Woops I didn’t do a May post and now it’s June. This is going to be a long post because a lot has happened and I wrote it all down and feel bad I didn’t make these into their own posts but now IT’S TOO LATE….. enjoy the essay.

Video Games and Video Game Jams

I don’t remember If I mentioned it before but, my friend group is doing a very small and casual game jam! It’s actually due this week as of me writing (and hopefully, posting) this blog post.

I ended up making a visual novel with Renpy, which has been fun but also challenging. I don’t really have much experience with coding (other than this site obv) and I rely heavily on asking my friends questions and going over some tutorial videos, though I try not to overload myself by watching every single tutorial video on the planet. Right now all the dialogue is in the game, but I’ve been very slow with adding sprites. Working on this has given me a reality check about going back to do anatomy and posing studies. Maybe after the jam is over I’ll sit down and put myself through a practice bootcamp for myself. It’s been needed for a while but… woof.

I don’t know if I want to post my game jam project outside of my friend group but playing with renpy has me kind of wanting to actually write a much longer visual novel, for fun at least. I guess that’s a future project to do for fun, maybe I can re-use oc’s I haven’t drawn in years.

I’ve broken the game a few times forgetting to format things correctly, but so far I haven’t been stuck on any one thing. The biggest challenge right now is actually drawing the sprites. I got some music and sounds to add in as well but… with how long the sprites have taken me maybe I’ll learn how to work with music, sounds, and transitions a little later. I wanted to initially add some dialogue choices and routes but I think that may be a little bit above what I want to finish within the time frame for now. It’s super casual so I don’t really mind revisiting this little project again to properly learn all of Renpy.

Other video games I’ve been playing lately is… World of Warcraft, again.

Recently WoW put out a new game mode (idk what to call it exactly) which is Mists of Pandaria Remix. Anyone who has known me for almost any amount of time knows that my absolutely favorite expansion in World of Warcraft is Mists of Pandaria. It isn’t perfect, but it has some of the best, in my opinion, writing among all the WoW expansions (sadly the writing never got this good again. Maybe a bit in Legion lol.) The setting, the characters, the patches… they all fill me with such joy. It’s a good balance of goofy and silly side-quest plots mixed in with a very serious turning point between the Horde and Alliance conflict and the internal turmoil within the Horde itself.

World of Warcraft Screenshot of a bunch of player characters. From left to right, a Troll shaman, Orc death knight, mag'har orc warrior, dracthyr evoker, and a vulpera warrior

Remix is a nice revisit to the area as well as including the fun of new mechanics for this event only. For this event you’re given a cape that levels up stats as you quest, do dungeons, do raids, challenge rare and elite enemies, etc. Everything scales to you, which has made taking on world bosses incredibly funny, you see things like baby level 30 characters rip aggro from fully geared level 70 tanks sometimes because of how the numbers scale. Aside from the scaling and cape you’re given, you also have access to gems that boost your stats and gems that give you abilities from other classes as well that anyone can equip. It’s made for some incredibly fun combinations you normally can’t do in regular retail WoW.

You also get a special currency during this event that not only lets you upgrade your gear, but also allows you to purchase basically all the mounts, toys, and different gear apperances for that expansion without having to do the hard achievements and raids you normally would have had to do in order to get it. It's been nice just buying mounts instead of waiting for shitty drop rates from farming old raids. I'm kind of hoping that, if they do more "remix" events like these that they keep letting us obtain these items like this. It's felt super engaging without feeling needlessly difficult.

However, I do have my share of critiques from this game mode, namely, Blizzard hitting the “No Fun” button a lot for this event (for?? some reason??) It feels like hotfixes don’t stop coming in order to nerf abilities and player strength as well as nerfing “farming” areas that players had been using to beef up their capes. Despite the level scaling being fun, it also has made for unfortunate one-shot scenarios in some raids (I think its been fixed now though as far as I can tell.) I know part of this is that the player base has been… very divisive over how strong individual player characters should be for this event. Personally, I prefer having your characters be stupidly overpowered for content because I feel like that’s the point of being able to super power a character, but it seems that some players don’t really like this because they prefer to have the difficulty be “fair” among all players (which I can kind of see but at the same time… man it’s not that serious :c ) Hopefully for the next Remix event WoW has a better understanding on how to power up the players next time.

Other than that.. I think the only other issue I have is that the phasing technology in WoW is REALLY starting to show it’s age with this remix event. I guess that’s what happens when a game that’s almost 20 years old is running on the same engine from all that time ago… oof!

On the subject of MMO’s, Dawntrail is coming out next month I believe! I’ll be honest, my excitement for FFXIV has still been pretty low. Not low enough to fully stop playing but… it’s not really there. I think spending time away from the game is helping me slowly warm back up to it but I still have a big issue with Yoshi-P as a person after that FF16 interview and his takes on diversity in that game. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how disappointing it was to read that sort of thing from someone who you thought was cool but ended up being… not cool. It doesn’t help that the fanbase is very quick to take any criticism of the game as some sort of offense and immediately jump into defensive mode, but ugh. Either way, I have slowly started warming back up to Dawntrail, supposedly they hired people to help with the South American and South East Asian representation in Dawntrail, so that eases my concerns a little bit. I haven’t even pre-ordered it at all yet so hopefully by the end of the month the hype comes back to me even a little bit. At the very least I’m super excited for the added item limit coming at some point in the Dawntrail patches!!

Last video game I’ve been actively playing lately is the switch remake of Paper Mario and The Thousand Year Door! I’ve been so excited to play it but have been playing through it very slowly so my twin can watch me play! I love the updated look to all the places! The atmosphere of the different locations hasn’t been changed much other than with a little bit of additional set dressing and things that liven it up a bit (like trash flying through the air occasionally in Rogueport and stuff.)

I only barely got to the fourth chapter and I think maybe my only critiques of the this remake so far is that they made everything weirdly reflective? Like… even in the grassy environments Mario and co. still reflect on the floor. It’s a little weird. The music remix of the different locations has also been very hit and miss for me. So far there have been many times where I simply prefer the original music compared to the remake. I started listening to the new OST on it’s own and I think that its mostly because the music in the game itself sounds a lot more quiet than the rest of the game. Or maybe I’m being too picky, who knows!

Another welcome change is having some story lines continue properly even after they’re done. Being able to actually play out your championship comeback in the Glitz Pit is a nice and welcome addition, it makes things feel more alive!

Currently Consuming

Time for what I’ve been currently watching this month (or months I guess lmfao)

Hibike Euphonium (Sound Euphonium) season 3: I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS. PNG. I’ve been a fan of the Hibike Euphonium anime since it first aired (I haven’t touched the light novels. I really need to aaa.) Is it weird to get this emotional over fictional third-year students participating in what may be their last chance at making Nationals with their band members? Because I feel so emotional I could cry lol. Also totally not just because Kumiko x Reina is one of my most favorite yuri ships in anything (I’M AFRAID TO READ THE LIGHT NOVELS MOSTLY BECAUSE I’M SCARED REINA ENDS UP WITH THE TEACHER. PLEASE GOD NO. I KNOW THE SERIES IS BAIT-EY BUT IM DELUSIONAL...)

I’ve watched the first two seasons, Liz and the Bluebird (WHICH IS AMAZING. PLEASE WATCH EVEN IF YOU’VE NEVER WATCHED HIBIKE EUPHONIUM AT ALL), the Hibike Euphonium Movie, and now this third season… to say I’m invested is an understatement. Seeing Kumiko be the band president now and seeing how much she’s changed (and also seeing what parts haven’t changed) has been such a delight…. I already KNOW I’m going to be sobbing at the end of the anime. If you’ve never given Hibike Euphonium a watch, I really suggest you do! It has a lot of teenage melodrama (especially in season 2) but honestly it’s such a delightful watch regardless, it makes you want to root for them all.

Tadaima, Oekari: OKAY SO… OFF THE BAT… this is an omegaverse series. I think a lot of people are put off by that alone since it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (reasonably so I’d say, as someone who actually likes omegaverse stuff. Also if you don’t know what that is, look it up, I don’t want to explain aaaa.) But all that aside, this is such a sweet series! It makes me feel warm and fuzzy with every new episode. I think some of the episodes get really cheesy but honestly It’s been the highlight of my Mondays for the past few weeks lol, I Need that cheesyness to get through the week. Seeing the main couple overcome negative stereotypes and seeing them reconnect with their estranged families is genuinely so sweet. The way they treat their son, Hikari, is so sweet, they’re patient with him and never outright tell him he can’t do things. They let him learn and grown on his own, especially with the introduction of their second child, Hinata. Honestly worth a watch if you want teeth-rotting sweet family moments.

The Holostars corner (I cried, I’m still crying.)

I’m crying right now as I type this out LOL

There’s been a lot of Holostars stuff happening this month! First off, Holostars Tempus Vanguard finally got/ are getting their 3D models! As of writing this, Gavis Bettel, Machina X Flayon, and Banzoin Hakka have gotten their 3D showcases! Josuiji Shinri gets his at the end of this week and then they have a big 3D showcase together! It makes me so happy that they’ve all hit this huge milestone now along with Tempus HQ!

I don’t think I’ve blabbed enough about it here enough yet but… I love Holostars, So. Much. I know previously I mentioned stuff about Uproar during their second anniversary but honestly the whole of Holostars has made it so far! When Holostars first debuted with Hanasaki Miyabi, the odds were stacked against them. Many of them got lots of hate from the previously existing fanbase for the Hololive girls, often times they weren’t given much direction with what exactly they were supposed to do and were left with sparse resources to work with. Some of them decided to leave during these early days and some of them have admitted wondering just how long they’d last when things were so uncertain and negative. But it’s been five years since then! Five whole years! And many of them are still here!

I didn’t follow Holostars from the very beginning, I started following them around the time 3rd gen had debuted and found them through the very tiny amount of English clips were available on youtube. There was almost nothing aside from that but I ended up consuming whatever I could find that was translated. As time went on, a few more English clips showed up and I started to slowly follow more of them. Since I wrote about how I fell in love with Uproar after they were announced after the first Holostars concert in the previous post, this only opened the floodgates for me to watch and follow all the Holostars. I can’t understand anything they say, but I still love watching to see what they’re up to. Eventually EN debuted for Holostars and their popularity grew and It made me so happy see more people check out the JP Holostars as well!

It’s still rough a little bit. We had the big EN graduations last year and there was no live concert at all last year either. Some of the Holostars had health issues and had to take breaks and there were talks about this latest concert potentially being the last one because there was fears of it not selling well after there being over a year of no Holostars live concerts. Hell even after Movin’ On was announced there was still disappointment about the venue not being big enough (they really could have used a bigger venue tbh) and the way tickets were handled and excluded many overseas fans from even purchasing tickets (those that did manage to get to the concert had to go through other means to obtain tickets.)

picture of the male idol group, Holostars , from their live concert's venue.

Even so, this concert was such a delight to watch and, I’d say, it was a huge success! It sold out and the guys did a good job in building hype to it!

I didn’t get to see the first Holostars concert, First Act, aside from the free portions that were on Youtube. My first full Holostars Concert was Second Act and I still have fond memories of it being my first ever Hololive Productions concert I got to purchase and watch from home. Watching Movin’ On was exciting because it was the first time Uproar! Would be joining the main Holostars up on the stage and oh man, as soon as the show began I started to BAWL. I’m just so proud at how far they’ve come. I’m so happy for Uproar finally being able to perform with their senpai and you could FEEL their emotions up on stage, many of them burst into tears during their final talking section of the concert and I’m really hoping they can one day hold a concert with their EN kouhai.

I think I want to make it a goal to attend a Holostars Live concert one day. I want that so bad. Here’s to five years of Holostars with many more to come!

Okay that’s it for this post! I was going to write a little bit about pride month but I think I’ll save that for another post I have been writing on the side (that I’m still not sure I’ll post.) So that’s all for now o7!