Grab Bag 2

  • Games

Next up on the grab bag are some games. That I played. At least once, somewhat recently I guess. I don’t know what else to say, what do you want from me? Read the post, there’s some words in it.

STARDEW VALLEY

Blah blah harvest moon, everyone on the planet has compared this to harvest moon already, you get it. The first time I played Stardew Valley was actually for a project involving multiplayer game with a bunch of friends, and then we only played it once and never again. But it hooked me, and I continued to play on my own after that, racking up almost 30 hours very quickly. Then I dropped it and don’t remember why at all. I must have been busy at the time, then never quite felt the urge to return… or maybe I knew that the moment I played it again, it would suck all my time away again and I wanted to avoid that.

Well, I recently felt like playing it again, and I remembered the real reason it hooked me in the first place. It’s not because it’s a particularly amazing game, or the soundtrack, or the story, or anything else… it’s because of the intro sequence. That intro sequence really struck a chord with me both the first time and again now. A lot of people play games as a short escape from reality, but I rarely get that feeling, because while games are recreational for me, they aren’t exactly relaxing. But with Stardew Valley, I have a true escape. I can’t think of any other game off the top of my head as I write this that’s both relaxing and engaging in the way this game is for me. I don’t know the tricks, I don’t know what’s most efficient, how to be “good” at the game, or anything like that… and I like it that way.

What drew me into this game was necessity. It’s a rare source of real respite for me. Because of that, chances are that if you see me playing this game, I’m struggling real hard with something in life, but for that short time playing the game, it’s not so bad, and if I’m lucky, it’s getting a little better. It’s a bittersweet kind of warmth and comfort, Stardew Valley is.

The fact that it’s an amazing game is just a great bonus for me. Concerned Ape really outdid themselves with this. There’s a wealth of mods available too if you want to take the game to the next level, change it so heavily that it feels like a new game again, or just add some quality of life features if you’re a long time player and the charm wore off for you. But you knew all that already.

SYRUP AND THE ULTIMATE SWEET

I don’t even know why I played this. I got a Nintendo Switch, but no games, so I was browsing the eshop and found this. Looked it up, and it was on itch.io for free, so I grabbed it out of boredom and curiosity. Occasionally I like playing free, short visual novels like this just to see what happens when you make terrible choices, so I did that here too, and I did not expect to actually feel kind of bad about it. I was definitely not expecting there to be so many different opportunities to feel bad either.

When you don’t make the worst choices though, it’s a cute and enjoyable read. And it’s not long to finish at all, so there’s no point in talking about the content here. I liked it, that’s all there is to it. You can check it out yourself if you’re curious. I like the cat a lot. There’s apparently a sequel to this in the works too.

Turns out the creator has a whole bunch of other stuff on their itch.io page, so I may check out more of their work someday. All but a couple things are pay what you want, so you have no excuse not to go looking too if you’re into these kinds of things, maybe throw some cash their way if you like it.

DEMOCRACY 4

If you know me at all, you probably know me as a very neutral, apolitical person, so me playing this game may come as a surprise. Well, it’s mostly true, I would consider myself apolitical, and I do try to remain as neutral as possible on most matters that I haven’t remained completely detached from. Despite that, I am actually fairly politically minded, I find the mechanisms of politics interesting in a vacuum and take great pleasure in imagining my own political systems for my stories and worldbuilding.

This game is a great little thing to play around with to tease that tiny part of my brain. This definitely isn’t a game to put countless hours into, but for those two or three hours every couple of months where I specifically want to zone out and burn some brainpower, it’s great. Oh, the things I’ve done to the USA…

Are you the kind of person who can find fun in a glorified spreadsheet? Then this game might be for you.

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