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Author Archives: Crymson Pleasure

Tumble Town live on Kickstarter

1.       Tell our readers who you are.

I’m Carla Kopp of Weird Giraffe Games and Galactic Raptor Games. I used to be a software engineer and now I design, develop, and publish games. I currently live in Huntsville, Alabama with three cats and my partner, Nick. When I’m not working or playing games, I love to travel and explore! I do have a passion for video games and I’ve been playing through the Tales series of games for the past few years.

2.       What was the first board game you remember playing?

I know I grew up with a board game about money that wasn’t monopoly that I played until the box and board fell apart, but I can’t remember what it is! The first hobby board game I remember playing is Agricola, as I know it’s my friend Sarah’s favorite game. It’s probably not the best way to get into the hobby, but I really enjoyed playing and I’ve been hooked ever since.

3.       What’s your favorite board game? Why is it your favorite?

My favorite is so hard to choose! There’s games I like for different moods and to play with different people. I think if I had to choose one game I really liked playing, it’d be Wingspan. I love that it has simple actions that build on each other and I love the artwork. Engine building is one of my favorite mechanics, as well.

4.       Tell us about Tumble Town.

Tumble Town is a town and engine building spatial puzzle game set in the Old West for 1-4 players that plays in about 45 minutes. In the game, you’re trying to win over the townspeople by constructing buildings and placing them in the best locations. Each building you construct will give you either a one time effect, dice manipulation powers to help make future construction easier, engine building powers to make getting dice easier, or new end game scoring conditions.

I love that there’s so many different directions you can go in while playing and at the end of every game, you can be proud of the town that you’ve constructed, as you’re physically constructing the town out of dice.

5.       What was your inspiration to create the game?

Kevin Russ designed the game and his job as a photographer is to travel around and take pictures of landscapes. He really enjoys going out to the West the most and one day, he was playing with dice and stacking them when he realized the dice kind of looked like a building. That’s all the inspiration that was needed, as he then went out to make the first version of Tumble Town!

6.       What are the most challenging issues that you’ve come across in designing a board game?

Knowing when the game is done is sometimes super hard. You want to make the best game that you can, but the most important part of that is actually finishing the game so that people can enjoy it. It’s also about making a product and knowing when to cut or add things that I personally might not enjoy, but doing so despite that to appeal to a greater audience. For example, at one time the building card backs of Tumble Town were all unique and there was a lot of replayability there. I ended up making the card backs super similar to each other as it made it so each player didn’t have to reevaluate the card backs each turn when a new one came up and it really streamlined the design and lowered the time between each player’s turn. This choice made the game better overall, even though I did enjoy having the card backs be really different. It’s finding all the small changes like that that together can really elevate the game to be fantastic.

7.       What aspects of board game designing do you enjoy the most?

I love being able to create an experience to give to people that they can enjoy. It’s always amazing to see players forget about everything but the game that they’re playing, even if it’s just for 45 minutes.

I also really enjoy the problem solving aspect of improving a game design. You play the game, get feedback, and have to identify the problem areas of the game and how to fix them. There’s so many things you can do and they might or might not fix the problem and you don’t know until you playtest again and see what happens. I love the feeling of fixing things and slowly getting to an amazing game.

8.       What were some hurdles you’ve overcome, as a woman, to get to where you are in the industry?

I think part of being a woman is getting people to respect you and to actually listen to what you have to say. It’s taken years of me creating games that people love, going to conventions, hitting deadlines, and being in the community, but I think I’m finally starting to be someone that people know and trust.

9.       What has been the proudest moment of your career?

Everytime I get a finished game in, it’s always amazing. Being able to have that first proof copy in my hands is such a great feeling, as I can see all the hard work that I’ve done in physical form. It’s also been super great whenever I see someone suggest one of my games to their friends or even a few times when someone has recommended all of my games!

Another really great moment was recently when I went to pitch one of my game designs to another publisher and it only took a day to go from sending the email talking about my design to getting a contract. It was such a good experience to know that another publisher thought so highly of me and my design that they’d sign it that fast.

10.   Do you have any other board games in development or currently available that you would like to share with our readers?

Big Easy Busking is my latest game! It’ll scheduled to hit retail this summer, but you can order it from me before then. Big Easy Busking is an area control game for 1-5 players set in New Orleans where the players are street performers trying to hit it big. It’s super bright and colorful, just like New Orleans, and it’s also the game that I’ve worked on that I lose the most. This is because songs take time to play; one one turn you decide which crowd you’re playing a song to and the next turn, you finish that song.  If you’ve matched the mood of the song you’re playing to the mood of the crowd, you get a choice when you finish your song; either put in all the energy that the song needed and gain extra tips OR put in only a few energy tokens and redistribute the remaining energy among your band members. This means that players can make you think that they’re trying to win over one crowd, but they can then change their mind and go for a different crowd and you’ll have to try to compensate for that change.

I’m also working on the Fire in the Library: the Card Game, which brings the press your luck and saving books of Fire in the Library to a smaller card game form. It’s going to hit Kickstarter later this year and I’m super excited about it, as it should be super portable, but just as fun and exhilarating as Fire in the Library is. 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weirdgiraffegames/tumble-town/

http://weirdgiraffegames.com/

https://twitter.com/WeirdGiraffes

Gladius live on Kickstarter

1. Tell our readers who you are.

Hi Everyone! I’m Victoria Caña, a producer for Wizards of the Coast by day, and an award-winning indie game designer by night. Before I got into the games industry, I did work in a bunch of different fields: management consulting, marketing, ad tech, consumer insights, fashion PR, creative writing. Over time, my dreams changed, but I’m thankful I went on this exploratory journey to find my true passion: making awesome games that empower marginalized creators and players. 

2. What was the first board game you remember playing?

It was Slamwich, an educational dexterity game about making sandwiches (essentially Slapjack for kids). Another early board game I played was Diploma Dogs, which the box describes as “The game that makes learning fun!”. I think it achieved that goal for sure. You play as one of six tiny stuffed dogs with backpacks (Geography Dog, History Dog, Math Dog, Language Dog, Health Dog, or Science Dog). And, get this: when you answer trivia questions correctly you get to fill your dog’s backpack with bones and biscuits. How adorable! I loved playing Diploma Dogs with my sister growing up and I highly recommend it for families with young children. 

3. What are your favorite board games right now and why? 

My current favorite games are Kolejka (a game about fighting to get the items on your shopping list in Communist Poland), Rising Sun (an an area control strategy game set in feudal Japan), Rococo (a euro game where you play a dressmaker running a ball), Yokohama (a game about building a successful business in Meiji period Japan), and Just One (the fun-for-all Spiel de Jahres-winning party game). I enjoy many types of games and am generally down to play anything, but games with good reviews and interesting themes appeal to me the most.  

4. Tell us about Gladius.

Gladius is an award-winning board game of spectacle and sabotage for 2-5 players. You play as cunning Roman spectators trying to make the most money by betting on and rigging the gladiatorial games. Each round, players secretly place bets on competing gladiator teams. Through the skillful use of underhanded tactics, players can help and hinder teams to alter the outcome of each battle. The player with the most money at the end of three rounds wins! We’ve demoed Gladius hundreds of times at gaming conventions over the past few years, and I’ve noticed that people who like card games, video games, bluffing, and Rome have a very high likelihood of enjoying Gladius. We also attract a lot of people who like our game’s fun, lighthearted art style. 

5. What was your inspiration to create the game?

A lot of different factors came together that led to the creation of Gladius. First, my co-designer Alex and I met veteran game designer Stone Librande at the Tribeca Games Festival. He told us that if we want to be game designers, we should try to make a game out of cards. While thinking about what we should make a game about, we found inspiration from two different games. First, Domina, a video game where you run a school of gladiators. Second, Council of Verona, a betting and bluffing game themed around Romeo and Juliet. We love Roman History and liked the idea of spectating the gladiatorial games as opposed to being a gladiator. We also really enjoyed Council of Verona but wanted something a bit heavier. These different forces led to the creation of what we now know as Gladius! We’ve been working on the game for the past three years now and are excited for it to launch on Kickstarter on February 18. 

6. What are the most challenging issues that you’ve come across in designing a board game?

The most challenging issue when designing a game is picking a direction to push the game in. When we start with a design it can go a million different places depending on so many different factors: what you as the designer want, what newer players want, what seasoned board gamers want, what publishers want, what playtesters want. All these different opinions are in constant conflict with each other and choosing which direction to choose can be daunting. 

7. What aspects of board game designing do you enjoy the most?

I love the blue sky phase when there are no limits and you think of crazy ideas and get excited about how awesome they could be! I also enjoy the playtesting phase because seeing your game in the hands of players helps you learn about how to improve it. Through playtesting, you get to observe what parts of a game are working and which ones are not. On top of that, you get to connect with people face-to-face and meet new friends and fans. 

8. What were some hurdles you’ve overcome, as a woman, to get to where you are in the industry?

The tabletop industry has come a long way, but it is still so hard to be a woman designer let alone a player. People still give me weird, skeptical looks like I’m in the wrong place when I go to game stores, events, and conventions. Sometimes people think I’m an “assistant” and only acknowledge my co-creator, who is a man, as a designer when we’re both demoing the game. And worst of all, I’ve had to overcome bullying. My sister and I were bullied by a high-profile game designer who was judging a game design contest we were in a few years ago. He made fun of us and our game in front of a live audience, and he didn’t do that to any of the game designers who were men. To top it all off, right after the judging panel ended, half of the audience came up to us one by one to apologize for the judge’s behavior. That’s how we knew it was really bad – it was so bad that complete strangers in the audience felt compelled to apologize to us for bad behavior they witnessed.

9. What has been the proudest moment of your career?

In addition to making a great game, one of the goals for Gladius was to help my co-creator Alex get into the games industry. In a surprise turn of events, Gladius ended up helping me get a job in the games industry. I was a management consultant at Deloitte before I became a producer at Wizards of the Coast, and honestly, it was a great transition because I spent all my free time designing and playing games anyway. I had just never thought that I could be in the industry because of the imposter syndrome I feel as a woman of color. I’m so proud and happy to be here because now I can show other women of color that they can make games too! 

10. Do you have any other board games in development or currently available that you would like to share with our readers?

My co-designer Alex and I have a few other prototypes that we put on hold to work on Gladius: Red Cliffs (a wallet game where you play a strategist during the pivotal battle of China’s Warring States Period), Hot Takes (a party game/liar’s dice hybrid about dishing out hot takes and guessing your friends’ stances on them), and Dim Sum Rush (a game about eating the tastiest and cutest dim sum).

Crymson’s Top 10 Completed Webtoons

Everyone knows that I am a big fan of Webtoons.com, with a subscription to over 150 comics. Here are some of my favorite completed comics.

10. Asuras Bride

‘On her way to an arranged marriage, a haughty princess is ambushed and held captive by bandits until she is rescued by a tired, hungry and pissed off soldier. All the accidental knight-in-shining-armour wants is to get some sleep after returning from the battlefield – but having a beautiful princess in tow is making it very difficult for him to do so, in more ways than one.’

This was a favorite of mine for a long time. However, the ending is a bit rushed. The artist, Lilyduck, could no longer continue the comic on top of their other endeavors, but they gave us a satisfying ending and that is all I can ask for. 

9. UndeadEd

‘After being declared clinically dead, traveling salesman Ed Zamsa tries to go on with his life regardless of his strange condition. As if things weren’t hard enough without being dead.’

I learned about this comic by reading Apocalyptic Horseplay, another comic by Boardman. It’s a cute adventure that made me very happy. It takes, what I think, a more realistic approach to the situation and introduces us to characters that we run into again in the author’s other comic. This made me want to cuddle the comics all the more. 

8. The Strange Tales of Oscar Zahn

‘Follow the journey of the world’s greatest paranormal investigator – Oscar Zahn. Friend to lost souls, enemy of evil, he may lack a body but that doesn’t mean he’s missing a heart!’

Tri Vuong puts together a very well written tale of the odd and mysterious. You are taken on several adventures with Oscar as he tries to save humanity from the shadows. The ending felt a bit awkward to me but was a wonderful tale none the less. 

7. Catharsis

‘Fear is a powerful emotion that can end up overtaking one’s life. Leon thought he knew that. But when he’s thrown into the demonic realm that Catharsis governs over, he’ll learn that there is more to “true” fear than he could ever have imagined… But will he learn how to face it?’

This comic takes you on a wild ride. Filled with a rich history that leaves you yearning for more! Every time I felt like I had an idea of what was going on they threw me for a loop. I really hope that Ahniki has more in store for us from this rich and unique world. 

6. Live Forever

‘After a tragedy, Sarah’s conviction to never lose another loved one drives her to discover a formula for eternal life that provokes a fatal crisis’

I adored this comic for so many reasons. Greyscale artwork with reds. The rich characters that you connected with. The story, the heartache, the message. All very well done. It is a drama with horror elements that I highly recommend. 

5. Super Secret

‘The boy next door, friends for life, is actually a werewolf!’

Super Secret is super cute, weird and so much fun. I find myself loving all the characters surrounding the main character more than the main character at times. It is a wonderful tale that I loved the whole time. I may even read this one again. 

4. Refund Highschool

‘Do you want a refund on your life? Start earning karma at The Refund High School to reincarnate as an ideal version of yourself.’

LICO, the author, provided such an adorable idea here. Going to school to prove that you are good enough to reincarnate into a new life. I loved it. Again, didn’t love the main character all the time but all of the supporting characters are so rich and full of life that I loved them immensely. It’s a long journey with an ending that will sit with you forever.  Bring tissues. 

3. Noblesse (Also Noblesse: Rai’s Adventure)

‘Rai wakes up from 820-years long sleep and starts his new life as a student in a high school founded by his loyal servant, Frankenstein. But his peaceful days with other human students are soon interrupted by mysterious attackers known as the “Unions”.’

I devoured this comic! I stayed up late into the night, many times, delighted with all of the characters. Loving Rai and his friends more than I thought possible. Being brought to tears more than once. Laughing out loud and devouring more ramen thanks to his obsession. With over 500 episodes that spawned a Manga AND Anime, neither of which I have enjoyed at this moment. They even have their own wiki page. If you love vampires, please give this amazing comic your attention. 

Ok, I know you are confused. There is no Number 2. I love these both so much they are both equally amazing and deserve the Number 1 spot.

1. Rainbow in the Dark

‘Urban fairytale of gray vs color in a world of monsters, romance, and epicness! Within the world of gray lives a singular girl. Normalcy is a prison. Everything changes when a colorful band of rebels explode out of nowhere, blasting through the city streets. Swept up in their struggle, she finally finds the one thing that has always eluded her – purpose. Updates every Wednesday.’

Comfort and Adam are incredibly talented (and I’ve had the pleasure of gushing at them about it) and brought home a story that will always be with me. I am even purchasing the Graphic Novel from Amazon so that I can always keep it with me and even share it with others. The tale is rich, full of love, characters you want to protect forever and I was up late just sobbing. I don’t have the words to describe how amazing this story is. It’s definitely one you have to read. I am also reading their other comic The Uniques, waiting for Season 2 to start!

1. Dents

Dents is an apocalyptic journey to the year 2111, where more than half of the world’s population has been wiped out by an ancient plague. After a vaccination is developed, there is a massive increase in the birth of identical twins possessing extraordinary powers, known in society as “Dents.” Following an incident at school, Eleanor learns that she herself is a Dent, separated from her twin at birth, and is quickly swept into an underground society of other Dents trying to survive. Dents will be back with a brand new season!’

I’m not going to lie. I typically don’t read post-apocalyptic unless zombies are involved. I think I was having a bout of insomnia and looking for something to read came across this. I was immediately enthralled and had trouble putting it down. The range of feelings that I had, the characters, the message, the story. Not to mention the beautiful art. It really has it all. Hold tight to your heart and bring tissues for this incredible ride.

What are your favorite completed webtoons?

Happy 2020: A time of reflection

Good Morning.

As I write this, I am sipping my coffee at nearly 7 am New Year’s Eve morning. Not a typical time for me to be awake, but today I find myself reflecting. 

The end of a decade comes tonight. For half of that decade, I’ve been a mother. For almost a decade now, a wife. For over a decade, I’ve loved my husband and been loved by an incredible human who still amazes me. Near a decade, Vanri has been my best friend and so much more, my person. For decades Aiks has been my friend and guardian angel through some of the best and worst times. These are all blessings.

For most of the last decade, I have had the distinct pleasure of growing Real Women of Gaming. I saw us start as a Facebook page,  evolve to YouTube, then streaming. Grow into charity events, conventions. I’ve watched us help others, with tears of pride in my eyes. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing humans on the planet. They are my family and I wish I could impart to you how truly stunning each one of them is. How truly honored I feel at calling each of them, my family. These brilliant, courageous, beautiful human beings. 

In the nearly 7 years we’ve existed, I have learned so many lessons. Most about me, the rest about people in general. I’ve seen people come and go. I’ve made personal strides, gone on crusades (I’ll have my masquerade ball, damn it!), and made many, many mistakes. I’ve fallen, stood up only to be knocked back down, and I’ve had several hands help me stand again.

Tomorrow will be a new year, a new decade. Reflection is due at a time like this. Looking back at the years, we’ve worked, we’ve laughed and we’ve cried. It’s time to step forward into a new light. To take all the work that has been done by so many people and roll it forward. Not alone; never alone. To bask in the beauty not only of what we have accomplished, but also in what we have yet to achieve. And we will achieve it. 

I’d like to say that we are stepping into 2020 ready to kick ass and take names, but that’s not happening. We are holding out our hands, pulling up a chair and inviting you to come to sit at our table. We are playing games without judgment or prejudice; we are enjoying all that these amazing masterpieces have to offer while accepting you, and us, for who we all truly are. 

We are sending out our love and acceptance to all of you. You are all included at our table. We aim to show you the passion, sweat, and tears of some of the most wonderful creators on the planet. Epic human beings who’ve made these masterpieces in the little spare time they have while working full-time jobs and going to conventions on weekends for something they love. To show us their heart, sometimes wrapped in a box with game pieces and cards, massive tales of adventure and characters you’ll fall in love with.

So as we prepare to step into 2020, which will be the most incredible year, we offer our hand to you. We’ve done so much but I promise you, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Happy 2020. May all of your hits be a critical success. 

With Love,
Crymson Pleasure &
Real Women of Gaming

Triggers: Mental Health & Gaming

I love Horror. I don’t think that’s a shock to anyone. I’ve avoided a lot of horror games for various reasons, mainly because I’m a bit high strung and anxious. Reason for that? I live with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (c-PTSD), it comes with anxiety.

When I started my stream with The Blair Witch game, everything was fine. I was a bit anxious because I was going in a little bit blind. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything important. I explored and got confused, but as I roamed the woods the main character loses sight of his dog and begins to have a PTSD episode.

Most people won’t think anything of it. It’s just a stressed moment for a video game character. However, to me, it’s much more than that. I was unaware that he had PTSD and if I were aware I wouldn’t have started playing it. I confirmed with the chat that he did indeed have PTSD and apologized to everyone and switched the game. Had it not been for Vanri sitting in voice chat with me (to help ease my anxiety) suggesting that I stop playing, I may have tried to force my way through the game.

That would have been a terrible idea. My anxiety was high from watching him have this episode and as I continued on to look for the dog, it was getting worse. The visual effects were wonderful because his panic attack looks and sounded like mine. If I had continued further I probably would have been triggered into a panic attack or worse. So I jumped over to State of Decay 2 for the rest of my stream. 

The next night I decided to try Alien: Isolation. I was trying to get back into horror games and I’ve heard amazing things. About 2 hours in, I was overwhelmed by the atmospheric noise. I could feel a panic attack rising and I had to stop playing. Was there anything wrong with the game? No! The problem lies with my mental illness. I stopped playing the game and went back to State of Decay 2

You see, I like to think that I can do anything, but I have limitations. We found one when I played through Layers of Fear, an amazing game that I will always recommend. The subject matter was a lot more closely related to my own trauma than I realized. I wasn’t even aware that my attitude had changed toward everyone around me, but they pointed out that I was extremely agitated and my anxiety was high until I finished playing the game. So from that point forward, we had to look for specific elements in my horror games. If it wasn’t a first-person game, Vanri would play the game first to make sure that there wasn’t anything triggering in the storyline.

I assumed that it was the only thing I had to worry about, but to be honest, I didn’t even check to see if that was present in Blair Witch. Now, watching let’s plays or streams of these games are fine, but playing them is different. It’s the difference between watching and experiencing. It’s more immersive. I’d watched Layers of Fear on YouTube and Vanri’s playthroughs of it. I knew the story, but experiencing it was hard. I am lucky it didn’t bring up anything worse, like flashbacks. 

So a little extra medication this week and a hard lesson learned. There is a reason I don’t play horror games in which I can’t fight back. I’m not invincible and I have very real limitations. I need to research these games more before I jump right into them because I don’t want to trigger myself, whether I’m on stream or not. I have to make sure that there isn’t abuse, the characters don’t have PTSD or other mental disorders that could trigger mine, there isn’t abundant (though very well done) noise triggering anxiety.

More than that, I need to be okay with stepping away. I need to be okay with setting down the controller (figuratively) and putting myself first, putting my mental state first. To drop the tough act every now and then to ensure better mental wellness for myself and those around me. At the end of the day, that is my responsibility. I never know if something could trigger me, but how I handle those situations speaks volumes about the progress I’ve made and my self-awareness. I’m also thankful to have such amazing support that helps me make these decisions.

Again, and I cannot stress this enough, I am not upset at any of these games. It is not their fault that I was triggered. I am 100% responsible for my mental health in this regard. I view it the same way as a food allergy. Ask before you eat, just in case. Does this have nuts in it? Does this have abuse in it? 

So from now on, I will look into my horror games more. If everything seems okay, then I will play it, but if I am triggered I will allow myself to step back and stop playing. My community and viewers will understand and at the end of the day, I am more important. 

Are there any amazing games out there that have triggered you or things you should watch out for? Better yet, have a horror game to recommend that is void of my triggers? Let me know in the comments, but for now, back to Prey!

Crymson’s Top 10 Mobile Games

Let’s talk about mobile games a bit.

I’ve played a TON (and I mean a TON) of mobile games. Typically, for my mental health. They help my brain by distracting it. The whole using the tools we have thing. However, they are also a TON of fun. Gaming on your mobile device has evolved to epic levels, you can now play Fortnite, PUBG, Don’t Starve and so many others. So, here are a few of the ones I play.

10. Pokemon Go/The Walking Dead: Our World/Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

I know a few of you are confused. Follow me. These are games made by Niantic and they are all “on the go” games, meaning you walk, find things and interact with them. So they are similar (not the same) games, but it depends on what you prefer. Want a game that helps you get out of the house? Something to do on your walks? These are the games for you! I’ve played all three because I love Pokemon, zombies and the world of Harry Potter.

9. Food Fantasy

This game is IN DEPTH and not a quick-play-while-you-are-in-line kinda game. You are a chef in a fantasy land and have food souls that help you with your dream to have the best restaurant in the land.

This game has it all. There is a story, as well as side stories, missions, battles, guilds, catacombs, a restaurant to decorate, collecting, leveling… You know… I can’t even list everything that it has. With a very anime feel to it, this game offers you so much to do, all in one amazing place.

8. Gardenscapes/Homescapes

Everyone has their “match three” game and this is mine. Gardenscapes was the first. You inherit a large estate and, along with your butler Austin, you decide to bring the gardens back to their former glory. In Homescapes, you follow Austin back to his parents’ house and help them fix up their deteriorating property. These are great games when you are stuck waiting somewhere. On top of that, you get to make choices about the look of things, which is all I really want.

7. Hole.io

Ah yes, remember when all the .io games came out and it was the craze for… maybe 3 months? Well hole.io is my favorite and looks nothing like the other .io games. You are a hole in the ground that moves and must eat everything (reminds me of a webtoon I recently read). You have three game modes and three maps. You can compete (and eat) other players in this two minute match to become the biggest hole there is (there is a joke there).

You can play alone and try to eat everything on the map in two minutes (I have yet to get 100%) OR you can go head to head and be the last hole standing. Really, these jokes write themselves. Also you have your city map, pirate map and future map. PLUS your hole (stifle laugh) has different skins. I glide around as a flaming bat. *laughs way to hard*

6. Cooking Diary

Remember way back in the CD-Rom days, when Diner Dash was all the rage and you scooted around delivering food? Well this is the more advanced version. Your character wants to be an amazing chef just like their grandfather and make it in the chef world! You open different restaurants for different types of food. A burger joint as pictured above, a bakery for cakes, sushi/ramen, steak, pasta, and even an English breakfast place. You change some scenery options, upgrade your ingredients, add things to relax your customers and rush your way through the levels. This one has lasted the longest on my phone.

5. Merge Dragons

We all have a game about Dragons on our phones, right? I’ve had millions it feels like but THIS ONE has stood the test of time. It’s a plethora of different dragons, of course there is the element of merging three of the same type together it evolving to the next tier item. This counts for eggs, dragons, tress, flowers, you name it. They have frequent events for special dragons and regularly release new content to keep me interested. However, I don’t feel the need to log in every day so if I miss a day, no big deal.

4. Survival

It’s no secret that I love survival games. This is one of the few games that actually works on mobile and I’ve played many. It’s simple yet complicated and I’ve beaten it on all but the hardest mode. You are stuck in the woods and need to find your way through to survive. You will need to find food, shelter, warmth and all while you continue moving to find help. I may uninstall it from my phone but this is frequently downloaded again. If you are remotely interested in survival games, I suggest you try this free game.

3. The Witch’s Isle

This is a wonderful point and click type adventure on mobile. I did pay for the full version of this game. I adore the story, the pixel graphics, the multiple endings and even the character details. There is even a second story in the game. I really don’t want to reveal much but… you are part of a community that is trapped on an island by a powerful witch and you must break her spell before your lose your life.

2. BTS World

Don’t even act surprised. I love BTS, I love K-Pop and their game is like an amazing visual novel. You are thrown back to 2012 and it’s your job to get the group together and make them the amazing band that we know and love in present day. Not only do you get adorable cards of the members, but you take part in a visual novel style telling of being their manager. You level up cards, take place in events, make friends, play side stories for each member and learn more about the members. Win/Win!

1. Love Nikki

I have played this game every single day for well over a year now. Love Nikki is a visual novel style dress up game. Because you cringe at the words ‘Dress Up Game’ hear me out, because I used to think the same thing. They cater to just about every style. Want to be a Ninja? How about a Goth in Lolita dresses? Join the Navy? Traditional Chinese? Androgynous? Vampire? Ghost? Fairy? Princess? Pirate? They have them all. Your own house to decorate, a story to read, regular events, outfits to make from other outfits. You have Associations (think guild), friends, style competitions and so much more. This game is far past the simple dress up game and is full of fun things to do. I should know, I’ve played every day for years.

Do you play any of these games? Is there a game that you are SHOCKED isn’t on this list? Maybe a game you’d like me to try to add to a list in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: Stardew Valley (2016)

Developed by ConcernedApe
Published by Chucklefish
Released: February 26th, 2016
Avabile: Steam, XBox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PSVita, IOS & Andriod

Let’s chat about Stardew Valley.

Years ago, I had gotten a GameBoy Advanced and found a game called Harvest Moon. I was obsessed with it. I would sit on the couch and play for hours, ignoring the world around me. I never thought I would find something like that again. I played other Harvest Moon games, but they weren’t the same. In comes Stardew Valley.

I was so excited when I saw it was coming out that I squealed and told everyone. I wanted everyone to hopefully experience the same wonder that I had playing Harvest Moon, I prayed that it would be amazing and was not disappointed. It blew away my expectations. 

Now that you know I love the game, let’s talk about the actual game.

You start off, unfortunately, with the passing of your grandfather, who hands you an envelope and tells you to open it when you are at your lowest. Next, you are seen working in a cubicle at Joja Corporation and obviously hating your job. You remember the note and open it. It’s telling you that you inherited a farm in Stardew Valley. Obviously, you drop everything and bounce. Peace, Joja.

You arrive in town and meet Robin, the carpenter, and Lewis, the mayor. They show you to your farm and tell you a few basics. 

There are 4 seasons and 28 days in each season. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. You plant crops according to the season. You go fishing, cook delicious food, upgrade your house, get farm animals, and, obviously, earn money. 

What’s better is that you are surrounded by these amazing NPCs that have their own stories, hardships and personalities. You can date and even marry several of them, regardless of gender. You can make friends with everyone. 

Their stories unfold and you really get pulled in, wanting to help these NPCs in their struggles. It’s really touching and extremely well written.

Not to mention fighting monsters in the mine, the festivals, the secrets and so many achievements. Also, the addition of multiplayer means you can farm with up to 3 friends. 

With several different farm map options, no real ‘end’ to the game, and the ability to decorate and change your farm around as you wish, the fun can be endless. 

I feel like Stardew Valley has something for everyone. It’s only $14.99 and with no paid DLC, the game is a steal. I only have 13 farms and over 300 hours in the game to prove it.

On a more personal note, this game has also gotten me through really tough times, depressive episodes, and moments when I had no strength left. I could turn it on and disappear for a few hours and come out feeling better. It’s always had a calming effect on me. I’m eternally grateful for that.

Oh, and if nothing I said above is impressive, this game was made by 1 person. The entire game, all aspects. 1 person. Let that sink in.

Do you play? What’s your favorite farm type? Who’s the best spouse? Show me screenshots of your farm!

Review: FAR: Lone Sails (2017)

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FAR: Lone Sails
2017

FAR: Lone Sails is an exploration adventure game by Swiss developer Okomotive. Available on PC, Xbox One and PS4. Where you traverse a dried-out seabed littered with the remains of a decaying civilization. Keep your unique vessel going, overcome numerous obstacles and withstand the hazardous weather conditions. How far can you make it? What will you find?

Now that that’s been said, I’ve beaten this game 5 times in 3 days and got 100% steam achievements. That’s something I rarely do. It isn’t a long game so beating it several times will only take a few hours. However, this game is full of magic.

Let me explain. In this game, you have an androgynous character traveling a grayscale landscape with red being the only other color. The art style is beautiful. As you side scroll in your large land vehicle, the scene is ever-changing. 

You start in a small house/workshop after taking a moment to honor the passing of, what I assume is your father or mentor. After leaving the building behind you walk until you come across a massive vehicle. It reminds me of many things, reminiscent of movies about a dystopian future, you do everything you can to keep your vehicle operating. 

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Stopping to gather items for fuel, solving puzzles to upgrade the vehicle, outrunning disasters. All while a quiet story is told in the background. A story without words, which can be the best story there is. As I travel, my mind races to try to fill in the blanks. Wondering if it’s a comment on our current society and where we are headed or it’s just a simple story to be interpreted how we wish. This was magic to me. 

As I stated, I played the game over and over, hoping to grasp more and get all 14 achievements on steam. Each playthrough I noticed something different, something I was surprised I hadn’t noticed before. Honestly, these discoveries excited me and now that I’ve achieved everything I may slowly go through one more time to see if I’ve missed anything else.

This is definitely a comfort game for me and I could see myself booting it up after a long/bad day. It’s stunning, well worth the price and time. I can’t wait to see what else this developer has to offer.

TL;DR: Great Game, Must Play

Top 10 Video Games I played in 2018

I know what you’re thinking, it’s June of 2019 Crymson, this should have been up in January.

Well, I’m a busy person who also procrastinates (and Vanri totally didn’t even edit this for 2 more months).

Also, this list isn’t about games that came out in 2018, just what I played.

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  1. Five Nights At Freddy’s – This stress-filled horror game is enough to make me punch actual things. I beat 1 & 2 on stream and haven’t gone back for 3. I loved playing them but the amount of stress that came with each night increasing was a lot and I needed a long break. Doesn’t mean I will never return to the series, just have to forget the horror to actively relive it.

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  1. 7 Days to Die – Why so early in the list for a game I play often. Because as much as I love this survival horror game it can get a bit repetitive, I do love that they are always updating and adding new things, and right now my goal is just to make 365 days… if it weren’t for the bear apocalypse.

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  1. Graveyard Keeper – A fun game I started playing last year, with adorable Mixer integration on Xbox. It’s a graveyard sim with a story? Fix it, bury it, burn it, fish it, the game has a lot of it. My only problem is the Xbox is behind on the PC updates and I find it challenging to remember what all I was doing if I take long breaks because there is SO MUCH TO ALWAYS DO. At least I am never bored.

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  1. Overwatch – I just got into the game last year and love it. It, like everything, is better with friends and now have it on PC, the list of people to play with is greatly expanded. I still am not sure who I main and I don’t play it constantly as to prevent burnout but I still get joy with my salt when I do play.

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  1. Creativerse – I played this game A LOT. Free to play on PC, this is a Minecraft inspired building game. I love building new things, playing with blueprints and running from the corrupted zone. However, breaks are a plus with this game given that the creative juices can run out.

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  1. Dead By Daylight– Easily one of my favorite games. DBD always has something interesting coming and it feeds my need for horror and my lack of time commitment. I can jump in and play a few matches without having to get invested in a story or remember what I was doing last time. Also for a game that frequently goes on sale, it is cost effective. Allowing you to play on maps and be hunted by new killers, even if you haven’t bought the latest DLC.

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  1. Assassin’s Creed: Origins – I never said I had to beat the game. Origins competes with Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag for my all time favorite Assassin’s Creed game. I’ve love ancient Egypt since I was a kid and this brought all that wonder right back to me. I love so much about it that I’m disappointed I never finished it but it’s massive and there is so much to do and I must complete it all. The story, characters, it is all magic.

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  1. Murdered: Soul Suspect – A highly underrated game. I enjoyed playing this immensely and finished it before my trip to Salem, Mass. Which looks nothing like the game. However, I was highly entertained and invested the whole time. I even enjoyed the side stories and collecting achievements. If you get the chance, play it.

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  1. Stardew Valley – I know it’s been out for years and I play it very often. There is a reason. It is an amazing game that I adore. For me the replay value is priceless. I also still have a lot of people to marry. Currently, I’m streaming this on Thursday nights on RWoG channels.

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  1. Vampyr – I absolutely loved playing Vampyr. It had to be my favorite of 2018. It was almost everything I want in an RPG and when the protagonist Jonathan got a little dominate I nearly melted off my chair. I was a bit disappointed with the ending I got but that just means I’ll have to play it again.

 

Do you agree? Disagree? Is there a game I need to play? Let me know in the comments!

Top 10 Movies about Video Games

No, this list isn’t movie remakes of video games or movies inspired by video games. This list is about movies where video games are a major part of the plot of the movie. So no Doom, Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider. Sorry, I’ll save that for another list, or three.

10. The Last Starfighter (1984)

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Too young to recall this one? That’s okay, I watched it so you don’t have to. Our main hero here is amazing at video games and beats the game called The Last Starfighter only to find out it was just a test and he’s transported to another planet to help them defend an attack on their home. Thank you, IMDB, for reminding me of the plot. I did enjoy this movie, 30 years ago. I wonder if it’s due for a reboot? I’d be down for that!

9. Wargames (1983)

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This movie almost didn’t make my list. Why? I didn’t remember it very well. So I watched the trailer and OH YEAH. Now, it isn’t as video game related as most of the movies on this list. The initial intention is that he is trying to hack into a video game company to play their games early on and ends up hacking into the government and nearly starts World War 3, thinking he is merely playing a video game. Actually, the computer thinks it is a game. It’s an interesting one, to say the least, and isn’t a bad movie at all.

8. Tron (1982)

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This list can’t exist without mentioning Tron, a movie I saw once a LONG time ago. However, without it would we have video game inspired movies? The world will never know. A game designer is sucked into the very world he created. Funny how the original calls him a hacker, but in Tron: Legacy he is called a virtual world designer. Oh, how the times have changed.

7.  The Wizard (1989)

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The only thing terrible in this movie is the Power Glove. No, seriously, it was TERRIBLE. A young boy (not pictured because why would there be a usable gif of the main character when we have this jerk to look at) is a savant at video games. So, what is the natural thing to do? Ditch your parents and go cross country to join THE gaming tournament. Kids, DO NOT try this at home.

6. Brainscan (1994)

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I nearly forgot about this movie. The only reason I remembered it was because, in my research, I came across the anthology Nightmares (1983). A movie about being sucked into a game. This stirred my preteen crush for Edward Furlong and BOOM I remembered this horror movie. A young teen wants to show a new game to his school’s video game club (crap do I feel old) and murder ensues!

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

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I will admit to 3 things: 1) I needed to consult with Vanri on this. It is a movie based on a comic and features a lot of video game like things, but does it fit this list? She said yes. 2) I like the soundtrack for this movie WAY more than I like the actual movie. 3) I rewatch this movie only for Brandon Routh. 4) HE’S THE BEST LOOKING SUPERMAN, FITE ME. (I know, that’s 4 things, give me a break).

Anyway, if you’ve been living under a rock, Scott Pilgrim is a horrible leading man (Haaaave you met Ted?) who does stupid stuff because he’s got a boner for Ramona. The best parts are the fights with the Evil Exes (“I’m BI-FURIOUS”) and the amazing cameos that you spot throughout the movie. Also, Beck put together amazing songs that I listen to often. Is there really any more to know? #TeamKnives

4. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

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Wreck-It Ralph is an adorable movie filled with lessons, video games, great characters, and mayhem. I happen to love it. It’s all about poor Ralph, who is treated poorly for being the ‘villain’ while not being a bad guy. He goes off to find people who will truly appreciate him. You know what, just go watch the movie. You don’t need to read this. If you’ve seen it, you know what a great movie it is and if you haven’t, you are missing out.

3. Ready Player One (2018)

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I haven’t seen the movie yet or read the book. Now stop booing and understand I was busy and broke at the time and with great movies coming out every 5 SECONDS. I MEAN COME ON, GIVE US A BREAK. I just haven’t gotten to it. I’ve heard very mixed reviews about the movie but we cannot deny how PACKED it is with video game references, virtual reality, and pop culture. I mean, I’ve only seen the trailer and I know. Look, that is Tracer from Overwatch running next to Chun-Li from Street Fighter. It’s on my list, I promise I’ll watch it soon.

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. – IMDB

2. Gamer (2009)

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Actually a great movie, I enjoyed it. I also don’t sit down and pick apart movies, was I entertained? Yup! Good movie. Now the initial premise is pretty easy and previously seen before. Prisoners can get out early if they win the game but is our main character really guilty of his crimes? The spin? The prisoners are controlled by a gamer. They are merely playable characters in a very deadly game. 300 wins? You go free and as the team closes in and gains popularity, things begin to go awry.

1. Stay Alive (2006)

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THIS IS MY MOVIE! Oh my October, do I love this movie. This movie even spurred several projects that, years later, I am still working on. I love this movie. An alpha tester got his hands on a new type of game and all hell breaks loose. Die in the game, you die in real life. It’s amazing, I love it. Is it the greatest movie ever made? Hell no. But it’s a great movie. There are some curious changes to the story of Elizabeth Bathory that are questionable, but the overall movie is amazing. I’ll still never get over several things that happened and I’ve watched it more times than I can count. I love it and if you love horror, you should check it out.

Is there a movie I missed? Let me know in the comments below!