Animal Crossing: Getting Started

It is time. Animals are crossing in the Animal Crossing, peaches are gonna roll. I got started with this game earlier this month. It is the quintessential non-violent, casual, time-passing game in this year.

This game is for Nintendo Switch only! I should have mentioned that. In fact, this game is essentially the major reason I now have a Nintendo Switch. There are so many good games for Switch that are perfectly mindful and low stress, but the media circling around how wonderful this game actually did sell me in a moment of post-materialistic rebellion that I actually don’t really regret. This game took me to a new realm of peaceful gameplaying.

Okay, I Have Animal Crossing, Now What?

Animal Crossing Tent
Humble Beginnings

This is a collection and simulated-social-life game. At first, I’m like, ‘hmm, this tent is kind of meager next to all the fancy schmancy screenshots I online, but whatever I’m here.’ I just ran around and collected peaches for no reason. I picked up weeds and fished. The bug net I crafted was the first step. This was all fun and games, it really was. Every little thing in this game can entertain. Then when I started learning about Nook Miles…

You can play this game however you want, but with Nook Miles, the imaginary credit system based on how much fun you’re having, made me realize the scope of this game. I started doing tasks listed in my in game smart phone. Yes, my character has a smartphone!

Animal Crossing Inventory

There’s actually a lot of content in the beginning despite what it looks like. I earned enough to build my first solid house and started course for Nook’s Cranny. There are merits to just wandering around indefinitely and trying things out, which invariably you’ll have to do to some extent. You really cannot go wrong with aiming to complete achievements for Nook Miles. They drive everything in the game.


Animal Crossing House Pumpkins
Mr. Pizza the Ciderpunk Pumpkin King

From what I’ve learned, the main goal of this game is to just collect more and more stuff, which you’ll do until you have a vast array of creative activities and possessions so that you can pretty much do whatever you want within the imagination of the vast Animal Crossing universe. I’m not an expert in the massive customization skills some players have, but probably any moderate patience with that feature or any artistic nature could be fruitful. (there’s so much fruit, jeez)

You can really play however you like though. I am more into symbolic tasks, which makes the Nook Miles system really motivating for me to play this game. There is always something new though. Just this month there are several tasks for October because of Halloween. I can only imagine that Christmas on the island will be epic.

By the way, you are not obligated to stay on your own island forever. About a week in I got a furniture offer for something call Luna’s bed that allows you to enter another player’s island using an island code, it’s simply observational–and amusingly introduced. And you can always buy a Nook Miles Ticket using Nook Miles and go to a mystery island or wherever you want!

Settling Up Tom Nook in Animal Crossing

Nook Miles
Receipt from Tom Nook
Nook's Cranny
Nook’s Cranny

You’re never really stranded in understanding how the game works. The few times I looked things up, I realized that if I was just patient with the tasks I was working on I would know what to do very soon. As you see above, these in game goals are nothing to worry about. If paying your move-in fees seems daunting, don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you think. And Nook’s Cranny: not that problematic either! The one thing I did learn that helped tremendously was how to mine iron ore quickly to build Nook’s Cranny. The article I read was a Polygon article here: Where to find Iron Nuggets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It was tremendously helpful.

Professor Blathers, I presume.

Pole Vaulting is another trick I learned to cross the rivers in my island. Those are obtained by showing bugs and fish to Tom Nook who will invite a friend that builds a museum. It’s kind of serendipitous story progression but very cool. Just experiment. And if you need a break, it is definitely not a big deal because there is a new experience every day, you won’t fall behind or anything like that.

“New Horizons”

When I gathered everything to build Nook’s Cranny

I decided to set Nook’s Cranny as the finish line for writing this article because it took about the right amount of time for me to figure out what this game is all about. And I’m confident that it will progress even more the more I play it. This game is non-violent, it is fun, and heartfelt. With all the media on it, it is probably not exactly what I thought it was, but it is probably more. Animal Crossing is a game that is suited very enjoyably to the format it is on, one more reason to love Nintendo.

Thanks for reading Feel free to look around. This was one of the first reviews I ever wrote, but there is a lot more content now. So, do some exploring!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: One of the Most Popular Mario Games Ever!

I’ve been in love with Mario Kart since its humble beginnings on SNES. That is true up until today with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It is truly a testament to the highest casual gaming standard held for games of its genre. That said, Mario Kart doesn’t exactly have “competitors,” mind you. Aside from some sincere efforts from Nickelodeon, Garfield, and Hello Kitty racers, and while we’re at it Super Indie Karts. Mario Kart 8 was so popular, however, that it was released twice, once on Wii U and once on Nintendo Switch. This game certainly fits with any wish list of the mindful but playful gamer, or really anybody who has liked anything Nintendo has ever done.

Mario Kart 8 gets away with not having any sort of belligerence or violence in it because it simply doesn’t need it. This game stands alone as champion because it is a self-contained experience. I hop on this game multiple times throughout the day. It’s nice when I need to get myself focused or whenever I’m craving some colorful Mario Kingdom characters from throughout the years (plus some others) and some casual speed racing on a host of wondrous racetracks. There is even a free Mario Kart Tour mobile apple now. There are enough ways to play this game that it really has a little of everything for everybody.

It's on like Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong Sunshine Airport Drifting

I’m Absolutely Bananas About Mario Kart 8

So, just a heads up. There is a Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The 8 came out on Wii U, which still works and has downloadable content that catches you up with the content of Deluxe on Switch, which comes preloaded. Deluxe has a few more characters and you can also drift with pink sparks, that’s basically all that’s different. The graphics are superior on Switch I’d have to say, but it was the Wii U that got me totally into this game.

Most people will probably start off Mario Kart with a low circuit, mushroom map, and the standard-issue vehicles and characters. (All my characters were unlocked when I got the Switch version, I have no idea why.) Seeing as how I have no consistency on this part of the game, I’ll just say that, for me, the motivator in playing is unlocking characters or cars. It’s regulated by how many coins and courses you get.

Bonus Mention of Mario Kart Wii!

Might I also add in here, that Mario Kart 8’s predecessor is very heavily influenced by Mario Kart Wii! I worked the heck out of Princess Peach’s motorbike on RainbowRoad with a nunchuck toggle, and it is one of the best games available for Wii. Some day I’ll write more about the Wii, because I still have tons of Wii Games in the Wii U collection. But that’s that for now. Just wanted to acknowledge Mario Kart’s roots!

This is not a combat game, although there are some competitive elements to it that I choose to just turn off. In custom vs races, which is the option to turn on when you don’t want to do a full grand Prix or simply want to edit the game options.

I usually turn off all the item cubes (glow spinning powerups through the tracks) and just get coins. As much as I can zoom along in regular mode, those blue shells, bananas, lightning bolts, etc. really put a damper on my play. But wait, you say, that is part of the challenge. As somebody who is very interested in cultural trends academically and creatively, I have noticed that non-competitive game modes actually have a very grateful fanbase. I’m talking overwhelming amounts of gamers who just want to chill out and immerse themselves in the show.

Troopa Scoopa

Mario Kart 8 Toad Mr. Scooty Airport

So, one last thought. Another interesting facet of this game is how it manages to combine characters from such a swath and hero/villain spectrum into a singular co-op experience. Rosaline Vs. Link. Vs. Bowser. Vs. Mario. I love it. It really is cool though when we get to see familiar characters in the same setting.

This game could have been pretty simple, but it has a ton of content and the physics of racing on such fantastical tracks and circuits. It is an extension of my controller hands that is easy to pick up, set down, and pick up again. I wonder if we’ll be seeing more content for Mario Kart 8 or a new Title completely in the next couple of years. Either way is fine. Mario Kart Wii is still fun. SNES Mario Kart is fun. N64, Gamecube. This game is iconic. Give it a try, definitely. I still haven’t even raced with every character in Mario Kart 8 but I’d be fine with some goomba mushrooms and pink Donkey Kongs. Watch out for those bananas!

Thank you for reading This is one of my first reviews, and I appreciate you looking at it. That said, a lot has happened since then! I review mostly indie games along with some mainstream favorites, so I welcome you to have a look around and read as much as you like. There’s so much more!

Going Under: Internships are Heck

Going Under: The stylistic, colorful, satirical beat ’em up from Aggrocrab Games. Here we go again. I am officially hooked on Going Under. Snagging it quickly on release day, I have some observations on what this is all about, and I like it. Mainly that it looks great and is very tongue-in-cheek hilarious in addressing some very thematic cultural themes in start-up businesses.

What the fizz’ is it?

So what is this game? Jackie is an intern for a Pacific Northwest soft drink startup, Fizzle, that works above a basement of dungeons. The dungeons are full of adversarial cute monsters. So, is it supposed to be scary? Not really, in my opinion. For me, the hack-and-slash gameplay is appropriate, because it highlights how disposable the stereotypes of the fast-and-loose business world really are, which adds up to some pretty great satire. It even gets a bit silly with the countless weapon options ranging from bones to ping pong paddles and weird cartoony weapons that lend themselves to the situation.

Did I mention that this game is absolutely awesome stylistically? I’ve never seen anything like it before, but it just makes so much sense. It definitely takes advantage of how startups tend to obsess on flat graphic websites near ad nauseum. The music is really great too. Half the time that’s enough for me, there are some wonderful components to this excellent game.

Epic jesting in Going Under

If you live in a big city, you are familiar with these types of companies, and there will be some serious humor to pick up on straight away. Like the second basement filled with re-animated skeletons guarding a bunch of cryptocurrency server racks. Also, the bosses, as in final level bosses, are actually supervisor bosses! If that’s not wit, I don’t know what is. And don’t worry, I was scared witless when I jumped in the tube slide from the office there, but overall this game is pretty chill. Actually, I don’t think there is anything in this game that I’d call scary.

I like shiny things

I haven’t spent a whole bunch of hours conquering all the basement levels. The fact that I can go from borderline skepticism to full-on enthrallment with this says to me there’s something here. I’ve been exploring more and more this stylistic movement which I say is “flat design.” Going Under gets to mix together with other tags like colorful, low poly, cartoonish, etc.

Whatever this style is, it is here, and it is catching a lot of gamers’ attention.

Thanks for reading

Pinball Games: Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

Remember pinball? Not only remember it but are a “pinball wizard” as it were? Well, here we go again. Today I’m going to share a game that is available on both the Mobile and PC platforms. The game is Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded. There is also apparently some background with Blackberry devices long before that for this publisher, but I don’t know much about that.

Before this post, I tried to load up an Android emulator to see if I could try the Google Play version on my Windows machine, but it didn’t really work and it was easier to just download it to my smartphone. Here is trailer though.

What Videogame Pinball looks like

The machines in Pinball Deluxe are very aesthetic and a product of attention to detail, which gives a really enjoyable and, I suppose you could say, realistic experience. Pinball is little know loveof mine for simultaneously being “relaxing” yet engaging as a game type, because once you get into it, it is all about you and the machine, digital or not, everything else goes hush.

While I do like–okay, adore–some of the production themes out there, the generic themes on this game are still quite good. The space exploration game really engages me. There’s also a spin off old-timey skee-ball/pinball hybrid which is very pleasant.

pinball deluxe
Mod selector for unlocked table mods purchased with Tix (Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded)

Another cool feature of this game is the ability to unlock mods using something called the “TIX” system. It gets really old school there, it’s reminiscent of an old school nickel-arcade. Oh and hey, that’s another thing, you can play as long as you want here! For free! It is easy to activate the mods once you’ve got some TIX. The boosters unique to the theme of the machine with little logos, and they have unique features.

Quick jump to high score after mods purchased with in-game currency (TIX)

Bonus functionality

With the mods, I now have the high score on the Space Frontier machine. Suspension of disbelief here, but wahoo! The more ding ding, light flashing, kerchunks I can get, the happier I’ll be. I really have to emphasize how much fun this is to play without the quarter nags every few minutes. Yes, I understand it is more traditional to play coin-op machines, but free play arcades are very popular too. Also, who’s spending quarters on pinball machines when they are as scarce as purple bananas unless you spend a lot of time at the laundromat? No judgement.

Here is a screenshot of the purchase store on the Android mobile version.

Anyway, let me re-focus, what’s cool about the TIX system is it gives the player motivation to keep going. For unlocks on the mobile app, such as machine, a small purchase equivalent to the Steam price is necessary or you can purchase one game at a time, although you might as well just purchase them. No pressure though, there is plenty of content to mess around and make up your own mind.

The high scores are fake at first. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m a hermit, didn’t I tell you? Really though, although the high score system is necessary for authenticity of many games, once anything goes high score on the internet (in my experience) there is usually some trophy award for some annoying cheater, who impossibly scored a one hundred bazillion point score. My point being, this is not really necessary here. I know real pinball aficionados too though, and sometimes one hundred bazillion is a walk in the park. “We’re not worthy!” ~Wayne and Garth, Wayne’s World.

pinball deluxe reloaded
Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded selection screen. A modest but classic array of options.

Zen and the art of Pinball Reloaded

I love how much time I can take with this game and not feel overloaded, because it is just so chill. Stress has no rhyme or reason though, so if pinball is something that stressed you out, take a breather or just move on. There is no rush here for these games. And the more zeroed in on the machine you can get, the more you’ll get that slow motion Zen with the repeating patterns.

Just for the record, some of my favorite machines are Addams Family, The Simpsons, Doctor Who (the classic), and Indian Jones. There are a lot out there. For these types of games, you can always check out some of the pinball selections in Steam. These games are also nice for real pinball wizards who are taking a break from flooding their usual stomping grounds with quarters.

There are so many pinball games out there, I still look at one when I see it to see what theme it is, because that’s the other thing cool about pinball, it’s very pleasing to look at. For example, I think you’ll like the Wild West machine in Pinball Deluxe, because not only is it beautiful, but the background is a light stain of wood reminiscent of the face on an old guitar that somebody like Willie Nelson plays. I mean c’mon, that is perfect!

pinball wild west
Wild West machine. Awesome guitar wood background.

Last ball, new beginning

This kind of quality if all over this game though. It is amazing how many thoughts I have on this indie pinball game, and I’m so glad I have it now. Actually, there are two more titles I will cover, but I guess those will get their own as well!

If looking for a relaxing category of game without some of the iffy stuff and something you can Zen out on, grab some ‘za and play Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded. If you’re wondering if this game can live up to the legacy of the pre-install Pinball game on earlier Microsoft Windows systems, it is up there, with its own charm to the table!

Thank you so much for reading I don’t write a lot about pinball but I do love it, and other games, which their are plenty of reviews from throughout the site. So have a look around! Thanks!

Haunt The House: Terrortown – It’s A Very Colorful Game Worth Your Time

I wanted to offer something that is compatible with whatever affectation you have this All Hallows Eve, so I stumbled upon a game called Haunt the House: Terrortown. Or rather it popped up on my Steam store (although, bonus: it’s on macOS too!) This game has been around long before I started writing about games, but it has a timeless quality that simply needs to be shared. It’s basically a borderline Tim Burton funhouse-style game. Your mission, as the protagonist cartoony ghost, is to possess items throughout four moderately-sized levels. Try to scare as many NPC characters as possible by spinning around paintings or making decorations walk around. Nearly everything is interactable too, which has always been a plus for me in games.

Anything can happen on Halloween. I’m telling you, Tim Curry is telling you, this holiday gets me pump(kin)ed up! Luckily it doesn’t have to be an anxious one. I wonder if this year of our gourd 2020 would bring a less creepy vibe than years past, but I guess we’ll see. The decorations for sale in the big box store mail ads confirm that pretty much nothing is changing at all. Aside from socially distant candy chutes at least.

Spooktacular Observations in Haunt the House

It is really really simple, and quite fun. I absolutely love the graphics. It is kind of Nickelodeon-style flat graphics and very animated. The wonderful Halloween organ music sets the mood for your dastardly hijinks on the honest folk of Terror Town. This is not a game to get overwhelmed with. The levels are fairly small, but not at all lacking in content for a 5 dollar game. That’s right 5 dollars, whip out those laundry quarters.

Haunt the House Terrortown Circus
Haunt the House. The art in this game is so much fun!
Haunt the House Terrortown
Haunt the House: Terror Town
Haunt the House Terrortown Christmas
There’s even a North Pole level!

Basically, this game is not scary, and thats what I love about it. It IS a Halloween game, and a good one. I love the North Pole level because it just broadcasts its not meant to be scary but offer the same spooky mechanics. Actually I’m more scared of cooking with an Instapot than I am this game. And they do make delicious food and are basically not even dangerous, so make up your mind. I haven’t figured out how to scare enough people with substantial scariness to complete a level. I really don’t even mind though, because it’s fun to test things out. Obviously, the game has a Nightmare Before Christmas vibe, so the Halloween nostalgia is fierce!

Full disclosure, this game was released in 2016 and costs 5 dollars on Steam. However, that is not a flaw. If you’re somebody who goes full on Halloween mode, realistically creepy or cartoonishly creepy as preference, check it out! It’s also controller friendly if that is as much of a bonus for you as it is for me! I totally recommend this game.

Final Thoughts

Haunt The House has probably never had a review this long, but it is a really nice find, and that is what I try to do, find good games! I attempted to buff this review with a review of the Goosebumps-themed Halloween game for this review, but I couldn’t even get it to load, so forget that and just enjoy Haunt the House. I loved Goosebumps though, and if you’ve discovered the non-violent path of franchise fandom you know about these already, or remember them at least, which is why this game will appeal to you.

Thanks so much for reading I wrote this some time ago, but this game still holds up and I’d like to make more. In the meantime, feel free to browse around and look at whatever you like. Also, whatever time of the year it is, Happy Halloween! (at least for the baubles and snacks)