The story of two hearts colliding is one that’s explored to great effect in virtually every medium. Except gaming. For numerous reasons, the medium has been slow to create experiences around the themes of love and romance beyond more juvenile dating simulators or bolting on elements of romantic relationships into established genres. As much as I love headshots, juggle combos, and stacking blocks, I’ve always felt like there was a whole world of possibilities that could arise when combining the interactive elements of gaming with the themes of love and romance.
Originally released on mobile in 2018, Florence takes a clever approach to bringing a love story to life within the boundaries of gaming. Though I meant to play it at the time, I didn’t get around to it until it was released on the Nintendo Switch in February 2020. The experience of playing through it has weighed heavily on my heart ever since.
“Have you heard of HQ Trivia?”
It was the fall of 2017 and my former coworker was selling me on the virtues of this hot new mobile game he’d discovered. “You can play for free and you have the opportunity to win real cash!”
A few days later, during the middle of the workday, we stepped aside to play a few minutes of HQ Trivia. Those first few minutes would form the start of a ritual that carried on for quite some time.
Swipe left to assassinate?
Reigns: Game of Thrones takes the fantasy world of George R.R. Martin and places it into a video game with the mechanics of Tinder. Wait, what?
How low can you go? It won’t be easy with all of the enemies and obstacles in your way, but the guns strapped to your feet sure do help. Downwell challenges you traverse through a series of randomly-generated tunnels with only the ability to walk, jump, and shoot directly below you.
Dr. Mario World plays a cruel game of rope-a-dope with its players. Many of the levels can be beaten within reason. Be that as it may, the buzzsaw is as brutal as it is inevitable.
That did not go as planned. A myriad of technical issues marred this stream, and I’m sorry it didn’t meet the standards that I set for myself. However, it was my first mobile gaming live stream and I needed to take these bumps! Even so, we had a great time chatting about the differences between Dr. Mario World and its predecessor, shared embarrassing stories, and had a cool chat about music and how it’s impacted our lives in negative ways! Also, before the stream crapped out, I was able to sneak in a bit of music vinyl show-and-tell!
A pair of awkward stories
How I broke my iPhone X in Paris
How R&B music messed up my understanding of love and romance
Music Vinyl Show and Tell
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As someone who doesn’t really play mobile games, the thought of using my phone as part of my streaming arsenal didn’t really cross my mind. However, after watching Alpha Gaming’s video about the Elgato Screen Link, I may have to reconsider.
The original Dr. Mario is game that I like, but don’t love. The theme of having Mario cure viruses by smacking them with pills is great. Mechanically, you can create some interesting combos with the two-part pills splitting in half. However, that game becomes a slog the moment you have to put a pill in a bad spot. From there, you spend much of the level in a negative mindset, stressing out over the mess you made and how difficult it is to clean it up. It makes me feel more like a first-year med student rather than a world-renown professional such as the game’s namesake.
Dr. Mario World takes quite a few liberties in adapting the classic puzzler to mobile devices. Purists may raise an eyebrow at how much the game has changed at first glance, and I don’t blame them for that. However, I don’t think its gameplay is this title’s biggest cause for concern.
Playing DropMix over the last few weeks has gotten me to think about music in a new way. This card game with digital elements allows players to mix bits and pieces of songs together by simply placing instrument cards on the board. Want Ed Sheeran to sing over the bass line of LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It”, the synth strings from Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”, and the drums from Rick James’ “Super Freak” while all mixing together in perfect harmony? Simply play the four cards and watch DropMix work its magic.
Having said that, not all DropMix cards or DropMix songs are created equally. In one of the expansion packs we bought, there’s a Beethoven card that’s seemingly impossible to work with. Certain other cards, such as the drums from “Radioactive”, seemingly work with everything. This got me thinking: going beyond personal preferences such as artist and genre, what elements make for a great song in DropMix?
It’s been an incredibly long wait, but Pokemon Go finally has PvP battles! Having played a few matches and poked my head around the game’s new systems, let’s discuss how it works, my thought on its current implementation, and where the system could go from here!