First off, happy 2017 to everybody! I hope you all had lovely holidays full of friendship, family, and lots and lots of delicious food. Thanks to the holidays, I have been a little bit (okay a bit more than just a bit) tardy on my posts so I have decided to do a “tardy edition” of my December favourites! That means I’m doing my usual end-of-the-month favourites, just a bit later than usual….
So the biggest thing that happened this/last month was the birth of my computer baby, Eve. That’s right. I have joined the PC Master Race (or so people tell me I have?) and got myself a Windows PC… But not just any PC – a PC that I built with MY OWN TWO HANDS! I did a thing! I bought all of the components, with the help and advice of a couple of friends (Dan and Josh), and spent an afternoon building my new PC baby.
Now why is this important? Because it has given me the ability to delve into a couple of new things head first! Namely, PC gaming! Yes, finally I have been able to play a game on something other than a console or a handheld device. I would play on my old Macbook Pro, but it’s starting to really show its age and I fear games would be too much for my dear Figgy… Now that you’ve all been introduced to my beloved Eve (reference to my favourite Pixar movie WALL-E, not the one that ate the apple), onward to the favourites:
Stardew Valley (Steam)
Sooooo I have a bit of a running joke that I wanted to build a Stardew Valley machine… Trust me, I went a little bit overkill on it… I would be lying if I said this game wasn’t one of the main things that pushed me over the edge of actually seriously building the PC. When I saw this game taking over Twitch streams left, right, and centre, I immediately wanted in. Watching people water their crops, pet their animals, and gift random plants to fellow villagers just spoke to me in a way that I never thought a farming simulator could! In fact, this is the exact game that inspired me to try out Harvest Moon (which was actually featured on a previous Favourites post!).
This was literally the first game I downloaded and fired up on my new PC. And it was everything I dreamed of and more! I knew that I would enjoy it, but I never anticipated how much I would love it. It is everything that I love about Harvest Moon without a lot of the silly time consuming portions I don’t like about HM, and more! One of my favourite places/mechanics is the mine. I love how there is combat in the mine that also yields interesting items for your character and helps to add to the mystery that is Pelican Town, along with the Community Center and the strange Junimos that live inside.
There are many ways to play Stardew Valley. You can give your farm a certain kind of focus on crops or animals or both, you can fish for all of the fish in the town, you can even try to unlock the mysteries of the mines, or you can strive to achieve high relationship points with all of the villagers which will unlock interesting story plots about the villagers and the town – and naturally, you can marry someone from the town. Or, ya know, you can just do all of the things.
It is the perfect game to play to unwind and relax, especially for a planner-type like me. And I am confident that I will be able to get a lot of play time out of this game for the long haul. I mean sure, it’s like 2am, but if I just play one more day I can give more Sashimi to Sebastian and make him fall madly in love with me.
Overwatch (Battlenet, PS4, XBoxOne)
Now, I would like to first say that I do not like playing First-Person-Shooter games. I’m bad at them, always have been going back to the N64 GoldenEye days. I’ve played Call of Duty, and was even worse at that. I was never good at aiming or looking around while walking, so I was the ultimate death fodder. I even avoided games like Fallout and Skyrim because I was so inept at playing First Person POV games in general. I’m more into the third person Adventure/(J)RPG games. Now with that being said, I effin’ LOVE Overwatch. In fact, if I didn’t have such an ineffable love for Stardew Valley, I would put Overwatch as my favourite game of the year.
There is such a diverse pool of characters to choose from; you can play dependent on your own skill, your team composition, and your own personal preference. If you want to play an aggressive offense, you can choose Genji. If you want to tank and protect your team to help with the push, you can choose Reinhartd. If you want to hold back and snipe, Widowmaker’s got you. If you’re the worst at aiming (ie. me) and want to provide strong support for your team to survive, you can choose Mercy (#SupportsCarry). And there is even diversity within every player type – both Tracer and Sombra are considered Offense heroes, but they are very different characters who excel in very different situations. Every character is so unique that it really encourages you to try out different characters and see who you like best (and for the record, I mainly play as Lucio or Mercy, but I’m working on other characters too).
And this game is so much more fun when you play on a team, especially on a full team of 5 or 6 players with live voice chat. This is a team based game. The only way you can win is if you really play as a cohensive team rather than run head first solo to the objective. Communication and team composition is KEY. Without it, you’re going to need some sort of Hail Mary pass to come out as the winner.
As a compliment to the fantastic game, Blizzard Entertainment has been doing an amazing job creating other content to help enrich the world of Overwatch. They put a lot of work into creating their trailers and character origin videos. I highly recommend checking out their Overwatch Shorts over on their website, or on their YouTube page. The production value and story telling in these shorts rival even Disney Pixar shorts. Trust me, these shorts are the direct reason I have such a complicated relationship with Bastion. I hate playing against him, but just watch his short and you’ll fall in love.
Seriously, I love this game so much that I itch to play it when I can’t, and there aren’t that many games that give me that, let alone a FPS. I am excited to see more from Blizzard as they continue to expand this new world with new maps and characters with depth and strong personalities.
(Psstt, if you want to add me: MickeyPanda#1713)
Julesmeister (Twitch Streamer)
I thought that giving this twitch streamer a well deserved shout out would be very appropriate given my new found love for Overwatch. Julianne, aka Julesmeister on Twitch, has been a streamer that I have been keeping an eye on for a while now. She has a lovely positive personality with a silly humour that makes you want to stick around. She loves giving love to her chat and to her followers that she has lovingly named Dwellers, after her love of the Fallout games.
She plays a very wide diversity of games on her channel from Fallout and Skyrim to Sims 4 and Jackbox with her viewers, while also dabbling in the PS4 lineup of games. She is very interactive with her chat and is more than happy to jump into a game with her viewers. The main staple on her channel is my beloved Overwatch. Every stream starts off with about two-three hours of Overwatch Quick Play with a few of her regular viewers. In fact, you may or may not find me playing with her on her streams 😀
She is starting to breach into the YouTube as welll, posting things like Let’s Plays and vlogs (Coffee With Jules), which all feature her favourite beverage. And more often than not, her silly creature of a cat Quiet.
I would highly recommend checking out Julianne’s Twitch channel, especially if you’re a lover of those Sony Playstation games and Overwatch. And don’t forget to say hi too! We Dwellers love new comers to the JulesNation!
Hamilton: An American Musical
So literally no other music exists in my life at the moment other than the Original Broadway Cast Recording of the Broadway Musical Hamilton. It is a musical about the life of the first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and his role during the American Revolution and as one of the Founding Fathers of America. And the majority of the music is hip hop/rap/R&B inspired. And it’s amazing.
I can’t remember the last time I have been this pumped up from listening to music, let alone hip hop. I literally listen to a portion of the soundtrack once a day. It’s an instant energy and mood booster for me. Just thinking about it right now as I type this is getting me all pumped up. It is such an interesting medium to learn about a historical figure who is (apparently) forgotten more often than not (I say apparently because I am an ignorant Canadian whose knowledge of American history only consists of what I may or may not remember from my high school American History class nine years ago… and the musical said he’s been forgotten so I don’t have much to go off of).
Another Broadway hit from Lin-Manuel Miranda (his first being In The Heights), and he did not disappoint! His lyrics emulates the kind of arrogance that Hamilton carried with him and the overall structure of the musical gives a very modern twist to an otherwise potential snore-fest. Setting up Cabinet Meetings as Rap Battles puts a totally different and interesting spin on a subject that would pique the interest of the laziest high school student in the class. Miranda described Hamilton as a person who he believes emulates the soul of rap and hip hop. It sounds ridiculous, but if you give this piece of history a listen, you will see what he meant.