Launchers, Accounts, & Games… Oh My!

launchers

Now that Nico has moved home for a bit, our household includes the following:

  • 3 gaming desktop computers
  • 1 Xbox One
  • 1 Xbox One X
  • 1 Playstation 4
  • 1 Playstation 4 Pro
  • 1 Playstation VR
  • 3 Nintendo Switches
  • 2 Nintendo 3DS’s
  • 1 Nintendo 2DS
  • 2 Playstation Vitas
  • 1 Nintendo WiiU
  • 1 Playstation 3
  • 2 SNES Mini
  • 1 3DO
  • 1 Playstation Portable
  • 1 HTC Vive

And that’s just gaming specific hardware! (Not to mention, I’m probably missing something…) The three of us also have game-capable smartphones which we definitely game on every day. (Disney Heroes and Pokemon Go FTW!)

But wait, there’s more!!!

For the consoles, we’ve got PS Plus, Xbox Live Gold, and Nintendo Switch Online (Family Plan). For the PC gaming, it starts getting messy. Since we like to play MMO’s, we each have our own accounts for games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV Online, MapleStory 2, etc. And since World of Warcraft is a Blizzard game, we each have a Blizzard account and have the Battlenet-Blizzard-whatever-the-hell-it’s-called Launcher installed on our computers. Through this Launcher, we can play World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, Starcraft 1 & 2, the latest Call of Duty, and/or Destiny 2, provided we’ve bought the games. For Final Fantasy XIV Online and MapleStory 2, those games have their own launchers (which need to be installed in order to run), as well as the ability to install them via Steam.

Speaking of Steam, we each have a Steam account and the Steam desktop app installed. We’ve enabled family sharing so that we can play each other’s games. Steam revolutionized PC gaming when it established itself as a one-stop digital distribution platform for PC gaming back in 2003. It quickly became the primary place for people to buy/install games and if you had a Steam account, that was enough. Today, however, that is far from the case. GOG.com created a DRM-free digital distribution platform that focused on older, classic games while some video game publishers decided to create their own distribution platforms and restricted their games to their own platform. So in addition to Steam, we’ve got uPlay for Ubisoft games, Origin for EA games, GOG Galaxy, and Bethesda.net for Bethesda games (Fallout 76) installed. OMG I almost forgot about Epic Games for Fortnite…

And I’m not even done yet!

If you have Amazon Prime, you can connect your Twitch account and have access to Twitch Prime, which gives you free games every month. Guess what you need to install in order to access your games… Yep! The Twitch desktop app! And let’s not even talk about the fact that because of how Amazon and Twitch connect my husband and I each have our OWN Amazon Prime accounts even though we live IN THE SAME FREAKING HOUSE!

Discord recently entered the arena, as well. You know, the chat app that gaming communities use to stay connected to each other. They have a storefront now and if you pay for THEIR subscription (called Nitro), you get a bunch of “free” games. In order to launch THOSE games, you have to have their app installed. Of course, if you’re already using Discord’s app for chatting, then this isn’t a major problem, but it’s still ANOTHER installed app. Discord’s app can also scan your system and launch games on other platforms for you. So if you wanted to play Mass Effect 3, it will launch Origin and the game for you. How nice. As of right now, no one in our household is paying for Discord Nitro, although I’m considering it. The list of games that comes with the subscription is pretty nice. Not to mention, you get other chat perks and the knowledge that you’re supporting their platform.

Oh, how could I forget the other company that recently entered the fray? Yep, the Fornite giant, Epic Games. It offers a free game every couple of weeks or so and a storefront for games. They don’t have a whole lot there yet, but I expect it will grow fairly quickly.

So let’s put all that in a list so we can have a visual comparison with the gaming hardware:

  • 3 Blizzard
  • 3 Final Fantasy XIV Online
  • 2 Nexon
  • 2 GOG Galaxy
  • 3 Steam
  • 1 uPlay
  • 3 Origin
  • 3 Bethesda.net
  • 2 Twitch Prime
  • 3 Discord
  • 2 Epic Games

So where was I going with this…? Oh right…

THIS IS TOO MUCH!

I know, I know… I could always choose to stick to one console or one digital distribution platform, but as I’ve mentioned many times before, I want to play all the games. And to be fair, over the past decade or so, things relating to accounts and DRM have improved quite a bit!

Still, I feel like there’s got to be some kind of solution to this problem. On the other hand, as long as video games are created by for profit companies, there will never be any meaningful incentive to standardize how we consume games. Nico tells me that he’s always trying out new games that have their own launchers, etc. and that at a certain point, he just stopped thinking about it because this is just how it is. All I know is that I regularly look at “This PC” in Windows Explorer and my C: drive is often red because it’s full. I’ll admit, it’s a smaller drive (only 465 GB). Hey, SSD’s were stupid expensive when I got this machine! XD I’ve gotten into the habit of installing games that don’t require a lot of speed and/or power on my secondary drive since there’s 2 TB of space on that one.

Mom Weighs in on Fortnite: Battle Royale & Save the World

[Edit] I wrote this a couple of months ago and totally forgot to post it…

I like watching Nico play Fortnite Battle Royale. I actually like watching ANY skilled player play Fortnite BR, honestly. The combination of silly emotes, toy pickaxes, fun and badass skins with shooting and fast paced building is entertaining to me. I’ve tried watching other battle royale games and they don’t hold my interest the way that Fortnite does. The building adds something that really differentiates Fortnite from other games where a bunch of people land in an area and shoot each other until only one person is left standing.

To be clear, I like to WATCH, not play. I do NOT like PvP gaming content AT ALL. Fighting against ACTUAL people gives me a sick feeling in my stomach and killing another player just makes me feel horrible. However, Fortnite’s systems looked like a lot of fun, so I asked Nico to take me into the short lived Playground LTM (the first one) once and we had a good time. I was really BAD! It took me FOREVER to figure out how to build walls around myself. And every time I had to do something else, I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to press and I’d stare at the screen, my keyboard, and the mouse with bewilderment:

 

Even still, it solidified the idea in my head that I would probably enjoy playing Fortnite Save the World, which is a PvE game. Chopping down trees, building structures, setting traps, etc. in order to kill cartoonish zombies looked like a good time for someone like me. So while Fortnite: Save the World was 50% off in July, I bought it. It’s definitely fun! I’m still pretty bad at it, but that’s okay. I can have fun collecting things, crafting weapons and traps, and shooting husks. Nico twinked me out with some amazing weapons, so that helps. I can pretty much one shot all the enemies right now since I’m still in the first world.

After watching the battle royale version of the game for so long, I had no idea that Save the World was so deep and complex. There are tons of classes, skill trees, support NPC’s with their own set of abilities, etc. It’s crazy! I’m really enjoying it, but I don’t have a lot of time to play it right now. TOO. MANY. GAMES.

Of course, if I wasn’t what I like to call an omni-gamer or someone who owns ALL consoles and a computer for gaming, this too-many-games thing wouldn’t be a huge problem for me. But I want to play ALL TEH GAMES!

Why Spawn/Respawn, btw?

Hey all! Mom/Hatsumi here!

This hasn’t come up very often, but someone (off-stream) asked me recently why our Twitch channel is called Spawn/Respawn. We had a hell of a time trying to come up with a name for our channel that was representative of the fact that we’re a mother and son team that plays video games together, but was also catchy. Or at the very least, easy to remember. So here’s the explanation:

spawn: (transitive verb) to give rise to; to give birth to

respawn: (intransitive verb) to reappear at a fixed point in an existing video game environment after dying

So Nico is my offspring (what I spawned) or the Spawn. And I die a LOT in games, so I’m the Respawn.

Mystery solved!

 

Why I Stream

streaming

It seems like everyone and his uncle streams on Twitch, Mixer, or YouTube these days and I often wonder why. As a middle aged woman who’s seen her share of life’s ups and downs, it really looks to me like the majority of people who stream are a bunch of young people hoping to gain fame a la Ninja or something. Young people have an absolutely amazing capacity for dreaming and optimism, which is my nice way of saying that young people are stupid. While luck is certainly a part of it, fame and success are tied to hard work more than anything else. Today’s gaming youths seem to have this notion that since they’re good at video games, they can become rich and famous just by playing them. That’s not how it works.

Do I want to become rich and famous by playing video games? Of course I do! Who doesn’t want to get paid for doing something they love doing? But on the other hand, I DON’T want video games to lose their fun factor. First and foremost, I stream because I enjoy it. I love chatting with random people who are into the same things I am. Prior to streaming, it was difficult for me to find people who loved video games as much as I do. Most of the people I regularly interface with IRL are not into video games AT ALL. If they DO have any experience with games, they consider it some weird thing that they don’t understand, but their kids are REALLY into it. (I’ve tried encouraging them to play with their kids, but that’s a topic for another day…)

Several years ago, I was out having coffee with a high school classmate and she spent the entire time complaining to me about the fact that her husband played video games. According to her, video games are for children and as a grown man, he should have grown out of them by now. She was ranting and raving about how immature gamers are and I sat there thinking, “Are you REALLY saying these things to ME of all people?” She knew I loved games. I never hung out with her again. Now I certainly don’t expect all my friends to like games. (I have quite a few non-gamer friends.) But I DO expect my friends to be respectful of me and my interests. I don’t judge my friends who are obsessed with sports, for example, even though I don’t understand at all why someone would care so much about whether or not a certain team wins a championship.

So streaming gives me a place to hang out with like-minded people and talk about games. 🙂

Another reason I stream is to hold myself accountable for working on my video game backlog. Even when no one is watching, I feel obligated to stream my progress because I SAID I WOULD. What kind of person would I be if my actions didn’t back up my words? Integrity is important to me. You can scoff at my desire to actually finish video games, but integrity isn’t really integrity if you cherry-pick the situations in which you exhibit it.

And I’m actually making progress! Prior to committing to streaming my backlog, I would start games and never finish them. If I was lucky, I’d actually FINISH maybe one game a year. That’s ridiculous. Since April, I have completed SIX GAMES and I am making progress every week. Not gonna lie, that feels REALLY GOOD.

The final major reason I stream is to hang out with my son. Maintaining a relationship with an adult child is challenging. Not necessarily because it’s inherently more difficult, but because there simply isn’t any guidance. There are books, websites, videos, and all sorts of media on how to parent babies, small children, teenagers, etc. but no one ever talks about how to relate to your kids once they’re out of the house. I think the rationale for that is that the grown child should be able to take care of themselves and don’t really NEED their parents anymore. That’s complete bullshit. Having some kind of meaningful relationship with your parents is important for your ENTIRE LIFE. Sure, it’s going to change and be very different than when you were a kid, but it’s still necessary and extremely valuable.

Nico loves games as much as I do, so playing together gives us common ground. This creates a space where we are comfortable talking to each other about other things, too. Not just games. That’s the best part. It’s really important to me that he feels that he can talk to me about anything. I don’t want to be one of those parents that has no idea what’s going on with their kid. On the flip side, I always try to respect Nico’s independence, as well. He’s too WAY too old to be coddled and cared for, but I DO want him to know that he is loved and that I have his back.

So why do I stream? When it comes down to it, I stream for me: my social interactions, my game backlog, my relationship with my son. And I love it. It’s fun and it energizes me. Sure, it can be exhausting and it certainly isn’t for everyone, but that’s okay. So come hang out! I always enjoy the company. 🙂

  • Mom

7/15/18 Game Update

Here’s what you might see us play this week:

Mom & Nico:

  • Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC) – Patch 4.3!
  • Dungeon of the Endless (PC)

 

Just Mom:

  • Torchlight II (PC) – playthrough

 

Just Nico:

 

6/24/18 Game Update

Here’s what you might see us play this week:

Mom & Nico:

  • Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC) – Patch 4.3!
  • Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PC) – Season 14!

 

Just Mom:

  • Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (PS4) – playthrough
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins (PC) – playthrough

 

Just Nico:

 

6/3/18 Game Update

Here’s what you might see us play this week:

Mom & Nico:

  • World of Warcraft (PC) – Gearing up in Argus for Battle for Azeroth
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC) – Patch 4.3!
  • Divinity: Original Sin II (PC) – playthrough
  • Raft (PC) – surviving, hopefully

 

Just Mom:

  • Parasite Eve (PSOne Classic) – Final Boss – playthrough
  • Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (PS4) – playthrough

 

Just Nico:

 

5/20/18 Game Update

Here’s what we’re working on this week:

Mom & Nico:

  • World of Warcraft (PC) – Gearing up in Argus for Battle for Azeroth
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC) – Patch 4.3!
  • Divinity: Original Sin II (PC) – playthrough

 

Just Mom:

  • Parasite Eve (PS One Classic on PS3) – playthrough

 

Just Nico:

 

Mom’s Backlog Update 5/16/18

I’ve made some decent progress on this project since I started it! Amazing how much you can get done if you figure out a way to hold yourself accountable… So let’s talk about some of these games:

FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 & LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII

tbc

I feel that overall the Final Fantasy XIII series is unfairly maligned. It is certainly not the best in the franchise, but it isn’t the pile of shit that so many people seem to think it is. When I started this backlog project, I had already completed the first game and was about halfway through the second. I enjoyed my time with the first game and the second felt like a reasonable continuation. Since XIII-2 pretty much just focused on two characters, though, I didn’t care that much about what was going on, so I just wanted to finish the game as quickly as possible. The protagonist was portrayed physically as an adult, but behaved and reasoned like an emo teenager, which drove me nuts. Still, the battle system was fun. I liked the paradigm system and how clever use of debuffs could turn a difficult fight into a faceroll. I kinda suck at games sometimes, so I like things that make fights easier and honestly, it’s a different type of skill to be able to use status effects and planning to take a boss down more easily. It’s called strategic thinking…

That to-be-continued ending, though. WTF was that? I’m glad I didn’t play this game when it was brand new. I’m pretty sure I’d have been pretty pissed off about that blatant cash grab. (Today I’m a bit more accepting of the idea that the game was planned to be in 3 parts. Back then, probably not so much!) So I started playing Lightning Returns and absolutely HATED it. I gave it a few more days of playing for a few hours each time. And I still hated it. When I thought, “Okay, time to work on my backlog game,” I was filled with a sense of dread instead of excitement or determination. This is the first time I’ve made a conscious decision to NOT complete a Final Fantasy game. Ever.

So why? I am a firm believer in the idea that a video game should be fun and this game just did NOT feel fun to me AT ALL. First of all, the looming time limit created a constant feeling of anxiety. Even with game mechanics in place designed to mitigate the time limit, it just completely stressed me out. Second, the Schemata system was EXTREMELY confusing. Even after reading the in-game tutorials, I couldn’t really figure out what I was supposed to do as far as upgrading my gear or whatever. I would find these new outfits everywhere, but wasn’t sure how to use them or whether they should replace something else. Maybe I should have put the game on Easy instead of Normal? Ugh. Easy setting on a JRPG? Hell, no. And finally, talk about annoying characters and non-compelling story. I spent so much time rolling my eyes that I’m pretty sure I saw my brain more than the game.

A lot of people really liked this game. Fun means different things to different people. That’s totally cool. You can enjoy it for me! 🙂

NI NO KUNI II: REVENANT KINGDOM

ninokuni2pau

Between finishing FFXIII-2 and starting Lightning Returns, I played Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. This game was AWESOME! Although I beat the game, I’m still trying to 100% it. SPOILER ALERT: The story was very Ghibli and very Japanese in that everything ends up good. Even the bad guys, pretty much. That idealistic tone is one of the major complaints other people have with this game. I didn’t mind it. Maybe it was because I had just come from FFXIII-2, where the ending was absolutely depressing. Who knows… Another major gripe with the game that many people have is that the battles are too easy. Personally, I found them to be just right, although as I gained levels, it DID become rather faceroll-y if I wasn’t fighting optional bosses or something. I’m still working on getting high enough to tackle the entire post-game bonus dungeon, so if you want a challenge, beat the game and unlock that.

The one thing I hated in this game was the skirmish battles, which are like real-time strategy battles, I think. (I honestly don’t know. I hate playing RTS games…) Fortunately, if you grind enough, your units become so powerful that you can just mow everything down without really trying. I need to defeat all 50 skirmish battles to get that 100% trophy, so I’m still working on that. Ugh.

Kingdom building was definitely fun. I felt compelled to level up every building and research every ability just for completion’s sake, but this benefited me in battles, as well. If you decide to play this game, DON’T NEGLECT YOUR KINGDOM. Although you don’t need to totally max it out to beat the game, if you don’t level up your kingdom, you can’t progress story until you do. And in order to do that, you need to recruit a certain number of people, which generally involves completing side quests. I watched someone do this on Twitch. I was amused and felt sorry for him at the same time.

I will post again when I hit the 100% completion mark.


OTHER STUFF

The other game I beat recently was Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology on 3DS. I enjoyed it immensely, but if you want to get the true ending and the new true ending, just use a guide. I honestly don’t know how people do it without it. This game involves a LOT of time travel between two different timelines. Sometimes you can’t do something in one timeline until you’ve done something else in the other. Then there are the side quests that only open up in certain times after certain events, etc. This was an excellent game. I highly recommend it.

I added a few other games (besides Lightning Returns) to the “Nope, Sorry!” category. Here are my explanations:

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – I really wanted to play this game because I enjoyed A Way Out a LOT. (Same crazy guy developed it.) Unfortunately, my brain just couldn’t handle the separate controls per hand. I was constantly pressing the wrong buttons and going in all the wrong directions. It literally gave me a headache. Some of it could be done one side at a time, but not everything, so I had to give up. 😦

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse – I SUCK at platform games. I fell to my “death” around 15 times in the same location during the 2nd level of the game when I finally decided to stop banging my head against a wall.

ICO – This REALLY bummed me out. The camera in that game made me SOOOOOOOOO sick. Motion sickness in games is a huge problem for me. I’ve tried to power through it and I end up having to lie down for 2-3 hours. Not worth.

Shadow of the Colossus – Given that this game was by the same people as ICO, I was worried that I’d get sick from it. I didn’t, although the camera REALLY SUCKS. Unfortunately, it was just TOO hard. I got past the first two Colossi and it took me 30-40 minutes EACH! (I shit you not.) I really enjoyed trying to figure out how to defeat them. I may go back to this game later. I liked it that much!

5/6/18 Game Update

Here’s what we’re working on this week:

Mom & Nico:

  • World of Warcraft (PC) – Gearing up in Argus for Battle for Azeroth

 

Just Mom:

  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) – playthrough

 

Just Nico: