Games that changed my mind about the FPS genre

Hey, Gamers! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that a year ago, I had written off FPS games as “not my type of game”. Now, things are different. During my hiatus, I really branched out and I want to talk about the games that helped me do that. Let’s Go!

The first FPS game that started to change my mind was Fallout 4. It’s one of Josh’s (my partner) most played games on the PS4, so I’ve seen a good portion of it (Editor’s Note: Just to clarify, I don’t actually like Fallout 4 very much and I have no clue how it got to be my most-played PlayStation game). I think the V.A.T.S. system helped me a whole bunch. Something that’s always put me off using guns is aiming. I can hardly see what I’m meant to be shooting by the time I’m dead so it’s always been a problem for me (even back before I became a proper gamer, when I just dabbled in Resident Evil with my dad). I think being able to identify an enemy with V.A.T.S. and then not have to aim was a great way to get me started. Pretty quickly, I started picking up on the slight moments on the screen being the target I’m meant to be shooting. I went from using V.A.T.S. all the time, to most of the time, to only when I was sure I wouldn’t be able to get the shot myself.

Cyberpunk 2077_20230429154441

Similar to this in the sense of it having a system to identify what I’m meant to be shooting is Cyberpunk 2077. Now, this game (in combination with another) was what made me and Josh sit down and have a talk about guns. I didn’t know the difference between them in any way. Through Cyberpunk 2077, we identified that I liked using shotguns the best. Despite having a primarily hacking build, I still use my guns when it’s needed but by that point, the enemy is usually close enough to me so my shotgun would be the best bet. Also, fun fact, the shotgun that I use is the same one Rebecca uses in Edgerunners, if you haven’t seen it, you should.

The other game I talked about was Fortnite. Fortnite is a game that I never thought I would play and actually enjoy. I don’t play it as much as I want to. I tend to get super hyped on it for like a week or two, and then it drops off my radar for a month or two. Anyway, whenever I get a shotgun in Fortnite, I get so excited. Josh helped me, again, understand the difference between all the guns. I think with Fortnite, more so than any other game on this list, you get dragged through game after game based on the adrenaline rush you get whenever you get in the top 10. I don’t play many multiplayer games, but Fortnite seems to be the fairest that I’ve played so far. I actually won my second and third games of Fortnite, which I always thought was pretty cool. I know it’s cringy, but it is worth the try if you want to get into more social games.


Which leads us well onto the game that kinda started this whole thing: GTA Online. I never, ever, ever thought I would be able to play something like this. I actually did pretty well, though. I don’t even know why I started playing it. I think I saw Josh play it and it actually looked fun. This was the first game I started actively using guns in. While I never sought out a gun fight, it got to the point where I could competently defend myself. If someone killed me, I would go after them. It got to the point where I felt comfortable with combat, which I never thought would happen in any game, never mind an online game. I will say that I did end up playing in a solo session towards the end, just because I couldn’t be bothered with other players trying to steal my business’ goods. It got me confident enough to try other shooters and FPS games, which is pretty cool and was completely unexpected.

And that, Gamers, is how FPS turned out to be my ‘genre of the year’ on my 2022 PlayStation Wrap-up. I didn’t even screenshot it because I really, really never thought I would speak out about this on my blog. I think the reason I wanted to write this post is because… thinking that you can’t play FPS games because of a skill issue limits the games you play drastically. It limits the amount of social interaction you have in games, it can limit so many stories you can experience… and I used to think that it was a barrier I’ll never get over but the barrier was more like a poorly put up fence when in my mind it was the wall from Attack On Titan.

My point is: branch out. Try it. Try different types of games of the same genre. I really wanted to like Deathloop and we even bought it but I wasn’t able to do it. I cannot wait to try it again now that I have much more experience with that type of gameplay. You are going to be amazed at your own ability whenever you overcome a hurdle like this.

That’s it for this post, Gamers! I know it’s on the shorter side but I didn’t think you’d want another list and I felt like this post was a good one to get out now before I try Deathloop again. Don’t forget to like this post if you liked it, follow this blog for more gaming content and check out my socials to… be social. See you next post!


Quote of the Week

Week: 15th – 21st May 2023

Game: Yakuza 5

Character: Haruka Sawamura

Quote: “No matter how difficult things might get, I don’t want to live with the regret of not ever trying”.

Reason: Well, this is a huge spoiler for my monthly progress report. I was terrified for Haruka’s section of Yakuza 5. I knew that if there was a point in this series where I couldn’t move past it, it was this. I am so bad at any sort of rhythm-based game. I have several conditions that impact it, primarily dyslexia and dyscalculia. Primarily (because I know a lot of people don’t know this), my dyscalculia means that I struggle to tell the size of things like gaps in between button presses (or even if one square is bigger than the other). While I recognised this whole time that I would have a more difficult time… I didn’t give up. I told myself (and for neurotypical people, I imagine that this sounds insane) that Haruka was also at a disadvantage. We were going to work through it together. We practiced and practiced and practiced until my fingers started hurting. I learnt to love Haruka’s section of this game. I loved the challenge it gave me, how hard I had to work for it. Yes, I was at what sometimes feels like an unfair disadvantage… but I wasn’t alone. So, when Haruka got given the option to drop out of the Princess League before the final round… I knew we couldn’t do it.
I have a lot of trauma, and something that goes along with that is a lot of regrets. Regrets of not doing more, of not sticking up for myself, of not telling more people. I’m trying to heal from that now, and I’m learning that all these regrets are just negative thoughts that are weighing me down. You can’t do anything about regrets. Haruka is so young, but she’s so right. The regret of not trying something is one that haunts most people, and I know from experience that it’s a particularly difficult one to get rid of. Sure, things might get hard but at least you tried. If you don’t try, you have nothing. Wise words from a 16-year-old, but I expect nothing else from Haruka.

My 10 favourite and least favourite Pokémon

Hey, Gamers! A long time ago, I wrote a list about the best Pokémon as someone who has never finished a full Pokémon game. Since then… I’ve fallen in love with the franchise. My favourite Pokémon weren’t even on the list. It was mainly judged my cuteness, Josh’s opinion, and general popularity. I promise you, for this list, the only one of those things that apply is cuteness. Even then, there’s a whole lot of cute Pokémon that didn’t make this list. There are over a thousand Pokémon now, after all.
A few things I wanted to clarify here: If a Pokémon is included is a baby or the first stage of an evolution line, that implies the full line deserves the spot. I specifically only chose Pokémon that I liked the full lines of because if I like the full lines to put them on this list, they have to be solid. I also don’t dislike any regional variants (although some are questionable), so they’re included too. This is obviously especially the case if I mention a regional variant in the explanation.
Also, I’ve added my top 10 least favourite Pokémon because I thought it would be funny to talk about.
I think it would be funnier if you read the original list first, which is why I’m including the link here and not at the end of the post like normal.

Without any further comments, let’s get into my top 10 favourite and least favourite Pokémon!


10) Diglett.
For those who have been following me for a while, you’ll know that I got into Pokémon through the anime and playing Let’s Go Eevee. I kid you not, Diglett carried my team with Dig. There was basically no problem that Dig couldn’t solve. I actually traded to get an Alolan Diglett, but I don’t think that added to it much other than the act that it was levelling up significantly faster than most of the Pokémon I trained. Diglett holds a special place in my heart because of its strength during my first ever full playthrough of a Pokémon game, and because of that… I have not used Diglett since. I know Diglett isn’t a particularly good Pokémon now, and I don’t ever want bad memories associated with it by using it and it being useless.

9) Zorua.
My first experience with Zorua was the anime movie Zoroark: Master of Illusions. I am going to be completely open with you guys and say the only time I have actually used Zorua was Legends Arceus… when I was mainly using another Pokémon so ‘used’ is a loose term here. I love the lore and design of Zorua. I love that it disguises itself as other Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet. I think I love the idea of it more than it itself, though. I never manage to make it fit on my team and if it was higher on this list, I probably would.

8) Impidimp.  
Impidimp is very special to me for a very personal reason. The games it came out in – Sword and Shield – are meant to be based on England (as a Welsh person, I hate when people say the UK or Britain because there’s so much cool Welsh, Scottish and Irish mythology and heritage that got left out and would have made the games so much cooler). In particular, the Impidimp is based on the Lincoln Imp. At the time the games came out and even when I got into Pokémon a while later, Josh and I were living in Lincoln. It was and will forever be such a special place to us. We’ve both used this evolution line and called them Lincoln because… it felt wrong not to. Even though I knew Josh’s was called Lincoln… what else was I going to call it? Imp? Castle? Cathedral?

7) Riolu
I don’t know why I always get excited when I see a Riolu or Lucario. It genuinely just fills me with joy. Unlike most, I love this type of evolution criteria. I loved having my little Riolu follow me around (or… try to follow me around) in Shining Pearl. Finding an Alpha Lucario filled me with so much adrenaline… it- I just love it, okay? I don’t have the words to explain why. It’s cute and a fighting type, I guess.

6) Pawmi
Pawmi came very close to dethroning another electric type on this list, which was shocking because at one point, that Pokémon was my ultimate favourite (because I thought Eevee was everyone’s favourite so I needed to pick another and I wanted to pick a non-starter Pokémon to be my favourite because I didn’t think they counted). I love the design, the move pool, the evolution criteria (I know, another one that’s not very liked by the general community). This is a solid Pokémon line. My Pawchi (that was its nickname) was the first Pokémon on my Violet file to reach Level 100, and it was no where close to my other Pokémon who were around level 70 at the time.

5) Chimchar
Okay, this is an exception to the whole Josh has not influenced this list thing. Chimchar is Josh’s favourite starter. I always pick the water starters. I ended up with Piplup when playing Shining Pearl. I know that Chimchar is the best. I think the Gen 4 starters are interesting in the sense of not many people think Piplup is useful or good; everyone thinks Turtwig is cute and useful; everyone knows that Chimchar is ultimately going to be the best choice. There are so many perks to picking Chimchar in Sinnoh that it would be a bit silly to not ignore its clear superiority over the other starters (again, I used Piplup and will pretty much always pick Piplup). I think that with most Pokémon on the previous list, the only opinion I cared about was Josh’s. With Chimchar, it’s not the same. It’s more… I appreciate the usefulness, practicality and popularity of the Pokémon while recognising that it holds a special place in Josh’s heart. Plus, and not to be that guy but, Chimchar is cute. The Legends Arceus quest about Chimchar made it out to be so cheeky and I just found that adorable.

4) Shinx
Oof, getting into the serious ones now. The Shinx line was ‘the other electric type’ that I spoke about earlier. Luxray was the first Pokémon that I ever got to Level 100. I wouldn’t say it carried my Shining Pearl and Legends Arceus teams, but it worked hand in hand with the next Pokémon I want to talk about. Shinx is so cute and it genuinely fills me with joy whenever I find one in the early routes of Sinnoh. I was so sad in my first Nuzlocke because for Route 202 I believe, I fainted it so I just couldn’t get it. Luckily, I got one on one of the following routes. Electric is obviously a solid type, and Luxray feels like the peak of it to me. The only thing I don’t love about this Pokémon is its shiny, but even then, I would still hunt for it and I would still be overjoyed if I got one.

3) Gible

I love this Pokémon so much I sometimes get emotional just thinking about it. This entire line is amazing. The design, the moves, the strength- I love this Pokémon line. Garchomp is, without any exaggeration, the singular Pokémon I have wanted to use on every single one of my teams. I had to fight with myself for Gen 9 because I wanted to use Pokémon that I had never used before… but I found a baby Gible and it was so cute and my team needed a ground type. I think, in my head, ground types are the one thing I need on my team every time because I’m so scared of coming up against a super strong electric type that I can’t defeat. It’s like a really specific scenario that I have in my head, but it’s there and controls me. I used Diglett a lot during my first playthrough, but Garchomp hits different. Like, if Garchomp was a Taylor Swift album, it would be Speak Now. That’s how good it is. Yes, I’m excited about Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), but if you haven’t listened to Speak Now yet, wait until July. Duh. Anyway, Garchomp is wonderful and very practical. I think out of all the Pokémon in this list, Garchomp is the one that’s most likely to be on my team at any given time.

2) Eevee

Eevee was my favourite Pokémon before I knew what Pokémon was. I felt personally connected to the entire line as I felt like it was… symbolic of a condition I have. I loved my Eevee during Let’s Go Eevee, and I even used a Gigantamax one in Sword. My favourite Eeveelutions switch between Espeon, Umbreon and Sylveon. I love the design of all of them, but in particular I feel like Leafeon and Glaceon have very cool designs. They’re all super cute, too. I managed to both catch them all and evolve them all from Eevee in Legends Arceus, which made me feel really good.

1) Squirtle.

If you’ve known me for the past two years, you would’ve seen this coming when you read the title. Squirtle is so special to me. It started with the anime, and then I got my Squirtle in Let’s Go Eevee. Josh traded me a Squirtle so I could get one before finishing the game in Shining Pearl. It killed me to not have a Squirtle in Legends Arceus (but I had Garchomp to rely on sooo it ended up working okay in the end). I got a Gigantamax Squirtle in Pokémon Sword which I swapped for my starter Pokémon (RIP Sobby) as soon as I got it. Like, this entire line makes me so happy. The design, the cuteness, the… The Squirtle Squad. The Squirtle Squad isn’t the only reason I like Squirtle, but it is a big part of it. Can you blame me? They’re so cute and funny and cheeky and wonderful and I just can’t with them. I feel like Squirtle always have so much personality and I just- I love them so much, okay?

Least Favourite-

10) Chewtle
I don’t hate this Pokémon; I just find it a little annoying during the early routes of Sword. I think the first time I tried to play Sword, I didn’t quite understand Pokémon yet, so I just got bombarded by a lot of Chewtle and it’s left a sour taste in my mouth since then.

9) Paras
Legends Arceus.

8) Buizel
I think this stems from it being one of the first times I came across a Pokémon that I couldn’t use due to the starter I picked. Like, I know it’s petty new player stuff… but I still hold that grudge and can’t seem to shake it.

7) Yanma
Don’t like bugs; this feels like the most annoying one. I hated it in New Pokémon Snap because it makes an annoying noise, and it hurts my ears and ruins my shots.

6) Nosepass
If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that I have been trying to play through Pokémon Emerald (“trying” being the keyword) for about a year now. Lately I’ve decided that in my new game, I would train up a Ralts. It took me so long. I went marching into the gym as soon as it knew confusion with full faith that my Mudbro would wipe out the entire team. After healing like three times, Nosepass fainted my Mudbro. I think I had revives, but that wasn’t the point. It was so annoying because everything else went down in one single hit and this one stupid Pokémon was being stubborn. So, yeah, this is a new one but I’m still annoyed.

5) Heatran
It took me literal months to catch this stupid Pokémon. Real life months.

4) Wingull
This might stem from my fear of birds IRL, but it just fills me with rage whenever I see it.

3) Sharpedo
This Pokémon has no right being so fast and so mad at the same time.

2) Lickitung
I hate tongues. They’re wet and throb and are so gross.

1) Steelix
Josh says my hatred of Steelix is irrational, and that makes sense because I don’t know why I hate this Pokémon so much. I’m fine with Onix, so it’s not Sturdy. It’s just so stupid. It genuinely makes my jaw clench just thinking about it. I just hate it with every fibre of my being. I want to get a huge fire and just watch it melt. I really, really hate Steelix, and I don’t know why. Like, I genuinely have no clue and that makes me more mad. I wish I had a good reason for my obvious overreaction but I don’t. I can’t stand either the thought or sight of this awful abomination.

But that’s it for this post, Gamers! What are your favourite and least favourite Pokémon? Let me know in the comments section, and don’t forget to give this post a ‘like’ if you liked it. Follow this blog for more informal gaming content and check out my socials to stay updated when I’m not posting. See you next post!

Quote of the Week

Week: 8th– 14th May 2023

Game: Yakuza 5

Character: Haruka

Quote: “You just have to hold on a little longer. You’re obviously an upstanding young man, and the children all look up to you.”

Reason: I am absolutely loving Haruka’s story in Yakuza 5. I’m enjoying the idol stuff a lot more than I originally thought I would. My favourite events to do are the Running Girl TV show and the handshake events. This particular quote comes from an interview that starts as a side story rather than a job on the schedule like the other interviews. Why? Because it’s responding to letters from the Morning Glory kids. Guys, my heart couldn’t take it. If you’ve read the post where I offer an apology to Kiryu (linked at the end of this one), you’ll know that I’m mad at Park for taking Haruka and Kiryu away from those kids. This side story just increased that anger. Those kids need them, and Park should have realised that. I think the Morning Glory kids are really special to both Kiryu and Haruka, but it’s more… obvious with Kiryu. Like, those are his kids, they’re obviously going to be special to him. In the previously mentioned post, I talked a bit about the responsibility put on Haruka when Morning Glory is established. Before writing that post, I actually spoke to Josh about how it’s obvious that Haruka has a mother role. In this conversation, it’s made explicitly clear that those kids view Haruka as their mother. It just makes the whole thing worse. This whole conversation could have been the quote of the week (if I saw it all, which I didn’t because the tears fogged up my glasses), but I chose this one because it’s the one thing giving the kids hope. I don’t know much about Yakuza 6 apart from Haruka having a baby and being in a coma. So, she’s not back at Morning Glory. I’m not going to give these kids false hope that she’s going to come back. It’s actively something I avoided doing but Haruka did it anyway. This line, I feel, speaks a lot to the kids. It reminds them that there’s always someone looking up to you and that in the end, everything is going to be okay. I think that’s an important lesson to learn. You see, bad things happen and they happen fairly frequently. Even if it’s a big thing… the world keeps moving. Life keeps going. If you push through, everything has to be okay eventually. It’s a lesson I hope to teach my own kids as soon as possible because I forget it often at 23.

Kiryu Post Link:

Persona 5 Royal characters as songs from Taylor Swift’s masterpiece, ‘Midnights’.

Hey, Gamers! I have been a huge Taylor Swift fan since 2011. I actually got bullied for how much I loved Taylor Swift. I know no one wanted this post, but I’m doing it because I think it’ll be fun. This is part of a new series where I assign characters from video games a song off of a Taylor Swift album. For my favourite thieves, I was going to do Reputation but I wanted to start with Midnights. I might do Rep for the thieves anyway… this series might end up being all about the Phantom Thieves. Since Midnights has more songs than the Phantom Thieves has members, I will be adding the odd confidant here if it feels right. Let’s go!
Before we get into it, this is merely my own interpretation of the characters. If you believe something else, that’s fine. We can view characters differently. Secondly, I’m including the third semester thieves from Royal so if you haven’t got that far, save this post for when you have.

This is Persona 5 Strikers, the rest of the pictures are Persona 5 Royal

1) Lavender Haze: Morgana
This one isn’t that deep. Lavender Haze is about the feeling you get when you’re in love, and Morgana is canonically in love with Ann.
2) Maroon: Ohya
This one is not that deep either. Ohya’s confidant is fantastic in terms of the story. I highly recommend doing it if you haven’t already. Maroon is about being in a relationship that didn’t end well; it wasn’t perfect but you can remember the good moments. Lyrics that give me Ohya’s vibe include ‘”How’d we end up on the floor anyway”’, “When the silence came, we were shaking blind and hazy” and “how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet it was (maroon)”. I think the theme of alcohol running through this song is what leans into this song fitting Ohya, but it’s not the only thing. Maroon is a more mature version of Red. Ohya’s personality is much more mature than the other confidants, even compared to Kawakami and Takemi. You meet her at a bar, with her clearly being oblivious to the fact that you shouldn’t be allowed there. The mature theming of Maroon is ultimately why I assigned this song to Ohya.
3) Anti-Hero: Ryuji
I am ready for the cries of “what about Akechi?” or “Akechi is a literal anti-hero” and I get that. What I also get is that this song isn’t about being an actual anti-hero. Ryuji’s entire story is basically this song. He struggles so much with who he is, and it’s being a part of the team that helps him realise that he’s good with who he is now. Ryuji spends a lot of the game being haunted by his past, similar to the line “When my depression works the graveyard shift / All of the people I’ve ghosted stand there in the room”. All of the thieves are traumatised, obviously, but Ryuji is quite literally haunted by the people he cannot help. That shows through his enthusiasm at the start of each arc, even down to the requests in Mementos. Most notably, I think it shows at the start of Okumura’s arc. He’s so haunted by the thought of not being able to help these people, he flips out. Ryuji grows the most during the game (in my opinion), but he’s still a boy who has struggled to control his emotions his whole life. At the start of Okumura’s arc, he’s hurting because the whole point of their Phantom Thief work is to help people so why doesn’t anyone else want to help? I imagine he felt quite betrayed during this time, as did Morgana (albeit for different reasons). Ryuji was, in a way, the catalyst of Kamoshida’s violence and therefore he likely feels somewhat responsible for the pain caused by everyone after him (especially since that’s what his team insinuates), and the fact that he could stop the pain they were going through gave him… not power exactly, but the only way I can word it (from my personal therapy experience) is that it gave him power over the experience. It put the ball in his court, so to speak, and because of that he feels the need to help as many people as he can. He doesn’t want anyone else to go through anything like he went through, and that’s so evident in his behaviour.
Next, I want to talk about the line “I wake up screaming from dreaming / One day I’ll watch as you’re leaving / ‘Cause you got tired of my scheming”. This desperation is reflected during Ryuji’s confidant arc. The healing that Ryuji did throughout the game is basically solely reliant on the Phantom Thieves and, by extension, Joker. He is well aware of this. This is also the main reason I despise the beginning of Persona 5 Strikers because it’s so uncharacteristic of the majority of them to not communicate. I have a theory that the texts at the beginning are the characters talking to the player, not Joker, but that’s a discussion for another time. Ryuji is afraid of losing the friends he has; he’s afraid of regressing in the progress he has made. That’s completely understandable, something that a lot of traumatised people go through. When healing from trauma, it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. If Ryuji loses the Phantom Thieves, he loses more than his friends. He loses his method of healing, his only way of helping people and the people who have helped him heal. I’ve talked about the Phantom Thieves being more than a group of friends quite a few times, but I wanted to emphasise that here. They’re each other’s chosen family, and being in a position to choose your own family is incredibly healing in itself. This lyric repeats in a future verse, however the last line changes to “And life will lose all its meaning”, and I think this only further supports my point with this song.
I know Akechi is a literal anti-hero, but that’s not what this song is about. This song is about feeling like you’re an anti-hero, and I think Ryuji is the embodiment of that.

4) Snow on the Beach: Futaba
Hi, uh, one line is sticking out to me and that’s “weird but f*cking beautiful”. This song is completely Futaba. It reminds me of her relationship with Yusuke during the game. They’re both pretty aloof and really, it shouldn’t work out because they’re both prideful and stubborn but they get each other like no one else does and what they have is so different to everyone else but it’s so special and just feels right.
Furthermore, the lyrics of this song are so intelligent and artistic that I fail to think of any other relationship than Futaba and Yusuke. It paints a picture of their individualism and their togetherness all in one. Most importantly, the entire world doesn’t get them. I picked Futaba over Yusuke for this because I feel like she struggles to express this the most, and I feel like this song is a beautiful mixture of someone trying to explain something so beautiful that words aren’t enough. I think Yusuke would have those words, but Futaba would struggle.
I think the repeated theme of ‘what ifs’ are really important to both Yusuke and Futaba. Yusuke’s is handled pretty well during his confidant arc, but for Futaba it was touched on as early as her own palace. In Snow on the Beach, the speaker states ‘I can’t speak, afraid to jinx it, I don’t even dare to wish it’ and then goes on to say ‘Can this be a real thing? Can it?’. It’s not just her relationship with Yusuke that this relates to – it’s her relationship with the whole group.
Futaba shutting down after her mother died had serious implications for her mental health. It was a huge thing. The Phantom Thieves saved her in multiple ways, but the main one that stands out to me is that she’s able to appreciate her life again. She’s so lucky to have these people, and without them she wouldn’t be the same. She wouldn’t be able to appreciate the beauty of life. She wouldn’t be able to have the life her mother wanted her to have. Futaba’s story is so deep and there’s multiple layers to it if you overthink it (like I clearly do) but even on surface level, you have a girl who was throwing away her life due to mental illness and a group of people who help her appreciate the life she was given- she’s now able to appreciate the beauty in everyday things because she’s living instead of just surviving.

5) You’re on Your Own, Kid: Sumire
This one will obviously give away spoilers for the third semester, so leave now if you don’t want that.
This song screams Sumire to me. Her whole arc is based on her coming to terms with who she is as a person. She struggles immensely as she tries to find herself, and while she does find extreme comfort in Joker and being a part of the Phantom Thieves, it’s also made very clear that her healing journey is something that she needs to go through alone. Sometimes she might need a shoulder to lean on, but for the most part, she needs to do this for herself (and for the memory of her sister). It reminds me of Taylor Swift’s graduation speech, where she said something along the lines of “You’re on your own now, but you’re on your own now” which, for anyone who doesn’t speak Taylor Alison Swift, means that being on your own is scary but that fear is thrilling and it means no one can hold you back. Sumire was holding herself back for so long (not on purpose, it wasn’t voluntary or her fault in any way) because she was desperate not to be herself. The second that she truly embraced herself was the second she learnt of the power she was truly capable of. That’s something that only comes from acceptance, and that’s something she needed to do on her own.
Let’s throw some lyrics around for good measure. For one, “I didn’t choose this town / I dream of getting out / There’s just one who could make me stay”. This could be interpretated in different ways for Sumire. Let’s talk about the main two, and for that we need to talk about who “the one who could make [her] stay” is, and it’s two different people: one is Joker, the other is Kasumi. Let’s tackle Kasumi first. It feels weird openly discussing this because it’s such a spoiler but the story itself deserves to be talked about. It’s such a wonderful story. In this interpretation of the line, the memory of Kasumi has a hold on Sumire. Kasumi and Sumire had their dream, a dream they had because they were sisters and without her sister, Sumire is lost. She has worked towards this dream her entire life; yet she cannot do it exactly as she planned it without Kasumi. Kasumi’s memory is keeping her in gymnastics. She eventually decides that she needs to live out that dream, to honour her sister. There’s so many things that the memory of Kasumi is linking her to – gymnastics, her identity, cooking, her style. Because she’s relied on her sister for so much, her whole world came crashing down when it was gone. She didn’t choose this. She didn’t and probably wouldn’t have chosen this life. If it wasn’t for Kasumi, she probably wouldn’t feel the draw to gymnastics and the… determination she feels to keep going.
As for the interpretation surrounding Joker, we need to focus more on Sumire’s journey. The interpretation of this line implies Sumire is holding onto the Phantom Thieves/Tokyo due to her relationship with Joker. I want to point out that I personally do not feel as strongly about this interpretation, so if it makes less sense it’s because I feel less confident about it. For this, we need to focus on the canonical story rather than her confidant (which is optional) to look at the times she appears. While Sumire is a major part of the story of Persona 5 Royal regardless of how you play it, she appears significantly less than expected considering she was basically the poster girl. Throughout the story, her interactions with Joker seem short and sweet. She’s seen less than the other thieves because she’s not focused on taking anyone down or having a united goal with the thieves. She’s focused on gymnastics. We even see throughout her story that her education has even had to take a back seat because gymnastics is so important to her. Sumire is arguably the most independent Phantom Thief, while still relying a significant amount on Joker for mental and emotional support. So, we get that Sumire appears less due to her focus on gymnastics and her interactions with Joker are short yet impactful, right? Okay good, let’s move on the section spanning from the Hawaii trip to the third semester. While seeing Sumire in Hawaii, it becomes obvious to the player (and to Joker) that gymnastics is a very serious thing for her and could actually take her places. I mean, she’s literally travelled to another country just to train. She could and probably will travel the world. So what’s tying her to Tokyo, to Shujin, to the Phantom Thieves? Logically, her family, but an argument could be made that her connection to Joker and how he helped her throughout the story and then further in her confidant shows that their connection is pretty special. It shows that despite the dream, she’s still making those connections (see the line of this song where it says “So make the friendship bracelets / Take the moment and taste it / You’ve got no reason to be afraid”). Joker is both what ties her to the Phantom Thieves and what gives her the freedom to follow her dreams.
This song is all about the things you do to follow your heart. It’s about making mistakes but living through it. I don’t think there’s a song that shows off Sumire’s character arc more.

6) Midnight Rain: Makoto
Ah, this song is such a bop. In this instance, I’m putting it in context that applies to the character. For Makoto, I believe that Midnight Rain is about not being able to change who you are. For the line “He was sunshine, I was midnight rain”, I imagine ‘he’ being who other people wanted her to be. She can’t change who she is. She can’t change her strong sense of justice and distaste for corruption, even if it would help her out in the long run. Similarly, the line “he wanted it comfortable, I wanted that pain” reflects on the fact that being a Phantom Thief was not easy for Makoto. It would be much easier for her to ‘be comfortable’, to be complacent, to just do what people were asking of her. But Makoto’s sense of justice got in the way, and it’s such a core part of who she is… but she’s been raised to be an obedient, unquestioning tool. Finding who she was by working with the Phantom Thieves opened her eyes completely. The line “My town was a wasteland / Full of cages, full of fences / Pageant queens and big pretenders / But for some it was paradise” really reflects Makoto’s journey. So many people in this game are happy with being complacent in the corrupt world built by corrupt people. If they see success, like the principal did, they’re perfectly happy with it. But the way the ‘town’ (the town is society in this case) is described shows that she doesn’t feel that way. It’s likely that Makoto has never been happy in this system, she just had no way to change it. The system, to her, is old and holding her back from her true potential. Society is holding this girl back, and it’s not until she realises that there are ways of changing it that we see the true magnificence of Makoto.

7) Question…?: Yusuke
This is another basic one. Yusuke is pretty inquisitive. He’s also not very socially aware, which is the vibe I get from this song.
8) Vigilante Sh*t: Joker
Not my family friendly blog censoring the second best use of a swear word in Taylor’s discography. I feel like this one is self-explanatory. Joker acts as a literal vigilante by being a Phantom Thief, and he’s the leader so he has the extra responsibility of being in charge of a group of vigilantes, which makes him the lead vigilante. On top of that, there’s certain lines that give me Joker vibes. Before I talk about them, remember that Joker is a stand in for the player and most people play him differently. Therefore, everyone’s interpretation of Joker is different and that’s something that should be celebrated, not argued over. But anyway: ‘Someone told his white collar crimes to the FBI’ reminds me of Joker’s relationship to Shido. Similarly, ‘I don’t start it but I can tell you how it ends / Don’t get sad, get even’ reminds me of Joker’s relationship with Kamoshida. Lastly, and this is the weirdest correlation to me but ‘Picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife’ reminds me of… Joker and Yusuke. So, Joker would be directing that line to Madarame.
But it’s best to focus on the literal vigilante thing if you don’t like my interpretations of lyrics.
9) Bejeweled: Ann
Okay, this song is perfect for Ann. The vibe, the lyrics, even the music video screams Ann to me. If you just listen to this song and imagine Ann, you’ll get what I mean. But let’s look at some lyrics. Before we do that, though, I will be talking about Kamoshida and if that triggers you, please skip this one. Look after yourself, and I’m sorry that someone put you in the position where something like this is triggering.
The opening of this song is “Baby love, I think I’ve been a little too kind / Didn’t notice you walking all over my peace of mind”. This refers to how bothersome (for lack of a better term) Kamoshida is with Ann early on. He’s basically a stalker and she’s very clearly on edge the entire time. Her peace of mind is gone.
The lines that go “Best believe I’m still Bejeweled / When I walk in the room / I can still make the whole place shimmer” gives me Ann’s awakening vibes. She’s still this strong, powerful, amazing female despite everything he’s done to her and those she cares about. Despite everything, she’s still her bejewelled self.
One verse goes:

Baby boy, I think I’ve been too good of a girl (too good of a girl)
Did all the extra credit, then got graded on a curve
I think it’s time to teach some lessons
I made you my world (huh), have you heard? (Huh)
I can reclaim the land
And I miss you (I miss you)
But I miss sparkling (ah, hey)

This just screams Ann’s entire storyline to me. Like, the entire first arc of the game. She’s been so hesitant, just putting up with Kamoshida out of fear for there being worse repercussions along the line. Then she remembers who she is and what she has to fight for and suddenly she starts to fight back. Because she has so much to fight for, because her self-worth is worth more, because her friends don’t deserve this, because she blames herself for all of it and none of it needed to happen if she just shut it down immediately (I’m thinking of it in terms of how Ann might think, not how I think).
In conclusion, this song is Ann’s song and no one can convince me otherwise. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
10) Labyrinth: Tae
Tae’s relationship with everything seems complicated, like a labyrinth. Even the happy relationships, like the ones with Joker and her relationship with the little girl she helps, seem to be difficult for her. I feel like Labyrinth explains the experience of being fearful of happiness and being in love very well, and I do think that this applies to Tae. She’s so worried – constantly – of something going wrong and she puts on this hard exterior of acting like she doesn’t care in order to trick herself into not caring when in reality she cares very much.

11) Karma: Akechi
Akechi feels like karma is on his side, that he’s entitled to his revenge. I know this song is about positive karma, but I’m sure Akechi doesn’t think his plan is evil or anything bad. It’s just what he needs to do.

12) Sweet Nothing: Haru
During Haru’s relationship with Joker (not necessarily romantic, but just throughout her confidant), she’s constantly surrounded by people who want to take something from her. Joker is the exception here, and you can tell throughout her confidant that she really values that. (Editor’s Note: Eleanor, you are just straight up wrong, Joker wants her vegetables.)
13) Mastermind: Maruki
Maruki has been planning the setting of the third semester for so long. I was going to give this song to Akechi, but the way everything fell exactly where Maruki needed it to was just too good. This is the best song from Midnights, and arguably the best song that Taylor Alison Swift has ever written, so I really wanted to give this to a character I liked more (like Sumire), but I couldn’t. Maruki deserves this song. All his hard work paid off. For a bad guy, he did pretty good. If his intentions were malicious (like Akechi’s), I don’t think I would assign this song to him because… it’s about making everyone else think that they want this. I mean- that is quite literally what Maruki did. His intentions weren’t bad and I think that’s what most people struggle with during the third semester. They can really resonate with him, understanding where he’s coming from and why he’s done this. But ultimately he went about it the wrong way and I can see the voice of Mastermind also doing this.

And with that, gamers, months of writing this list is over. As I’m finishing this list, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) has just been announced. I’ve had this idea since listening to Midnights way back in October so you can tell how long this has been in my head (and it took so long to get my muddled thoughts onto digital paper). Obviously, all the lyrics and everything mentioned in terms of the songs belong to Dr. Taylor Swift who… I am a tad obsessed with. I’m sure Josh is going to have a field day with the editing of this post. He always says Swifties are crazy for their theories about the next album so I can’t wait to hear his reaction to this. Let me know if you guys have any other interpretations to these songs and Persona 5 Royal characters. I could be tempted into doing a Part 2 to this list with the songs from the 3AM version. Since I am and forever will be a Speak Now girlie, there will be a similar post to this but when Speak Now comes out. I think I might do that one based on Pokémon.
This was meant to just be a fun joke post, but it’s now over 4000 words. But that’s it for this post, Gamers! Please go listen to Midnights (and other Taylor Swift albums owned by Taylor – avoiding Debut, Speak Now, 1989 and Reputation for now, with Speak Now coming to us in July this year). Play Persona 5 Royal if you haven’t already. It will forever hold a special place in my heart. I think this might be my first Persona 5 Royal post since my great return which is crazy but also… obvious that I’ve lost a little bit of spark over the game since Atlus ‘ported’ it to the PS5 without using the PS5’s upgraded features at all, just for a cash grab. Anyway, hit like to help me hold onto what’s left of my sanity; if you’re reading this next week, there’s a chance Josh and I have returned to streaming on Twitch so check out 2nerds_1game over there; lastly, follow my blog for more (slightly insane) gaming content. See you next post, Gamers!

I owe Kiryu an apology

Hey, Gamers. If you’re a long-time reader, you will know that I’ve been playing the Yakuza series for a few years now. I’ve slowly been making my way through them since my partner, Josh, played them all and got me invested in the story. I have planned on writing a post about how Kiryu is a bad father figure for a while, and I’ve briefly talked about my annoyance at his parenting style in my progress reports but until now, I have been fully set on doing a full-on post on his bad parenting.
Well, I’m on Yakuza 5 and I need to apologise for having the thoughts I had.

I have just started Haruka’s section, so this post will contain spoilers for everything before the first time you get to save as Haruka (or at least, the first time I found that I could save, which was her apartment).

All of my anger towards Kiryu has shifted onto Park and after talking to Josh about everything, I’m going to write about it here too because I am filled with pure rage. Now, I know that I should probably wait until I’ve finished the game to write about this. When I was talking to Josh, I actually said I was going to wait until I’m done with the series before ever writing anything about this game because this is like the biggest U-turn I’ve ever encountered and I am completely shocked… but again, I’m filled with pure rage and my rage-fuelled posts have done me well so far (that was sarcasm, they cause me anxiety and I have deleted most of them).

Okay, so we need to talk about why I thought Kiryu was a bad father. We are going to do this in three sections. The first one will be talking about Kiryu’s role as a father figure in Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Then we are going to talk about him in Yakuza 3 by itself, where he has increased responsibility. Lastly, we are going to talk about Yakuza 4. Yakuza 5 cannot be talked about much because I haven’t finished it and it’s what has changed my mind about this entire thing. While I talk about this, it’s incredibly important to remember that my opinion has changed, this is not the entire post, and I will be talking about why I no longer think Kiryu is a bad father.

So, Yakuza Kiwami (or the original Yakuza game, but I’ve not played that so I’m going to be commenting on Kiwami specifically in case there are any differences), Kiryu meets Haruka. Haruka ends up being the biological daughter of ‘the love of his life’ (by the way, does anyone else find it weird about how little Yumi there is in Yakuza 0?), Yumi, who she had with a politician during a period where Yumi had lost her memory. I know I don’t need to explain the plot of these games, but it’s the basis of Haruka and Kiryu’s relationship so it’s important. Kiryu finds Haruka, who is looking for her mum (who she thinks is her aunt, but- basically, Yumi pretended she had a sister called Mizuki and that Mizuki was Haruka’s mother while she had a relationship with Haruka as Haruka’s aunt, but Yumi was actually her mother and ‘Mizuki’ was Haruka’s made-up aunt to cover Yumi’s identity). She helps Kiryu track Yumi down, Yumi and Haruka’s biological father die and Kiryu decides to take guardianship over Haruka. Haruka’s parents both died in front of her; she also found out that her father was a… very evil person, while her mother died because her father shot Kiryu in the leg and went to shoot Kiryu fatally but Haruka stepped in front of Kiryu (because they had grown a pretty great bond by this point), and Yumi stepped in front of Haruka because Haruka was too young to throw her life away. So, her father killed her mother because her mother protected her and Kiryu. I think Kiryu takes pretty good care of Haruka throughout Yakuza Kiwami (despite Haruka being kidnapped 3 times throughout the game). He clearly cares about her. I think at this point, good intentions were enough and Kiryu clearly had them. I think Kiryu always has good intentions when it comes to Haruka, but it gets to a point where that’s not enough but in Yakuza Kiwami it is. For Yakuza Kiwami 2, it’s assumed that Kiryu has some sort of legal guardianship over Haruka as she lives with him (but he hasn’t adopted her, Josh says it’s a minor plot point in Yakuza 6). She has to go back to Sunflower Orphanage for the plot of Yakuza Kiwami 2, which Kiryu does seem upset about. She gets kidnapped again, which is extra bad because she wasn’t even in the plot at this point. While in Sotenbori, Kiryu is approached by a talent agent for Haruka to become an idol. He gets extra good dad points here, because he asks Haruka what she wants and listens to her, although he does initially try to accept the offer because she’s been kidnapped 4 times by this point, so he feels she’d be better off without him as he wants her to be safe. Haruka doesn’t want to leave Kiryu though, and she doesn’t want to be an idol at this point, so they don’t accept the offer. Haruka is also seen at the end of the game with Date. Haruka is with Date quite a bit in Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2, which I think is okay and not Kiryu just leaving her with a random person because… well, it’s Date. I think Date is the one person that Kiryu truly 100% trusts, and it’s clear Haruka likes him too (even though literally half of her kidnappings were under his care). Overall, Kiryu did all right with Haruka early on. As someone who went through a lot of trauma as a kid, I do personally wish he shielded her from what was going on a little better but at least in Yakuza Kiwami (where I think she really should’ve been kept in the dark), it wasn’t really his place to do that. Something I really like is how open and honest he always is with Haruka, even as a small child. He’s honest about who he is and what he does and his intentions, and I think that sets a really good base for their growing father-daughter relationship.

So, now we have to do some real-life research. According to the internet, adoption in Japan is different to adoption in the West. There are two different types: Regular and Special. Regular seems to be much more informal and can be dissolved at any time. It’s not available for foreigners, but that seems to be the only downside. Most of the information I could find was for people from the West wanting to adopt a baby in or from Japan, so it’s not the best research session I’ve ever done. From what I can tell, the Japanese authorities are much more strict with people who are not Japanese adopting kids from Japan. They check everything, from medical history, age and criminal history. I tried to find whether or not Kiryu could legally adopt as an ex-yakuza and as an ex-convict but unfortunately, the only information I found was about people from outside Japan and a clear understanding that the rules are different for Japanese people wanting to adopt. From what I did find, I believe Kiryu might have gone through a regular adoption with all of the kids in the orphanage, but with Haruka being the first one. I also believe this then got dissolved by Park, so that there are no ties between the kids and Kiryu’s past. The thing that seemed important with regular adoptions was the ability to dissolve them, and the fact that it doesn’t cut ties with the kids’ biological family. But yeah, in conclusion to this little digression, I believe Kiryu did adopt Haruka and the other orphanage kids, but via regular adoption rather than special adoption. He would not have qualified for special adoption as the kid has to be under the age of 6 or have been in your care since the age of 6. I’m not too set in stone on this, but I always wondered why it’s never mentioned if he adopted Haruka. I do believe that if he did, Park arranged for it to be dissolved. Let’s move on!

I went on that rant because we’re obviously moving onto Yakuza 3 and Morning Glory Orphanage. Earlier I said that I believe Kiryu’s intentions with Haruka were always good, and I believe that for the other orphans too. However, it is at this point where good intentions begin to be not enough. Haruka got kidnapped 4 times before Yakuza 3. What made him think he can handle more kids? I know he’s cut most ties to the Tojo at this point but… he’s always going to be the Fourth Chairman, he’s always going to be the Dragon of Dojima… like, c’mon. Regardless of that, the building he rents is literally owned by yakuza. He’s already building more ties with the yakuza just by renting that building. I think the thing that started my tirade of Kiryu being a bad dad was how much responsibility little Haruka had placed on her during the plot of Yakuza 3. It just seemed like a lot, like she wasn’t able to be a kid with the other kids, she also had to be a parent. It was emphasised by the substory where the teenager thinks that Haruka is Kiryu’s wife. Like, she has so much responsibility that it feels like she’s a mother to these new kids. I know I might be overthinking this and the amount of responsibility placed on Haruka might be normal in Japan… but give the girl a break, man. She then has to witness her father figure get stabbed as she’s holding his hand. Like- what? I’m sorry, you’re giving this girl more trauma? I know this wasn’t Kiryu’s fault, but he knew it was dangerous and he knew it was too dangerous for Haruka but because he thought he was going to die, he brought her along anyway. Because she clearly needed to witness another parent dying in front of her very eyes.

Okay, moving onto the real meat of this- Yakuza 4. For a moment, I want to take something out of context. Kiryu wanted to go to Tokyo to get closure for Haruka (at least that’s how he puts it across). Haruka asked him not to, said that she doesn’t need closure, she just needs him alive. He goes anyway. I know it’s more complicated than that, but the fact that she literally asked him not to go and he still goes angers me so much that I can feel my blood pressure rise. She is clearly terrified out of her little mind. Even when Hamazaki arrives, by Haruka’s reaction Kiryu should have made him leave immediately. Did you guys see the way she protected those kids? She is clearly traumatised, more so than her biological parents’ death traumatised her, and Kiryu just… helps him. It’s like he completely ignores the well being of Haruka (and even the other kids, to an extent) just to get some closure. It’s so sad. Like, I’m fine with him being selfish and going to do his own thing… but putting Haruka through that is just awful. He also didn’t step in or kick Saejima out during the very uncomfortable scene that pans across the literal child’s body. I feel like I could go on about this all day, but this is no longer what this post is about.

We finally get to why I need to apologise for: Kiryu, you are not a bad dad. Despite all of the evidence I’ve listed, you were manipulated massively and that only worked because you wanted what was best for those kids. If you were a bad father, you would have ignored Park. But you didn’t. Therefore, I am sorry.

Like I said, I am only just on Haruka’s section of Yakuza 5. I am a little glad it’s taken me this long because I’ve recently gotten into K-pop and idol culture so I’m going into it with a bit more understanding of the culture surrounding idols. Park manipulated Kiryu. Now, if it was for Haruka then that would be fine. But it’s not for Haruka, it was completely for herself. It was so she could fulfil her own dream. She messed with the life of Kiryu, Haruka and all of the other kids at Morning Glory just to achieve her own dream. Josh had told me that Kiryu did it because Morning Glory needed the money, but after watching the scene, I don’t agree with that. From what I could gather, Morning Glory needed money for their living expenses and caregiver because Kiryu was no longer there to provide it. When Park threatened Haruka, the only ground she had was her paying for the kids’ futures. If their deal was over, either Haruka or Kiryu could’ve gone straight back to Morning Glory and everything would have been fine. Her threat was her manipulating Haruka like she manipulated her father.

While I’m clearly still angry about Kiryu in Yakuza 4, nothing else feels like it matters because of how awful Park is to both Haruka and Kiryu (and indirectly the other kids at Morning Glory) in Yakuza 5. No one deserves to hear that the kids they worked hard to change their life for aren’t going to be able to achieve their dreams due to your involvement in their lives. That’s awful. No one deserves what Park did to Kiryu and the kids at Morning Glory. I know on the surface, she’s helping Haruka but it’s not enough. What she did is no where near okay, and I despise her on an Oda level.

In conclusion, playing the Yakuza series made me eat my own words again and I needed to talk to you guys about it because I am both upset and shocked. If you liked this post, you might as well follow me since I know I’m probably going to do a post about how I was wrong about Park at some point over the next few months.

That’s it for this post, Gamers! It’s kinda similar to the original post I’ve been meaning to write about Kiryu being a bad dad… in the sense of I still got to explain why I thought that. I feel so guilty. Those kids love him so much, and I always got so mad. If you liked this post, hit the like button and follow for more rage filled gaming content. See you next post, Gamers!

Progress Report- April 2023

Hey, Gamers. April was a long month, but it went by so fast. I didn’t exactly accomplish everything I wanted, but it was still fairly successful. Josh had a mind-blowing month, and I think even he’s excited to read about it. Let’s get into it!

Spoilers for: The Walking Dead, Skyrim (early game), the glitches of Cyberpunk 2077, 12 Minutes, Undertale (early game), Yakuza 5, Stray, Finally Fantasy XV

The special game for this month was The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series. I wasn’t really excited to play this game, but that changed quickly. I haven’t watched The Walking Dead (aside from the first few episodes), mainly because a few people I used to know were obsessed over it and it brings back some bad memories. But wow did I love this game. I loved this game so much that I want the other 3 seasons so bad. I want to know what happens next. I know Clem is the main protagonist of the series, so I’m hyped for that. Here are the choices I made:

The only regrets I have are cutting Lee’s arm off and not agreeing with Lily about Ben. I thought it being Ben was too obvious (it was my first thought). I knew Lee died in the end, but I thought cutting his arm off would buy him a little more time. I was clearly wrong.
I loved so many of the characters. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I play a random game each month to broaden my horizons. I don’t usually finish the games. But I played this game almost constantly for days. I adored each second of it. I’m so excited about playing the other games and I will be playing them as soon as I get them. I got a platinum trophy so that’s great too. I love this game so much that at some point, I am going to write a post about it, but I need some time before I can articulate my thoughts. My favourite character was Katjaa, and my favourite twist was Duck getting bitten. I was expecting Lee to get bitten a lot sooner (I was expecting it early Episode 4 or late Episode 3) as I knew he got bitten from… it being an old game, I guess. It’s just common gamer knowledge, I feel.

Another game I finished this month was 12 Minutes. I got it on my phone via the Netflix games section (there’s some great games on there, go check it out if you haven’t already). It was alright, I guess. I ended up getting frustrated quite a bit and having to look up a guide. Then Josh’s brother spoiled the ending for me, but I had my suspicions anyway so it’s not too bad. It was nice to be able to ‘play a round’ of a game since a lot of the games I play don’t have that format. The ending was… fine. I think the best thing about it was the mystery of the brother (which obviously ended up being the player character). I also liked how cryptic the room that the father is in was. It was one of the only locations other than the apartment that the game takes place in, and I think it’s always really cool when a game gets you very familiar with a certain environment and then takes you out of that environment while giving you limited ability to do anything. It always creates the most interesting scenes.

I played a lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons this month.  I got two villager photos which made me feel awesome. Ione (which is the only villager I have an amiibo card for, I needed her) and Teddy (my OG) both basically confessed their undying love to me by giving me their photos. That means I have the photos from Ione, Teddy, Tammy, Fang and Croque. If you read my Quote of the Week series this month, you will know that I spent a few hours getting Raymond on our island. One of our cats had to have an emergency operation (she’s healing really well and we’re just introducing her back to her sister and they have several glare-offs per day), so we had to wait around and Raymond was at the campsite, and it just felt right. Who did we get rid of? Erik. We loved Erik for the longest time, but I think right now lazy villagers aren’t our thing. He was also always sleeping when I went on, so he ended up being one of two villagers I was the least attached to. I really wanted it to be Kody that got the boot, but it was not. It took hours just to get Erik so I took it. Right now, I’m trying to get Bianca’s and Gayle’s photos. I’ve also been doing a little construction and if I find my Switch by the time this post is meant to go up, I’ll include some pictures. We’ve also been slowly working on Harv’s island. I think we have everyone apart from Kick and Sahara. We’re not in a rush to get them on the Co-Op, to be honest.

The day our cat went to the vet, we tried to keep things as peaceful as possible (she didn’t like that, though, and proceeded to inflict top tier chaos on our lives). We tried keeping her on the bed where she likes to sleep, but the best we could do was keeping her in the bedroom. She’s always been… uh, moody for lack of a better word, but I’ve noticed that she does like when I’m just talking calmly. So, I was going to stay in there with her and work on the Life Is Strange plats. Yeah, you noticed that there’s no spoiler for Life Is Strange, right? My save data was on the other PS4 and I didn’t want to disturb her. So, I installed Undertale. I thought I would be able to read the dialogue to her, all while practicing my reading as I’m dyslexic, and it might calm her (and me, because I was an anxious mess at this point). We’ve had two Undertale sessions and both of them ended badly. By ended badly, I mean the first one I lost my cat in a pile of stuff and I could hear her licking and the second one… I rage-quit. I decided to do a pacifist run because I wanted to be as calm as possible for my cat. It was not calm. The first thing I did was play on the wrong account. We were doomed from the start. I haven’t even met Sans yet. My checkpoint is the one where there’s cheese on the table and a little mouse hole. I keep dying to the stupid vegetable monsters. I know I need to catch the green vegetable after talking to them about dinner, but I also catch all of the white vegetables too because I am bad at this game. Three times I attempted the same thing and three times I ended up dying because of the stupid carrot.

In my journey of playing all of the Yakuza games that has spanned years at this point, in Yakuza 5 I… am still on Saejima. I actually wanted to finish the game this month and move onto Yakuza 6, but this game is so big that it feels like I’m not even going to finish the game this year. Usually, I spend roughly 35 hours on each Yakuza game (give or take 3-5 hours), with the exception of Yakuza 0, which was my first Yakuza game. Being on Saejima, that’s the second part of the game and I’m on 42ish hours already. I love this game so much. I don’t tend to spend too much time on side content since I’m just trying to get through the story (although I do side content when I run into it as I know that a lot of the fun in Yakuza games is the side content and I do still want to enjoy it), but I’ve completed Saejima’s hunting storyline (it was so good). I’ve moved onto Tsukimino, and I spent some time as a Santa while trying to find the homeless man. Saejima jumped to kidnapping (which makes me feel like prison really had an impact on him), and we’ve been staking out the place. While I feel like we could handle things differently, and that something is bound to go wrong, I’m enjoying playing as Saejima. I think I really struggled with Saejima’s combat in Yakuza 4, but I’ve gotten okay at it. Hey, I even trained to get a fake Tiger Drop (called the Tiger Dragon Drop). I don’t tend to train in Yakuza games, so I’m pretty proud of that. I’m having so much fun with Yakuza 5. I was worried I’d get overwhelmed with this game because of how different everything is, but I’m adoring it. I am hoping to be moved on to the next character by next month, though.

I kind of want to lump Stray and Skyrim together because they both had a similar outcome: sickness. Josh got the Platinum Trophy for Stray a long time ago (around the time it came out), and I love cats now (we have two) so I wanted to play it. I noticed pretty early on that it was causing me to feel dizzy. I stopped when I accomplished my small goal of finding all the notebooks, and my sickness calmed down pretty quickly as soon as I stopped.
Now, Minecraft is the main game I’ve noticed my very specific sickness with as it’s the first one I encountered it with way back in 2013. After discussing this with Josh, we thought it might be first-person perspective that caused it. I’ve been playing Cyberpunk 2077 just fine, though. That’s why I thought I’d be okay when Josh changed my Skyrim character to first-person (he was looking for something for me). I was not okay.
So, Skyrim. I went to Bleak Falls Barrow with my faithful friend, Faendal (who helped me train my archery skills). I think I handled the whole thing pretty well. I even killed the spider. I got the Golden Claw, and I got to the last room before looking around and Faendal was… nowhere. That’s when Josh took over, to look for him for me. Now, it’s important to point out that I did have a slight headache before this but I always have a headache so that’s nothing. Josh confirmed my darkest fears – my beloved Faendal’s death – and he tried to reload a previous save, but it didn’t work out. Then he gave me my controller back, forgetting to switch the camera back to third-person mode, and I’d say the sickness came about pretty fast. I don’t know why this sickness comes about with certain games, but it’s super intense and now I don’t want to play Skyrim again. I know I will play it again, but right now the thought of it causes a little bit of anxiety because of how awful it made me feel. I know it’s not the games’ fault or anything, I just wish I knew the exact reason.

Since I’ve just mentioned Cyberpunk 2077, let’s talk about that now. I broke Cyberpunk 2077 the first time I played it this month. I think I was doing a NCPD Scanner Hustle job, and my HUD completely disappeared. Even the prompt to loot didn’t come up. I tried to fix it for a while. It was fine when I went on my bike but as soon as I got off, it was back to the glitch. The next time I went on my game, it was fine. I got the number for River Ward, I had a meeting with Judy’s associates and I drove to meet Panam to help her with what she needs. I didn’t spend too much time on Cyberpunk this month, spending most of my time with Yakuza to be honest, but I feel like I did pretty good considering my game broke. I was a little worried about driving in a video game again, but I did really well considering I’ve not had to drive in a game for a while and according to Josh, Cyberpunk’s driving is “janky” anyway.

In Pokémon Emerald, I’ve been taking it fairly slow. I got a Ralts, and I wanted to train it up before moving on. It now knows Confusion, and I got to the next city. I tried to storm the gym, but Roxanne fainted my Mudbro with her Nosepass so I, uh, rage-quit. I haven’t been on it since. Sorry, guys.

Josh has had a frankly scary good month. I’m so proud of him, and he has shown how much he can accomplish when he puts his mind to things. Things like 3 Platinum trophies.

First, Josh actually completed a full Final Fantasy game. He finished the Final Fantasy VII Remake a few months ago, but that’s not the full Final Fantasy VII story so I say it doesn’t count (as a joke). He finally finished Final Fantasy XV this month, after owning it for 6 years. He also restarted it, so he literally played the entire game in one month. He also got the Platinum Trophy in it! I am super proud of him for that. I could tell just finishing it meant a lot to him, so to not only finish it, but to also get the Platinum trophy was amazing. He defeated the Adamantoise on his first attempt! It was a super long boss fight, and I could tell it was hard for him to not rush it, but his slow and steady pace proved worthy of the victory. He also finished the DLCs for each of the party members.

He then moved onto a game called Tails of Iron which felt like he played, finished and got the Platinum Trophy for in like 24 hours. He said the combat was hard, but the voice of Geralt pushed him through (Doug Cockle voices the narrator of the game). My reaction was not as proud as I was when he got the Final Fantasy XV Plat, but I was still proud nonetheless.

His third Platinum Trophy came from No Man’s Sky. This was a game that he’s loved previously, and he always seems to go back to every couple of months. The platinum was difficult in the sense that it seemed tedious but he stuck with it. I was actually super proud of him for getting this Platinum Trophy because this game honestly seems really special to him, but he never seems to stick with it for long enough to accomplish much. Although, by this point, my “I’m proud of you” did start sounding a bit bitter and repetitive.

Lastly, he started playing Uncharted 4 again. He gets so frustrated with the Uncharted games but, again, he always comes back to them every few months because he hasn’t finished the series yet. I think he’s ready to just be done with it at this point, so hopefully next month will be the end of something he seems to think of as a chore. Like, he does like the series, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy it anymore.

But that’s it for this month, Gamers! As I’m writing most of this post on the First of May, I am so excited to tell you what the special game of this month is (HINT: the series has been mentioned in this list… and I haven’t played it yet). I hope you guys have an amazing month. See you next post!

Quote of the Week

Week: 24th-30th April 2023

Game: Cyberpunk 2077

Character: Johnny Silverhand

Quote: “Who- me? This is my impressed face.”

Reason: To be honest, guys, this week went by really fast. I’ve been trying to focus on doing the things I love, illness sometimes gets in the way of that. That means I didn’t have many quotes to work from. This quote by Johnny was funny and it stood out to me because it reminded me of Josh. We’re both autistic, and Josh definitely struggles with more traditional symptoms such as struggling to display his emotions and this line from Johnny was totally something he would say. So, bit of a personal one that not everyone would get or find amusing, but it was nice nonetheless.

Starfall Street broke me- Pokémon Scarlet/Violet

Hey, Gamers! For this post, we will be talking about the ending of the Starfall Street from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. It is one of the three story paths you can take in the lasted instalment of the Pokémon series, and it was actually the last one I finished. If you haven’t finished it, please don’t read this post because it will contain big spoilers for the ENDING of the path.


So, for those who don’t want to play Pokémon but still want to read this post… I recommend you play Pokémon, it’s great. But seriously, I’m going to explain the early game stuff regardless because I don’t want to immediately throw big spoilers in your face.

Starfall Street involves Team Star, who is the ‘evil’ team of the game. You get introduced to them very early on, as you approach the school. Some Team Star grunts are bothering a girl with an Eevee backpack. She’s called Penny, and she is seen throughout this story. When you get introduced to the other storylines of the game, you get a call from someone called Cassiopeia, who needs your help to take down the 5 Team Star bases. They are run by Mela, Giacomo, Eri, Ortega and Atticus. They are the bosses, and if they are taken down, then Team Star will be taken down. Each time you take a base down, Cassiopeia gives you LP points and Penny shows up to give you materials to craft new TMs. At the end of the story, you find out that Cassiopeia is actually the leader of Team Star, and you have to go to battle them. Cassiopeia asked you for help because they saw that Team Star had gone too far and the original intent of the group was lost to them.

So, Penny is Cassiopeia and I called it from the start. Not to be that guy, but I knew it from the first phone call. But that’s not what this post was about, I just wanted to gloat a little. This post is about how this story broke me. Also, a fun fact that Joshua wanted me to add is that Cassiopeia is a real-life constellation whose five brightest stars are named Schedar, Caph, Navi, Ruchbah and Segin, which are also the names of the five squads that make up Team Star, which is awesome foreshadowing, though perhaps a big on the nose for whoever actually knew about the Cassiopeia constellation.

You need to know one main thing about this story so that when I explain what exactly broke me, it makes sense. Team Star was created by kids who were bullied. Now, dear reader, I hear you ask how a group of bullied kids could possibly be considered the ‘evil team’, and part of me still asks that question to myself to this day, but the short answer is that they took it too far. The original intention of Team Star was to stand up to their bullies with a unified front. When this happened, the bullies – as they usually do – played the victim and dropped out of school. As Team Star grew in numbers, the new members seemed to have lost the true intentions behind the group. They became the bullies. The original members – the bosses – didn’t seem to have any part in this. It seemed to me that it was more the bosses were busy with their own thing. They had a lot of people under their command and they couldn’t keep track of all of them. The bosses of Team Star also unofficially dropped out of school, likely because they were holding themselves responsible for Team Star and seemed to have a lot of work on their hands. At the heart of this story, you have kids who were bullied severely, who were then vilified when they made some friends and stood their ground. That’s heart-breaking in itself, really.

As a kid, I was bullied severely. I loved learning, but I would fake being sick just so I didn’t have to deal with the isolation and torment. But it’s not the story itself that made me cry. I actually feel it was a well written story that commented on how when bullied kids actually stick up for themselves, they become the bad guys. It’s something that happens in almost every situation, but it’s not portrayed much in media, and if it is, I feel like it goes too far or is done poorly.

What broke me was Director Clavell. At the end of the story, he apologises to the bosses of Team Star (including Penny). He wasn’t even in charge when the bullying and the creation of Team Star happened, but he apologised anyway. He took responsibility because he’s an adult in a position to help them and he should have found a better way to help them. They weren’t attending school, but they were still enrolled at the academy, so Director Clavell threatened expulsion if they failed to start attending classes again and worked with you to take down Team Star because he wanted them back in school. He wasn’t thinking about what support he might need to give them. Just a mere apology is what broke me, because adults in these positions don’t do that. They repeatedly avoid all responsibility, blame it on kids being kids, they do whatever they can to not be held responsible. Director Clavell wasn’t responsible, he wasn’t even working at the school when this happened, but he accepted responsibility anyway. He knew that these kids needed someone that they could rely on, someone to protect them and stop what happened from happening again, and he’s not only up for the challenge but is actively volunteering himself for it. He takes responsibility on behalf of the academy (that he hasn’t been in charge of for long but clearly feels pride towards), he makes things right again.

It’s so simple, yet it rarely happens in real life. Even in media, you just see the bullied kid getting some kind of revenge and that’s it. Adults avoid responsibility by forcing it on the children, but in cases where children are the ones responsible for the pain caused, there needs to be an adult to take that responsibility as well because they should have done better. I was bullied in several different schools, across several different years. I was even at schools that were deemed ‘good’. Not one single adult took responsibility for what happened to me, even when it turned physical. The only apology I received regarding my bullying was from my parents because they had to send me to school even though they knew this was happening. I’m trying desperately not to make this post too in detail about my bullying and my trauma from it, but it got bad and there should have been someone held responsible. At the very least, the school should have taken responsibility.

I think a part of growing up and being an adult is realising how awful adults were when you were a child. Each day, I work on myself to make sure I will never be in the situation where I hide away from responsibility when a kid is in pain. I want to be the one to step in, because I know that there’s so many instances in my life where a stranger could have changed it just by stepping in. This story hit me so hard because I didn’t realise that I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to apologise for what happened to me. It quite literally took my breath away. It’s exactly what I needed to heal, just to see an adult – even a fictional one – take responsibility and apologise for this. It broke me, but it healed me more than I ever thought it could.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers. It’s a lot heavier than I intended. I fully planned on this being a “lol this made me cry”, half joking post but at the end of the day, this is actually pretty serious and deserves to be talked about as such. Is there a story from a game that’s helped you heal from your childhood? Do you have any thoughts on this story? Let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to ‘like’ this post if you liked it and hit the follow button for more content from me. Also, my partner and I stream on Twitch (@2nerds_1game) if you want to check us out! See you next post, Gamers!

Quote of the Week

Week: 17th-23rd April 2023

Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Character: Raymond

Quote: “I can’t wait to move in and get this soon-to-be-legendary partnership going, Eleanor!”

Reason: During last week’s Quote of the Week, I mentioned that it had been a difficult week but didn’t explain why. One of my cats (we have two) had gotten sick, and with google at my fingertips, I had convinced myself that it was life threatening. At the start of this week, we rushed her to the vets for her early morning appointment. She had to have an operation. This particular operation was part of the operation my previous pet had before she died, so I was so worried. My cat is on the small side, and she’s very shy so I worry about her often. Josh and I were short on cash (emergency vet visit will do that), so we had to stay in this area that we were unfamiliar with for the whole 7 (nearly 8) hours. Now, I hate sharing too many personal details here (hence the vagueness last week), but this particular thing is so important to why this quote wins quote of the week. We stayed in a café for the majority of the time, and for over an hour, I was trying to get Raymond to live on our island. I’ve been playing Animal Crossing fairly often lately, but the fact that the best cat villager appears in our campsite while I was waiting for my baby to have this operation so that she is okay again… I just felt so emotional. I knew that I needed Raymond, that it was fate. It just felt right. Especially because the particular cat that was sick would definitely be a smug villager if she was in Animal Crossing. I honestly think Raymond showing up that day helped me a lot. The day dragged so much, and I was lucky enough to be preoccupied by this for over an hour. Yes, it was annoying because he kept trying to kick out Ione, Croque and Fang (my favourites), but it kept me going. I don’t do good when I have nothing to do, and this was all I had. It was just what I needed. I don’t think I would’ve worked as hard if it wasn’t Raymond. It felt like fate.