Autumn Gaming Bucket List

I’ve seen lots of bloggers making their own fall bucket lists, and I thought it would be neat to create a gaming edition bucket list. Fall evenings are a great time for getting cozy and playing games (or for turning off the lights and playing something scary). So here are some gaming activities I like to do during autumn.

  • Play a game that takes place in autumn (or play through autumn in a game that has seasons). My recommendation: Night in the Woods.
Spirit’s Eve in Stardew Valley
  • Do some in-game decorating – if you’re playing something like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley that has seasonal decorations, get festive in-game! If you’re into Minecraft, you can get extra creative with your decor.
  • Play a horror game – get scared for Halloween! Scary games not up your alley? Play something more whimsical like Luigi’s Mansion.
Darkwood – what I’m playing now
  • Watch spooky let’s plays – if you’re into let’s plays, lots of let’s players do more horror/spooky games as Halloween approaches. I love watching Game Grumps, who transform into Ghoul Grumps for the last week and a half of October.
  • Listen to fall and Halloween-themed/spooky video game music. Need help getting started? Check out my Music Monday: Fall Vibes and my upcoming Halloween edition.
Enjoy the nice fall foliage of Breath of the Wild’s Akkala Region

I hope you’re enjoying your fall and getting into the season with your video games. I’d love to do a bucket list for each season.

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Music Monday: Fall Vibes

This week’s Music Monday is a little different from my past ones – I’m featuring multiple video games, which is what I will continue to do from here on out. I wanted to do something seasonal, but I wasn’t quite ready for Halloween yet, so I decided to go with music that sounds like fall to me. Some are fall themes in their respective games, some are not, but I think they make for a pretty good fall playlist – great for if you wanna take a drive to check out all the fall foliage.

Fall (Raven’s Descent) – Stardew Valley

I’ll start with one that takes place in fall in good old Stardew Valley. I love fall in Stardew Valley, because you get the full fall package – pumpkins, apples, sunflowers, grapes, and cranberries, plus jack-o-lanterns, fall colors and a Spirit’s Eve celebration.

The Last of Us (A New Dawn) – The Last of Us

The Last of Us has a fantastic soundtrack and this definitely won’t be the only time it’s featured on a Music Monday. In fact, it will probably be featured a lot because I am anxiously awaiting the sequel, and it will be on my mind a lot. This track is just one version of the main theme – and the first minute of it reminds me of a crisp early fall evening in the woods, just before the sun sets.

Autumn at Night – Story of Seasons

Thought I’d change it up a bit and do a nighttime autumn theme. This one’s so calming and relaxing – great for listening to while sitting by the fire, whether it’s a bonfire or a chimney fire, or just some nice fall-scented candles, under some blankets, and with the fall beverage of your choice. Just overload on Fall things and relax.

4pm – Animal Crossing New Leaf

I know this one plays all year round in Animal Crossing, but something about it just reminds me of fall. Like a cool, lazy afternoon kind of fall day.

Tarrey Town – Breath of the Wild

Maybe it’s because it’s located in a region where it’s eternally fall – the leaves are red all the time – but this Tarrey Town’s music has great fall vibes. I’ve included all versions of the track, but if you just want to listen to the complete version, it starts 8 minutes in.

Thanks for reading and listening. Are there any video game tracks that give you major autumn vibes?

Quantic Foundry Gamer Motivation Profile

I first saw this a few weeks back on Nathan’s post on Gaming Omnivore and I immediately wanted to take the survey. The survey aims to pinpoint your individual motivations for playing video games.

The profile identifies six motivations, each further broken down into two components.

So I’ve taken the survey and responded to the questions developed by Angie at Backlog Crusader.

1. What were your results? Share the link, headline, and the two motivation model graphs you received. 

McKenna’s Gamer Motivation Profile

Calm, spontaneous, relaxed, independent, deeply immersed, and inquisitive.

2. How do you feel about your survey results?

This survey hit the nail on the head of my gaming motivations. I’m real big on story and immersion in games. I love feeling like I’m part of the world. I’ve read plenty of books where I’ve wanted to be a part of the world, and gaming satisfies that need for me. I think some of the percentages are a little low because of my hesitancy to answer 100% yes or 100% no on anything

3. Which category is the most accurate and least accurate?

Immersion, as stated above, is definitely the most accurate. I enjoy getting to be a character in another world, whether I’m playing a character meant to embody myself, or I’m playing someone completely different.

It was harder for me to pick out the least accurate one. The ones that initially jumped out to me were social and creativity, although I realized the profile is correct if we’re talking about primary motivations. These two things won’t make me pick up a game, especially if they’re the game’s only features. But they are really excellent secondary motivations for me. I have a whole blog series showing off my Animal Crossing town designs. And I love playing Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. with friends. The thing about competitive gaming is that a lot of the toxic online community deters me from it – I enjoy games like Splatoon where I can get away from that.

4. Are there any major exceptions to your typical gaming motivations?

If there are exceptions, it tends to be because a game also appeals to one of my stronger motivations. Celeste, for example, has a game with a strong focus on mastery, and the masocore style typically makes me shy away from a game, but it’s got such a strong story that ties into the style. Masocore games tend to be too frustrating for me, which takes away the enjoyment, but I hardly got frustrated while playing Celeste – rather, I felt how each failure led me closer to successful completion of a level.

5. Do any of these motivations carry over to your non-gaming life? If so, how?

Well I did graduate with an English degree, so the story motivation definitely carries over – I love a good narrative. I think creativity (although a little low on the profile) carries over as well. I like to think of myself as creative, if not very talented – I enjoy drawing, making music, baking, building things. I also think blogging itself is a heavily creative process. The low social motivation also carries over – I like hanging out with people, but I also like lots of “me time.”

6. Which games in your experience best satisfy your gaming motivations and how do they compare to the “suggested games” list from the questionnaire’s follow up page?

Definitely the games I write about a lot on here: Zelda, pokémon, Animal Crossing, The Last of Us, open world games.

I’m not familiar with some of these games, but I do love Night in the Woods and Undertale. Oxenfree has been recommended to me and it’s on my list to play, so I think it will be pretty accurate. I never got into Final Fantasy – I’m not super into turn-based games, with the exception of pokémon. I’ll have to check out some of the other games and see how I like them – maybe I’ll eventually have a follow up post.

Spooky Pokémon, New Ponyta, and the National Dex

I wanted to do a post on my favorite ghost type pokémon for Halloween Month. I really like the cute spooky looking ones, so that’s mostly what’s gonna be featured here (one of them will also appear later this month on my blog). I also wanna talk briefly about the pokémon livestream from last week, and the National Dex controversy. But first I’ll start with the pokémon, with pokédex entries, because sometimes those are the creepiest part.

Chandelure: “The spirits burned up in its ominous flame lose their way and wander this world forever.” I love all the possessed object pokémon. Many complained about this being a lazy design, but it’s one of my favorite ghost pokémon designs.

Pumpkaboo: “The pumpkin body is inhabited by a spirit trapped in this world. As the sun sets, it becomes restless and active. It is said to carry wandering spirits to the place where they belong so they can move on.” This guy is like the ultimate Halloween pokémon. The pokémon twitter may be all about mimikyu this month, but I’m all about pumpkaboo.

But I still love mimikyu! – “Its actual appearance is unknown. A scholar who saw what was under its rag was overwhelmed by terror and died from the shock.” It’s a ghost dressed up as pikachu, which I guess is why pokémon made it the mascot for October. It’s so cute, but under the costume, apparently terrifying.

Phantump: “These Pokémon are stumps possessed by the spirits of children who died in the forest. Their cries sound like eerie screams.” Maybe I should’ve just called this list, Cutest Ghost Pokémon. Although, with the pokédex entries, creepiest also fits.

Misdreavus: “It will use any means necessary to frighten people and absorb their life energy. It practices constantly to hone its skill in causing fear.” In my head, this was gonna be the scary looking pokémon in the list…but I think it’s just another cute one. It’s definitely still terrifying though.

Alolan Marowak: “The bones it possesses were once its mother’s. Its mother’s regrets have become like a vengeful spirit protecting this Pokémon.” I love this design. I guess this is the black sheep of my list. Not cutesy and not spooky in quite the same way. Just a badass pokémon with a sad origin.

Polteageist: This guy will be brand new to Pokémon Sword and Shield, so no pokédex entry yet! I love that Game Freak is going all out with the England theme. And that’s it for the spooky pokémon. Now on to other things.

So I thought the pokémon livestream was a really neat idea. The concept was based on real life wildlife nature cams, but with pokémon. However, the experience was underwhelming and left many disappointed. It was a 24 hour stream with only one new pokémon revealed, and pokémon appearances were sparse, often with an hour between each, and always only showing up for a few seconds. A real nature cam would have yielded more sightings.

I understand holding a 24 hour livestream because of time differences, but many felt they needed to watch the whole thing so they didn’t miss anything. I loved the concept, and I wouldn’t mind seeing another livestream, but it would definitely need to be reworked.

On a more positive note, I am in love with the new pokémon, which was just confirmed to be a Galarian ponyta. Many thought it would be a fairy, or even a ghost type, but it’s actually a psychic type! I’m always saying that I want more horse pokémon (my dream is to have a full horse team), and this one is perfect. It’s definitely going on my team, along with sobble. I was leaning towards getting Pokémon Sword, but ponyta will be a Shield exclusive, so I’ll either have to find someone to trade with, or I’ll be picking up Shield.

One last thing…I’ve been trying to avoid the bring back national dex-ers, but with close monitoring of twitter during the livestream, I ran across a few posts. First, I want to say that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being upset that Sword/Shield will not have a national dex. I totally understand why it will be missed – I’ll miss it too. But it’s been incredibly frustrating seeing people attack Game Freak, accusing them of being lazy developers, and criticizing a game we’ve hardly seen anything from. With all that’s come out in the past year with overworked and abused game developers, I’d think people would be more understanding.

A lot of people are calling for them to delay the game so they can put the national dex in. The thing is, I’m certain Game Freak has already considered this. They knew people would be upset about the lack of a national dex, and if they decided not to delay the game, I’m sure there’s legitimate reasoning behind it. I don’t know what this reasoning is, and I don’t think we’ll ever know, but I’m confident they’re not just being lazy. Not saying this has anything to do with it, but it must be exhausting to essentially rebuild all the elements of a previous game, and then add new, original content.

My condolences to those who will not be able to bring forward their favorite pokémon to this particular game. I hear you, but your pokémon will not be forgotten. Maybe Game Freak will bring back the national dex in the future.

37 days until Pokémon Sword and Shield!

Music Monday: Alola

This is the last Music Monday for pokémon music until Pokémon Sword and Shield come out! As with Gen 6, I’ve spent much less time listening to Gen 7’s soundtrack than many others. So I really had to pay attention while listening over the past week.

I played Pokémon Moon, and I’ve just gotten back into playing Ultra Sun (I just realized my 3ds clock is off, so I’ve been playing mostly in night hours in-game), so I’ve been exposed to night themes more. I’m curious if the day/night cycle in these games has influenced how people feel about the tracks. I know a lot of people love night themes, but I wonder if hearing them during the day during Pokémon Moon has fostered an even greater apptreciation for them (or the opposite).

Iki Town (Night)

Day or night, Iki Town’s theme is pretty fantastic. But the night theme edges ahead for me. Both themes are super relaxing, but the night theme definitely has more of a sleepy relaxing vibe to it, while the day theme is something I’d want to listen to while getting some work done.

Malie City

I just reached Malie City in my Ultra Sun playthrough yesterday and knew I had to include it on the list. This town is a nod to Pokémon’s Japanese regions, specifically Johto. I could not decided between the day and night theme for this city, so I put the day theme here as a default, but the night theme deserves a listen as well! Especially because parts of it give me a Wind Waker Dragon Roost Island vibe. And I really think listening to stripped versions of tracks gives you a greater appreciation for what’s going on musically.

Mt. Lanakila

I haven’t included too many route themes so far, but I think this one is killer. It’s such an epic lead up to the Elite Four.

Po Town

Now for some spooky tunes to get you in the spirit of spooky season. Walking into Po Town, I expected music that aligned more closely to Team Skull’s themes – more punk rock-y. But this one really went well with the rainy, dilapidated town.

Abandoned Megamarket

I may have said 2 weeks ago that the next Music Monday would have a track that featured some cool 3D sound…I meant this Music Monday. The 3D music and disjointed sound on this track really make this piece. I highly recommend listening with headphones.

This will be the last pokémon Music Monday for awhile, so get ready for new stuff next week! 39 days until Pokémon Sword and Shield!

Animal Crossing Diaries #10

It’s October, which means new things to collect! The only new bug available this month that I haven’t caught yet is the bagworm, so time for lots of tree shaking/net hitting. I’m still working on the spiny lobster from last month, but I caught everything else. I also finally got a new painting from Redd: the neutral painting. Four paintings left!

I’ve got lots of pictures of flowers today, especially of violet/lily combinations thanks to eiffelcattower’s suggestion.

Definitely wanted to do some purple/orange for Halloween.
Got a little garden of all the black flowers…trying to decide if I want to expand it
Kept the same pattern, but made it vertical for purple/yellow!
Got some white flowers in a combo
Flashback to more summer-y times in Animal Crossing
Not my favorite combo, but it’s something different for me!
Aind finally some blue/pink feat. double rainbow…or double rainbow feat. blue/pink?
And the sweet olives are blooming! They look so pretty!

And now for my promised autumn Pocket Camp layout. I really love it. (Click for a fuller view of the right image).

A couple Animal Crossing posts ago I said that I’ve love to see a mums gardening event in Pocket Camp, but I figured October would have a Halloween gardening event, which I thought pumpkins would be cool for. Well…

Spooky season is in full force now, so get ready for lots of Halloween posts! 169 days until Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

Music Monday: Kalos

When I first started writing this post, there weren’t any themes I recalled from when I played the game. This is the game I’ve spent the least amount of time with – there was no third edition/sequel and it’s far too early for remakes (here’s a thought – what would Kalos look like remade as a 2D game?). So I really had to listen through the soundtrack. And I’m going to start with an unsurprising pick for me.

Santalune Forest

Another week, another forest theme. Also I love marimbas. And the layers of this track that get added as it progresses are wonderful, like the music is becoming more full bodied as you get deeper into the forest.

Anistar City

A lot of the tracks I’ve picked out have this plucky, staccato sound to them, yet they all maintain their own unique styles. This one is very ancient and traditional sounding, and contrasts with much of the rest of the region.

Glittering Cave

It’s pokémon meets Luigi’s Mansion! A little spooky and a lot mischievous.

Dark Skies

This is another one of those atmospheric ones I really like. I was trying to figure out exactly when it plays, and it seems it plays at some points when villainous Team Flare boss Lysandre is around. I haven’t included much in the way of evil team themes in my lists so far, but most of them are pretty great, Dark Skies included.

Laverre City

Laverre City is so gorgeous and fairytale-like (perfect for the fairy-type gym), and it’s music perfectly fits this. This city makes me want to write a post on places in the pokémon world where I would want to live.

An Unwavering Heart

This track is also in Black/White and I almost put it on last week’s list, but it was getting a little long. Doesn’t this one just hit you right in the feels?

Scary House

Yeah, I really like the spooky music. This is prime “turn it on and tell a scary story” music. And that’s what I’m going to leave for you to prepare for the month of October!

46 days until Pokémon Sword and Shield!!!

Outbreak Day: The Last of Us

It’s September 26th, which is Outbreak Day in The Last of Us’s universe. On Tuesday, journalists got access to around three hours of new gameplay, and today we get to hear from them! I’m looking forward to what they have to say. A new trailer was also released on Tuesday in which we got a release date (February 21, 2020!!!) and I wanted to share some thoughts.

Tommy’s town is thriving!

The town has, not only functional electricity, but also decorative string lights! It makes it seem like they’ve got things well organized and put together. And I love the way the snow looks.

Dina…

Last year, people spotted Ellie wearing a bracelet that was first seen on Dina. Many speculated that Dina would be murdered, which would lead Ellie on a revenge spree. This trailer seems to all but confirm this (although trailers have led us astray before). Poor Ellie…this game is gonna emotionally wreck me.

A glimpse of a city..

Apparently a large part of the game will take place in Seattle. Is that what’s shown here?

Ellie’s boating…did she learn how to swim?

I sure hope she learned how to swim. This next shot shows another city scene with a ferris wheel in the background – I really think this is Seattle.

The next 10 seconds of the trailer are very fast-paced and full of aggressors, so it becomes difficult to make out exactly what everything is. There are several infected, but I can’t tell from the video if any are new types of infected. I will say that the fast-moving bloaters look terrifying. We also see a dog attack Ellie – could it be infected?

Last but not least…

It’s Joel!!!!! The guy everyone’s been waiting to see! He’s back and here to help Ellie. Will he survive the game though?

148 days until The Last of Us Part 2!!!!

Music Mondays: Unova Notes

I can’t believe this is already my 5th week of Music Mondays. I’m almost through the pokémon regions and I’ve got to start figuring out what to do next. I’m thinking spooky/horror for October?

Anyway, on to Gen 5 music! Pokémon Black and White have some real neat sound design. Route themes had different variations depending on the seasons, music might change depending on where you are or if you’re moving, and Unova is sprinkled with musicians who will play their instruments if you ask them, adding an extra layer to the theme. Serebii lists all of the different music changes here.

Village Bridge

Since I just talked about Gen 5’s sound design, I wanted to include something that used one of the features I mentioned. I found a video by youtuber Pikanyaasan that gradually adds in the layers, which perfectly shows off the sound design. Pikanyaasan did the same thing with Victory Road’s music if you wanna check that out.

Nuvema Town

I think this is my favorite starting town theme. It’s so pretty and calming, and it sounds like it could be a Zelda town theme (seriously, listen to Ordon Village’s music after listening to this).

Lostlorn Forest

Forest themes in pokémon sounding mysterious/threatening? Seems familiar. Viridian Forest and Eterna Forest, which have made it to my past Music Mondays, along with Ilex Forest and Petalburg Woods do the same. It seems to lessen a bit after Gen 5, but it keeps a similar vibe. And I love the way it sounds.

Dragonspiral Tower

I wasn’t initially going to put this track on the list. But then I saw someone in the Youtube comments section mention the echo when listening with headphones. It’s amazing how 3D sound can change a song and make it feel so much more atmospheric (apparently my favorite word to describe music). One of the tracks I’ve got for next week also makes great use of 3D sound.

Driftveil City

This was the first track I knew had to be on my list this week. I mean, what a bop! It’s so unique in terms of pokémon music and I love it.

N Final Battle Theme

N is one of my favorite characters in the pokémon series, so I had to choose one of his themes. Honestly, all of them could go on here, from the epic battle and castle music to the sweet, emotional themes, but I decided to pick just one – the summation of all your encounters with N. I can only hope we see N return to the pokémon series, even just Pokémon Masters.

Hope you enjoyed today’s picks. 53 days until Pokémon Sword and Shield!

Returning to Celeste

Celeste’s DLC, the Farewell chapter, just released, so I decided to pick up the game again, which I hadn’t played since January.

I couldn’t play the DLC yet, as I never played through Chapter 8: The Core. I got stuck at the beginning, not realizing I needed 4 crystal hearts from previous levels to progress, and then my school semester started and I never got around to playing it.

Luckily, I was able to pick it right back up. I’m not really into masocore games. I had played through the game, not doing much in the way of extra stuff (strawberries, b-sides, c-sides), because it was hard enough for me anyway. So I was a little nervous about going back to get crystal hearts so I could play through the core.

I went back to the first few chapters, which I assumed would make things easier, and I was pleasantly surprised at the use of game mechanics for acquiring some of the hearts. Dashing back and forth between screens to “climb” up thin air? Neat. Being able to interact with the background elements of a scene? I love it.

I only went back and got enough hearts to progress through the Core, so I’m looking forward to going back and getting more.

The Core was HARD. There were several screens I spent at least an hour on. But like the rest of the chapters, it always felt extremely rewarding when I got through a tough spot. At first, it was tough to get used to not having a dash recharge. But it added an interesting new dimension to this chapter, with deciding when to use your dashes.

I love the way the level switches back and forth between fire and ice, even if things got a little intense when the lava/ice water was rising through several screens.

The one thing I missed on this chapter was story. The story was so strong throughout the game, and it was a little light in the Core. However, it does seem like more of a challenge chapter, and from the little I’ve played of the Farewell chapter, it seems like it picks things back up in the story department.

I wanted to write more about the Farewell chapter this week, but I also didn’t want to rush through it (although I don’t know if that’s possible, it seems even more difficult than the Core so far), so I’ll leave that for another post. I will say, without getting spoiler-y, that it deals with death and grief, so I’m interested to see where that goes. Yomawari, the game I took a break from to play Celeste, also deals with death and grief, so I guess I’ve got a theme going here – even if they have very different takes. Also, from what I’ve heard so far, the new soundtrack is stellar – Lena Raine is amazing as usual.

Bonus: I’ve been working on a logo for my site – I think I’m gonna use the second one, because I’m not even sure if I can use the first.

Happy gaming!

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