So naturally I had another big hiatus. I went through quite a bad period over the winter where I had zero motivation for any creativity but now as we approach summer I find I have a better mood all round.
This in particular I completely lost all motivation for because I got to a certain point and realised it was just Bad. Nothing made any sense anymore and I just couldn't reconcile the stuff I started when I was effectively an edgy teenager with what I want to be writing about now. I think I have thought of a way past this now (correcting a particularly stupid plot point) and if that fails, a more radical story revision which would require starting over for the umpteenth time, but I really just want to get it over with. In all aspects of my life I struggle with perfectionism.
I talked about having an existential crisis last time and I did keep spiralling lower unfortunately and I don't know if it was helped or hindered by playing NieR: Automata (switch version). I related a lot to the machine characters who essentially do a varying job of imitating humanity, which I suppose reminded me of how I feel about myself and what I'm starting to think makes me a bit different. Can't stress enough how my favourite characters in things are always the machine/android/robot/cyborg-related ones who are learning about being human. Very good game though! I want to make an Emil head plushie.
Since then I played Splatoon 3, which had a good campaign but I wish they weren't so multiplayer-focused games, because the single player stuff is really great yet they just don't put enough of it in. I feel like I wasted a lot of time on the multiplayer in the previous games basically doing something I just don't enjoy so I beat the campaign, put it down and feel so much better for it. I don't think we should have to force ourselves to do things in games because we feel we paid X so we have to play for X hours.
Talos Principle has been sat on my switch for years after some random sale, picked it up as a time filler and had such a good time. Puzzles to make your head hurt. It could be a bit frustrating at times but enough of it was done on my own steam to give me a sense of accomplishment.
Then it was back to Xenoblade 3 for the DLC scenario. I had such a rush to finish Talos and then this in a week before the new Zelda. I really don't understand why they chose that kind of release schedule. I almost couldn't comprehend that the narrative culmination of my favourite RPG series and the sequel to one of the best games ever full stop were happening within a week. Firstly it's the delivery of this narrative that makes me almost want to give up on video games as a viable narrative medium. It seems developers are burdened with this need to not put too many narrative links between their games so they can be viably sold as products to new consumers. Book series don't seem to have this problem because series are, I don't know, a natural consequence of the medium by this point..? but I suppose the average Gamer is more casual than that. Or it may be to do with video games having many times the cost of a single book and the need for investment in a console or PC on top of that. The higher cost means they need to convey that less needs to be invested by the consumer in the first place to invest in the New Thing. I know what I mean even though I'm not explaining it very well.
So basically my point is they stuck 90% of the story that links XC3 to the other two games into this DLC. I don't even think that's a bad thing because it's some lore-heavy stuff and even me being obsessed as I am, found myself a bit lost. (At that point you have to question if it's actually being done well at all, but oh well). It also gives XC3 overall a better story on its own, and along with a really cool new cast, that's a big accomplishment for a 20 hour DLC. This is why I think this will always be a GOAT series for me because there's so Much of Everything I love that the good stuff always far outweighs the bad.
Of course for the past month I've been up to my eyeballs in Tears of the Kingdom. I am really having a great time and can't really say anything that hasn't already been said - I even enjoy building stupid vehicles despite not really liking building for the sake of building (I don't get the appeal of minecraft or Mario Maker or anything like that, and the last Animal Crossing had too much of this 'for the sake of it' as well without actually letting you Use The Items). If anything takes me out of it it's this same lack of continuity in the story which is particularly egregious here for two reasons: one, what kind of consumer are they aiming at here who *didn't* play Breath of the Wild first (I'm sure they exist but hardly a huge section of the playerbase surely?), and two, the events of that game had too much of a huge impact on this world to be totally invisible. It's literally noticeable as soon as you land in the surface kingdom. I don't quite know where TotK is going with its story yet but I'm already struggling to reconcile this narratively with the previous game and it's really distracting from the experience. Apparently this has always been a problem with Zelda - but I don't care if all the other games are separate 'legends' that don't quite line up with each other, I think that's really cool actually and how history literally works. (This is also something XC3 did well internally because the DLC is about 1000 years before the main story and much of what happens has been totally forgotten, which really emphasises the weight of time.) I just don't think it's too much to ask for a sequel to acknowledge things that happened previously.
Slight aside about another problem I have- I've seen a lot of comments that the shrines are better than BotW's and I quite strongly disagree? I feel like a lot of the TotK shrines just act as tutorials for a very specific mechanic or barely have any thought needed to complete them- they're over in less than 5 minutes. Some of the BotW ones could take upwards of 20 minutes iirc. They're just not very interesting and almost could have been left out because the overworld has enough puzzles in its own right. This is coming off the back of Talos Principle which had the level of puzzle-solving I enjoy. Just the other day I was doing a light-reflection shrine and was struck by how basic it was compared to all the laser-reflecting I had to do in Talos.
Today I also finished We Love Katamari Reroll, which I have been waiting for about 5 years since the Reroll of the first game, and it refers to what happened previously- even though these games have the barest minimum plot- in the funniest way. Why does it do that better than games with actual stories? The Katamari games are just a lot of joyous fun. Can they please not wait 5 years to do another.
So I do find myself craving a bit of narrative continuity and really want to get into some meaty massive SFF story. I had a huge pile of books I needed to read for the first part of this year and now I've finally got through it I don't know what to do next. I've been focused on reading new books and basically trying to get a high score every year since 2020 but am really starting to feel like revisiting old favourites.
My room is finally coming together because I overcame my fear of sticking things on the wall and I'm going a bit mad with sticky hooks. The major problem remaining is my now extensive print collection: I must have about 50 but I feel like I've outgrown blu-tacking things up- and it damages the prints and paint on the wall. Paperclipping to a string or ribbon is a potential solution I'm looking into. Really need to clear the desk space so I can use it for writing.
I'm trying to get back into sewing again, I may actually finish the nopons I started like 3 years ago- primarily motivated by deciding I need a Riku in my life too. Sure, he is just a common-variety nopon... and then there is the aforementioned Emil, and maybe I could make more koroks... Again space is an issue, everything is a bit crammed in the desk area. Making more space is an ongoing task.
Felt the motivation to write all this because of my frustrations with this continuity vs. accessibility in video game stories, and also once again feeling disengaged with social media. I really hate the new view numbers on tweets and I just feel like I'm annoying. I've reread what I put on my homepage about my reasons for making this site and it has reminded me how true it is. I want to engage with other people, but not have the manner of that engagement dictated by whether people see the random stuff I talk about or not. Although there's a view number on this site even. I'll just see how it goes.