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That reminds me: I beat Tamagotchi!

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As I turn 37 I’m getting to the point where I can’t always rely on the memories in my head. I was digging back through some old GameFusion stuff and this photo confirms what I was pretty sure I’d done: I beat Tamagotchi.

After I’d raised my little space pet and sent him back home I couldn’t bring myself to pull the battery out or reset it so I stashed it with Bowser up on a shelf in my room. It sat there for what feels like years, blinking happily across its LED cosmos. One day I started hearing this periodic beeping sound but I could never pinpoint where it was coming from as the beeps were spread hours apart.

I must’ve been reaching for something or organizing a shelf because I was finally close enough to hear the beep coming from my Tamagotchi. This is where my memory fails me again. I can’t remember if the screen had gone dark or if it had reset itself and there was a new hatching egg waiting for me. I do remember never playing the thing again after that. It’s a lot of responsibility and I’m sure I was way too busy reviewing Dreamcast games to take care of another solar pet.

Commander Cherry wants you to pose for him

Ever the sucker for games that point cameras at my dumb face, I’m happy to inform the world about Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey. Like Leedmees on Xbox 360 and upcoming rival, Fru, Commander Cherry requires you to stand up and strike poses to create bridges and platforms for a 2D character. Where Leedmees was more like Lemmings and Fru has a gorgeous visual style, Commander Cherry looks to revel in dumb-itude.

Despite the similar gameplay elements they both look different enough to be equally appealing. Fru’s stages all take place on a single screen with an emphasis on puzzle solving. Cherry’s stages scroll like a traditional platformer with glowing pick-ups suggesting the shape you need to take. I could get into both as long as they don’t release around the same time. There’s only so much mild physical activity I can handle after all.

I’ll probably have more to post about Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey as it nears its “2015” release on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

This Week on YouTube: How Did I Never Play Star Control 2!?

It’s time we stopped playing around with these modern games and got back to what really matters: The 3DO.

I was reminded by a friend that I had promised months ago to finally play Star Control 2. It was a game I’d only ever had a demo of in the 90’s and never managed to buy. Turns out, at some point I did wind up with a disc-only copy that’s been sitting around for years now.

Man, Star Control 2 is great! Half of the things I love about Mass Effect 2/3 and FTL were laid down in this game! You can check out my first blush with the full game here. I’ve also got another installment of Prison Architect up where things really start growing and another recap of the week’s PlayStation Mobile releases.

This Week on YouTube: More stuff that isn’t ArcheAge but also ArcheAge

That ArcheAge. That’s one helluva game. I tried to record some games that weren’t ArcheAge but I just ended up recording ArcheAge instead. If you are interested in the MMO I’ve got three relatively short episodes where I try to cover all the different stuff you can do in the game. (Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3)

I did manage to pull myself away from the game long enough to start a series with Prison Architect which I finally picked up in a bundle. If you like trying to stave off complete chaos while choosing the texture of your floors it’s worth a look. And even though I haven’t posted here each week I’ve managed to (mostly) keep up with my PlayStation Mobile series.

Katy hasn’t posted a lot on her channel recently but since my last update here she did record some play time with Tomodachi Life. She’s got two parts up; here and here.

This Week on YouTube: Some stuff that isn’t ArcheAge

You… tube? What’s that about? What’s this “internet” I’ve been hearing about in Faction Chat? All is ArcheAge nowadays. Though Katy and I are hopelessly lost to Trion’s latest MMO we did get some other stuff up on YouTube over the last two weeks.

I’ve been keeping up with the PlayStation Mobile marketplace on the Vita, highlighting interesting looking games and making a good dramatic reading of their descriptions. Meanwhile, Katy spent some time (and several episodes) with the free web game, Gridland. It’s an interesting combination of resource gathering and RPG-esque development played out in Bejeweled.

ArcheAge Travelogue: Wet Work on the High Seas

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While the vast majority of ArcheAge’s underwater terrain is simply empty peaks and trenches, there’s loads to find down there. Oysters and abalone can be harvested for some quick gold and shipwrecks randomly spawn treasure chests that can be brought to the surface and salvaged. There’s a volcanic field of steam vents I haven’t been able to explore yet and plenty of high level enemies to skirt around or be slaughtered by. That probably explains why I keep finding long-lost trade packs at the bottom of the sea.

Unlucky trade runners get caught by seabug mobs or giant jellyfish and the pack they were hoping to sell overseas for a hefty profit or rare crafting materials slowly sinks as they respawn back on shore. That was apparently the case with this pack that took me a few attempts to drag out of enemy territory and swim to the surface. My boat has oxygen tanks but once you reach the trade pack you have to swap backpack items. Without breathing potions or buffs it’s always a frantic speed-swim to see if you can make it back to the surface before dying yourself.

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This one wasn’t too much of a problem to cash in. In less time than it would’ve taken to grow the ingredients to make these trade goods myself I brought it up, sailed to shore and rode it into town for a spot of gold.

ArcheAge Travelogue: Surprise! Free Money!

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The part of town in ArcheAge known as Vilanelle is ridiculously picturesque. It’s like walking into a traditional Japanese painting with huge, rounded mountain spires, stepped rice paddies, and deep red pagodas and temples dotted everywhere. I’d tried climbing those mountains in the beta with the basic glider and just ended up falling down a lot. But with my Ultimate Glider and some downtime between crop harvests I decided it was time to try again.

Hopping from one outcropping to another, using the glider’s upward boost ability to get some extra lift, I finally reached the top of a mountain. Naturally, all I found were other peoples crops. It costs money to have a farm of your own in ArcheAge so people will go out of their way to hide their secret gardens in what they think are remote locations. Trust me, I haven’t found a single corner in this game where there weren’t crops planted or other players dashing by, no matter how secluded it seems to be.

Anyways, I kept circling the edges up there, just looking to see what I could see, when my mouse cursor slid over something odd. It was too small on the horizon but the pop-up said ‘Falcorth Snowlion Yarn’. Surely people aren’t growing livestock up here too? I drew closer, aware that the item was on a pretty steep slope. Oh! It’s a trade pack of Snowlion Yarn! I looked around for a while, expecting the owner to come bounding down the mountaintop as well, but no one ever showed. Maybe they were trying to transport it on an airship and fell to their death, leaving the pack behind when they respawned. Where the tooltip would normally say the owner’s name it only said ‘Free Loot’ or ‘Free Goods’, something like that.

With Katy standing by in case I also fell and died, I managed my way down the mountain and rode the pack over another map to turn it in for 4 gold. That money will go towards replacing the trade pack that was stolen from my dead body when we were trying to finish our large farm. It was a heartbreaking ambush I wish I’d handled better. I may not tell that story. Anyways, it all worked out… except for whoever made the Snowlion Yarn. Sorry about that.

This Week on YouTube: Summer’s Over Speed and more videOST

Summer’s finally over and I sent it out with the last installment of my Summer Games series: Wakeboarding Unleashed. Man, that’s a hella Summer game! I followed that up on Monday with a long-overdue series featuring all of the courses in Speed Racer: The Videogame. That game’s got some zany track designs and hypercolor visuals that I can’t seem to get enough of. It was also Totally Time for PlayStation Mobile again this week.

A couple more one-off soundtrack entries went up this week as well. A comment on my Fishing Resort video requested the title theme so I whipped that up during some ArcheAge downtime. And there was another 3DO track, this one from Crystal Dynamics’ Sample This demo disc that I have always had spinning in the back of my mind.

Continuing the 3DO train this week is a clip from the “Interactive Learning Cube” series that probably no one remembers fondly: Slopestyle. This hyper cool FMV education title will teach you how to snowboard and inadvertently introduce you to the sounds of Man or Astro-Man?. I can’t even confirm if this “game” was ever released it’s so obscure and forgettable.

Katy’s channel has some more footage of us running amok in the ArcheAge head start. There’s Part 3 and Part 4 to check out. We’re still trying to figure out the best way to record some more alongside our guild-mates but it’s… complicated to say the least.

ArcheAge Travelogue: Seabugs & Soaked Packs

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That’s… a lot of skills

Much of what brought me to ArcheAge is the stuff you see above. I’m not into 50-man raids or guild meetings or PvP; I’m into crafting, farming, and other less glamorous pursuits. Once I reached the Blue Salt Brotherhood — the NPC characters that embody most of these skills — I focused almost solely on their quests. Not only do they reward you with designs for your own farm plots, they open up the arduous, terrifying and frequently boring art of trade runs. This is probably what most of my posts on ArcheAge will be about.

I’m no MMO player but I think the trading mechanic is unique to ArcheAge. It requires you to grow or gather all the ingredients for a regional specialty, trek to a specific crafting station and then slowly transport the final product to a remote buyer. The first two trade quests are pretty easy and let you get used to the process. The third run sends you across the PvP ocean into rival faction territory to make the sale. Last week we were finally ready to brave the open waters with our heavy packs in tow.

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Katy and I patiently awaiting our watery demise

That same day we had met another adventurous couple that were several levels higher than us who offered to go along. Carrying a trade pack means you move at a snail’s pace and can’t attack unless you drop it on the ground (making it fair game for anyone to grab). Companions are always helpful… even though none of us on this trip had a ship bigger than a rowboat.

The first obstacle we ran into were seabugs, big mid-30’s mobs spread out in front of us like World War II floating mines. It wiped out our companions and I but Katy was somehow immune and carried on rowing the boat. Meanwhile, my pack was sinking to the ocean floor and I was spawned way back where we started. I swam to the gravesite marked on my map and after a few lung-emptying dives I spotted my pack! We were back in action, now spread all over the sea trying to find a way through the seabugs. I kept going more north than west and started circling around an ominous isle topped by dark clouds and lightning… and more seabugs.

The bugs soon became the least of my worries as more and more clipper ships floated by. I caught the attention of the second guy and he swung my way but despawned his ship on accident. He was now keeping pace in a rowboat of his own. I thought my eloquent plea of “please no?” would be enough but even my explanation of earlier tribulations wasn’t swaying him. I veered around some outcroppings and lost sight of him when I ran into another clipper ship, this one much closer.

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There’s just no reasoning with some folks

The captain of the ‘Good Ship Griefer’ used some spell to pull me out of my rowboat and leave me waffling in the water. I decided this could only go one way for me so I dove as fast and far as possible, hoping to put my pack out of reach without risking his own life. Respawning all the way back where we started (again), I resigned this trade run to the history books and tried to keep up with what Katy was doing. She was piloting one of our companions rowboats which eventually despawned, leaving her even more vulnerable as she swam through the ocean. With the goal slowly drawing nearer it was a giant level 50 jellyfish that took her out in two swipes.

Trade runs, everybody. They’re hilarious and heartbreaking and definitely something I’ve never experienced in a game before. It’s like Animal Crossing with tension; like if one of your villagers could viciously destroy you on your way to pay off Tom Nook. There are surely more stories of epic calamity to follow.

That time I became a cab driver for a day

Yo ho, yo ho...

Yo ho, yo ho…

Let’s talk about Archeage, the game that allows you to be a pirate, a farmer, a player killer or even a cab driver.

Sure, the game has plenty of “kill x rats” type quests, but I’ve found that the true fun of the game revolves around situations where you aren’t killing things. Katy and Shawn were drawn to the game originally because of the housing and farming, which I do think is pretty cool. I haven’t done too much farming myself, but I definitely see the appeal (I love Harvest Moon, c’mon). But what I wanted to do immediately upon release was make a boat. So I raced through as much content as I possibly could in order to rack up enough gilda stars for a clipper. In my opinion, having a clipper early on gives you a lot of distinct advantages over people who only have a row boat. I’ll get to those later.

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