so don’t talk to me about the thing, even though I really really like it and would love to talk to you about it. That’s how my brain has always worked. Even at the start with Pokemon, I was so mad at myself for falling in love with it because it’s not meant to be my thing, it’s meant to be Josh’s. But wow our conversations are great and MandJTV is now my favourite YouTube channel and I have a theory that all Squirtles are dyslexic (which technically cannot be disproven) and if someone says they’re not then I’d probably just laugh. It’s taking up so much of my thoughts and my time and my energy… but I’m not bitter or hateful or… protective. I think Josh and I have spoken about this. Like, a lot of my special interests have been there to help me through a lot of trauma (because I’ve been through so much trauma that it seemed neverending), but Pokemon is just there and I am safe and… is this what it feels like to love something so much just because it’s great? Not because you need to, not because it’s who you have to become, not because you need to survive but because it’s so cool and awesome and this is what my childhood should have been full of? I’ve never had this before. I am cherishing every single second of it.

And that’s why I was so excited about Pokemon Presents. It was my first one since getting into Pokemon and feeling so contented with something I love so much. And for the first time, Josh and I get to experience it together. I can’t ask him for tricks or hints or where to go because he’s not going to know either. It’s going to be so different and new but at the same time, it’s going to be the same and safe and I know that I am going to absolutely adore every single second of it. I am 95% sure it’s going to come out like a week or two before my birthday, so I’m hoping that I can use any birthday money I get to get one copy and hopefully we’ll have enough to get Josh the other one. I want Violet, by the way. While purple is Josh’s favourite colour, I think he wants Scarlet because it sounds cooler. I already know I’m picking Quaxly and calling him Josuke.

So on that same day, I started a game that Josh finished this month: Pokemon Sword. It feels a bit weird because my gut is telling me to wait to be able to afford Shield but at the same time, I just want to play more Pokemon. I didn’t get very far because it’s on our big switch and I’ve been using our small one mostly, and our curtains are broken in our room which means there’s a glare on the TV but we need to use the TV because we need to use the big controller because of joycon drift. I actually plan on taking Sword with me when I go on a trip next week, so I’ll be playing it on the small switch (instead of pearl).
Josh did not catch a super cool Rattata in either Pokemon Sword or Legends Arceus, so if you’re as disappointed as I am, let me know in the comments. What he did do is complete Pokemon Sword, and he seemed to like it. I asked him if he liked it more than he liked X or Y because I know that is his least favourite, and he replied “I think I’d like passing a kidney stone more than X and Y” so take that for what you will. But then he said he did like it more than X and Y. He also liked it more than red and blue. He said it’s kinda in the middle. Like, it’s not the best but it’s not as bad as people feel it is. I think he’s just salty because he can’t get his best boi Gliscor.

So, from finishing 2 Pokemon games I can now update you on my favourite Pokemon. As usual, my favourites are in categories. So, my favourite starter is Squirtle, and I have an overall preference for water type starters. My favourite pokemon for symbolic reasons is Eevee because I highly value growth and becoming who you need/ want to be (also, I have DID sooo). My favourite pokemon overall, in terms of usability and you know, my actual likeliness to use it, is Luxray. I like its design and it’s currently the highest level pokemon in my party. In terms of design and like, what a pokemon is based on, I think it’s a tie between Arcanine and Girafarig. My favourite Eeveelution is Espeon, I like the friendship evolution method (controversial opinion, I know) and I think its typing is good.
On the back end of that, my least favourite pokemon is Steelix. I would leave it at that, but there’s more so I specifically hate Steelix’s with sturdy. Similarly, I dislike Onix’s with sturdy. Another pokemon I very much dislike is Lickitung and Lickilicky. I just don’t like tongues. I don’t like Buizel or Floatzel. I don’t know why, I just have a grudge against them and I can’t remember the reason if I’m being completely honest.

I’ve also tried my hand in the Pokemon TCG. I am enjoying it so far. I’m still very new and don’t understand everything, but I’ll get there eventually. It kinda sucks because I downloaded PTCGO and that’s getting shut down soon in favour of PTCGL, which makes me feel like there’s no point trying to start out on the original platform in the first place. Between that and the game always crashing, I think I’m just going to wait a bit longer until the new one comes out everywhere and maybe in the meantime, I’ll just watch some YouTube videos to explain it better.

Josh also finished Legends Arceus this month. I have barely played it because I was meant to be streaming it and it’s a lot for a dyslexic person to read out loud so we’ve decided it’s going to be a video series instead. Josh, however, thinks this game is the best thing to ever happen to Pokemon (or to him, I’m sure), and he loves it so much. He actually caught all of the Pokemon, which is an achievement he has never completed before. He got a shiny Bidoof (funny story- I was actually at uni when this happened and Josh was streaming it. I had the stream on in an extra tab to support him – on silent – and it happened just as my break happened, so I clicked on the tab and saw his reaction and it was super cute). He got a few more shiny pokemon since then. There’s more than this, but the ones he remembers are Ursaring, Stantler, Sliggoo and Vulpix (which he evolved to have a shiny Ninetales). I think the only thing he loves more than Legends Arceus right now is Elden Ring.

Speaking of Elden Ring… it came out. Josh and I preordered it because he loves the previous games by FromSoftware and he was so excited for Elden Ring that he literally went to bed early, woke up at 11:30 pm just so he was ready when it was available at midnight. This game has taken up most of his time since then. He hated the first boss (all his homies hate Margit). He did manage to beat it, though. He also beat Godrick. He’s been streaming Elden Ring, but he’s mainly been playing it off-stream so he could really take in how great the game was.
On a similar note, he played Sekiro in the lead up to Elden Ring. He beat the “punk-ass lil b*tch, Genichiro Ashina” (and he’s playing the game in Japanese purely because Genichiro is voiced by the same person who voiced Seto Kaiba). He’s doing a lot better in Sekiro than he did originally, a few months ago, so it’s nice to see his progress. All that progress has probably gone out of the window because of Elden Ring, though.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I hope you enjoyed this post, it took me a while to write because I keep forgetting to keep track of things and had to rely on my memory and Josh hasn’t said much to me about his gaming opinions this month. Are you excited for Gen 9 and all the future pokemon posts? I am so hyped (for both of those things). Make sure to check out 2nerds_1game on Twitch, where you can find Josh and me streaming pretty often; hit the like button if you liked this post; give this blog a follow for more gaming content like this. See you next post, Gamers!

How to get into Pokemon before Generation 9 arrives (for new players)

Hey, Gamers! So, for those who don’t know, I have recently become interested in Pokemon and Generation 9 has just been revealed. But after talking with some of my family members and remembering how stressful it was whenever Josh used to talk to me about Pokemon, I know the series itself can be a little overwhelming. If you want to get into Pokemon but don’t know where to start, this is the post for you! Let’s Go!

Haha, get it? Let’s Go? Like… like the games? … I thought it was funny.

Before I dig into this post, I want to state that this is going up before my February progress report, and it will have spoilers for that post if anyone wants to wait until Thursday before reading this post… although I guess me just putting this warning is already a spoiler in itself that this month has been Pokemon heavy. Let’s just get into it!

If you want to know my complete and honest opinion, I think the Let’s Go games are a great place to start. There are so many games and so many remakes. The Let’s Go series is basically a remake of Pokemon Yellow, which was a Generation 1 game that came out after the anime which let players have Pikachu as a starter and it included Jessie and James from Team Rocket. Personally, as someone who really got into Pokemon because of the anime, I think this was great at introducing the battle system, the gym system, how parties work, how type advantages work and just Pokemon in general. The first Pokemon game I ever played was Pokemon Go, and thinking about it now, that was really good at introducing me to Pokemon because I was able to recognise certain Pokemon and become familiar with them. Since the Let’s Go games are Generation 1 (I mean, technically they’re Generation 7 but the Pokemon in them are from Gen 1 sooo), it means that there are much fewer Pokemon (151 Pokemon- plus a few extras from Pokemon Go) than the other games and therefore it is much less overwhelming.

Next, I want to talk about Legends Arceus. Josh and I actually had a… heated discussion about where Pokemon was going next because of Legends Arceus, and with Generation 9 being open world, I think he might be right. Legends Arceus introduces so many new and wonderful things that will likely become the new norm for Pokemon. This game just feels completely different from the other Pokemon games, and so many people who had no interest in Pokemon are getting this game and loving it (including someone very special to me, which makes me so happy). This is the game to play if you like exploring, or games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The next option I want to talk about is Pokemon Sword and Shield. My knowledge of these games are very limited as I started playing it yesterday as it’s Josh’s game so it was respectful to wait until he was done with it, but I feel like I know enough to be able to explain why these games might be for you. So, Sword and Shield is the most recent Generation (8), but it does not have all of the Pokedex. It has a very limited Pokedex, which means less Pokemon, which means it might be less overwhelming for those who are worried about catching all 900+ Pokemon. However, from what I’ve played, I think Gen 9 will be a mix between Sword and Shield and Legends Arceus. It’s very similar to the other games in terms of gameplay, but they’ve changed the gym system and the Pokemon league so it’s pretty different.

Next is Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. These are remakes of Generation 4, which was my partner’s favourite so we were hyped (… he was hyped, I was annoyed he didn’t get to sleep the night before my birthday). I’m a little biased because I’ve just finished Pearl and I adored every second, but it’s a remake. It’s not too different from the original games, and they’re on the Switch so they’re easier in terms of accessibility. This is much more like the traditional Pokemon experience, but I don’t think that the series will stay here for much longer (unfortunately for me).

There are obviously the original games that you can access in various ways, but in terms of new players, I think I’ve listed the best games and why I think they’d work. Please remember that I’m still new to all this and I’m very excited to explore this series more.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I have a question! If you already play Pokemon, do you pick starters based on their type or on the individual Pokemon? And if you don’t already play Pokemon, do you have a favourite already? Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to check out 2nerds_1game on Twitch, where Josh and I stream a lot (Pokemon is my thing right now but Josh is playing a ton of Elden Ring!). See you next post, Gamers!

Why Joker’s trauma was left until the last Palace to be tackled

Hey, Gamers! Most of you who read my blog regularly know that Persona 5 is my thing. It’s the game that made me identify as a gamer, it’s my special interest, it’s what I think about most of the time. I love this game, and it makes me so happy to hear about how much you guys love this game too. If you’ve been reading a lot of my blog, you’d probably know that my childhood and early adulthood was something I needed to heal from. I’ve spent most of my life in therapy, but it wasn’t until I met Josh and started to help him through things that I gained the skills I needed to heal myself. Obviously, I was thinking about Persona 5 directly having this revelation and I thought it fit pretty well and it deserved to be talked about. So today’s post is about how Joker needed to help everyone else before he could help himself.

Spoiler warning: I speak about Persona 5 Royal at the end. I don’t say who the third semester ruler is, but I do mention what they did.

We’ve all heard sayings like ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ or ‘you’ve got to look after yourself first’. But here, dear gamers, I put to you the fact that some people do not know how to do this. Some people simply cannot heal without helping others first. I think Joker is one of these people because it would make sense. Let’s look at it in a bit more detail.

He helps Ann and Ryuji within days or even weeks of knowing them. He knew there was some serious trauma behind their feelings and actions. He knew that they needed to do this in order to heal. So he helped them. He helped them because he saw the pain in their eyes; he helped them because he knew how trauma can affect you and he wouldn’t wish that on anyone else; he helped them because he could. He knew how to help them heal, so he did it.

Joker is traumatised from the situation with Shido. From the flashbacks to the repressed memory, all the signs point to the event being traumatising for him. Now he’s in another city, staying in the attic of a coffee shop, whose owner does not like him. He is lost. Not physically, he has a map on his phone, but he knows nothing at this point. Joker has really strong values and great morals but the legal system just told him that being a good person gets you in trouble. And now he can’t even talk to his parents or friends about it, because his school doesn’t want him and his parents are ashamed. He needs to heal from this, but he doesn’t know how to yet.

Throughout Persona 5, we see Joker help so many people. He helps the team to get out of traumatic situations, he then helps them heal from them during their confidant arcs, and even with the other confidants, he is often helping others heal from their own trauma. Despite what a lot of people online seem to believe, Joker isn’t just dealing with the problem for them (for the most part). He’s just making it more manageable. And while doing this time and time again, he’s gaining the knowledge and skills that he needs to heal himself.

That’s why Joker’s trauma is tackled in the last palace (in vanilla Persona 5, but this theory still applies to Royal and we’ll discuss that in a bit). Because he simply wasn’t ready to do it beforehand. Of course, there’s the obvious game mechanics reason too, but story and plot-wise, it makes so much more sense to think about it in this way. I doubt that the team wasn’t encouraging Joker to take down whoever ruined his life (remember, we don’t see everything going on between them). He didn’t have the knowledge or skills to deal with his own trauma before helping others deal with theirs.

Sometimes, you need to help other people to heal before you can heal yourself, and I feel like this is something that is completely looked over in today’s society.


But thinking about the whole system this way means that the third-semester palace makes so much more sense. The reason it’s so upsetting to them is because they put work into healing from their traumas, and that’s how they formed their friendships. It’s how they’ve bonded and it’s such a special thing to have. Healing is so special and non-linear, and if you think about how much effort went into each thief’s journey and how long it took Joker to heal… it ruins everything. It ruins the group. They no longer have that special bonding experience, and – more importantly – all their hard work is gone.

I know this might be obvious to some people because the way it was worded was something like “people need to grow”, but if you directly relate it to trauma and healing, it becomes so much deeper. What the palace ruler did becomes a bad thing instead of a morally grey thing because healing is something that is so fragile and takes so long and just the thought of someone taking that away from me hurts. The main difference between what the third palace ruler did and what the Phantom Thieves did is that the Phantom Thieves use their powers to stop people getting hurt (and traumatised) while it is going on and could still happen; the third palace ruler just removed it from existence completely, almost like he was excusing what the bad guys did and like the work that everyone did to heal was just not worth it.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! Please remember that this is just my interpretation of the whole thing, and if yours differs then that’s okay! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, if you liked this post, give it a like and check out the linked posts below if you want some more Persona 5 stuff. Also, I wanted to remind everyone that I am currently doing an AI Run of Persona 5 Royal and I’ve just finished the third palace so the game will probably speed up a bit so make sure to follow 2nerds_1game on Twitch so you don’t join the party too late. See you next post, Gamers!

10 cute things that my partner does for me whilst gaming that make me feel loved

Hey, Gamers! So today is Valentine’s Day and although Josh and I don’t tend to celebrate it, I thought I should do a post showing the cute things he does for me when playing games that make me feel loved. The point of this post is just to show how little things can be appreciated a lot. So, let’s get into it!

For reference, Josh and I have been together since November 2017. We’ve been living together since January 2018, and living on our own since September 2018. I got into gaming properly around December 2018. He’s really been gaming his whole life, whereas I was much more casual about the whole thing before I met him.

  1. He calls me into the room whenever he’s about to Evolve a Pokemon.
    This is a pretty recent thing, starting around the release of the Sinnoh remakes back in November 2021. I always thought Evolution was cool and sometimes I judge the Pokemon based on whether or not it became more or less cute. That’s how it started. Then we watched the anime (he got me an anime poster for my birthday and the original Pokemon series was on it), and then Christmas came and he got me Let’s Go Eevee and now I just really appreciate the growth of each Pokemon, even if they’re not mine.
  2. He warns me if he knows a part of a game will be triggering for me.
    I’m aware that this one is a bit unique to our relationship, but I have C-PTSD and throughout our relationship, Josh has learnt my triggers and for the most part, he is a really good judge at understanding whether or not something will trigger me. Oftentimes, before I start playing a game that he’s already played and he thinks I might get to the triggering scene in this session, he watches me play and we have a light conversation about my mental health and stuff like that. It’s never too deep. I think we’ve been together long enough that talks like this have become the norm, which is why it feels okay to have them while we play games. I specifically remember one time, I was playing Yakuza 0 and a character was touching a girl inappropriately. As a SA survivor, that would have triggered me if Josh didn’t warn me the chapter before. He said something along the lines of “hey babe, I know you’re having a lot of fun right now and it’s really intense, but I wanted to warn you about some upcoming sexual encounters so that if you need to, you can stop and save before you get there” and I just remember appreciating it so much because I was having a tough day and if it was a shock, it would have triggered me massively. Alternatively, I wanted to share an experience where he missed the mark a bit, and that’s with Persona 5 Strikers. Persona 5 Strikers is about trauma, so I tried not to ask Josh about it because I can tell when he knows spoilers and then I want to know… but I knew he looked things up because the game is literally about trauma and I am riddled with it. I was abused as a kid by a father figure, so the last jail’s trauma hit me- I mean, I was streaming but it was instant flashbacks. It was awful. I felt like that was something Josh should’ve warned me about (because I’m so used to him warning me about stuff like that), and so did he. He misread or misinterpreted what he had read and thought that the bad guy had accidentally killed his son. We were both very confused.  But I wanted to share this because we both felt bad about that situation, but at the end of the day, I still felt loved because he was there by my side when the flashbacks were coming hard and he held me as I cried. I know he shouldn’t have to do all this, and believe me, my ex purposely put me in situations where I’d get triggered because he thought it was funny, but the fact that he goes out of his way to do this with most games that I play makes me feel so loved and appreciated.
  3. He calls me in whenever he gets an Eevee.
    Leading on from talking about trauma, I have DID. To me and my system, Eevee is a great representation of that. Eevee was my favourite Pokemon long before I started playing Pokemon. But now that I have started playing Pokemon, my love for Eevee as a symbol has been carved into stone, so to speak. Josh plays a significant amount more Pokemon than I do (I have more household responsibilities so he gets to game more in general), and he’s in post-game in both BD and Legends, so he’s able to get as many Eevees as he wants… and whenever he does, he shows me. He literally calls me in from wherever and shows me. Sometimes he even has to wait until I get home, which is even cuter and makes me feel more loved because it’s been hours since he caught it and he still remembered to show me.
  4. He encourages me to do things my own way.
    Before I met Josh, I thought looking up guides online was classed as cheating. The first guide I actually ever looked up was for my second playthrough of Persona 5 and I couldn’t put myself through Okumura’s palace again. It was this one particular bit that literally made me cry during my first playthrough, and it was the worst. During my second playthrough, I was trying to come up with solutions. After he suggested a guide, I went for it. Another thing that’s on a similar note and the same game is Kaneshiro’s palace. The codes are actually probably my favourite palace thing in the whole game, but I am both dyslexic and dyscalculic. Therefore, when playing Persona 5 Royal for the first time, Josh encouraged me to come up with solutions. He offered me some paper and I wrote each clue down, drew a bunch of lines and it suddenly became a lot easier for me. As someone as disabled as I am, I know realistically that games will never be fully accessible to me. That’s okay, because Josh helps me learn that I can do it in a different way.
  5. He never lets me give up.
    There are very few times when I’ve given the controller to Josh in my game and made him do it. Actually, there are two times and they were both Yakuza games. One was the car chase in Kiwami because I was late to streaming and I was getting stressed out. The other was a chase scene in Yakuza 3, and after watching him doing it I realised that I was robbed because I was literally two steps away before Kiryu ran out of stamina. These times are so rare because we’re both stubborn. He doesn’t like seeing me upset, but oftentimes, Josh knows my own ability more than I do. Take the last fight of A Plague Tale: Innocence, for example. I struggled so hard with that, and I knew that I couldn’t react faster. Instead of just taking the controller, Josh sat next to me to calm me down. He talked to me several times about trying again. When he found out that I had tried again the next day (he was sleeping), he was so proud of me. We went on a date and over our meal, he was just encouraging me, talking strategy with me, talking the whole thing through with me. I think the only two games he’s ever let me give up on is Hitman (because it’s apparently painful to watch me play it) and Deathloop (but even with Deathloop, he still tries to encourage me). It’s the warmest feeling ever. He’s the most encouraging person I’ve ever met and he never lets me think I can’t do something (apart from playing Hitman… I think I’m banned from playing Hitman around him…).
  6. He gave me an Eevee.
    Another Pokemon one because I swear it’s all we’ve played recently. I didn’t want to evolve my Piplup until Lvl 50, so for the longest time, I was mashing B. For reference, I play Shining Pearl and he plays Brilliant Diamond. So he said “catch a random Pokemon and I’ll trade a random Pokemon with you, and I’ll make it hold an Ever Stone so you can give it to Pippy”, so that’s what happened. I traded my Magikarp that I affectionately named James, and he traded me A LITERAL EEVEE. And then, bless him, he goes “oh no! I forgot to give it a nickname,” and he was super sad about it for a while. But it’s fine because I hatched an Eevee and called it Geralt and I’m going to use Josh’s Eevee to make an Umbreon (I really hope he doesn’t read this post because I’ve convinced him that I’m turning it into an Espeon because that’s my favourite, but Umbreon is his favourite and he gave me the Eevee so I thought it would be cute).
  7. He warns me about any tarantulas in his pockets.
    This was one conversation but what a ride it was. I was trying to get as much candy as possible for Halloween in Animal Crossing, so he said I could go on his account to get some. Then he warned me about the tarantula in his pockets… I’ll link the post because- I cannot word.
  8. He doesn’t mock me for using dubs.
    I use the dubs in all games because I am dyslexic. Before we met, Josh was very much the type of person to mock someone for watching the dub. He even does to some people. Yet, he doesn’t with me. It’s like we have a mutual understanding and I feel like, because of the whole me being dyslexic thing, he gets to appreciate how great the English VA can be sometimes. Persona 5 was the first game I had this ‘issue’ with, and it was so sweet he just didn’t say anything because it was just after I got diagnosed and I was a hot mess over that. Another thing I wanted to add (but doesn’t fit anywhere else) is that he is so encouraging with my reading. I loved the Witcher story so he bought me the books, even though I had major anxiety about reading at the time. He never lets me think for a second that I can’t do it.
  9. He never tells me ‘it’s just a game’.
    Josh and I are both autistic, both diagnosed as adults. My whole life, I’ve been deeply engrossed in fiction. I think as a kid riddled with trauma, I used it as a way of escaping the current world and on top of my autistic traits, I’d always come across as obsessed. This is the one thing about me that I know that Josh absolutely adores. From The 100, to Harry Potter, to Yugioh and The Witcher and obviously Persona 5, he’s been nothing but encouraging with my love for these things. As a female with autism, I am overly empathetic and because of that, I get so emotional. If I had a penny for every time someone told me something along the lines of “it’s not even real”, I would probably be a billionaire. Instead, he comforts me when my favourite character dies. Hell, he knows that my favourite character is going to die and he is ready for it. My immediate thought with this is literally the other night and I was reading the Witcher (I’m on Lady of the Lake) and my favourite character died. It wasn’t explicit that she was dead yet but a flashback to her childhood happened just after she was injured and I nearly threw my book. He almost immediately knew what was going on. And he is the first person to not roll their eyes at me. Even when we’re arguing about our interpretations of Persona 5 (because this game means so much to me), he has never said “this doesn’t matter, it’s not even real”. Instead, he’s usually pretty calm and I feel like we’ve gotten good at being like “okay, we can never know for sure and we’re clearly not going to agree”. I think something I love about us is when we acknowledge that while the thing we are talking about is still important, our relationship is more important and Josh is usually the first to acknowledge that.
  10. He understands what I value and avoids doing it.
    This one is going to make me sound bad but I don’t even care. Before we get into it, I know full well that he shouldn’t have to do this, and I want to make it clear that I have only ever asked him to do this once and it was for Persona 5 Royal because that game was everything to me. Josh has been gaming for so much longer than I. Therefore, his skills are so much better than mine. If he knows that I really value a game (for example, the Life Is Strange series), he will avoid playing them. I mean, for the most part, he doesn’t care about the game because we usually like different types of games, but in the case of Persona 5 Royal, I jokingly asked him to not get passed the point I was at because I can usually tell when he knows a spoiler (like right now, there’s clearly something with Volo from Legends Arceus but I’m not there yet and he is dying to talk to me about it), and he was like “yeah, I was going to try to not go past you anyway”. A sucky result of this is that he still hasn’t finished Persona 5 Royal because he had to stop in Okumura’s palace and… no one wants to do that. But I love that he recognises that we value different things and that even though he could very easily plat these games, he doesn’t… it makes me feel respected and like he recognises my hard work.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I just wanted to share this because he does so many little things that make me feel loved, and I wanted to share that it really doesn’t take much to make someone happy. If you want to catch us streaming, head over to Twitch and look for 2nerds_1game (it should also be linked on my homepage), where we stream Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day, no matter how you’re spending it. See you next post, Gamers!

How the simplicity of Stardew Valley helped me through a rough time

Hey, Gamers! This is actually the second time I’m writing this post. The first one felt more… trauma dumping and I didn’t want anyone to feel like I was minimising their efforts by talking about myself. So, I’m writing this again because I feel like it’s a really important post, and I was just coming at it from the wrong angle.

Last year, I had a ton going on. On top of university, a family member went through some unexpected medical stuff and it was really hard for the whole family. We actually got Stardew Valley at the beginning of April, if I’m remembering correctly, and I was a bit hesitant because I usually get frustrated with games that don’t give the player much direction. But it helped me, somehow.

At this point, in February 2022, I have not been on Stardew Valley for months. I plan on doing a post about burnout in gaming very soon (this month), but after 180 hours in less than a month, I was just done with the game for a while.

I was on seemingly endless phone calls with family, I really struggled to sleep and even if I did manage to sleep, it was for two to three hours at a time because I needed to work on my dissertation. It was difficult. It was like my brain just wouldn’t shut off.

And that’s when Stardew Valley came in. The simplicity of the game meant that during the times I couldn’t sleep, at least I could give my brain a break by playing it for 10-30 minutes. It’s what I needed the most. I was stuck in such a stressful situation that I couldn’t get out of without avoiding complete responsibility, so Stardew Valley was the best part of my day.

I remember one point, I was in a lot of pain because my face swole a bunch and it was all I could think about because I’m autistic and I couldn’t cope. Playing Stardew Valley was the only time where the tears stopped. And I’ve never had a game that I could just play for a small amount at a time while still being able to distract me from what’s going on.

The simplicity of the gameplay and the scenes with each person in town kept me wanting to play the game over and over again. I really rushed to get married and have kids because I think at this point I was going through a “having a baby will solve all my problems” phase again, so being able to have kids in this game and forming relationships was a huge deal for me. I got with Josh when I was 17, just about to turn 18. I never really thought much about forming new relationships with other people because he’s my best friend. Whenever I try to make friends in real life, it goes wrong (as I know many other autistics experience). I remember just before I got diagnosed, Josh and I were discussing why it was so important to the both of us that I got this diagnosis or at least signposted to the right one, and Josh said “I can’t keep seeing you in pain over something that isn’t your fault. I can’t keep watching you try so hard, only to crash and burn when they don’t like you as much as we thought they did”. Josh’s main thing was always how much I got hurt by the rejection of failed friendships. Now, I have Josh and one other friend that I try to reply to regularly, and I am okay with that. I don’t think I could cope with more, to be honest, I’m not good at replying. But in Stardew Valley, time stops when you don’t play. They don’t get super mad when you don’t talk to them for a few days. They don’t have better friends that they’d prefer to spend their time with. As selfish as that sounds, I think it’s what I needed.

I think the repetition of the game is also something that was such a huge thing for me during this time of chaos. Breaking down the year into the four seasons and just having the same events each year… would usually bore me. I’d probably play 2 years and be done with it. But it was 100% what I needed. I mean that in all sincerity because as stupid as it sounds, a year is very long. Anything can happen in a year. So much can change and the fact that it didn’t just made me feel… peaceful.

This game gave me peace of mind when I was in a pit of utter chaos.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! Do you have a game that helped you in a similar way? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out my socials and Twitch, all of which should be linked on my homepage. See you next post, Gamers!

Gaming Progress: January

Hey, Gamers! This is the first gaming progress report for 2022, and it is probably my favourite. I’ve almost consistently kept up with keeping note of my gaming as it happens, and I’ve done a lot of it. January is a month riddled with bad trauma dates so, this year more so than any previous one, I threw myself into gaming for escapism. Uh, if you’re like me then maybe try therapy first. It hasn’t worked out for me, so I turn to gaming. But anyway, much to talk about, let’s go!

Jumping straight on to… not gaming- the end of Tower of the Swallow was magnificent. If you’re new here, I’m dyslexic but loved the Witcher characters so much that I’ve been reading the books and since I played the game (wild hunt) first, a few people like reading updates. For a large portion of the book, I was not having a good time. It dragged so much. My favourite character in Geralt’s company just seemed to stop talking (it’s Milva, I love her with all my heart), Yen was barely in it and whilst Ciri is my favourite character overall… she wasn’t herself, I felt. But the ending- chef’s kiss. Such a beautiful ending. I felt the same way with the last book, too. Like, the endings have just been really great. I literally was holding my breath at several points because it was so intense. If the book was just the ending, and the part where the Rats got killed, I would’ve liked it. I’m on Lady of the Lake now, and I am uncomfortable about the sexualisation of minors but apparently that’s something I have to get used to if I like fantasy. Eredin has shown up, and it is interesting, to say the least…

Moving quickly on, let’s talk about Life Is Strange: True Colors. Why? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why. I thought I might as well get the plat, it’ll be easy since I can just skip scenes and stuff. Oh boy. I saved over my completed save. I literally saved over my completed save. I am still very angry about this. I don’t even know why I did this. Maybe it is because I’m used to New Game +, but even then… it’s worse because the cutscenes are unskippable and now that I don’t have a completed save, I can’t jump scenes. I’m not too mad; it’s just going to take more time than I have right now, and that’s okay, it can be an after Uni problem.

As for Yakuza 3, I haven’t played as much of it as I would’ve liked because I’ve been more focussed on… a game that will come up later… but I got to the part where Rikiya is in Kamarocho and he got his tattoo done by Kiryu’s artist. It was really nice going around with Rikiya. I am worried that he might die because I don’t think I’ve heard Josh talk about him outside of the context of Yakuza 3, but Sayama isn’t in games other than 2 and she’s perfectly fine, so I’m not too worried. I wasn’t as upset at Kashiwagi dying as I thought I would be, because I was too busy being angry. I was all good with this game until they introduced chase/ running sequences. I must have done this at least 10 times. I was literally in tears because of how angry and frustrated I was.

Moving on because otherwise, I’ll end up in a rant about those sequences and how they shouldn’t be compulsory, Josh finished all of the gauntlet missions in Lost Judgment, including the Amon DLC. He was very proud of himself, and I was proud of him too. It was a big deal for him because in the past, Amon had taken him days to beat but he did it this time without even telling me he was doing it. We also got Judgment on the PS5, but he’s sad because they’ve taken out… a machine. He’s actually streaming the PS5 version of Judgment every Wednesday if you want to check it out.

First big accomplishment: the return of my Persona 5 Royal AI Takeover brought an immediate (first try) victory against Kaneshiro. First try. This was the first boss I have managed to defeat first try throughout my AI Takeover, and after how much I struggled with Madarame, I think I needed this win. I was a bit worried about this boss fight because I felt like I needed my team, but my team pulled through and I was so shocked and happy.

To quickly tag on from Persona 5, I played a bit of Shin Megami Tensei V. I was mainly just grinding and doing some side quests. I am enjoying it overall, I just get frustrated because my right joycon is drifting.

So I feel like I’ve cheated a bit for this one, but my ‘new’ game this month was Persona 3 FES. I’ve tried playing Persona 3 multiple times, and I got FES when the PlayStation 3 store was meant to be closing but it’s a game that I’ve always put off or barely played. I think I had like 2 hours in, so I just continued the save and I don’t think I’ve ever been so wrong. I love this game now. I have so much appreciation for it, and I really hope it gets a remaster. I can’t wait to play more (if Yukari lets me go to Tartarus because she has been sick for like two days straight… not sick enough to not go on her phone through). I am really loving it and it makes me so happy that I finally understand why everyone loves this game so much.

Let’s talk Animal Crossing! I spent so long trying to get rid of Ken, guys. Like, literal hours of time travelling. Then, one of my alters goes on (the island representative), there’s a villager in the campsite that she approves of, bang! Ken is no longer hindering our island’s love. Our new villager is Kody and I like him because I think he and Teddy would be really cute friends. I am still gifting Croque something every day, only for him to give me a relay tank or a “thanks, kid”. I just want his photo. He’s literally my best friend in that game and two people have already given me their photos. Does he actually not like me? Like, what’s going on, Bestie?

Fang likes me so much he’s given me his photo twice!

Time for all things Pokemon (and yes, there are several things…). Remember me mentioning that I was focused on a Switch game? Yeah, it was Pokemon!
In Let’s Go Eevee, I tried to catch MewTwo but oh my poor babies couldn’t cope. Dugtrio was a real trooper and lasted the longest by at least a few turns but it pains me so much when Geralt faints. It hurts my heart. I know I can just revive him or take him to the Pokemon Centre but I feel like he feels like I could’ve done something to save him when this time I could not. It really upsets me. But because of this, I did a bunch of painful grinding. Josh said it was harder to grind in these games compared to the other, which makes me feel a bit better because I’m doing a decent job at grinding in Let’s Go so I feel like I’d do way better in an actual Pokemon game. The thought of grinding is something that’s always put me off Pokemon in particular. But I was grinding Victory Lane (I think that’s what it’s called) and I went into the Elite 4 building and I was like “oh, I wonder if I get any cool dialogue now that I’ve beaten them” so I went into the room and I was locked into fighting the Elite 4 all over again without any preparation what so ever. I mean, I did it. Really don’t know how I did it, it was close a couple of times. Only one of my Pokemon survived the ghost battle, and that was because Blastoise loves me so much. It was extra tough because I didn’t have many potions, super potions or hyper potions. But I did it, and I guess that’s all that matters now. I am currently going around all the gyms again to beat them in order to get some exp.
Speaking of other Pokemon games, we got Pokemon Shining Pearl! Why? Because even though Josh had Diamond, I really wanted my own Pokemon game. Now we can play together (we got a Switch Lite as well) and trade and everything. My starter is a Piplup called Pippy and he likes bitter food. He has won some cuteness contests and now he won’t eat anymore Poffins. I have 4 gym badges. I struggled the most with the 3rd due to Lucario being awful and barely giving my team a chance to breathe. I am enjoying this game so much. Like, a ridiculous amount. Josh is still trying to catch em all in Brilliant Diamond. I helped him by doing the trading evolution things for a few of them.
In Pokemon Sword, Josh got 5 gym badges this month (which brings him to a total of 5). Most of his gameplay was during January on account of me playing Let’s Go Eevee from Christmas Day to the 30th of December, giving him one day in December to play. He got a bit distracted, though…
Because we also got Legends Arceus this month. This is the first Pokemon game that I got the day it came out, so I was hyped. However, I am streaming it and the first stream on the first day it came out did not go well. It actually had to be 3 separate streams, our internet did not want to work at all. So, I’m trying to get through it but I can only play it on stream now (which we’ve now decided that I will be streaming it twice a week). Josh, however, is not restricted by this (I’m starting to think that this is the reason who wanted me to be the one to stream it), and has been enjoying it a ton. As I’m writing this in February, I’m struggling to differentiate how far he got while January was still on, but he really has been playing it a lot. He told me that I could get all the Eeveelutions which is super cool, because so far the only games I’ve played do not include my favourite Eeveelution (feel free to guess which is my favourite in the comments) so I’m excited. I think this game is one of (if not his favourite) Pokemon games.

Reminder: My Geralt is the cutest and I love him so much

A quick side note before the big reveal: I started playing Roblox this month. “El, you’re 22, why are you playing Roblox?” I hear you ask. Family, that’s why. I have a niece and two nephews who I adore with all of my heart. My niece wanted me to play Roblox, and I was like ‘hey, it’s a game, how bad can it be?’ and I am bloody awful at it but we have so much fun together. I don’t talk about them a lot here because we live so far away from each other that it’s hard to keep in contact and kids grow up so fast, but it’s just so nice to have a way of connecting with them that we can all appreciate. I remember hating it as a kid when I was made to stand there and talk to grown-ups who barely knew me, so I hope that they know that I want to know them and that I’m willing to change the way we do things for them to be happy and comfortable. I love all three of them so much and this whole experience has made me feel so much closer to them.

Okay, drum roll!
I did it. I beat A Plague Tale: Innocence. I did it.
For anyone that’s new, I was really struggling with a boss fight – the last boss fight – because my reflexes were just too slow. I just couldn’t do it and then I was getting so frustrated and upset because I felt like there was nothing I could do. I have several disabilities and I felt like it was because of those that I couldn’t finish this game, which is something no one should feel, especially when you’re 30+ hours into the game. But after taking a break, having a lovely day out where Josh and I talked about it a little, I came back and I did it. I think it was the first try, too. It just happened. I honestly didn’t realise how close I was to finishing the fight in all of my attempts, because I was literally like one hit away for most of my attempts. But I did it and now I’m happy.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! Did you do anything special during January? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out my socials to stay updated and check out 2nerds_1game on Twitch to watch Josh and I stream games. See you next post! 

Does Time Travelling ruin Animal Crossing?

Hey, Gamers! So, uh, you all know that I’m not the smartest person. So we avoided Time Travelling in Animal Crossing for the longest time. It actually wasn’t until… November, I think, that we started Time Travelling, and we got it in January. I was so scared of messing things up, or corrupting my game file or making my villagers mad at me. There were so many worries, so here I am, ready to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about in the best way I can: by explaining it the way it makes sense to me. So, let’s go!
AC will be occasionally used for Animal Crossing and TT will be used for Time Travelling.

Animal Crossing only moves forward. If a tree is planted and you TT back to the day before you planted the tree, the tree is still going to be planted. If a villager moves in and you TT to the day before, they’ll still be there! It will always continue to move forward, focussing on progression rather than deletion. I think the only downside to this is in the older games when villagers would move out without your consent, they’ll be gone no matter what (although people will probably also find other issues, too).

Time Travelling is a completely valid way to play AC, especially ACNH. In a Washington Post article from 2020, the current directors of AC have stated that it’s not cheating. They purposely made the game so that if you wanted to TT, there’s very limited consequences. The only issue I can think of is your turnips may rot. Josh and I may have come up with a solution to that but uh, we’ll test before we tell it. To me, this consequence isn’t big at all. I barely get up before 12 pm to get the turnips in the first place, but when I do it just causes so much stress for me. Of course, if turnips are your thing then you do you, but for me it’s meh. I can live with no/ rotten turnips in exchange for fast stuff.

So what can TT help? Say, for example, when you started your island you had no idea about anything. Just randomly put houses wherever and now you’re living on a scattered island and you don’t know how everyone else’s islands are so great when you can’t do anything with yours because there are houses everywhere. I’ve been there. Save all the bells you can. Then, slowly, move the houses one by one so you have a little village or whatever you want. TT means that you can do this all in one day! Granted, it still takes a while to individually move each house but it’s so much better than waiting the full day just to move on with another one. Then when you’re done, you can just reset the time by turning the sync thing back on and bob’s your teapot, you’ve just potentially unlocked so much for your island! TT is great for just redoing your island in general. Things take so long to move and you just don’t want to wait that long when creativity strikes!

Another way TT can help is when you want a new villager to move in via amiibos. I did this with Ione. If you didn’t know, you can get amiibos of (I think) any AC character and if they’re a villager, they can come to stay at your campsite. It takes three visits for them to move in, which would mean working on this for 3 separate days if it wasn’t for TT. I did it within an hour because I was super excited and the lot had been empty for a few days so I was worried it would fill up soon. TT makes this so much easier! It saves a lot of stress if you want a particular villager and you have an empty lot ready. It can also help with getting rid of villagers but uh I tried this for a solid hour but Ken wouldn’t budge.

I’m not saying that I’m an expert on this (I would never). That isn’t the point of this post. I’m just here to say… Time Travelling isn’t bad. It’s not a moral thing. You’re not cheating. It’s okay. You’re not going to ruin your game by Time Travelling if you’re getting frustrated, tired or impatient. Play this game your own way, that’s how you’ll get the most out of it. I was afraid and anxious too, but it was okay in the end and we got so much done (island tour coming fairly soon).

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I just feel like there are so many games that have strict rules and sometimes you automatically follow them in other games that don’t have those rules. With this post, I hope to have alleviated someone’s anxieties about Time Travelling. Of course, to a lot of people, it is just a game, but sometimes when you get emotionally attached to games it’s so much more than that and it’s just nice for people to tell you that things are okay without pushing the thing on you. So, see you in the next post, Gamers!

This is the article that I referenced: