It’s the Freakin’ Weekend: Christmas Edition!

With the holiday finally upon us hopefully everyone will get the fuck off the roads it’s time to focus on what matters most.

Video games.

I’ll be heading out of town to spend Christmas with my family in Maryland, so I’m not sure I’ll get around to anything barring a few rounds of Fire Emblem: Awakening. But I *did* make some progress on my backlog over the last few days. So ho-ho to that.

thelastguardian

For starters, I finished The Last Guardian. Like I said in my 10 Favorite Games of 2016 post, despite its myriad technical issues, it’s a masterclass in environmental design, character building, and storytelling. Although I placed it just below Final Fantasy XV on my overall list, I still feel it’s the most memorable game I played this year.

The bond between the unnamed boy and Trico is unmatched, which is something anyone can relate to if they’ve ever had a new puppy come in to their lives. The Last Guardian’s tale of sorrow, trust, and survival lead to a finale that had me weeping in to my hands more than I care to admit.

Every console generation has that one game that comes along and sticks with you forever. 10 or 15 years from now when I think back to the PS4, I’m almost positive The Last Guardian will be that game. Just like Ico was on PS2.

Since I knew that I was going out of town for a few days, I didn’t want to jump in to anything substantial or story-focused. I decided to put World of Final Fantasy aside until I return, instead playing through a smaller indie game on PS4 called Beyond Eyes.

beyondeyes

It’s a brief 2-hour game about a blind girl in search of her missing cat. Given that she’s blind, however, the world takes on a white hue until she gets close enough to decipher the goings on around her. It’s similar to The Unfinished Swan (a game in which you color an all-white environment by lobbing ink-filled balloons in order to see its walls and platforms), though nowhere near as interesting or enjoyable.

Nani moves at a snail’s pace (again, blind) but has a bad habit of getting stuck on just about everything. It’s not always clear where to go next either, so fumbling around the environment sticking to every tree or bush I came across wasn’t exactly engaging. It’s a sweet idea though.

Sometimes Nani will hear noises or take in smells and the environment will reflect that to the player. What looks like stacks of fish-filled crates could eventually turn in to an open sewer drain if she ventures close enough. The watercolor aesthetic works really nicely as well, but the core experience just wasn’t executed very well.

After grabbing all of the trophies in Beyond Eyes, I moved on to the Metal Slug Anthology on PS4. This beast of a collection packs in Metal Slug 1-6, along with Metal Slug X. It’s currently $8 on PS4 as a digital download until Tuesday, and man, what a wonderful batch of games this is.

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To my knowledge, all of the games but 6 are NEO-GEO ports, while 6 is an actual arcade port. And I love me some SNK games on NEO-GEO.

If you’re unfamiliar with Metal Slug, it’s a 2D shooter (along the lines of Contra) filled with brilliantly crafted pixel art, ridiculous humor, and local couch co-op. The first game in the series is relatively straight forward, running and gunning down bad guys in a batch of cliche militaristic settings.

Metal Slug 2 is when everything gets absurd.

There’s weaponized camels, dudes getting eaten by killer whales, babies getting bounced around from explosions, poop collectibles, and ALIENS! It’s so good!

I played through the first two games last night in one sitting, and started up Metal Slug X before falling asleep. They’re short and sweet, and perfect games to knock out whenever I have some free time.

Another short-burst game that I’ve been coming back to is the gravity platformer VVVVVV, which is part of this month’s free Vita games through PlayStation Plus. It’s a 2D game where you navigate a maze-like map in search of your missing crew members (whose names all start with the letter ‘V’, hence the name of the game), but there’s a catch: rather than jumping, your button presses move your character from the floor to the ceiling.

The trailer above is from the Ouya version, but you get the idea.

miraclewarriors

Outside of playing games, I’ve been watching a few good Let’s Plays on YouTube. Also, now that I’ve finished The Last Guardian myself, I can finally binge watch Christopher Odd’s playthrough. I’m also in the middle of Luckless Lovelocks’ blind run (meaning he’s never played it before) of Shadow of the Colossus, which is one of my favorites from the PS2-era.

Apparently I’m drawn to Canadian YouTubers, as both Mr. Odd and Luckless are from Canada, as well as fellow blogger-turned-streamer/YouTuber Hungry Goriya. I love watching playthroughs of classic games as much as I hate loud and obnoxious narrators, and became sucked in to HG’s playthrough of the NES classic Faxanadu because of their overall knowledge of the game, their relative thoroughness, and just how chilled out and pleasant the narration was.

Along with her boyfriend, she runs the retro game collection blog Hungry Goriya here on WordPress and has recently started streaming some of their collection on Twitch/posting episodic Let’s Plays on their YouTube channel. It’s still fairly new, it seems, but there’s a fun playthrough of The Legend of Zelda and the Sega Master System RPG Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord that I recommend checking out. Not only am I insanely jealous of their retro collection, but her videos and streams have introduced me to games that I never even knew existed!

machamp

Once again I’ve not read anything new this week, unless the art book for Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir counts.

What about you folks? Are you gaming over the holiday? What else have you go planned? I know holidays aren’t easy for everyone. This is my first Christmas without my dad, which is weird to think about. If you’re alone this weekend, do something that makes you happy. Celebrate with yourself with games and snacks and booze (if you so choose–hey! that rhymed!)!

However you spend the holiday, I wish you all the best!

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30 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend: Christmas Edition!

  1. I’m hoping I get some Christmas money from Santa so I can buy The Last Guardian. I cry every day about something anyway, so crying about a poignant game will be right up my alley. I swear to God if Trico dies, I will never get over that…

    Playing WOFF as I have the time (my hubby is on the sticks right now, but I’m kicking him off once I finish catching up on my blog subs), and I need to start FFV, which I keep saying like a broken record.

    Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. No probs! I think it’s good they don’t have a demo for TLG, since it’s definitely one of those games that’s best experienced (in my opinion, anyway lol) totally blind. But that could have improved its sales, which are apparently abysmal.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. :) I am flattered by your shout out to my most recent endeavours here. Thank you so, so much for all the support! I can’t express how much it means to me knowing that people in this community like what I’m doing. Gaming has always been a solitary hobby for me, so it’s nice to be able to bring other people into it with streaming/LPs! Thank youuu!!

    I’m also glad you’ve been beating back your backlog! I’m poised to do some of that as well since collecting has dwindled down substantially for the winter months. I feel like I will never get around to playing many of the new games you’ve mentioned here for another 20 years once I catch up on all the games I missed out on from 20 years ago. Sigh. I will always been in backlog mode!

    I hope your adventures in travel are safe and that you and your family have a wonderful holiday together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We just have to come to terms with the fact that we’ll never, ever have enough time to play EVERYTHING, so as long as we’re playing things we enjoy, or we find interesting at first, we’re in the same mindset that we were when we discovered gaming: we play because it’s fun.

      I’m happy to show my support to content creators I enjoy! Your content is already good, especially for being so new, so it’s just going to keep improving. It’ll be a journey for you AND your viewers, which I think is really cool to be a part of.

      Plus you’ll never have to worry about buying and streaming the latest and greatest, or running out of classic games to play, haha.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Video games and Christmas are always connected in my mind. Santa always gave me sweet gaming gifts as a kid. All adult me wants this year is time to work on my games. :)

    Enjoy your family time and safe travels! The roads are truly fucking crazy this time of year…

    You are really good at adding games to my wishlist. I’m going to have to play Beyond Eyes. 2 hours is insignificant compared to my other backlogged games. I’m also watching Hungry goriya’s LP of Zelda now. She shows such calm professionalism while facing those evil Wizzrobes/Darknuts. It’s great to see my fellow Canadians are good at making LPs, eh :)

    All the best!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Canada owns the Let’s Play scene right now!

      Beyond Eyes is totally worth skipping, if that helps save you time and money lol. Aside from the art style, it’s unremarkable.

      Thanks for the safe travels. I just arrived back home safe and sound.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not a Christmas person so I’ll be doing the same thing I do every Christmas. I’m going to watch my kids ooen their gifts and go in my room and not come out :).

    I’ll most likely be playing Skyrim this weekend. My Nord is almost level 40 and I finally started focusing on the main quest.

    I’m pretty sure my wife for me Titanfall 2. Probably won’t get to it until January though.

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            1. Damn that must be rough to be one game away from a playoff spot and lose. At least your team did better than mine this year… I really hope the Colts fire their HC, and GM after this season. They’re wasting Andrew Luck’s prime right now.

              Like

            2. Since I don’t live in Maryland anymore it’s harder to follow the Ravens, but I catch a game when I can. There was actually a point in the game where I thought they’d pull it off, but the Steelers had a stellar 4th quarter while the Baltimore D just gave away first downs. Sad, really. Ah well. Always next season.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m also on the ‘freeze’ in terms of starting a new game, though I may pick up and continue some Final Fantasy X over the next few days as I’m heading out of town. I played this for a few hours before shelving it. It just didn’t grab me, but I’m willing to give it another shot.

    Otherwise, planning to attack my own backlog and just kick back with some holiday cheer and LOTS of eats.

    Merry Christmas to you as well!

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    1. I loved FFX but haven’t played it since launch, so I’m not too sure how well it holds up. Hopefully you enjoy it more the 2nd time!

      I’m strongly considering going on a buying hiatus (outside of Personal 5, which is already paid off) and just creaming the backlog for the first half of the year. There’s so much I’ve already bought that I haven’t gotten around to yet.

      Hope your holiday was awesome! Thanks for stopping by, and it was nice meeting you in the Hungry Goriya stream!

      Like

  6. Merry Christmas! I probably won’t get a ton of game time in, but I say kudos for recommending out VVVVVV. Terry made an awesome combination of Commodore 64 themed flip screen adventure, NES Metroidvanias, and it has one of the catchiest OST’s ever. Wonderful game.

    Anyway, instead of gaming I’ll probably enjoy watching my nieces play. I got the older one a copy of Minecraft Wii U(She’s way into Legos now, so it seems like the natural evolution), and the other a copy of Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams Director’s Cut Wii U. They seem to enjoy playing it when they visit, so now they have their own.

    I got some other great gaming stuff for other people too, so seeing them open it/read their email (Some of the games are digital) should be as joyous as actually playing something. That said, I’ll probably try to get in some Overwatch later since I do want to get the stinkin’ Santa skin for Torbjorn.

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    1. VVVVVV was a really great game, for sure. I finished it wile I was out of town for the holidays. Excellent addition to the Vita library. And yeah, that OST is killer!

      You’re the gaming Santa, dude. I enjoy giving others games as much as I do receiving and playing them. My girlfriend’s younger brother got a PS4 for Christmas so I got him Doom and she got him Dragon Quest Heroes. Her 6 year old niece loved playing on 3DS while she was there, so we gave her one of our old DS’s, a few of our duplicate Pokemon games, Kirby’s Nightmare in Dreamland, and some other kid-friendly stuff. I ended up with a Dishonored Definitive Edition code that I didn’t need and gave it to a buddy in Canada for Christmas. Definitely felt nice.

      Hope you enjoyed the holiday!

      Like

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