Controllers & Coffee BizarreBrunette Gaming Update #3

2022 so far has been a strong gaming year. I have set gaming goals for myself to achieve this year as I want to tackle my video game backlog. Additionally, there are a few games I’d like to see myself re-play such as Life is Strange as there have been two new games released in the franchise I haven’t played yet. I wanted to share my latest gaming update starting off 2022.

Consoles

I have been mainly playing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on my PS4. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this game has been such a blast to play. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is made by SQUARE ENIX who produced Marvel’s Avengers which was such a mediocre game to play. I only bought Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy because the game was highly rated. This would be the perfect game to play next year before the next Guardians of the Galaxy film is released.

I have also gotten back into Animal Crossing New Horizons. I played for two months straight last year and then I took a hiatus. Animal Crossing can get extremely repetitive especially because I still owe 400,000 bells on my house. I ended up missing the game, so I have been playing regularly throughout the month of January. I named my island MaplePeaks as I love fall. I want to make a spooky/autumn-themed island. I still have a lot of work to do to make my island what I want.

PC

I have been currently playing through Nancy Drew Warnings at Waverly Academy. Whenever I play a Nancy Drew PC game, I like to play it in one sitting. I haven’t had a chance to finish the game, but I hope to in the next week. Besides Nancy Drew, I did try playing Parkasaurus which is a simulation game in which the player builds a zoo with Dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the game lagged quite a bit on my PC, so I ended up uninstalling this from my laptop. If I upgrade to a gaming computer, I may give this game another shot.

Board Games

With the current spikes of Covid-19, I haven’t been out with friends playing board games. I hope to have a board game night soon. This is the one section of my gaming updates that I haven’t been able to share anything new which makes me sad. I love board games as it’s a huge part of my gaming identity.

Roleplaying

I shared briefly in my last gaming update, but I’m in an ongoing D&D campaign. My group is playing through Curse of Strahd which is a campaign centering on a cursed prince who is revealed to be a vampire. My character is named Levenia Monterfo and she’s a half-elf blood hunter. She is a blood mage meaning she uses her own blood to cast spells. I love playing her character. I selected Eldritch Blast as a cantrip and I have been wreaking havoc in battle. I haven’t been in an ongoing D&D campaign since 2019.

I do want to get back into Adventurer’s League as well with my other character, Zehiri, a level #3 Tiefling paladin.

Miscellaneous

My husband for Christmas bought me a handheld Dig Dug electronic game. Dig Dug is my favorite arcade game and I played it a lot when I was a kid. I tend to play Dig Dug a few nights a week before I go to bed.

I love sharing these gaming updates. Gaming has been one hobby that I have found decreased over the past few years, and I feel that sharing these updates has helped get me back into gaming regularly.

Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock

I started playing through the Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive during the height of the pandemic in 2020. My husband gets a kick out of watching me play because either there’s a jump scare or I’m stuck on a puzzle for a long time. While playing through Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock, my husband peered over my shoulder and started offering suggestions for a word puzzle. He & I sat there for a bit until finally, we were able to solve it together. He asked me why I liked these types of games and that’s exactly it. The Nancy Drew games are some of the most challenging PC games I have played, yet once I finish a game, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock wasn’t my favorite Nancy Drew outing, however, I feel this is the perfect game for beginners to the Nancy Drew PC games.

Nancy Drew is summoned to Lilac Inn by a mutual friend named Emily Crandall. Emily alerts Nancy to strange happenings at Lilac Inn and fear of running the inn by herself. Emily’s mother passed away and Emily was banking on the fact of receiving money from Emily’s mom’s friend, Josiah Crowley. However, in Josiah’s will, he leaves his money to Richard Topham instead. Nancy decides to investigate not only the occurrences at Lilac Inn but also the whereabouts of Josiah’s real will if there is one.

The mystery in Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock was okay. There were only two suspects who could be responsible, so it left little to the imagination of who could be causing all of this. Although the suspect reveal wasn’t all that, I did like the finale. In each Nancy Drew game, there’s what I call a finale where Nancy has to chase after the suspect in some way. In this game, Nancy has to hop in her car and chase the suspect to ensure they don’t escape. I can’t help but enjoy a little car chase every now and then.

One of the most enjoyable parts of playing through Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock is the mini-games. There’s a Shakespeare-themed mini-game requiring Nancy to slide various wooden blocks into their proper place. I found this mini-game to be fun. Another mini-game was found in an old clock where Nancy has to slide a bird through the clock along with pushing blocks out of the way. It was basically a version of Rush Hour except with a bird and various obstacles. Finally, the last mini-game was a miniature golf course where Nancy had to hit par on each course. This mini-game took me a bit because the last few courses were incredibly difficult. I think I played through this mini-game at least seven times before finally hitting par.

Another important aspect of the Nancy Drew games is the setting. In this outing, most of the in-game story takes place at Lilac Inn, however, Nancy is often needing to drive around town to progress through the game. Another Nancy Drew game similar to this was Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes which took place in Nancy’s hometown of River Heights. I liked this aspect of the game because it shakes up the story and it shows how each location in this town serves a purpose to Nancy at some point in the game.

Out of all the Nancy Drew games I played, I would recommend Nancy Drew Secret of the Old Clock as a great game to start with. It’s one of the less convoluted games in the franchise. Some of the Nancy Drew games have mazes which I can’t stand because I found myself getting lost. Nancy Drew Secret of the Old Clock features none of that and it’s very much a straightforward game.

Holiday Steam Winter Sale Haul

I’m all for a Steam sale! Steam had a Holiday sale from December 22nd through January 5th. This worked out perfectly for me because I’m planning my year which includes determining what games I’m going to play in 2022. In addition to purchasing new games, I also organized my Steam wishlist to ensure it was filled with games I still was anxiously awaiting to play. I wanted to share everything I purchased during the sale.

An Abundance of Nancy Drew Games

I purchased so many Nancy Drew PC games to play. The first one I played and finished this year was Nancy Drew Secret of the Old Clock. I’m writing my review for this game to be posted sometime next week. I also purchased Nancy Drew: The Final Scene, Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon, Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower, and Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy.

Blacksad

Blacksad is a video game adaptation of a best-selling comic series that I didn’t know about prior to purchasing this game. Blacksad follows John Blacksad (pictured above) a private detective who gets involved in some nefarious investigations. I have high hopes for this game as it seems like something I would like.

Calico

Calico is a simulation game where the player helps re-build the town’s cat cafe. How cute does this game look?? As a cat lady, I was immediately intrigued.

Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk follows a barista who works at a coffee shop in a fantasy world where this shop is frequented by elves, orcs, and other fantasy creatures. This seems like a D&D-inspired coffee shop video game and I’m here for it.

Pumpkin Jack

This was a game that I saw and purchased because I thought this was a cool concept. If you have followed BizarreBrunette for a while, you would know that I’m a big fan of anything spooky and Halloween. I’m excited to play this!

Vampire the Masquerade – Coteries of New York

Buy Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New York Steam

The final game I purchased was Vampire the Masquerade – Coteries of New York. Last year, I played Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York and I liked it a lot. Coteries of New York was released before Shadows of New York, so I’m not sure if this serves as more of a prequel. Regardless, I’m looking forward to getting back into the darkness of a vampire populated NYC.

Through the Steam sale, I ended up with ten new games to play in 2022. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can play throughout the year. As mentioned, I already played through Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock, so I intend on writing my review in the next week or so. Did you pick up anything in the Steam sale? Let me know in the comments below.

2021 Pop Culture Year in Review

2021 is almost over! It’s hard to believe that 2022 will mark two years since the dreaded 2020 lockdown. While we have a vaccine and a booster, it still feels like the pandemic is far from over. 2021 was a fairly decent year especially because there was a lot more going on since I was able to get vaccinated in May.

Movies I Saw In Theaters

  • The Suicide Squad
  • No Time to Die
  • SpiderMan: Far From Home

It’s fitting that the last movie I saw in theaters before the pandemic was Birds of Prey and the first movie I saw in theaters after I was vaccinated was The Suicide Squad. Out of the above three, I would say Spider-Man: Far From Home and The Suicide Squad would be tied at number one.

Besides the above movies, I also watched WW84, From Russia With Love, Rocketman, Just Mercy, Free Brittany, Justice League Snyder Cut, Heroin(e), Charlie’s Angels 2019 film, Untouchable, I, Tonya and Pray Away. The worst movie I watched in 2021 was WW84. All the joy from the first Wonder Woman movie was sucked out of the sequel.

TV Shows I Watched:

  • Wandavision
  • Harley Quinn – animated series
  • Falcon & the Winter Soldier
  • Loki
  • Bar Rescue
  • Dopesick

I didn’t watch as much TV this year partly because I got into Critical Role while still quarantined earlier in the year. My favorite TV show I watched this year was easily Wandavision. It was such a heartbreaking show and Elizabeth Olson did such an amazing job portraying Scarlet Witch and someone suffering from the weight of grief. I did finish watching Dopesick recently which is a documentary series about the rise of Purdue Pharma and Oxycontin. It was intriguing and appalling.

Video Games I Played

  • Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York
  • Miles Morales
  • Night Call
  • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • Nancy Drew & The Haunted Carousel
  • Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill
  • Animal Crossing New Horizons
  • Nancy Drew Alibi in Ashes
  • Nancy Drew Message in a Haunted Mansion
  • Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 & 5-7

My favorite game I played this year was Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Despite the game being shorter and having no DLC, it was still my favorite this year. I’m normally not a video game soundtrack person, however, I ended up listening to the Miles Morales soundtrack on and off throughout 2021.

The most disturbing game I played was Doki Doki Literature Club. I wanted to play it to see what the game was all about. I will never touch it again. Besides playing through Doki Doki Literature Club, I played through quite a few of the Nancy Drew PC games since becoming more invested into Steam last year.

In 2022, I look forward to starting the Guardians of the Galaxy game since I finally unlocked all the PS4 trophies for Lego Harry Potter.

Gaming in 2021

  • Watching Critical Role (for the first half of the year, I couldn’t play D&D in person)
  • City of Remnants
  • Vampire the Masquerade one shot in July
  • Mysterium
  • Adventurer’s League

My highlight of 2021 was being able to play D&D in person. Beginning in 2022, I will be playing in a longer semi-weekly campaign and I’m thrilled. Watching Critical Role helped keep my love of roleplaying active while waiting to be vaccinated. This year, I didn’t play very many board games although I finally opened Mysterium for the first time and I loved it. I can’t wait to play again.

Graphic Novels / Comics I Read This Year

Single Issue Comics

  • King in Black: #1 – #5
  • King in Black: Black Cat #1 – #3
  • King in Black: Gwenom vs. Carnage #1 – #3
  • Jinny Hex #1
  • King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #1 – #3
  • Batman/ Catwoman #1
  • Future State Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1
  • Future State Green Lantern #1
  • Future State Wonder Woman #1 – #2
  • Future State Catwoman #1
  • Home Sick Pilots #1 – #5
  • Future State Robin Eternal #1
  • Hollywood Trash #1
  • King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1
  • Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1
  • Luna #1
  • Future State Suicide Squad #1 – #2
  • King in Black: Black Knight
  • King in Black: Miles Morales #23
  • Future State Wonder Woman #1
  • Teen Titans Academy #1
  • King in Black: Captain America #1
  • King in Black Scream #1
  • King in Black: The Amazing Spider-Man #1
  • James Bond Agents of Spectre #1 – #4
  • Witchblood #1 – #5
  • DC Suicide Squad #1
  • Destiny NY #1 – #5
  • Miskatonic University #1
  • Vox Machina Critical Role Origins III #1 – #4
  • Life is Strange #2.1 – 2.4
  • Bettie Page Curse of the Banshee #1
  • Alice in Leatherland #1 – #4
  • DC Deathstroke #1
  • MOM #1

I read so many single issue comics partly due to the fact that I have a pull list at a comic book store. I try and stop in at least once every other week. As I review the above list, I would say there were two series that would be tied for being my favorite comic series in 2021. The first would be the King in Black main series along with King in Black: Black Cat. Another notable standout was Witchblood. I love how the series takes place in the Wild West and it’s a vampires vs. witches standoff series. Other memorable series include Destiny NY, Alice in Leatherland, and Vox Machina.

Graphic Novels

  • Glitter Vipers
  • The Vision
  • Black Mage
  • Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Captain Phasma
  • Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren
  • Star Wars Adventures Vol #1
  • Aquicorn Cove
  • Wolverine Season One
  • Blackbird
  • Mooncakes

This is the first year where I have read more single issues than graphic novels. My favorite graphic novel I read this year was The Vision as I read it right when I started watching Wandavision. A runner up would be Glitter Vipers. I backed the Kickstarter for it as I liked the idea of a group of drag queens getting into vigilante work. I have a huge stack of graphic novels to read in 2022, so I’m assuming this number will be higher next year.

2021 Pop Culture Moments

  • Trump Protestors invading the capital (it’s only the seventh day of the new year!!!)
  • Afghanistan’s government collapsing to the Taliban
  • Free Britany

Podcasts I Couldn’t Stop Listening To

  • Fantastic Geeks
  • This Podcast Will Kill You
  • Not Another DnD Podcast
  • Ain’t Slayed Nobody

I didn’t discover any new podcasts in 2021. Listening to podcasts has been a hit or a miss. I usually listen to music while driving around the area and save podcasts for longer trips.

Catchiest Song in 2021

According to Spotify, my top song was “Head & Heart” by Joel Corry x MNEK.

Conventions I Attended in 2021

I attended two conventions in 2021: Planet Comic Con in August and C2E2 in December. I hope to attend Emerald City Comic Con in August next year along with Gen Con and Convergence. I might add one more out of state convention on my list for next year.

Personal Memories

Top Three Memories of 2021

Getting Married

Going on our Mini Moon

Getting Vaccinated

Adventurer’s League & How My Character Almost Died

Two weeks ago, I played in my first Adventurer’s League session for D&D 5e. Adventurer’s League is an ongoing campaign where you can play at any game store that runs an Adventurer’s League session. The benefit of playing in Adventurer’s League is not having to commit to a weekly game and being able to take your character to each session with the experiences from the previous sessions. I specifically created Zehiri, a level #2 (now a level #3) Tiefling Paladin who I intend to play anytime I play Adventurer’s League. In the session I had two weeks ago, the party almost died and I wanted to relive this because it’s a funny story now since my character ended up being healed.

My group was securing a payload of a statue and transporting it across the plane to a woman named Chandra. During our journey, we encountered two sets of enemies. The first set of enemies featured goblins and a wolf of sorts. Within the first round of combat, the Dungeon Master (DM) had his gobin attack me. The DM rolled a natural 20 which doubles the damage my character would take. This led to me taking 11 damage from a goblin who threw a rock at me. How rude. I eventually killed the goblin with divine smite which may have been overkill, but the goblin deserved it. Divine Smite is a spell specific to the Paladin class which allows for extra damage to be dealt to a creature if that creature was hit by a melee attack. I ended up killing one more goblin before combat ended. It was the second round of combat where things were intense.

After surviving the round of goblins, our group was attacked by another wolf, and two Bugbears. One of the Bugbears kicked a log at my group and of course, I rolled poorly and didn’t move out of the way. I was dealt 11 points of damage there. In all of my turns, I kept rolling so low that I wouldn’t hit any of the enemies in our way. One of the party members rushed into battle and was knocked down within a turn or two. As the only healer, I was going to heal him, except I got knocked down in battle because I rolled poorly. Two out of the five members were dead including the only healer and I genuinely was concerned we were not going to get through this. There were several turns where the remaining three heroes rolled so low, they didn’t hit any of the enemies. Eventually, the battle turned to our favor when two of the remaining players cast several cantrips with a natural 20 roll to help kill the remaining enemies. Eventually, I was healed with medical supplies from the payload we were guarding and I was able to level up Zehiri to level #3. The DM felt so bad for us because we kept rolling so poorly.

As I review this session, I realize things could have gone way worse. I ended up rolling well on my death saves and had only successes and no failures. When a character dies in 5e, you roll a death save. Rolling a 1-10 is a failed roll while 11-20 is a success. If you roll three failed saves (1-10) your character dies for good. If you roll a natural one on a death save, it counts as two failures.

Overall, it was a fun session and now I want to find more Adventurer’s Leagues to play in. In the meantime, I want to write a thorough back story for Zehiri, so I can have it prepared when playing in future sessions. Being new to playing D&D 5e, Adventurer’s League was a great place to get back to in-person roleplaying and I’m looking forward to roleplaying Zehiri in the future.

Controllers & Coffee BizarreBrunette Gaming Update #2

Since starting this blog series, I find that I’m gaming more which is a plus. As a bonus, we have been getting snow in Minnesota and I love gaming in winter. There’s something cozy about playing a video game while snow is lightly falling outside. My husband is the same way, he has started his Minecraft Friday night ritual with his friends. Let’s roll into my latest gaming update.

Consoles

I’m still playing through Lego Harry Potter 5 -7. I’m almost finished with the story and after that, I would re-play all levels to unlock the collectibles. I’m a completionist meaning I love collecting trophies and achievements depending on what platform I’m playing on. I wish I wasn’t because I do want to play Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, however, I want to play Lego Harry Potter first.

PC

I tried to play Sims 3 a couple of weeks ago, but I ended up getting bored after 30 minutes. I also tried playing Death and Taxes. Death and Taxes is a game where you play as the Grim Reaper deciding who lives or who dies. It’s an interesting premise, however, I’m itching to play something else. I’m going to go through my Steam wishlist and library and purchase a few other games to have on hand. I like having a lot of options in my Steam library.

Board Games

I haven’t played board games at all recently. I want to do a board game night sometime soon with friends or family.

Roleplaying

Zehiri – image screen shot from my D&D Beyond account.

I have two exciting roleplaying updates. The first update is the fact that I have joined a new Dungeons & Dragons 5e campaign. My character will be a half-elf / half-human blood hunter with ties to an otherworldly god. I picked Eldritch Blast as one of my main attack spells. My character is going to kick some ass. I haven’t named my character yet, as I’m still trying to find the perfect name. Our first session will be before the Christmas holiday.

The second update is how much fun I had at Adventurer’s League. Adventurer’s League is an ongoing campaign where you can play anywhere. Players can take their character to any game store hosting an Adventurer’s League. It’s a great concept because I could play at one store in Minneapolis and level up, then take the same character to a game store in St. Paul with my newly leveled-up character. I had a blast. Zehiri is my level #3 Tiefling paladin who looks demonic, yet she’s a complete sweetheart once you meet her. This session was intense because my character and our group almost died! It’s the closest I have ever come to seeing my character die. To prevent this post from going long, I’m going to make a separate post summarizing this session.

Miscellaneous

In my last post, I stated how I wanted to play Magic: the Gathering Arena for the new set Crimson Vow. I haven’t played Arena as I ended up uninstalling it from my phone. The app version takes forever to load, and it seems like every time I open the app, there’s a new update. I get that the mobile version is a bigger game, but to me it’s unplayable. I ended up uninstalling it. I have been very disconnected from Magic and I have even debated giving up the game together. We shall see.

Besides Magic, I bought a new wireless mouse for work originally, but now I intend to use it when I play games on my laptop.

I have been keeping my gaming posts at roughly once a month which is perfect. It gives me enough time to play and have something new to say. As mentioned, I’m going to write a post about the Adventurer’s League session where my character almost died because that’s a funny story.

Controllers & Coffee – BizarreBrunette Gaming Update #1

I wanted to create a new series on BizarreBrunette that serves as a gaming update. I can talk about what I’m currently playing, if I played any new board games recently or if I have any new roleplaying stories to talk about. Gaming is a big hobby of mine and now that the wedding and our mini-moon trip are over, I have free time to devote to gaming. I didn’t know what to call this, so I ended up naming this “Controllers & Coffee” I found this fitting because I usually write my posts while drinking my morning coffee. I may end up changing the title as I continue this series, but for now, this will stick. I have five categories in this update, they are as follows: Consoles, PC, Board games, Roleplaying, and Miscellaneous. I feel these sections encompass my gaming interests, however, these are subject to change if I find I’m missing something. Let’s get into the latest “Controllers & Coffee” gaming update.

Consoles

I’m currently playing through Lego Harry Potter. I finally 100% Years 1-4, so I have moved on to Years 5-7. I went through a gaming slump, and Lego Harry Potter pulled me out. Playing through a Lego game has been stress relieving. If I had a tough day at work, I can play through a game that doesn’t require my whole attention span. It’s worked for me and I plan on unlocking all the trophies in Years 5-7 as well before moving onto the next game on my PS4.

Originally, I said I would play Far Cry 5 next. However, I saw an advertisement for Square Enix’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game. The reviews have been excellent. I’m skeptical because Marvel’s Avenger’s was mediocre. I’m a sucker for Superhero games, so Square Enix drew me in. I’m planning on playing through Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy followed by Far Cry 5.

Finally, I bought Super Mario 3D World Bowser’s Fury. I wanted to get back into playing my Nintendo Switch, so I figured a new game would help. I have been taking a break from Animal Crossing as it got a bit too repetitive. I want to get back into it, but I still need a break. Super Mario 3D World has been a blast, especially due to utilizing the cat power-up.

PC

I had been playing the older Nancy Drew PC games. The last two Nancy Drew games were more frustrating to get through, so I ended up staying away from them. The Nancy Drew games are older and as such some of the graphics could be updated. In one game, I was lost in a series of underground corridors and each corridor looked exactly the same. I couldn’t figure out how to get to the end. I do want to go back to the Nancy Drew games, but not right now.

In Minnesota, we recently had our first snowfall. In Winter, I find myself gravitating towards playing Sims. While everyone is playing Sims 4, I’m still playing through Sims 3. I missed out on Sims 3 as most of the expansions released while I was in college. I like how Sims 3 has achievements, so it allows me to come up with my own Sims challenge to keep me entertained. I have one challenge of having one Sim completing all six degrees, while another Sim is trying to become a celebrity psychic from the Supernatural expansion. Setting challenges makes playing the Sims more upbeat and less mundane.

Board Games

I don’t have any new updates as far as board games. The last board gaming event was when I cracked open Mysterium. I hope to schedule a board gaming day sometime soon.

Roleplaying

Currently, I’m not in any active campaigns. I did join a Vampire the Masquerade campaign in summer, but due to wedding-related planning, I had to miss several sessions. The DM was understanding. In my absence, I found the other players in the campaign didn’t show any interest in continuing, so the DM told me the campaign was permanently on-hold. Roleplaying can be challenging to schedule, so I understand that this can sometimes happen. I’m optimistic in finding a new campaign to join.

Next year, my goal is to gather my friends into creating a campaign. In 2019, we were roleplaying at least once a month which got disrupted with the Covid pandemic. I want to pick up a 5e rulebook and teach myself how to DM.

To keep my love of roleplaying alive, I have been watching the first campaign of Critical Role while also watching the new episodes of their third campaign. I discussed this already, but I also purchased tickets to the NADDPOD live show in January next year.

Miscellaneous

The newest Magic: the Gathering set Crimson Vow is out. This set is centered on Innistrad, a spookier Magic: the Gathering plane. In Magic, the worlds are described as planes and each set takes place on one of these planes. The lore behind Crimson Vow features a Vampire wedding, so many of the creature cards in this set will be Vampires. I will forever be a casual Magic player. I don’t see myself entering tournaments as I’m not competitive enough to do well. I do find myself gravitating towards Magic: The Gathering Arena as it’s easy to play and I don’t have to deal with any negative players. I’m not sure if I will get back to in-person pre-releases as my experiences have been a mix of positive and negative in-person gameplay. I’m going to try and play Crimson Vow on Arena.

For “Controllers & Coffee” I want to write a post at least once a month or ideally every other week. Gaming is a hobby I put on the backburner, but now I want to get back into regular gaming. I’m looking forward to what games I can play through from now until the end of the year.

Seeing NADDPOD Live

One of my geeky interests is D&D/roleplaying. I talk about Critical Role frequently as I’m trying to get caught up on both campaigns plus watching campaign three as each episode is transferred onto Youtube. The original D&D podcast I listened to was Not Another D&D Podcast abbreviated NADDPOD I started listening to NADDPOD in 2018 and I loved the show. One memory I have of attending Gen Con in 2019 was listening to NADDPOD as I drove to Indianapolis.

NADDPOD will do live shows in various big US cities such as Boston or New York. In their live show announcements, the midwest is skipped. In NADDPOD’s recent announcement, not only was Chicago on their list but Minneapolis as well. I was pumped! I never thought I would be able to go to one of their live shows, so I instantly pre-bought tickets. I was talking to my husband about this because I was so happy that NADDPOD would be in Minneapolis. My husband asked if I was going with anyone else. I wasn’t because none of my friends were listening to NADDPOD (at least that I know of). My husband as sweet as he is agreed to go with me, so I didn’t have to go myself. As a disclaimer, I think we should normalize doing activities alone. I have no shame in going to a show or a movie by myself, so I was all on board with attending the NADDPOD show by myself. It’s nice that my husband is coming with me, but I would have gone regardless.

I’m debating between wearing my Moonshine Cybin t-shirt or trying to put together a makeshift cosplay of her character. Her character is a woodsy elf druid wearing overalls and living her best life in nature. I do have overalls I could wear and I could buy some leafy hair accessories to add to the look. I have time to figure this out.

I’m so excited about the live show! I’m currently re-listening to the Bahumia campaign which was the first campaign they aired. I’m not sure how far I will get because of working from home, I listen to podcasts less. However, I will still make it a priority now that seeing them live is a reality for me. Time to start counting down the days until the show!

How The Matthew Mercer Effect Has Impacted Me

I started watching Critical Role in 2021 and quickly became enamored with the world Matthew Mercer built for his players. Although Critical Role wasn’t the first DnD podcast I listened to. My first DnD podcast experience was Not Another DnD Podcast which I started listening to back in 2018. I realize that the “mercer-effect” impacted me when I started playing DnD because I had such high expectations from my DM. I wanted to talk about this experience and share something I learned from it.

Me and my friends started a DnD group back in 2019. My friend wanted to try to DM and create his world. As mentioned, I had high expectations as to what I was hoping for from the story. Instead of going into this experience as a learning experience, I wanted a high intense story with real-world implications. I realize that I set myself up for failure. I set this campaign on a high pedestal when in reality, DnD allowed me and my friends to goof off and have a great time. I reflect on this campaign as a way that all my friends were able to get together regularly even though we all live busy lives.

I think the biggest way around the “mercer-effect” is setting little to no expectations when playing DnD. Playing through a campaign with an open mind can allow for random events to happen during game- play. Besides the expectations, I think it helps to have a gaming group that clicks with each other. I have played in campaigns that I grew bored with, but when I reflect on these sessions, I didn’t connect with the group I was playing with. In my most memorable and fun sessions, I think of all the random events that occurred and how much laughter was shared between friends.

DnD is supposed to be a fun, relaxing, and interactive game. If you’re playing DnD and you’re not having a good time, it’s not worth it to keep playing with that same group. It’s also completely valid to be a fan of Critical Role, Not Another DnD Podcast, or Ain’t Slayed Nobody and not want to play DnD. Many fans of these podcasts like interactive story telling, but don’t enjoy roleplaying themselves. The “mercer-effect” can create a negative environment in a gaming group, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Roleplaying is one of my favorite hobbies, and thanks to Critical Role it’s become more accessible and open to enjoy.

Insomniac Games – Wolverine + Spider-Man 2

The sole reason I bought my PS4 back in 2017 was because of Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man game. My mind was blown away at how good the game was. I played through Miles Morales earlier this year which allowed me to reminisce playing through Marvel’s Spider-Man. I have been a big fan of Insomniac ever since and when I saw they announced Marvel’s Spider-Man #2 plus a whole new game about Wolverine, I was ecstatic. I wanted to summarize my thoughts on both games.

After watching Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 trailer, my first reaction was how much of a presence Venom will have in this game. Venom is one of the most well-known Spider-Man villains. If there’s any villain to incorporate into a game to generate buzz, Venom is it. There was an after-credit scene in the first Marvel Spider-Man game which leads into who Venom could be. I won’t discuss this here due to it being a major spoiler. This trailer provided just enough without feeling like it’s giving away the entire game.

Wolverine

This trailer was quite short. It shows a blood-stained Wolverine in a bar after he’s fought many men. His knuckles are bloodied, as he’s sitting having a bourbon or a whiskey. It’s been a day. I wouldn’t classify myself as a huge Wolverine fan per se, however, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for Wolverine to have his own game. I imagine this game will be more violent and gritty if Insomniac is staying true to the character. I think there’s a lot of potential in turning this into the ultimate Wolverine game.

I’m still utilizing my PS4 as I haven’t upgraded to the PS5 yet. Both games are slated to be released in 2023 which is probably when I will be forced to upgrade. For now, I will continue to extend the life of my beloved PS4 as I try to wait patiently for both games to be released.