Hello fellow gamers! When I last posted to you all, I was deep in the throws of an obsession with Stardew Valley. I managed to make it through one complete play through, reaching the 3 years of game time where your grandfather’s ghost returns to tell you how well you did (or didn’t do). I did quite well and made my little farm quite successful.

Shortly after completing that, my wonderful Xbox Game Pass suggested I play a game called “My Time at Portia” and it has now become my obsession. Why has Portia now become so time consuming? Well, it is VERY similar to Stardew Valley but with far better graphics. If you have played modern games, you likely have heard of the smash hit “Animal Crossing.” Although the company that wrote Portia is not the same as Animal Crossing, the art style is very similar which means the world and its inhabitants are beautifully rendered in a light and almost pastel world.

So what makes the game different? Well, instead of being a farmer as you are in Stardew Valley, MTAP focuses on your character being a ‘builder’ in the town. You are called upon to take over your father’s old workshop (sound similar?) and take your place as one of the town’s foremost builders. People start out by requesting simple things such as fishing rods and tables but eventually become as complicated as an entire lighthouse, a series of wind turbines, and many other intricate things.

There are some other similarities that are worth noting. First, you don’t escape the ‘mining’ aspect of Stardew because the world of MTAP features several ‘ruins’ that open up as you play the game more. The first ruins are basically dirt pits that you use your trusty pickaxe to break through and try to find ‘artifacts’ (which are basically things from our modern world that have been lost to time) as well as some unusual materials for building things such as engines, pipes, valves, and springs. Some of these ruins feature monsters you must battle to make your way through.

Also, you can choose any of a number of eligible bachelorettes/bachelors from the town to court. But instead of showering them with gifts (as is the practice in Stardew), you actually can have ‘dates’ that start out as play dates and eventually grow into actual dates. The more time you spend with the people you are interested in, the more special quests show up that adds some character development to the potentials. Much like in Stardew, your partner will eventually move into your house (if you court them long enough) and you will see them every day. Some of them will help you with your work, provide you food or gifts, or just talk to you in the morning.

There are some notable frustrations with MTAP such as the lack of character appearance changes (they will literally wear their daily clothes to the wedding and so will their partner), limited capacity for your own character’s growth (outside of completing the quests in the game to learn more about your place in the world), and a sense of repetition. Yes, you get to build specialized things to complete the main game (and some side) quests but beyond that, most of what you are asked to build is mind-numbingly repetitive (Oh great, the school needs a new bookcase! I’ve only made 40 of them already for the school).

At this point, I am almost done with the end game quests so you can safely say I will “beat” it soon. However, much like Stardew, once the main quest line is over, I can still continue to work on projects for the townspeople and have some post-end quests to finish. So if you don’t hear from me for a bit, it’s likely because I am elsewhere engrossed in a game.

Although I DID have a creative flourish recently and used it to (among other things) remix a few favorite video game tracks from my youth. If you’d like to see them, you can follow the links below:

  • Corridors – Remix of a famous track from Chrono Trigger.
  • Luna’s Passage – Remix of “Lunar Whale” (or “Big Whale”) airship from my favorite game of all time – Final Fantasy IV

Stardew Valley Has Taken Over My Life

Hello all! If you haven’t seen anything on here in a while, don’t worry, that was the expected result. I have a few reasons for this. The first reason is that I decided to stop doing streams for awhile because I was finding that I didn’t enjoy it as much because I kept trying to find games that I thought people would WANT to watch streams of rather than focus on games that I wanted to play. When it becomes more of a chore, it’s simply not worth it. Besides, I rarely got more than 1-3 viewers on a live stream.

The second reason is because… Stardew Valley Has TAKEN OVER MY LIFE. I saw this game on a few streams I watch but had never tried it. It reminded me a LOT of an SNES game called “Harvest Moon” that I used to play when I was younger. As it turns out, the game’s creator was inspired by Harvest Moon and wanted to remake it while also learning how to program on his own. The result was AMAZING! In fact, the game is SO GOOD that the original creator of Harvest Moon games actually said that the game is what he wished his games would be.

If you aren’t familiar with the Harvest Moon games (Now called “Touch of Nature”, I think). The game I played was on the SNES and you are a farmer. Yup, you plant crops, water them, harvest them, and sell them. You can later raise livestock, milk cows, get eggs from chickens, etc. There are a few little celebrations in the game and you can spend time with various NPCs, marry them, and have children. That’s basically the game in a nutshell, no real end goal other than to make your farm successful and after 3 years, your parents will visit and tell you how you did.

Stardew Valley takes all of these things and puts them on steroids. You have over 12 NPCs that you can date and marry (Male and Female), not to mention over 15 additional NPCs that are not open for marriage but that you can do various things to build their trust and become their friends. The game features an huge catalog of crops you can plant based on the season, it includes chickens but also adds ducks, roosters, and rabbits in your coop. In your barn, you can get cows, goats, pigs, and bulls. But oh no, it doesn’t stop there! You can create artisan products (such as making milk into cheese, eggs into mayo, fruits into jellies and wines, and many others). The game includes a crafting component where you can take raw things you find in the game world and turn them into everything from furniture to other artisan tools (preserve jars for jelly, kegs for wine/beer, spinning wheel to make cloth from raw materials).

The fact that the creator of Stardew Valley thought so hard about this is pretty surprising but even more surprising is how much extra material he added. There is a mine that you can get access to after a few in-game days where you can mine for stone, gemstones, and other natural resources. This mine goes very deep, well over 100+ levels and includes monsters of various difficulties and the deeper you go, the more amazing the goodies you can find and the more dangerous it gets. There is also a quarry that is opened later with some high level minerals that you normally would have to go deep into the mines to acquire. There is also a community center which includes an entire story line related to forest spirits that have taken it over and you can bring them various crops, foraged items, artisan items, fish, and so many other things in what are called “bundles”. With each bundle you complete, the spirits give you special items and if you complete an entire set of bundles, you unlock a “room” in the community center and get a BIG win (usually things that open an entire new area of the map).

As you can easily tell, the combinations of things you can do in this game are nearly endless so there is a lot of replay value because you can pick to focus more on crops or on ranching, more on mining or fishing, etc. I already have three different games going on with three different characters and three different farm types. So that’s where my life has been going as of lately. If you don’t see me surfacing for a while, that’s why.

Hello gamer friends! Now that I have a newer, more powerful gaming laptop, I decided to test it on my latest stream. Running the Twitch Studio with all the capabilities high and playing the game, it didn’t have any issues at all performing flawlessly.

Playing Genesis Noir was like a weird fever dream, so this blind play-through shows how hard it can be to pick up and run with a new game. I finally started getting the hang of it about 30 minutes into play and then it confused me again. I do want to play it more but maybe not right away.

If you want to watch the replay, check out the YouTube video here:

I still don’t like leaving anything undone, so after I got back in the habit of streaming, I completed another episode of the play-through of Final Fantasy 4. I was about ready to go after the last boss before I realized that I still didn’t have the Crystal Sword and that my curative items were much lower than I expected. I got all the way to the threshold of the last boss and then turned back around. I finally made my party leave the Lunar Subtrane to pick up some healing items before I went back in. I made it all the way to the second-to-last floor before I was brutally destroyed by some enemies. The next episode should be the last one. For now, check this out!

After taking a long break from streaming to handle some personal stuff, I finally got back into streaming a few days ago. I first decided to dust off a Ninja Gaiden S2, a game I had downloaded to do a blind play on a few weeks ago, and give it a go. After the initial confusion that always comes with a blind play (controls, story format, etc.) I started to get the hang of it. That is… until I faced the dogs with katanas. But that’s another story altogether! Please enjoy this blind playthrough from my Twitch channel!

After the crazy issues I had with No Man’s Sky, I decided that my next stream should be a game I was certain I could play without technical difficulty. That, combined with my internal desire to work towards completing things, I decided to stream the 8th episode of “Let’s Play Final Fantasy 4.” In this episode, I finished off the Giant of Bab-Il, got the Excalibur sword, beat Bahamut (to get the most powerful summon in the game), and began the endgame content.

For part of this stream, I did have to do some cheat-fueled leveling up and it’s a good thing I did because I had several tough battles once I started doing the work on the moon. Despite this, I was able to build up enough levels in a fast enough time to take on the endgame. Once I got inside the Lunar Subtrane, I spent a lot of time collecting the ultimate weapons/armor for the team and generally being shocked about how intense the enemies were. Depending on how much time I devote to it, I may be able to finish the play through in one or two more episodes so stay tuned!

Here is episode 8:

After the first session of playing No Man’s Sky on stream, I had a lot of fun and decided it was worth doing again. In the second episode, I did a lot more digging for supplies, building bases, and even headed out to a space station in this area. Unfortunately, the developers released an update the day I played on stream the second time. For whatever reason, it did not impact me until I started doing some space flights. When I started traveling between planets and things, the controller core functions blew up and caused many issues where I couldn’t land; I couldn’t travel beyond the worlds I was in, etc.

Thankfully, I opened a support ticket after the stream, and that helped me control things well enough to finally land my ship on my home planet and do some mining and building. For the majority of this stream, you guys will see fun stuff, but right near the end when the issues started happening, I decided to end the stream early. Here is the video if you want to watch the second episode:

I put a post across my socials for what game I should play on the stream next, and the overwhelming results favored the space-exploring game – No Man’s Sky. The game is beautifully rendered, wherein when you start a new game, an entire universe is generated from over 10 Quadrillion potential combinations of plants, animals, biomes, etc. Once you start, it will feel like a mix of Minecraft (collecting items, refining them, building new things from ingredients, etc.) and a Star Wars or Space Opera kind of game (fighting space pirates, delivering cargo, trying to understand the reason for the universe, etc.).

On this stream, my buddy Starnum joined me via chat, and he and I began creating random names for the plants, animals, and planets. The game works once you start the game and you find an animal, plant, planet, etc. you can rename these things with whatever name you want. It will be updated on the master records for the game, so if someone finds your area of the universe (very difficult unless you get close to the center of the universe), they will see the names of these planets and creatures.

Here is the YouTube link if you are interested:

Going Back to My Roots – Playing Dreamscaper

I have been spending a lot of time playing Final Fantasy 4 on my Twitch stream. However, after playing various games on my own or with kids, I returned to my roots. So, a few days ago, I returned to the first game I streamed – Dreamscaper! It was fun playing it on stream and communicating with some folks on my stream about the game.

If you would like to watch the stream, here is the YouTube link. Enjoy!

I had to take about a week off from streaming because I had a sore throat and couldn’t use my voice. Now, my voice is not 100% yet, but I had enough to narrate through another big chunk of the material just before we hit the end-game section. Unfortunately, the audio started out VERY hot so I apologize for that.

In this stream, we went through the entire Land of the Summoned Monsters quest to get the Asura and Leviathan summons. We also beat Odin (on the second attempt) and added him to our summoned monsters list. When we completed these quests, the next thing was the FAMOUS Lunar Whale Airship summoning and visiting the moon for the first time! Now that we have FuSoYa on our team, we returned to earth and faced off with the Giant of Bab-Il. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish it on stream because of the serious amount of damage my party took when battling the Four Fiends.

I hope you enjoy this episode of Final Fantasy 4! Check out the YouTube link below:

Please join me live on my stream sometime! http://twitch.tv/the_retrogamerboy