Image

Retropie Pics

I know, I’m about two weeks behind on this post. Anyway, the Famicom stickers came in and our Retropie looks very cute!

It is also considerably smaller than you’d think, and takes up hardly any shelf space. Here’s a picture of Henry and the Retropie to scale:

* Cat not included

Of course, not long after putting together the Retropie, the Steam Summer Sale began and we completely forgot about playing old retro games in favor of new awesome indie games. C’est la vie.

Retropie

I finally decided to sit down and put together a Retropie for our living room. I’m still waiting on a few more parts to come through before I get any pics up, but so far it’s been great.

I made a Retropie a couple of years back and we used it to play games on our projector, but it was such a hassle to have to set up every time. The projector had built-in mono speakers with awful sound quality, so we had to get an HDMI audio splitter that fed into a pair of computer speakers. Honestly, the jump in quality wasn’t even that great. On top of that, we don’t have a screen, so we’d just project the image onto the wall of our bedroom. That meant every time we wanted to use it, we’d have to lug out all the cables and set it up, then break it down when we finished. It was fun but far from ideal, and such a PITA that we hardly ever did it.

This time around, I’ve decided to do it properly. No more faffing about with projectors and cables, I’m just going to stick it in my entertainment center the way games are meant to be played®. I’ve moved up from a RasPi B+ to a RasPi 3, as well as upgrading my clunky Logitech F310s to the very cute FC30 controllers from 8BitDo. I’ve got the official case, and I’m waiting on some very cute Famicom-themed stickers to come into really seal the deal. I’ve got Retropie v4.2 set up and running, as well as the Pixel-Metadata theme for Emulation Station. It is all just too cute.

I ran into a bit of a snag at first because I was drawing power from a power bank instead of plugging directly into the wall, so a lot of games (SNES and GBA) had crippling lag and audio sync issues. However, switching to a high-speed AC adapter (the one I use for my Xperia phone works nicely) into the wall seemed to fix everything. I’m going to pick up the official RasPi charger at some point this week. I’m also planning to upgrade my microSD from its current 4GB to a much roomier 32GB when I can. (But for those asking, yes Retropie seems to do all right with just 4GB, so long as you don’t put in too many games.)

I’ll have pictures up as soon as those stickers get in!

The Legend of Sidon: Manly Pearls

DK and I finished Breath of the Wild a few weeks ago and we still can’t get over it. It was far and away the best open-world game I’ve played and one of the very few that managed to hold my attention to the end. I feel like I don’t really have to go into the positives of this game, picking it up and playing just felt so natural that it’s hard to put into words why it worked so well this time around.

Continue reading

Time Walk

Yesterday we went to Time Walk, a cafe in Yokohama (near Hoshikawa Station) that has a selection of board games for you to borrow and play while enjoying a nice cup of coffee. It was our first time there, and we had a ton of fun! We played 枯山水 (“Stone Garden,” great), 百鬼夜行 (“Night Parade of a Hundred Demons,” meh), 緑の砂漠 (“Green Desert,” interesting premise but a bit hard to get into), and Forbidden Island, which we brought with us. It was a really good time, and we’re probably going to try and go there at least once a month.

The cafe itself is quite nice. It looks very much like a “normal” cafe, with nice decor, good coffee, and a relaxing atmosphere. Unfortunately, like every Japanese cafe in Kanto, the tables are quite narrow and close together, making it a tight fit when getting around to use the restroom and view the selection of games. We brought our own green felt gaming mat which we ended up using since the tables are standard varnished wood tables. This might be kind of a weird observation to make, but it’s very much a cafe first and foremost, as opposed to a place geared especially for gamers.

That said though, the atmosphere really was about the games. There is a great selection of games to choose from, and the owner of the cafe is very friendly and encouraging to customers, whether they are total noobs or battle-hardened veterans. When we went, every booth was filled with groups playing games, and the air was full of delighted game chatter. At first it was a bit hard to break the ice and ask other people to join us for a game of 4-player Forbidden Island, but the owner immediately recognized what we wanted without us explicitly asking for his help and he was only too happy to introduce us to another couple, who went along with good measure. I have a feeling that he’s often called on to “read the atmosphere” for this exact situation!

The cafe is open from 10 AM to 6 PM on weekends, and you pay ¥1,500 at the door to hang out for as long as you want. The entrance fee also includes one drink, and additional drinks are about ¥200 each. The coffee as I said was surprisingly good and comes in very beautiful tea cups, and you get the full cafe experience on top of the board games. They are also open on weekdays from 2-6PM with an ¥800 entrance fee.

I highly recommend it, and hope to be visiting again very soon!

Link

The Grizzled: Japanese Hard Knocks

Happy New Year! We have been playing a lot of The Grizzled recently. It’s a great game, though hard to recommend unless you’re playing with at least three players. We have been making due with the duo mode included in the expansion, but we suspect that the true sweet spot for this game is three or four players.

Another problem we had was the language barrier. The Hard Knocks in particular were giving us trouble not only because of the English but also the highly stylized font used in the English version. We decided to try our hand at translating the cards into Japanese, and you can download it here. These are for the vanilla Hard Knocks only, though we are working on getting the expansion At Your Orders! cards and possibly manual translated sometime in the future. The manual for the base game is available on BGG.

Image

Questing

I bought the full season of King’s Quest during the winter sale but haven’t gotten around to playing it yet. I did load it up just for a few minutes to see what it was like. In the very brief time I played, I’ve come to the conclusion that the graphics are beautiful, the narration of this cold open (I’m assuming) is a bit odd at first, and the puzzles are… well, better than Telltale puzzles of late, and certainly not the awful guess-what-the-developer-was-thinking puzzles of the ancient King’s Quests, but also not very interesting. Then again I did only get about ten minutes in before having to temporarily shelve it. Definitely need to have a proper sit-down with this game soon…

Metro-vania?

Let’s play Mini Metro!

I picked up Mini Metro using money I saved up by selling Steam cards. It is to city sims what rymdkapsel was to RTS: very low learning curve but a surprisingly complex game once things get rolling, with nice minimalist art that doesn’t overload you with tons of windows and overlays and info dumps. And most importantly for a sim game, it is stupid addictive. You can play in short (~15min) bursts with the daily challenge or by racking up enough points to unlock the next level, or you can go totally zen with endless mode.

Connecting the dots has never been so fun. Or frustrating.

I’ve unlocked all of the normal levels and played through them all at least once, and am now in the process of unlocking all of the extreme levels. This is the only part of the game that really makes me scratch my head, though. Why are the extreme levels locked behind achievements, rather than just being available from the start? Oh, well.

But for all of that, I really like it. It is good, and you should check it out.

(Damn. Now I want to go back and play rymdkapsel.)

Continue reading

Gallery

Second Life with fuzzy animals

More Animal Crossing screenshots, because this is all I ever play anymore. Well, this and Splatoon.