GRIS: A Deeply Moving And Affecting Video Game On Grief And Depression

Sometimes you’ll go into a video game not knowing what to expect, but give it time, and you may find the hidden jewel underneath. The 2018 game Gris by Spanish developer Nomada Studio, and published by Devolver Digital, is one of those games that will stand out in your mind as a uniquely crafted game full of beauty and emotional depth.

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A Promising Sneak Peek: Neo – The World Ends With You Demo

When I know there’s a video game I’ll want to play I rarely bother with the demo. The purpose of a demo is to sample a game you’re potentially interested in but not quite sure if you should get. But in the case of Square Enix’s upcoming Neo: The World Ends With You, the sequel to 2007’s The World Ends With You, it was too good of an opportunity to pass on getting an earlier feel of the game. From what I’ve experienced so far I’m now more than ever eager to continue playing it.

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Waiting For The Next Job: The Downside Of Finishing Nearly All Side Quests In A Game

Being one step closer to finishing a video game often brings a mix of emotions. There’s excitement at finally knowing how everything ends and what the fate of your character will be, but there’s also a little bit of sadness for that end of the journey.

Playing Cyberpunk 2077 for me means deferring all main story quests in favor of doing all of the side missions to stretch out the game a little longer. Now that I’m almost done playing the game this had some unintended consequences I hadn’t thought about.

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Looking Ahead: Most Anticipated Video Games Of The Summer Season

When it comes to upcoming video game releases there isn’t a lot I would buy for pre-order or on Day 1. Usually I’m very selective about what I’m willing to buy, or I’ll wait until a big games sale happens during the holiday season. But when there are games I simply have to have, one of those reasons could be because it’s a sequel to a beloved game I already played and enjoyed. There are at least two I have my eyes on for next month.

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Cyberpunk 2077: Closing In On The End

The end is nigh for Cyberpunk 2077, a video game I played since December of last year, and one of the most contentious games to ever be released in 2020. After spending about 117 hours with the video game I have experienced the game’s highs and lows and the in-between. While I’m not quite done with Night City just yet, there have been some things that stood out during the times I played.

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To Buy Or Not To Buy?: My Conundrum With Mass Effect Legendary Edition

I’ll be the first to whole heartedly admit that video games didn’t become a huge part of my life, or one of my hobbies, until 2009. I’ve mentioned this briefly in my About simpleek page and have said it many times in older posts when it was relevant. It’s probably the worst hobby to pick up when I was 24 at the time, or maybe the best, depending on how you look at it. Being at the current stage of my adult life it has gotten increasingly difficult to play all the games I want to play, even the classic ones my longtime gamer friends swear by, but I do try my best when it’s a game that really captures my attention. When Mass Effect Legendary Edition came out a few weeks ago, a remaster of BioWare’s sci-fi RPG trilogy, it should have been high on my list of games to play but I’ve been largely hesitant to buy it.

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May Update: What I Have Been Playing, Reading, And Watching

As the weather warms up and optimism grows around the U.S. over a successful vaccine rollout, there’s potential in the air that the rest of 2021 can be salvaged. While I am one of the many eager to step out of self-hibernation and into the world once more, the past few months has been good for video games, reading, and watching. Here’s a brief roundup of what has been keeping me entertained until those summer vibes eventually lure me away from the comfort of my own home.

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Howdy Neighbor: Favorite Animal Crossing Villagers

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has celebrated its one year anniversary since the game released on March 20, 2020. New Horizons went on to become the best selling Switch game of 2020, selling 11.77 million copies, and the predominant game of choice that got people through the pandemic. Although Nintendo celebrated the video game’s anniversary last month, complete with a one-year cake, my one-year with the game is actually this month when I first received it as a birthday gift last year from a friend. In honor of my whole year of playing New Horizons, I list my favorite villagers.

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V’s Got The Look: The Fashion Of Cyberpunk 2077

Three months into CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 and the game never fails to stun every time I load it up and play. Night City is a gritty, neon colored dream (or hell) and it’s easy to get lost in the different neighborhoods that make up the world. One of the things I love most about the game is the many styles and options a player has to dress up their character V. When I’m not busy hacking, shooting, or fighting my way through Night City, I’m spending part of my time hunting down new pieces of clothing to create a unique look for V. My efforts in coming up with the best outfit combinations has led to an ever growing collection of pictures of V nailing each look every time she’s out on the town. Check out my mini lookbook of V in the sleekest and cutting edge trends in Night City.

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Toughing It Out With Ori And The Blind Forest

Being a gamer often means you’ll discover what types of video games you enjoy overtime. There will be genres you’ll most likely play each and every time, and others you’ll prefer to steer clear from. After playing a wide range of games in my short tenure as a gamer, I know what my strengths and weaknesses are. One of my biggest weaknesses are platformers. I’ve never been good with wall jumps or timed jumps that make up most Mario games and others of that type. This is why I mostly avoid them for fear of never really finishing the game, or if I have finished one, it’s almost always with a bit of help from the gamers in my life who are better at these than I am. But when faced with a game that has been given to me as a present, I’m more inclined to try and finish it. This is my current situation with Ori and the Blind Forest.

[Credit: Nintendo]
Originally released in 2015 for Windows and Xbox One, Ori and the Blind Forest became available to play on the Nintendo Switch in 2019. Like all other games that first come out Ori and the Blind Forest was a critical hit and a must-play. The images released from the game were beautiful and reminded me of a well-drawn, animated storybook come to life. When I heard Ori and the Blind Forest was a platform-adventure game, the word “platform” alone was enough to give it an immediate pass. I already knew where my strengths in gaming were and platformers, along with puzzle games, weren’t one of them. Then this past Christmas my older sister thoughtfully gifted me with two highly regarded games, and if you guessed Ori and the Blind Forest for the Nintendo Switch as one of them, you’d be right.

Whenever someone in my life spends the time and money to give me a game I may not necessarily have asked for, but knew it would be a worthy one to have in my backlog, there is a strong desire on my part to play and beat the game. If I don’t there’s a sense of guilt I feel for letting a game go neglected after a friend or family member carefully picked it out just for me. Granted I have just way too many games to play now, but it’s a concerted effort to try and prioritize the ones I received as gifts.

Over the past month I’ve been adding a few hours into playing Ori and the Blind Forest. As I expected the game itself is a beauty to behold from the first and very emotional opening scenes. The story follows a guardian spirit named Ori, with the assistance of a small orb called Sein, who is tasked with restoring a dying forest back to life. As Ori you collect valuable upgrades scattered throughout the forest that will help you along on your journey.

Despite playing on easy mode, because I can’t imagine trying to tackle this game on normal or higher with my poor platformer skills, Ori and the Blind Forest is still a challenging game for me to get through. Again, playing a game where the majority of it requires me to get from one high platform to the next with careful and timed jumps is my worst nightmare. What might probably take a better player about 2-3 minutes to make the jump, it would take me 20 minutes or an hour to finish one section. Once I achieve one hurdle in the game I’m pretty much ready to call it a day.

As frustrating as playing a platformer like Ori and the Blind Forest is I’m willing to try and beat this one, albeit very very slowly. When I’m not about ready to tear my hair out after Ori dies for the umpteenth time or I can’t make a somewhat complicated jump, it is a beautiful world to spend time in. It’s a small consolation for someone like me who has a steep learning curve with platform games.

Have you played Ori and the Blind Forest? What do you love or hate about the game?