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Let's Talk About Video Games 🎮

Out of all of the things I've talked about on this here blog, if my terrible memory is right, I don't think I've ever had a full post about video games. I've probably talked about them here and there, but I think it's about time that I dedicated a full post about them.

So, anyway. Video games. Vidya gaems. I love 'em. Don't ask me what the first game I ever played was, because I seriously can't remember what it was (i said my memory is terrible, didn't i?) considering I was so small when I first picked up a controller. Or probably a GameBoy. It was either a PS1 controller or a GameBoy, I'm not old enough to have experienced SNES games or even the N64, but whatever. I've loved video games for a really long time is what I'm getting at. I'm not very good at them, but not only is that to be expected from a childhood of being Player 2, it also doesn't matter because I don't play them to be competitive or to be good, I play them to have fun.

Not only am I not very good at games, I'm also horrendous at keeping up with what new releases there are, just the same as with books. I'm always late to the party and in fact, I didn't get a PlayStation 4 until last Christmas, and most of the games I have for it aren't new releases. i also can't afford to buy new games all the time, but that's a different issue altogether... So, instead of talking about what new releases I'm looking forward to, I'm going to share with you all the games that I've been regularly playing recently, and also some that I constantly return to.

Out of all the games I'm going to list, I've probably put the most hours into this one. I can't help it if Animal Crossing is addicting, okay? The strange thing is, though, is that when I was a lot younger, I could never really get into the series and I constantly reset my town because I didn't know what I wanted to do with it. This time around, though, I've had the same town since I first started the game and I have no intentions of resetting it. There's still way too much for me to do in the game for me to just restart all over again. Here's a few snaps of my town that I took during the middle of the night when it was dark in the game because I'm a nocturnal dolt:

Pokémon is one of the first video games I ever played even though I didn't have my own copy until Gen 3 when I got a GameBoy Advance with the game (it's a special pokémon gba and i still have it, btw) that let you play as a girl. Before that, though, I used to borrow my brother's copy and then not save over his file, but I've always been a Pokémon fan, considering me and my brother used to watch the anime series constantly when we were little. So far the only main series games I haven't played are the Gen 5 games (i'll get to them eventually) but I've mainly managed to keep up. I haven't played too much of Moon but from what I've played it's very different. But, different isn't always a bad things because Pokémon has had a very formulaic way of doing things for a very long time, so it was about time that things got shook up a bit. The only thing that's really, really bugging me though is that the game clocks are set 12 hours apart for each edition, so when I'm playing Moon in the middle of the night, it's daytime in the game itself. What. Was. The. Point.

I love the Lego series of games even though the only ones I've played are the Star Wars games and the Batman ones, and because I'm not well-versed in Star Wars I prefer the Batman games. I've played the first Lego Batman game a million times and I still haven't finished the second one because the change in format freaked me out when I first picked it up. I preferred the format of having a game hub where you can go into different chapters from there rather than the linear story that the newer games have, but oh well. At the moment I'm playing the third game which so far I'm liking. I wasn't initially fond of there being voice acting in these games, but Troy Baker does such a good job playing Batman that I'm able to look past it. I'm not able to look past the voice that Superman was given though. He sounds like a parody of himself and it's painful to listen to. Also, they paired him up romantically with Wonder Woman. No. But her idle animation is her twirling in circles like Lynda Carter so I can deal.

This may come as a wee bit of a surprise considering the other games I've mentioned here, but I do have a taste for more violent and mature games, and Mortal Kombat is definitely the most violent and mature out of every game I'm talking about. Obviously in real life I'm mostly a nonviolent person, but I will admit that there's something about beating up fictional people when you're in a bad mood. I'm not really fond of fighting games that aren't Mortal Kombat because I feel like they're missing something, and that something is Fatalities. If you're not familiar with the series, Fatalities are basically really really gruesome finishing moves that you perform when you win a fight. I'm not going to provide a link because they're so gory (especially in the more recent games), so you should view those at your own risk.

I know I said that I love the Lego games, but this series here, my friendos, is the best Batman game series that has ever been made. It is so good. These games were written by Paul Dini, who is a veteran Batman writer at this point, and follow the comics mythos pretty damn closely while being an original story at the same time. Each game gets bigger and bigger in terms of how much area you're able to explore, going from just Arkham Island to eventually the entirety of Gotham City and new threats and villains are brought in from the comics each time. I'm not the best at these games and I still haven't gotten past Deathstroke in Arkham Origins because I am no good at countering, and that frustrates me a little because I want to know more and more of the story and find more things to unlock. Although, I have been spoiled for Arkham Knight and that really annoyed me, but I'll get to it. Once I eventually get past Deathstroke in Arkham Origins. Who is the third boss of that game.

I'm not sure how many people know this, but I am a total sucker for anything about the mafia. I love The Godfather and I watched The Sopranos religiously so when my best friend's brother mentioned the game Mafia II to me, I was all over it like flies on a plate of dirty food. I even tracked down a preowned copy of the first game which I can't beat without cheat codes because A) the controls are stiff af and its hard to aim B) I'm just terrible at the game. I'd been waiting for the third game ever since people were just speculating about it and then once it was officially announced the real wait was on. Now that I have it, I haven't had time to play it. Obviously it's a lot different so it's taking some getting used to but so far I'm digging it. It was a good decision to have a black protagonist instead of white Italian dudes like the first game, but you've got to deal with hearing the N slur thrown around a lot, given that the game's set in the late 60's. Also, apparently you can kill the KKK in this game. I haven't gotten to that point yet, but apparently it's a thing that can happen.

Fun fact: I can kick your ass at Mario Kart. Probably. I'm trying my best to not brag, but Mario Kart is one of the very few games that I'm actually really good at, and it's all down to binge playing it until my hands cramp up. I'm not good to the point of winning any tournaments (because I don't do competitive playing), but I still think that I'm pretty damn good at it. Nothing can stop me and Luigi from smoking up that track and getting first place.

Because I'm kind of a snob, I haven't kept up with the Sims series since the second game. I've tried to get into The Sims 3 plenty of times but I just can't because the graphics really put me off. I prefer my Sims to either look like video game characters or people, not like Play-Doh creatures. Plus the extra features added to it just confused me and made the game feel harder than it should be. I might play The Sims 4 someday, but for now I'm sticking to The Sims 2 because I understand how it works and I still remember all of the cheat codes for it. The only problem is, I kind of rely on custom content and nobody makes CC for this game anymore. Whomp whomp.

Fun fact: this was the first PlayStation 2 game I ever got and I didn't actually have a PS2 to play it on at the time so I had to share it with my brother. Whomp whomp. But, once I did get my own PS2 I was able to play it on my own and that was when I found out that I really suck at video games. Even now, I can't beat the timed missions in this game without using cheats, but let's be real here: who's playing this game to play through the missions? Yeah, the story's great and all because it was written by the Simpsons staff and all of the voice cast is in it, but the real reason to play this game is to drive into people and run up to strangers in the street and kick them into holes. That's why you play this game. But it doesn't stop me from getting 100% completion every time I play it because that's just how I am.

Because I am a grown child, I constantly find myself returning to these old, old, old games (well, they're from the early 90's, but whatever, they're old games). I don't really have much of a reason for returning to them all the time other than for nostalgia's sake. I haven't actually watched Rugrats in a long time because it doesn't really air on TV anymore and Netflix won't get their crap together and have only had season three (out of nine) for years, so instead I've got these games for whenever I want my Rugrats fix. How many times have I played these games, you ask? I lost count of how many times I've played them. I've played these games so often that I can beat them in under two hours. Obviously these games are for children, but when you're as bad at games as I am, that's an achievement. However, it does take a bit longer for me to beat Totally Angelica because that game is a chore, and I still have yet to beat Rugrats in Paris because the final boss of that game (or should I say the only boss) is ridiculously unfair. But I'll get there someday.

Do you play video games? What are some of your favourites?

10 Books with Beautiful Covers 💙

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I am 100% unashamed to admit that I pick up books based on their covers. I both buy and don't buy into the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" thing because I have an A Level in media studies and in order to get people to pick up your book, it needs to look aesthetically pleasing. Anyways, I like pretty covers. Not to the point that I'll refuse to pick a good book up because it has an ugly cover, but I like good books to have good covers. So here are ten of my favourite book covers, whether I have actually read them or not.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner - All of the books in this trilogy have gorgeously amazing covers, but this one sticks out in my mind more because it's blue, which is my favourite colour. Also, the pretty dress on the cover is totally relevant to the story itself so it gets more bonus points.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Same as with the Starbound series, I love all of the covers for the Lunar Chronicles, but Cinder's cover is my favourite. The metal leg under the skin shows straight away that Cinder is a cyborg and also that this is a retelling of Cinderella, which the other covers don't exactly do, instead they just show which tale the book retells. Also, this book is the best one to edit into black and white for Instagram.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld - I may be a little (or a lot) biased because Scott Westerfeld is one of my favourite authors, and also because this is my favourite series ever, but I adore the cover of Leviathan even though it's not actually the first edition, which I do also love. Because this is a steampunk book, the cover has all sorts of mechanical elements to it, which looks so cool.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis - Apart from this cover being gorgeous, the copy I have has parts on it that are embossed, which is one of my absolute favourite things that book covers can have. I'm constantly stimming and when I read I constantly flick large chunks of pages so embossed covers that I can run my fingers over are always delightful for me.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - I get that from a glance this edition isn't that spectacular to look at because without the black bars it's just a reprint of the old penguin cover designs, but the cool thing about those bars is that they're added over the top of the book and rub off on your fingers as you read it. See that? Symbolism. And symbolism is cool.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - This cover isn't too flashy but that's okay because it works so well for its genre. Contemporary books rarely have covers that are covered in a million details or big flowy dresses, because those aren't the kinds of stories they tell. I love the covers for this series because they're so simple and understated, and also the model on the cover is East Asian, just like the main character so win.

Splintered by A.G. Howard - Look, a green cover! I don't see green covers floating around too often so I'm always delighted whenever covers come in any shade of green and are done well. The covers for all of the books in this series are pretty, but this one's my favourite because it's the only one that I own for now 😅

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - I love pre-Soviet Russian aesthetics (i went through a phase where i was hugely obsessed with russia) so obviously the Grisha covers draw me in. I especially love the dark colours used on the cover of Shadow and Bone because it gives a sort of wintry feel, and obviously Russia gets pretty freaking cold so it's fitting.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - Leatherbound books are gorgeous. This leatherbound edition of Jekyll and Hyde is especially gorgeous. All of the little images on the cover are gold and shiny and oh so cool to look at. In fact, I've spent so much time looking at the cover that I still haven't read the book. Oops.

Dracula by Bram Stoker - All of the Barnes & Noble leatherbound classics are pretty, but because Dracula is one of my favourite books, it has my favourite cover next to the cover for their edition of Frankenstein. Wit a book like Dracula, you don't need the cover to tell you what it's about, so this one doesn't really do that apart from the occasional drips. Instead, it shows the genre through the colours (red = blood, black = death) and the font and the end result is just so pretty.

What are some of your favourite book covers?