Category Archives: Video Games Suck

Depression in Stardew Valley Sucks

A few days ago I became legitimately depressed while playing Stardew Valley. It was both kinda funny and sad at how awful I felt over the game; I didn’t know whether I should laugh about it or feel depressed by being depressed by a video game, let alone Stardew Valley. This incident also shined some light on my own personality and the lack of self confidence I have in life. This post will probably be deeper than you might expect from a Stardew Valley inspired post, but here goes.

Here’s where I give a shitty overview of the game in case people don’t know what I’m talking about: Stardew Valley is a game where you farm stuff and live in a tiny village. You can talk to, befriend, and even marry some of the residents in the town. I don’t know how important all of that is to the main story of the game, but the game does stress the aspect of community, which freshens it up from being only a farming simulator. Anyway, it’s also a cutesy, 2D top down, “kiddie game” as one of my friends described it. This almost makes the incident worse because as stated it’s a kids game: It shouldn’t punch me right in the feels, especially as directly as it did.

In-game Jeremy wandering the fuck around.

There’s a community dance (The Flower Dance) that happens in the forest around day 25. It’s an optional thing to do so whatever, no big deal. I went to the dance because I’m trying to be the friendly new guy in town who is trying his damndest to fit in and be accepted in the community. I should also say that up to this point in the game I’ve been a very diligent and socially-isolated farmer: I’m toiling away in my fields every single day either chopping wood for fertilizer, planting/harvesting/watering the crops, or running into town to buy more seeds. While some people might be fucking around socializing in town all day, I’m trying to turn my farm into the most fantastic farm ever and give the community something to be proud of. Because fuck the JoJa Corporation and Capitalism in general. I’m all about seizing the means of production, even if I haven’t told Mayor Lewis any of my intentions yet…

Pam is a beauty…

So Jeremy who is the new resident of Stardew Valley — let’s call him in-game Jeremy — shows up to the dance and starts talking to people. Some of the townsfolk he sort of knowns, and others appear to be new faces. Mayor Lewis allows in-game Jeremy to decide when the dance should actually start (since the game sort of revolves around in-game Jeremy for some terrible reason. Unbeknownst to in-game Jeremy he is, in fact, the player character. The story literally revolves around him). After talking to most of the people in-game Jeremy realizes that he can ask people to dance with him. Oh shit! He actually found this when he accidentally asked the emo gothic guy to dance with him. Luckily he said no but it was still awkward. (“Hey bro, you want to dance with me? No homo tho, I just think those skinny jeans look really good on you.”) In-game Jeremy then proceeds to confidently ask the females, being picky at first but then growing desperate and asking anyoneeven the trashy, alcoholic Pam but you can’t actually ask her — if they would like to dance. They usually replied with something like this:

“Oh! Oh! I’m sorry…I, er…have plans to ask someone else.”

“I’m flattered! But…no.”

“That’s flattering…but I’m gonna have to say no. Sorry.”

“I’ll be honest. I don’t want to dance with you.”

“Eww…No.”

Holy fuck game, thanks for the hefty dose of rejection. So in-game Jeremy, with no one to dance with, finally walks up to Mayor Lewis and gives him the go-ahead to start the dance. In game Jeremy wants to just get the stupid-ass dance over with so he can head back home and go to sleep. He’s sick of these people, their rejection, and their unappreciation of him, his hard work, and his farm.

After the dance in-game Jeremy goes to his house and goes to bed. It’s night and there’s nothing to do. He almost thought about watering the crops before bed, but fuck the plants too, they can wait. In the morning, in-game Jeremy stares at the crops and doesn’t actually want to do any work, but he sure as fuck isn’t going to town today to socialize with those assholes. He doesn’t want to work on the crops but there’s nothing else to do with his life so he begrudgingly gets to work. Watering. Weeding. Planting. Harvesting. Urgh. Not that anyone appreciates it. “Fuck this place,” In-game Jeremy says as he toils in the fields the day after the dance.

A few days later, still feeling shitty but not quite as shitty, in-game Jeremy realizes that it’s Emily’s birthday, and that he should give her a gift. Maybe a flower? After he picks a few flowers and heads into town he stops and thinks, “Is she even going to like this? She probably won’t even give a shit if I give her a gift or not. If anything it’ll be the wrong gift and she’ll hate me.” In-game Jeremy goes up to the “shipping bin” where you place products your farm has created, and chucks the flowers into that. Emily has no idea in-game Jeremy was even going to give her a gift and goes about her day knowing nothing of the conflict that occured in in-game Jeremy’s head. In-game Jeremy continues to sulk and overthink things as he tends to his garden daily. “Pretty sure all the fuckers hate me,” he thinks to himself.

The next day in-game Jeremy finally drags his ass into town. He ran into Haley, a young and beautiful blonde lady who lives in town. He tries talking to her, just to say “Hi” or “How’s your day going?” The game informed in-game Jeremy that: 

HALEY IS IGNORING YOU

“Maybe you should, like, kill yourself? No one likes you or your stupid farm!”

Jesus Christ, Stardew Valley is depressing as fuck.

In-game Jeremy then stops into Pierre’s store to find some rope for a noose, but sadly Pierre doesn’t sell rope. Not that in-game Jeremy has unlocked the noose-crafting node anyways. In-game Jeremy, as depressed as he is, is hopelessly stuck in the world with no way to escape.

While I was trying to strike a clear difference between me — IRL Jeremy — and my avatar in-game (in-game Jeremy) I found it kinda difficult to do in practice. When you play a game that is as absorbing as Stardew you kinda become the player character and this is a good thing. (“This game really makes you feel like Spiderman!”) While in-game Jeremy felt like shit over being rejected by everyone in town, it also became difficult for IRL Jeremy to also not feel rejected, even if there was no reason to feel that way. While IRL Jeremy was laughing at the brutal and consist nature of in-game Jeremy’s rejection something inside was also being stirred around. The vague shadow of repressed memories, fears of total social rejection, and loneliness from high school/college swam at the corners of my consciousness. What if everyone I know actually hates me? What do people say about me when I’m not around? Am I really as awkward as I think I am? Does anyone actually appreciate me? It was kinda scary. Faced with the “fun, kid-friendly” story and graphics of Stardew Valley, it almost seemed surreal in a way. This game was making me feel like shit about my own life and had me questioning all my real relationships and my worth in the world.

I also felt bitter and angry towards the damn in-game townsfolk; these people aren’t even real and I was pissed at them! Logically it made sense that no one wanted to dance with in-game Jeremy because he was the new guy in town who has only been around for 25 days (or like 2.5 months if you take Stardew time in terms of a year) and who wasn’t being social at all or making zero effort to socialize. The town basically sees in-game Jeremy as a recluse farmer who never talks to people but then shows up and creepily asks every person available to dance. No shit they said no! If I was a video game NPC like these people I’d also say no! In-game Jeremy — you socially-inept idiot — you have to make actual effort in relationships for them to work. And if that isn’t hitting things a bit close for IRL Jeremy as well. I found myself questioning how much effort I put into friendships and if I expect other people to do all the work. Or do I just show up and expect people to like me when I do nothing likeable at all? Do I show enough interest in other people? Or am I self-centered asshole that metaphorically is a recluse farmer who tends his fields all day? Once again I wasn’t expecting goddamn life lessons from Stardew but here we are.

One of the highlights of the game so far. I was pissed and fishing off this bridge just because, and Abigail walked up and stood next to me. She stood there for hours watching me fish and neither of us said anything. In-game Jeremy was utterly focused on catching those damn fish and gave no outward sign of his appreciation, but he loved her for being there keeping him company.

I’m complaining here but you have to give the game credit: usually people play video games just to kill time, to have fun, or to escape the real world for a little bit. To feel some progress in a game world to counteract the utter difficulty and lack of progress in the real world. It’s a rare game that somehow acts as a mirror and puts yourself up there on display for you to analyze, especially if said game is usually viewed as a “kids game.” This allows you to lower your defenses and to be vulnerable, not realizing that you’re about to get utterly punched in the feels so aggressively that it resonates with your actual self. Stardew Valley made in-game Jeremy feel like a loser who would never properly fit in with the townsfolk even if he really wanted to, and that made IRL Jeremy also feel the same way, constantly searching for approval, community, and appreciation. The depressive mood didn’t last for long, maybe twenty minutes or so, but it was twenty minutes that I was not prepared for at all. It was an eye-opening experience that I wasn’t at all ready for. Fuck you Stardew Valley for being such a good game.

Goofing Around (In Video Games) Sucks

In my last post I mentioned that I 100%ed Super Mario 64. This is a heavily nostalgic game for me and countless others and while it hasn’t aged magnificently over the years it still remains a classic. It retains its charm and is still an enjoyable game to play if you can look past the shitty grafix from the late 90s. But I realized something upon completing the game that I didn’t realize before: Mario 64 is a really short game. Surely part of this is due to me having played it before, but I don’t think this has much to do with why it feels so short. It’s been so long since I played Mario 64 to completion I had almost forgotten where most of the stars were and had to “rediscover them” even if I had a vague hint of a memory where the star was. (I still remember the Turok master cheat code though: nthgthdgdcrtdtrk. Looks like something out of a Lovecraft story.) So while the game was easier than it was when I first played it, it wasn’t just a feat in repetition; I really had to discover the game all over again.

I found myself wondering how, as a kid, I was able to pour so much time into this game as I did. I was able to knock out all 120 stars within a week as an adult, and even if I had played the game before, I assume a new player could still beat the game quickly. It’s just not a long or complicated game. How did my childhood-self find this game so massive and consuming that I could literally play it for hours after school, day-after-day for months on end? Bowser had his ass kicked and I had all 120 stars, so what was I doing endlessly playing the game?

Outside of a few other minor things (being a bored kid, no internet, etc.), I assume it was because I dicked around in the game. I should explain that a bit more. This means that outside of the actual game-dictated challenges I would find other bullshit challenges to set for myself. It was total immersion in the world where you’re just playing around and having fun with the game itself. Grabbing the stars is what you’re supposed to do but dicking around is ignoring what you’re supposed to do to do random bullshit. Somehow kid-me excelled at this while adult-me is pretty terrible at it.

Bob-omb Battlefield

The first level, the iconic Bob-omb Battlefield, had a turtle whose shell you could ride like a skateboard. It was fun as hell to grab his shell and challenge yourself to do stupid shit with it: could you surf up to the top of the mountain without hitting anything and losing his shell? Could you use the shell to race Koopa the Quick? You could also grab the Wing Cap, jump into cannons, and fly around for the hell of it. Each level offered so much to do but only if you’re creative enough to play around with the game. This was even better if you had friends to play with. You could all take turns having races to the top of the Bob-omb mountain, or see who could get Baby Penguin to his mom is the fastest time possible (or who could drop him off the cliff in the most cruel/hilarious way). Your imagination was the only limit to the fun you could have in Mario 64 as well as any other game.

Shell surfin’. I crashed a few seconds after this attempting to make it to the top of the mountain.

Something changed because now I don’t have the time or patience to fuck around in video games. I don’t know if it’s adulthood itself or aspects of adulthood like having a job and a tighter schedule that changed things, but I find myself being very “goal oriented” when I play video games. It does take all the fun out of them too. I view the game as just that: a game. Games are now just a big and sometimes complex puzzle: you figure out what you need to do to achieve a goal and you do that. Find key, go to the next room. Kill enemies, get to the end of the level. Find enough moons to fight Bowser. Etc. It’s basic problem solving now: discover problem, research the problem, conquer the problem. Complete the quest and beat the game. And then onto the next game. It’s depressing.

Flyin’.

As I was writing this post, the word playing popped into my head. Dicking around in video games, as I’ve been explaining it, sounds a lot like playing. Kids will grab toys and play with them not for a purpose but just because. I even looked up the definition of the word play and guess what it is?

Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”

-The Damn Dictionary

So, fuck, it’s not that adult-me is overly goal-oriented or that kid-me was better at making up random shit to do, kid me was better at playing while adult me fucking sucks at it. Making this even worse is that when adult-me is “playing” video games, I’m probably not actually playing them. I’m always chasing a set of goals or in-game challenges and am not playing for the pure enjoyment or recreation of it. Or my personal enjoyment and recreation while playing a video game is in beating the game and not playing the game. Holy fuck, I didn’t think there’d be an epiphany in this post, but there it is. Kid-me played video games and adult-me beats video games.

This entire post reflects back on the last post about 100%ing Nintendo games. In that post I argued that Nintendo is kinda badass by not giving you any real rewards for going above-and-beyond in your video gaming duties. They rely on your own self-motivation to accomplish all of the extra bullshit you need to 100% one of their games. They’re going to give you the shit to do but not reward you for it. This post is sort of the same thing: to properly play a video game you also need to go outside of what the game itself gives you for goals/accomplishments and find your own way towards fun. This is the essence of playing — doing something for your own enjoyment with zero practical reason to motivate you — and is a huge reason why I enjoyed video games and could pour hours into them as a kid. I was playing and not simply trying to chase goals. As adult gamers we might become overly “goal-oriented” and miss the whole reason for playing a game: to have fun! But to have fun you need to be creative and do something for the sake of doing it, just like 100% video games entails. So the next time I play a video game I’m going to try to sit back, relax, and actually enjoy the experience instead of checking off a list of items that the game wants me to do. Being an adult is kinda shitty in case you didn’t know that yet.

100%ing Nintendo Games Sucks

“Thanks for playing Super Mario 64! This is the end of the game, but not the end of the fun.”

-Yoshi

I said in this post how Nintendo games have a deep and rich history of having “collectible” items that tempt the dedicated/addicted/completionist player to obsessively play the game until they find everything there is to find. This is always after the main game/quest has been beaten and is always optional to do. For me this started with Super Mario 64 with its 120 total collectible stars (with only 70 needed to complete the game) and seemed to hit its absurd peak with Wind Waker’s picture figurine quest. Famously, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild turned it up even more by giving you its own picture quest (Hyrule Compendium: 350+ entries), beating all 120 shrines, and — heaven forbid — getting all the Korok seeds (of which there are 900 of!) which is probably the worst and most anticlimactic completionist quest in any video game ever.

You have to admit this is really cute.

The “problem” with these 100% quests is that they occur after beating the game where there is no real incentive for doing them. Nintendo doesn’t wave shiny rewards, fancy weapons, new endings, or even shitty achievement badges in front of you. Even if Nintendo has started to plop “rewards” into their games for 100% completion, they’re pretty shitty.

Let’s give some examples of these “rewards.” Mario Odyssey puts a hat on top of Peach’s Castle and gives you a firework display! Breath of the Wild’s shrine completion quest gives you Link’s classical tunic (which doesn’t offer anything unique and is a bitch to upgrade). BotW’s compendium gives you…uh…idk? Pride? And the Korok seeds? Fuck that: you are rewarded with literally a piece of shit for finding each seed. It has no use or purpose and is, well, a piece of shit.

Yay. 999 moons.

No one can plead ignorance of these shitty rewards because it’s 2019. The internet exists. Before any sane person actually attempts any 100% challenge they’ve certainly researched what they were about to get themselves into. They’re undertaking the quest all on their own knowing well there is no actual reward. But there is some reward because people still 100% these games: the reward is accomplishing something you’ve set out to do, with zero outside influence or persuasion, with no rewards or shiny things dangled in front of you. Nintendo 100% completions are something to note because, outside of there being shitty “rewards,” there is nothing to actually motivate you. You know that you’re doing something for zero reward outside of your own fulfillment, you do it, and that’s the end of the story. You get a star next to your save file. You get a speech by Cappy. You get a shitty suit of armor. You get a golden piece of poop. You get a gold-colored sail. Or a fucking hat on top of a castle. Nintendo 100% completions are kinda admirable in a way because of how anticlimactic they are and how people still chase after them.

100%ing Mario 64 was one of the highlights of my childhood (yeah, no joke). I’ve kept that memory and accomplishment with me over the past 20 years! I’ve also sort of 100%’d Goldeneye but this achievement is tarnished by cheating. That game was fucking difficult to 100%. (Go check the par time for the Facility level to unlock the cheat: 2 minutes on the hardest difficulty. Fuck you.) But the Mario 64 100% was 100% legit and 11 or 12-year-old me pulled that shit off with no guide, no cheats, no internet, or anything. It was pure dedication and skill, a genuine display of video gaming prowess, even if there wasn’t much else to do after school.

Today I 100%’d Mario 64 on a PC emulator and was looking forward to the moment greatly. This was what 12-year-old me experienced years ago as my first 100% Nintendo completion, so how would it hold up? It was even worse than I remembered! The last star I got was the infernal Rainbow Ride 100-coin star: the level branches like a tree and has no obvious route that is better to find coins on (outside of the group of blue coins that is). If you fuck up and fall you need to start over. There is no saving mid-level in the game. Making this even more fitting is, while I don’t remember certainly, I’m confident this was the last star I got back in the late 90s as well. It’s such a bullshit star to get that I know 12-year-old me also procrastinated the star as long as possible.

Once you get the 120th star, you’ve beaten the game 100%. There isn’t anything left to do. What surprised me was how nothing actually happened in the game to signal the Grand Feat: no notifications popped up, no music played, and the unknowing player wouldn’t even realize that they’ve just found every star in the game. Nothing obvious changes at all. Since I’ve done this before I knew where to go: outside the castle and near the pond is a cannon that is now accessible. You naturally shoot yourself to the top of the castle (there’s nowhere else to shoot Mario to) and find a very low-polygon Yoshi. You talk to him and he says some uplifting shit and jumps of the castle. I screencapped some of the moment, grabbed the wing cap, triple-jumped off the castle, and flew around the castle. And that was it: game complete. Mission Accomplished! You’ve won.

“Hey, Yoshi! So, uh, is this it? Not that I’m complaining or anything, but it was a lot of work to get all of these 120 stars…”

So now what? As a kid I would make up shit to do and just dick around in the game, playing for hours and hours doing nothing, but as a goal-oriented adult my goal was to get 120 stars. I did that and I’m done with the game. It’s nice to see Nintendo being consistent with the existential crises that arise anytime you 100% one of their games. You get no reward outside of the pride of accomplishing it, and while that’s good because you only have yourself to motivate you, it still is a hollow sort of victory. What’s surprising is how Nintendo has even improved the rewards over the past few decades as Mario 64 gave you almost no pat-on-the-back for completing the game. It was pretty shitty and I’m surprised my 12-year-old self kept the pride of 100%ing the game in his mind as long as he did.

So as stupid as 100%ing Nintendo games is as there is no reward, you gotta give Nintendo credit. They don’t give a fuck if you want to complete their games or not: that’s up for you to decide. They’re not going to give you a reward or a participation trophy to plop on your xXxGamerDood69xXx profile so your friends can see. No, Nintendo gives you jack shit to show for it except pride in accomplishing something without being forced to do it. It’s fucking free will. While it sucks, it’s kinda badass in the way. Like Nintendo, the friendly kiddy video game company, is trying to teach you some deep life lesson about goals, rewards, achievements, and enjoying life.

The Mario Jump Rope Challenge Sucks: The Hardest Moon in the Game

I played Super Mario 64 when it was released in like 1996 or something. Yeah, I’m kinda old. In case you didn’t know, the main plot of the game involves you collecting power stars to open up locked areas of the castle in an effort to — wait for it — save Princess Peach from Bowser. The thing is you only need 70 moons to actually beat the game while the game offers a total of 120 stars. This might be the first Mario game where there is this idea of collectable items. It’s a natural tendency for us OCD-prone people to need all 120 of those damn stars to finally 100% complete the game. The leads directly to my current problem…

Super Mario Odyssey — the newest and possibly greatest game in the Mario series — has the very same DNA as Mario 64 except things are turned up to 11 this time. Instead of needing 70 stars to beat the game you need like 120 stars moons. There’s a second ending and more levels that are unlocked when you obtain 500 stars moons while the game holds a total of an amazing 880 unique stars moons! (Really it’s like 830 unique moons as some of these are “multi-moons” that count as three.) Compare this to Mario 64 where you need about 60% of the moons to beat the game. Odyssey requires only 124 moons — or about 15% of the total moons — to beat the game. More levels are unlocked at 250 and 500 moons: 30% and 60% of the total, respectively. My point is Odyssey requires a smaller percentage of moons to actually progress the game leaving a goddamn mountain of moons to find if you want to 100% it.

And of course you want to 100% the game because you have such fond memories of meeting Yoshi on top of Peach’s Castle after getting the 120 stars in Mario 64. It was the crowning achievement of your elementary school days so, naturally, wouldn’t it be cool to 100% Mario Odyssey as well? Mario 64 ingrained us with that drive to 100% Mario games and it isn’t any different in Odyssey. There’s only one problem with that: Odyssey is hard.

I laugh when people think Mario is a kids game. Mario is a kids game but it’s also a cruel and harsh Nintendo game and sometimes Nintendo simply doesn’t fuck around. Sometimes Nintendo makes a game that’s very cute and friendly towards kids but totally fucks people up that push the game to its limit. And that’s exactly what happens when you want to 100% the game. The game asks — no requires — a precise level of platforming if you want that 100%.

There are certain stars moons in this game that are total bullshit to obtain. Some final levels are basically repeats of earlier levels where the devs take out (or insert) some really cruel mechanic. One level requires you to dodge poison plants (as you’ve done previously) but they make the walkway above the poison lake invisible (“Invisible Road: Rush!” moon). In one final level you repeat a timed level that features the motor scooter except they remove the scooter and you have to roll as fast as possible (“Vanishing Road Rush”). The margin of error on that level is only like a second or so. Another level requires you to do like 12 perfectly timed long jumps in a row (“Breakdown Road” moons) where a single mistake or slightly mistimed jump means you fail the level.

There’s also the volleyball challenge where you must hit a ball 100 times (“Hero of the Beach!”). This sounds really trivial except you get to start over at the beginning if you fuck up. Making it up to 50 isn’t hard so replaying the entire first half is torture. I think it took me 2 or 3 tries so it wasn’t too bad I guess. It was one of those challenges that is kinda a cheap sort of challenge. It just takes time smacking a ball back and forth. It’s monotonous.

But the crowning achievement of Odyssey’s bullshit-moons is the infernal jump rope challenge moon (“Jump Rope Genius”). The first moon of this challenge in New Donk City is easy enough and triggers after only 20 jumps; it’s the second moon that is impossible to get. You need 100 perfectly timed jumps to unlock this moon and it seems to be nearly impossible even if it does seem stupidly trivial at first.

A good example of the rope moving fast enough to display individual frames with Cappy looking kinda surprised.

As with the volleyball challenge, as you progress the speed of the rope increases to insane levels. I’ve personally made it up to about 60 jumps and by this time the rope is moving so fast I can’t physically hit the jump button fast enough. Mario doesn’t make it down to the ground quickly enough to start another jump! Gravity isn’t strong enough for me to make these jumps! The A button physically cant be hit fast enough by my finger to jump over the rope! You can literally see the single frames of the rope as it flashes across the screen as quickly as it does: it ceases to be a smooth motion at that rate. 30 frames-per-second doesn’t even survive the jump rope challenge. But Nintendo, a friendly game company that makes easy kid bullshit, forces this onto you if you’re crazy enough to 100% Mario Odyssey. It’s insane and I suppose I’m insaner by trying to 100% a Nintendo game in the first place. Remember taking pictures in Wind Waker? That is what purgatory would be like.

I’m pretty sure this will be the last thing I do in the game as I just can’t make any progress on it and quickly give up to find other moons. The bullshit challenges I mentioned earlier are easier (mostly because they’re real challenges) and I think I’ve beaten the invisible plant poison level already. Hell, I even think the marathon Darker Side of the Moon level will be easier (and more cheeseable) than the stupid jump rope moon is; at least you can use Assist Mode it if you really want to. But Rope? Rope isn’t having none of that shit.

The real technique to getting this goddamn moon.

In all honesty there is a way to glitch the game by using the MARIO letters in New Donk City, but even that appears to be quite a challenge. What you do is clip a letter outside of its boundary and simply sit on it while the rope clips through the letter. With you on top of the letter or hanging on the side the game registers you “jumping over” the rope and this is why all the high scores for the jump rope challenge are all 99999: people cheesed the game with a glitch. But in all honesty getting the moon via glitch seems more rewarding and satisfying than trying to jump that fucking rope 100 times. Let’s just pretend the moon jump rope champion really is titled “MARIO Letters Out-of-Bounds CLIP CHAMPION!” because that’s much more fitting. Fuck jump rope.

Mario basking in the glory of his newly-acquired moon as the rope clips through his foot.

Note: If you read the post on my birthday you know that I actually beat this horrible challenge via the MARIO letter glitch. Truthfully, I don’t even feel guilty about it because glitching the letters out of bounds was way more fun and fulfilling than tapping a perfectly 100+ times would’ve been. I have no guilt and you shouldn’t either if you try to 100% the game.

Birthdays Suck: Part One

Note: I was in a strange mood when I wrote this; namely I was sleep-deprived and fairly drunk. So it’s a bit different from my most posts that are a bit more “thoughtful.” In fact this post seems to just be a trainwreck of bitching. But in the spirit of just doing whatever the hell I want though, I’ll post it anyways.

To start this post off let me state that I’m typing this on my phone. Yeah. I’m typing this on a Samsung Galaxy S7. Why? you might ask. Well, it isn’t because I feel like doing it, that’s for sure. I’ve written a few blog posts on my phone when I’ve been struck by inspiration and unable to make it to my laptop, but I always sit down, get comfy and in the zone to edit and post them from a real electronic device meant for doing work. Ya know, a proper keyboard and sometimes a USB mouse if I really need to get shit done. Working on a phone isn’t a choice here though: it’s a necessity. Hell, I don’t even know if I’ll make it to posting this from my phone/tablet. But we’ll see. If you read this on June 23 or the 24 I probably persevered and posted it totally from Android products. But I wasn’t happy about it that’s for sure. 

(Spoiler: My computer did start working so I am editing this on a proper device. But the original draft was written on a shitty S7.)

What led to this was my son (a two-year-old) spilled one of my birthday-beers all over my laptop. This didn’t seem to be a problem at first as it still typed okay but after about 20 minutes the keyboard ceased to work at all. This sort of spurred me on with this blog post because I wanted to write about how shitty birthdays are and as the actual day went on I just got more and more fuel to dump on the fire so to say. This event was the final “holy fuck birthdays do suck” event and solidified my will to write a post about it. So to android it was even though I fucking hate typing something on a phone while plopped down on a goddamn couch.

What started the idea of a birthday sucks post was basically me whining and bitching to a coworker a few hours before my birthday actually began. I’ll cover it in a little bit a separate post but it was basically the typical stuff I cry about most of the time: the arbitrariness of how we measure time, how as you age it makes birthdays sucks even more, the (useless) self-reflection that comes with the day, all mixed in with some fairly moderate self-loathing. Some of these themes are already featured on my New Years’ post and my Daylight Savings post. What was a surprise was the fact that I didn’t even have to make it to my birthday for things to start falling apart.

The downward trend started when I was told I needed to take one of the kids to Drive-Right (a driver training school in case they have a different name in your area) at 9 a.m. My birthday was on a Saturday so it should’ve been a relatively carefree day: no school, no work, no doctor appointments, no dentist appointments. There was no reason to have to worry about anything! It’s Saturday after all. This early job of mine kinda threw me off before I even went to bed. I famously need my sleep and anything less than 10 hours fucking destroys me. I also can’t fall asleep unless I lay in bed for 3 or 4 hours. Realistically I think I’m a cat or something. I’ve tried my damndest to change these habits but they seem to be as a belligerent part of me as my DNA is. Me trying to wake up early is like me trying to be taller or something.

What happened around 2 or 3 a.m. was the dread that I wouldn’t get enough sleep. I’d eventually fall asleep and instantly be awakened by an alarm, miserable, tired, and groggy at 8 a.m. or so. That’s only 5 hours of sleep and with every minute that passed that number became less! What happens is you get hit with the anxiety about not being able to sleep. Even while I was physically tired my mind was awake, alert, and dreading the early alarm and the certainty of being tired and miserable. This creates a terrible feedback loop where you can’t sleep and are stressed out about the fact that you can’t sleep and this makes it even less likely you’ll be able to sleep! Around 5 a.m. I quit trying to sleep and got up to play some video games.

So right away my birthday was starting with me suffering from insomnia listening to the birds chirping at 5 a.m. as I groggily played Twilight Princess. I’m not even fond of the game and bitched about it here but it was something to do. Fuck, I even did the Princess Agitha bug quest because there is nothing else to do that early in the morning. I had to pass the time somehow and even though I wasn’t exactly having fun I toiled away finding those infernal golden bugs.

Proof.

From that point on things got really foggy and my past days blended together. I wasn’t sure exactly of the flow of time and the hours seem to both crawl along and jump ahead at the same time. It would be 11:05 and then 11:07 and then 12:15. What the hell was going on? i was able to complete the trip to Drive-Right and from then on I tried to pass the time as quickly as possible. The main goal then on for my birthday was to make it until 110 or 11 p.m. where I could actually get some fucking sleep.

Somewhere in the uncertain flow of time I got that stupid ass moon in Super Mario Odyssey: the infamous jump rope moon. As I mentioned in an unpublished post I had to glitch out the R of the MARIO letters in New Donk City and cheese the fuck out of the game. This isn’t a really important matter but it was seriously one of the highlights of my miserable day. I’ve been utterly dreading this moon for the past half year, and today I got it! On my insomnia ridden hell of a 33rd birthday I got that goddamn moon. Finally.

There’s no way in hell that I was doing that the proper way.

I took about a three hour nap between 12:30 and 3:30 thinking it would help my condition — and it did somewhat — but it didn’t get rid of it completely. I still felt miserable: sleep deprived, jittery, anxiety-ridden and feeling like a bum by “sleeping” until almost 4 in the afternoon. I couldn’t explain it any clearer than by saying that I felt “dirty,” whatever that means. Like my sink felt grimy, my hair felt greasy, and my brain was covered in a toxic fog. My sister mentioned that I sounded like I just came off a cocaine binge and I’d imagine it would feel about the same. The only problem is that I didn’t get the high from actually doing cocaine. I just felt like shit with no upside at all.

So that’s where I am right now, or sort of am. We went out to eat and I had some beers and even though they’re a depressant they seemed to wake me up a bit somehow. About 4 or 5 beers in I almost feel normal. They gave me some focus and motivation towards my goals such as writing a blog post about how shitty birthdays are. But even after the day started to look up the entire beer incident happened and the day went to shit immediately before it almost ended on a high note. On top of birthdays sucking for some higher-up, cerebral matter I’m dealing with the fact they my birthday has been total bullshit for totally mundane matters. This still doesn’t change the fact that birthdays suck for legitimate reasons: it just means I’ll write about it in another post. This one has been rambling and Thompson-inspired enough that it should end sooner than later. Birthdays suck and more on that in a few days.

Apex Legends Sucks

The name of this blog is Everything Sucks so everything has to begin this way. But a full disclaimer on this post right away: I actually like Apex Legends to the extent that I play the game all the time and I think I enjoy myself (mostly) while playing it. I suppose I’m trying to say that I have nothing to fault the actual game for, but the type of game it is has some glaring fucking problems that make the experience less than enjoyable sometimes most of the fucking time. You’ll see what I’m getting at in a bit.

Apex Legends is another one of these battle royale games that has became immensely popular in the previous year or two with games like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds — affectionately known as “PUB-G” — and Fortnite being, well, immensely popular. Since they’re so popular it’s no surprise that EA, the infamous video game company, also had to jump on board with its own battle royale game called Apex Legends. Another disclaimer is in order here: I’ve never played a battle royale game before Apex so my gripes are probably applicable to other games as well only this is the first time that I’ve experienced them personally. Let’s get into it!

Being the Jumpmaster

The first way this game suck is that it forces one of your three members to be something called “the jumpmaster.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: you’re the one in charge of deciding when and where to jump into the game world which isn’t a trivial thing. Really it isn’t too big of a deal as any good player can make any location they land at work, but to the inexperienced person this seems like a huge fucking deal. It’s anxiety-inducing if you’re new to the game and find yourself as the one to decide where in the world to land your team and how they’re at the mercy of any shitty choice you make in the matter. Like I said it isn’t too big of a deal but this also plays into the next part a bit.

The Butterfly Effect

The butterfly effect (roughly) means that any small choice or action can have huge ramifications in the future. Apex is a perfect example of this in a tiny, “fun”, and easy to understand fashion. For example, think of the jumpmaster from the previous section. If you land in a good location you might find good armor, fewer enemy teams, and this might set you up in a small but decisive way that allows your team to win the game. Conversely, if you make the choice to “hot drop” into a zone where half the other teams also drop there will be a bloodbath and you most likely will die in a few minutes. This is why being the jumpmaster really sucks because where you decide to land could actually determine if you win the game or die within 30 seconds.

That was just one example but these “small choices are a big deal” difficulties are all over the game. Like going into one door could mean you find an enemy squad and get shot in the face and die while another door could mean you find the best armor ever that allows you to barely not die when you do face that enemy squad. The tiny percentage of health that you don’t restore could be the tiny but deciding factor in you and your squad’s demise. I’ve had so many games where I didn’t do anything useful at all only to revive the one person on my team that wins the game for us making me, in retrospect, immensely important to winning the match. Each game you play leaves you wondering “what if?” with every little choice you make having huge implications for the rest of the match.

Randomness and Luck

The weapon, armor, and item spawns are random (more or less I guess) so luck plays a big part in the game. This is nice for inexperienced players as they could accidentally stumble upon an amazing weapon and this helps cut down on the edge good players have. (They can’t just drop where their favorite weapon is every game and dominate.) But it is frustrating when you hot drop into a death zone and upon running into a building to find a weapon — ANY WEAPON AT ALL! — you find two or three totally useless sniper stocks so when you see an enemy in the next 5 seconds you have no way to defend yourself and are instantly dead. This plays into the butterfly effect thing above, and I suppose randomness really drives it, but sometimes the spaws just suck, you find yourself with zero luck, and you die.

I Just Can’t Quit

I’ve had more “Just one more game” syndrome in this game than I’ve had in any other game, including Don’t Starve with the similar “Just one more day” syndrome. It’s so hard to quit when playing this game. This is due to the majority of the games — like 90% — you play being total shit where you die in the first minute due to the reasons mentioned above and below. It’s so hard for a game to be satisfying to ever call it “the last game” where you quit and go about your day. You just can’t end on a low note or even worse an average note. Some games you die before finding a gun, sometimes someone sneaks up behind you and kills you, sometimes your teammates are brand new and are worthless, sometimes your teammates run off and leave you or even exit the game leaving you alone; so much can go wrong that it’s hard to have a game that is decent and an acceptable “last game.” Speaking of others in the game…

I’m Really Bad/Others are Really Good

Part of the addictiveness of the game is the fact that I’m terrible at it. I should say that I’m not terrible at it but I’m not really good at it. I can sort of hold my own and support my teammates but I certainly can’t carry a team with two shitty players.

On the opposite side of the same coin is the fact that there are some really good players out there. It’s one thing to be good against single-player AI in games but it’s a whole other deal playing against actual people who have brains and can think more swiftly than you can about how to surprise and kill their opponents. I’m kinda busy with kids and a job so I can’t play very much but imagine that 12-year-old kid who every damn day gets home from school and plays Apex for six hours straight. Everyday. And this kid has also been playing Fortnite, Call of Duty, PUB-G, or Overwatch for the past five years nonstop. He’s going to be fucking amazing and at the very least way better than most people. It’s these type of people that can and will kill you in less than a second and leave you feeling like dogshit with your playing abilities.

It is pretty amusing when a 10-year-old kid carries your team to victory though.

Awful Teammates

By far the deciding factor in any Apex game is your teammates. If you play with friends you’re probably fine as you most likely have good team chemistry and know what the others are going to do, but if you play with random people you will most likely have a shitty game. I’d say 60% of the games I play are straight-up bullshit, 20% are average, and 10% are decent. This is mostly due to who you get stuck playing with.

The game pairs you up with two other people and just imagine how that can go? Like think of your coworkers and choose two at random that you have to work closely with as a team. You have to protect each other, stick together, and travel together while every other group in the world is trying to fucking kill you. Most of your randomly chosen coworkers will fucking suck; even if you have a few that you think you could work with the majority of them are asshats that do everything wrong. This is exactly how teams in Apex Legends are.

Sometimes you have an inexperienced group that insists on hot dropping and dying instantly because none of them can barely aim a weapon or run but somehow think they can solo 6 other 3-man teams. And then there’s the one guy in the group that thinks he’s a total badass and flies halfway across the map leaving you and your other member just shit out of luck when you get attacked. It’s possible to survive that situation if you’re really fucking good but in a battle royale game like this sticking together is one of the best things you can do to stay alive. Usually the person that goes rouge-solo is either actually really good or really fucking bad but really selfish. Either way it does nothing for the well-being of the group and everyone loses.

I’m not good at the game but I know I’m not as awful as some of these other players are. If I see my squad has shitty armor I’ll point some better stuff out to them and sometimes they just ignore it! Sometimes I’ll point out enemies to my squad and — especially if they’re new — they’ll just run across open ground in view of everyone and just start shooting! This inevitably leads to the entire team’s death in less than a minute because everyone knows where we are and can fish-in-a-barrel us from everywhere. And let’s not forget the people that just ignore you if you’re fallen or dead and give zero fucks about trying to revive you or to save you. Fuck you guys, you’re the worst.

People are usually the main reason anything sucks as we’re a varied species. For every person you get along with that isn’t an asshat there are at least 10 others that fucking suck. We’re talking drivers, workers, people at the store…shitty people are everywhere and Apex is no fucking exception. Most games I play I have average or sub-par teammates that can and will utterly fuck the game up for the team. But sometimes, rarely, you get a good team where everyone has complimentary play styles and everything fits together like a puzzle or a well-oiled and tuned machine. Sometimes everything just works and it’s amazingly fun.

And that’s what makes this game enjoyable to play: searching for that good damn game. Because when the stars do line up and everything works — your teammates are good and take care of each other, you get a good drop, a good weapon, come out on top in an early fire fight, find good loot, and just get plain fucking lucky — the game is fun as hell and amazing. You feel like you’re on top of the world. It’s the fact that so much can, will, and does go wrong that when everything goes right it’s an amazing feeling. Having that game where you and your three-man team comes out on top of 57 other people is a great feeling and leaves you playing over and over again. Apex Legends doesn’t really suck, or maybe it does and that’s why it’s such a fun game to play.

Zelda Intros Suck: Twilight Princess

(As you can see, I nearly gave up on the header image. I couldn’t be bothered to play the game again to get a decent picture so I screenshotted some dudes YouTube video of the intro cutscene. I couldn’t be bothered to properly caption it so I tossed up some Comic Sans because why the fuck not? I just didn’t care.)

In my last post I shit all over the The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword because it had an insufferable introduction filled with dialogue-tutorials and it was frustrating having to “play” for over an hour just to get to play the game. Even after the intro I was constantly interrupted by whatever  my sword and couldn’t enjoy the game at all. I also hinted that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was just as bad, if not worse, although I didn’t elaborate on it because that would’ve turned into a very long post. So here it is! Why Twilight Princess — at least the introduction — is fucking awful.

I’ll recap the introduction the best I can because it’s been awhile since I played the game. This is probably good because you can see how nothing coherent happened, at least when you try to recall it. It goes something like this: There was something about kids and a sword and a slingshot and a shield and somewhere along that mess you turn into a fucking dog with some wierd whateverthefuck Midna following you around. You fish and get some random lantern from a stoner and can buy oil from a parrot. You can use grass to call hawks to get mice or something. Twilight descends, monsters appear, and three or four kids get kidnapped. And then they make you herd goats. Twice. Eventually, after an hour and a half I made it to the first fucking dungeon after saving some kids and finding some glow-ball thingys. After an hour and a half. I legit timed myself too. The beginning was just a mess. I had no idea what was going on.

The game catches its stride after that (be wolf, find glowy things, be human, beat dungeon) but holy fuck they could probably design a game intro better than that. I understand the idea of plot and world building and tutorials at the beginning but Twilight Princess beat it all into the ground with about 20 random things tossed at you in an hour. It’s a fucking mess and in that first hour you’re seriously wondering what the fuck, if anything, is actually going on. I think I’ve started Twilight Princess like 3 or 4 times and only finished it once. The beginning is that fucking bad. I thought Dark Souls was hard to get into…

I guess I have this idea of “the Great Zelda Game” in my head. The last game I played was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and while I shit upon it a little bit for the Master Sword “quest” it’s an amazingly wonderful and beautiful game. Nostalgia goggles aside it’ll probably be one of my favorite Zelda games ever. At the very least its intro blows Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword out of the water because of one primary reason: there isn’t an intro. Whereas those two beat you over the head for over an hour with tutorials, cutscenes, and random shit like fishing, Breath of the Wild says “Hey, grab that tablet over there. Have some clothes. Here’s how you climb a cliff. See ya!” And you get to play the game right away. The one dude that can give you some idea of plot or purpose doesn’t say a whole lot and you can just ignore him if you want. The game doesn’t force you into the plot at all, and when it does you’re about an hour or so into the game and can deal with a short cutscene or two. Breath of the Wild succeeds because it tosses you into the game and the world without any explanation. It’s a big and mysterious world because the game didn’t explain a damn thing to you and you’re left to explore and discover things on your own just as intended.

What about Ocarina of Time, the definitive “Great Zelda Game”? The Great Dickhead Deku Tree needs to see you. Dildo Mido won’t let you pass until you have a sword and a shield. You find those in about 5 or ten minutes and BAM you’re in the first fucking dungeon after the Great Dickhead Tree explains a few things to you. You get to play the game right away.

What about Wind Waker? You overslept and need to go to Granny’s house because it’s your birthday. Something happens with your sister and you save her and BAM! You’re on an adventure with some pirates and you get to play the game right away. Sure the game doesn’t really pick up steam until you get your ass off Windfall Island but at least you feel like you’re progressing the game. Wind Waker has its flaws but they sure don’t occur in the first fucking hour of the game.

Twilight Princess

Well…yeah…

And don’t even get me started on Majora’s Mask! You’re walking in the woods about a minute into the game and BAM! Some dickhead steals your horse and makes your day very shitty by trying to end the world. Within a minute or two of starting you’re playing the goddamned game.

Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword beat you endlessly over the head with total bullshit before you even get to play the game. It’s frustrating especially as a person replaying the games because I have fond memories of them as great games. But I’d like to play the game and not watch an hour of cutscenes, random tutorials, and pointless plot elements at the start of the game. This is probably made worse because the last game I played in the Zelda series was Breath of the Wild, a masterpiece of minimalistic design that didn’t beat you over the head with anything (other than Koroks). Even compared to older Zelda games the introductions of these two are bloated and do nothing to let you have fun playing the games. While they’re great games at their cores, you need to actually get to the gameplay to find the greatness! I loved the games and will probably power through to get to the actual game, but fuck, those intros almost broke my fucking spirit and will to play. They fucking Suck.