04/30/20 Sometimes, I’ve had enough of explosions and fast-paced, fly by the seat of your pants gaming and want something a little more relaxing, or as I like to say, low impact. Here are some of the games I like to play when I just want to chill.
The main attributes of a low impact game are as follows:
- Little to no violence
- When violence is present, it must be cartoony or avoidable
- Can be co-operative
- Low stakes, simple storyline if any
So with this in mind, here are a few things you can play if you just wanna kick back and relax for a while.
I’ve recently come back to Stardew, and it’s a real gem of a game. Running your own farm will keep you busy, but there is just something so very relaxing, to me at least, about shaping the farm to your needs and seeing it flourish as you learn the mechanics. Neat rows of plants, seeing trees grow.. spending the day at the lake fishing. Pure gaming bliss.
You can go fight the monsters and ghosts in the mine, but you don’t have to. It’s dangerous, after all. So why not just spend your time in and around town and tending your farm?
No Man’s Sky
While you usually find yourself on a crapsack world in the tutorial phase of the game, once you can warp between stars, the galaxy is your oyster and you can spend your days exploring.
Once you get a conflict scanner, you can avoid star systems with high levels of conflict and generally avoid any hostile confrontations, and as long as you obey their rules the sentinels won’t bother you either.
One of the most enjoyable and relaxing experiences I’ve had with this game is, once you’ve amassed a ton of money which is pretty easy, to build epic bases and exploring the game’s fairly extensive crafting mechanics.
Minecraft has been around for a while and is still relevant, as evidenced by the recent ray tracing demo.
Like Stardew and ‘Sky, there are crafting mechanics and item management mechanics, but I’m here to talk about creative mode.
One of the unwritten rules of gaming that I just made up is that if it exists, there is a Minecraft version of it. Joining a creative server you can see and experience some truly mind-blowing things people have created.
No crafting or inventory management here, Undertale was a smash hit in 2015 for a variety of reasons – it’s simplicity, it’s music and it’s heartwarming story.
Of course, the game does have some spoopy lore and weirdness, but I can’t think of any other game where you befriend all the bosses and Toby Fox’s goofy, off the wall humor will atleast get you to crack a grin if not a full-on belly laugh.
For those who have played it already, and some who have not, some of the jokes may be weary due to the game’s ascension to meme status, but the story is rich and the characters are great. I couldn’t put it down when I played it a few years ago.
YMMV with Undertale, since perhaps it is intense in it’s own way. That aside, it should get a laugh out of you.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (or presumably any other AC title)
Probably you all saw this coming, Animal Crossing is digital escapism at it’s finest. There is no pressure to do anything in particular, you can just run around catching bugs and fish, crafting things (thats right folks, more crafting!)
Out of all the crafting systems I’ve mentioned, AC I would say is by far the most streamlined, manageable, and straightforward so if you don’t enjoy crafting then this is probably one for you since it’s fairly minimalist in this game.
The characters are all bright and cheery, there is no violence to speak of (aside from your friend slapping you in the face with his or her net) and it’s all around very relaxing to play. I’ve caught myself letting out a sigh of relaxation a few times while playing this. Great job, Nintendo!
Katamari Damacy: REROLL
Ah, Katamari Damacy. I’d advise getting this one on the Switch, since it’s not all that fun to play with a keyboard.
The game itself is simple, there is a timer applying some pressure here, but all you have to do is roll things up to make stars after your dad, the King of All Cosmos, got drunk on Barley Juice (or whatever it is they call beer in that game) and messed them all up.
It’s wacky, it’s cheerful and fun. I had a blast playing this a while ago, I was feeling really down at the time and ended up finishing it in one sitting feeling much more relaxed afterwards.
It’s not a long game, but it’s hella fun, I’d grab it on special.
Worth mentioning, the controls are a little wonky sometimes, but that’s due to this being a remaster of a PS2 game. Not terrible, it didn’t break my immersion once I got used to it.
So there you have it! No blood and guts, no grand tales of deceit and betrayal, some nice games that your brain will digest as easily as a greasy breakfast after a bender.
What do you play when you’re under pressure? Do your gaming habits change at all depending on your stress levels? Let me know in the comments!
04/26/20 I picked this controller up a while ago and have gotten some use out of it, so here are my thoughts. If you want to help me choose a face for my controller, check out the poll linked below!
I got the Super Mario edition of the Faceoff, planning to get a second one if I liked it. I’ve stuck with the red Mario face for now, and as a whole the controller feels pretty sturdy. The removable face sits nice and snug and if you didn’t know any better, it might not even occur to you that it’s removable. I honestly don’t know how to take it off, either!
The grips have a nice texture to them, the feel of the smooth plastic under my palms doesn’t say premium but isn’t unpleasant. I would prefer something a little more textured.
In terms of weight, it’s pretty light. Not to the point it feels unusually light or cheap, but even with the weight of the cable it’s probably only a little heavier than a ps4 controller in spite of it’s size, but probably not quite as heavy as the Xbox One’s controller in the hand.
This controller is officially licensed by Nintendo, and naturally looks right at home next to Nintendo’s own Pro Controller if you pop out the 10-foot long USB-C connector cable, a decent length which may be too long for some people but then you could probably just use a different USB-C although I have yet to confirm if this is possible.
The biggest differences here when compared to the Pro (aside from being wired) – the Faceoff has no HD rumble, or any kind of rumble for that matter, and does not have the built-in NFC.
It does, however, have 2 programmable buttons on the back of the controller. These are easy to set up, and I have found use for them.. once. They don’t really get in the way, I’ve only really had a mis-click when holding the controller with one hand. You can take the back plate off to essentially remove these buttons but I haven’t found it necessary to do so.
When it comes to compatability, the PDP Faceoff works flawlessly with the Switch. I’m also happy to report that it works great on PC with Steam, and is fully re-mappable from within Steam. I have been using “Big Picture” more often these days.
I have had some minor driver issues, sometimes Windows picks the controller up and installs the wrong driver. Usually unplugging it and plugging it back in fixes that but there has been one or two times that hasn’t worked. Not entirely sure why it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, but it always works. Just sometimes not straight away, usually when you really want it to.
Now the most important part – the buttons! They’re clicky and responsive, again nothing to write home about but it’s a click that feels it will be reliable for many, many hours of gaming.
The thumbsticks are outstanding. They feel sturdy with a nice consistent springback that you’d appreciate if you’ve ever experienced JoyCon Drift. Spoiler alert: It’s not pleasant.
I absolutely love the D Pad. It might even make foregoing HD rumble worthwhile for some. But then you won’t have to if you have Nintendo’s pro controller. It certainly beats playing with JoyCons, even with the grip, mostly due to the D pad and thumbsticks.
Overall, I would say the PDP Faceoff for Switch is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an extra controller even if it’s just as a backup for when you’re charging your JoyCons. It’s mostly painless to use with PC as well, which is an added bonus if you want to play something like Dark Souls III that just works so much better with a controller.
To end this off, I’d like to have a bit of fun with a poll since I haven’t done one in a while. Mario Gang or Luigi Gang? Tell me why in the comments, the winner gets to be my controller’s face forever!
04/21/20 Teriyaki Chicken is great. Lay’s Japanese Teriyaki Chicken flavoured potato chips are not.
I was out buying a few things for the house yesterday, the usual suspects – bread, milk, eggs, except there were no eggs, and decided to grab a few snacks while I was there. I like the salty crunch of a potato chip now and then, crunchy being one of the superior food textures in my opinion, and grabbed a couple bags of chips as I meandered down the snack aisle.
I love trying new flavors, and Teriyaki Chicken was one of two that I found. The other being a sweet and sour barbecue of sorts that I haven’t tried yet.
So, I opened the bag when I got home as I set the rest of the groceries down and can’t say I liked what I found.
Snackfood flavors are best kept simple, and the sweet and salty goodness of teriyaki seems difficult to screw up. Somehow, Lay’s has created an abomination that I can only describe as the flavor of dog food, in fact, I think dog food would probably taste better.
The taste of these chips reminds me of the smell you get when opening a bag of dry kibble for Fido.
I think I managed 3 chips in an effort to try and give this flavor a second chance,but found it completely unpalatable.
Out of 10, I would rate these terrible chips a disappointing 2. Perhaps someone else will like them, but not me. No, sir.
04/17/20 Now, bagpipes aren’t an instrument you would usually associate with heavy metal, or most any kind of music. But here you go, bagpipe toting, Converse wearing, sword wielding maniacs do exist.
H&B were a staple festival band, the pipes somehow got the crowd moving in a truly heathen fashion.
I remember this one time I went to a show and there was a power failure, pretty much crapping on the evening’s schedule. These guys? they didn’t need amplifiers, and performed anyway. It was electrifying.
Another remembery I have, is this one festival – let me set the scene. Day one, everyone gets there and sets up their tents and whatnot since if you don’t the ensuing chaos will prevent that from ever happening. Said chaos ensues, those who have managed to find their tents and a moment’s respite are awoken at 6 AM by the din of a pipe band marching through the camp.
Ah, good times. They were had. I don’t know what happened to any of these guys, but I salute them for their contribution to the world of music.
04/09/20 Don’t give up, TAY. I hope this song gives you each a little hope while weathering this storm.
As a time traveller, let me tell you, every little thing is gonna be alright.
This is a special article, since it will mark the 50th contribution I’ve made since Zarnyx gave me authorship here on TAY. Today, I’’m looking back at the 3 years I’ve spent here, and looking forward to many more down the road.
My very first contribution was a little while before I was granted authorship, posted under a burner account to TAY Classic about a conspiracy theory I had cooked up in my head about Undertale.
Slinker was the only person to comment, but that was enough to inspire me to write some more and before long I was granted the authorship I covet so much – it is a distinct privilege to be able to share my passion for video games and other nerdy stuff with the fine people here on TAY.
At the time, I was unemployed, lonely and heading for a mental breakdown. Being able to write about my interests went a long way towards helping me heal and overcome, for the most part, my mental health issues. Things got worse before they got better, mind you.
I wrote about Another Eden, which is supposed to be a spiritual successor of sorts to the Chrono series, shortly before things got really bad in March of 2017. Shortly after that, the unemployment and isolation I was experiencing took it’s toll and I ended up being admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.
This was a dark chapter in my life, my mind had begun to unravel and panic attacks had become a daily event. Paranoia and depression began overwhelming me. Things were rather bleak, and for the next couple months while recovering I made no contributions. TAY was always there for me, though. I probably commented here and there, and found comfort in the familiar faces and themes.
The next contribution I made was about one of my favorite games of all time – Dark Souls. I had found a sense of hope in this unforgiving world. I had found strength in overcoming seemingly impossible odds. After all, having overcome my brush with insanity felt very similar to beating a boss that I had been stuck on for weeks.
I found a job shortly after that, starting in July of 2017 which went a long way towards helping me rebuild my sense of self-worth. I continued contributing, talking about things like Pokemon and Dragon Ball Super which was in full swing at the time.
Ending off 2017, I wrote about how I had not purchased a game that entire year. This was about to change – I found an even better job which I started on the 29th of January in 2018, which enabled me to re-engage with my love for gaming.
I only wrote about it much later, but some of my new colleagues were Counter Strike nuts and through one of them, who I am still close friends with today, I procured my first gaming PC which naturally made Steam and it’s myriad sales available to me. After the initial cost of buying the PC, it was now affordable to buy new games that I could only dream of playing a year before.
Not only that, I was now also in the market for a new console. I held a poll here on TAY, even though my heart was set on the Switch. Fortunately, the good people of TAY voted accordingly.
Things were really looking up for me, and TAY had been a pillar in my life. I continued contributing, the fragility of my mental health seemingly a fading memory. Until I played Doki Doki Literature Club.
DDLC doesn’t mess around, and I still get shivers thinking about it. It resonated deeply with me, and aside from maybe this one, it’s the most personal article I’ve written. Playing DDLC and sharing that experience allowed me, at the time, to take stock of how far I had come almost exactly a year after being admitted to hospital.
The rest is mostly history. I have continued to contribute and write about just about anything I feel inspired to write about, from my earliest memories of gaming in my series NES Memories, to games that I’m enjoying today.
The entire point of this article is as follows: I would like to express my gratitude for everyone here at TAY. Thank you for your contributions, your comments, and your general quirkiness. This is a wonderful community and I am eternally grateful that I was welcomed into the fold and allowed to express myself freely. I would even go as far as to say it’s changed my life, and that I will continue to try and be an active member of the community and contribute the best quality content that I can.
Thank you, TAY.