Staying Positive

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This quarantine period has not been easy. I am extroverted and like being around people. All I can do is currently is work and then go home. I know it hasn’t been easy for everyone else as well so I thought I would make a post of things that are helping me stay positive and I hope that you can find some things or use some of these things to help you find positivity as well!

Music

These artists help me stay positive with their upbeat or fun music!

  • Ninja Sex Party (A comedy band)
  • Panic at the Disco (rock)
  • Walk the Moon (rock)
  • Lil Nas X (rap)
  • Halestorm (metal)
  • New Years Day (metal)
  • The Haxans (goth pop)

Reading

I recommend reading some old favorite series or new series that will last you a few days. I am going to read the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. I have read the first book, but I never finished the whole series.

YouTube

I recommend these channels to help cheer you up!

  • Call Me Kevin (love his Harry Potter game playthroughs)
  • Game Grumps and The Grumps (Their Mario, Zelda, and Phoenix Wright series are really funny and The Grumps have 10 minute episodes where they will sit and do something like bobbing for apples or making Nintendo pancakes)
  • Gab Smoulders (I love her playthroughs of Fatal Frame because she teaches you Japanese)

I am going to watch the playthrough of the Desperate Housewives game by KPopp because that looks like it’s going to be a really funny and dramatic game.

TV Shows

I would recommend comedies or feel-good series here like:

  • Queer Eye on Netflix
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race on Hulu
  • Derry Girls on Netflix
  • Scrubs on Hulu (an old favorite show of mine!)
  • How to Keep a Mummy (an adorable anime)

Games

I would recommend anything with a party mechanic or social aspect.

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition 
  • Persona 5 (Cannot wait for Royal!)
  • League of Legends
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Can’t wait to play today!)

Activities

Here are some relaxing activities you can try:

  • Yoga at home
  • Meditation
  • Drawing
  • Writing or Journaling
  • Taking walks outside
  • Playing or Learning an instrument
  • Skype friends and do online hangouts
  • Spend time with family, people you live with, or pets

Spread the Positivity

I encourage everyone who reads this post to post something you do to stay positive in the comments or on the Tweet. I would like this to be a way for us all to help each other be positive or stay calm. I hope this helps you all and stay safe! You could also make your own post on staying positive if you want!

Living for Now’s Favorite Game Places

Have you ever loved a place so much that it’s addictive? Well, that was me with the Tower of London a while back. And Laura with New York. And now computer game worlds are so immersive, they’re revealing themselves to have the same effect! So here are some of my personal favourite places in gaming.…

via 5 of My Favourite Places in Gaming — Living for Now

I loved this article from Living For Now! Some of my favorite places are: Altissia in Final Fantasy XV because I loved that the city had canals and reminded me of Italy, Eryth Sea in Xenoblade Chronicles due to the beautiful sea and night sky,  and Persona 5’s Shibuya because I’ve always wanted to see Japan and I got to see it in this game! Check out the article here and let Amy know what your favorite places in games are!

Xenoblade Chronicles and Changing Destiny

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Destiny is the second main theme of Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. It starts with the idea of using the Monado to change fate because it is the only weapon that can fight the Mechon to Shulk using the Monado to see the future. Eventually the idea of changing destiny goes to changing the fate of the world. This game is really ambitious when it comes to the story which is why I love it! For this please do not read if you have not played or finished the game as this will involve the crazy twists at the end that really shake up the story and universe! 

Shulk and the Monado

Shulk is the only character that can wield the Monado properly as most people end up getting hurt by the weapon. Shulk also gains special abilities from the Monado such as visions. At first it seems like they cannot do much as his vision that Fiona will be killed still ends up to her death.

But, once he starts talking to people and being open about his visions, he is really able to change the future. One moment I remember is when he sees a vision that Sharla will die trying to save her brother Juju from a Mechon. He is able to stop the future by warning Sharla and Juju is saved.

The gameplay also allows you to change the future. Shulk can see what will happen in battle and you can tell a character how to avoid the attack or stop it yourself with the Monado. For example, if you see that a character will take enough damage to kill them, either tell them to put a shield up or use a Monado art and they will survive the attack and take less damage.

World

The world was actually designed to fight each other due to Zanza, the creator of this world. It seems like the people of Bionis and Mechnois can never get along, but he wanted that. Zanza wanted power and to do that he decided to destroy Mechonis. He brought the Monado to earth so that someone would be foolish to pick it up. Zanza needs power because without destruction, he will cease to exist. The people of Bionis give him energy when they die.

When someone did, Zanza took over their body and started fighting Mechonis. Egil, the leader of the Mechonis revolution, witnessed this destruction he vowed to destroy Bionis to kill Zanza. Egil at the end sacrified himself to protect Bionis from Zanza and the Mechon started helping Bionis defend against Zanza.

The fate of the High Entia were also changed. High Entia had this rule where they wanted a Homs and High Entia to produce children so they would be more like Homs. At first that seemed really weird, but they were trying to change their fate. Zanza created them so that they would turn into monsters called Telethia who would kill the people of Bionis for Zanza when he commanded them to. Melia and the other half High Entia were able to avoid becoming Telethia and were able to live a normal life though they mourned the loss of their families.

Creator and Destiny

Zanza and Meyneth, the creator of Mechonis, have two different visions of the world they created. Zanza wants the world to fuel him. He enjoys conflict and destruction because it gives him power. Meyneth only wants the people to have a happy future where they can decided their own destinies.

This world was created by Zanza (which is where the ending just really changes the story). So the world was created as a computer program to look at how universes are made and evolve. Zanza, or Klaus as he was known, decided to execute the world before it was fully tested. That led to the destruction of our world and the beginning of Bionis and Mechonis. The Monado has power in this world because it is the computer that build this world.

Ending and Lessons Learned

When Zanza destroys the universe, Shulk and his friends fight him. Shulk is able to create his own Monado and can still see the future. He is able to defeat Zanza by seeing the future. After that he gets to decide the fate of the universe. He decides to let the people decide their future and the people of Bionis and Mechonis live in harmony on Colony 6.

This game teaches us that destiny and fate can be changed. We are not stuck on one path if our future is not how we envisioned it to be. Instead we can create our own future with persistence. Shulk tried everything he could to change the future over an over 100 hour story and he was able to change it and create his own future. So whenever you feel stuck or like your future isn’t going the way you want it to, know that the future belongs to you.

What did you think of the ending of Xenoblade Chronicles? 

Xenoblade Chronicles and Perseverance: Tough Bosses

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Xenoblade Chronicles 3D has to be the hardest game I have ever played. I had to retry the entire game 3 times in order to get grinding and quests right. The first time I made way too many mistakes and ended up being very underleveled for all boss fights. I decided to retry again a couple years later, but loss\t interest. The third time I decided to try again, I had forgotten everything about the game so I decided to begin a fresh save. Now I am finally at the final boss. I actually managed to do pretty well with this game except for two bosses which taught me about patience and strategy.

Gadolt

This was the first boss that I ran into major problems with. Usually after doing most of the side quests, I could easily take a boss down, but not this one. He is also apparently one of the hardest bosses in the game which is how I got the achievement Phoenix for 50 game overs total (a good chunk was from him and also Metal Face).

The first thing I did was grind by doing all side quests to try to get closer to his level. That helped me a lot, but he still was hard. He’s a hard enough boss with his deadly attacks (I can still remember hearing “This shot will take you down” before he basically killed most of my party). So I looked on YouTube and also at posts by others who were stuck on the fight.

After trying to use different party members, I believe I won using either Shulk or Melia with Reyn and Sharla. Sharla healed everyone while I took out the guardians and eventually just kept knocking Gadolt out until the fight was over.

Disciple One

This one had me wanting to quit the game. She is known to be the hardest boss in this game. She summons enemies that grant her 100% defense against physical attack unless you take most of them down. On top of that she has powerful attacks and also she is a large boss in a small area surrounded by toxic ether. She can push your party members and you into the toxic ether just by moving around. I died here more than Gadolt and was very annoyed by hearing “You will pay for your insolence” several times during this fight.

Looking up help for this one was actually funny. It would go between helpful advice to hearing that people just quit the game at this point because of how tough she is. I just grinded until she was not in the yellow (yellow means that the boss is slightly harder because your party is too low).

Then, I just kept trying different party combinations. I eventually just used Melia, Riki, and Sharla because two of those mostly attacked using ether instead of physical attacks. It was basically luck that got me to win because I used chain attacks to take her down. If I wasn’t lucky she would take Melia out which would cause me to lose the battle fairly quickly.

Lessons Learned

I learned that with patience, strategy, and trying multiple times, I can do anything! I really learned about patience when I needed to wait a while to do quests and grind before I could fight a boss. I also learned strategy with choosing the right party that went could help each other out, making sure they had the right equipment with gems to increase certain stats, and making sure they had the right Arts selected. After I tried multiple strategies I would eventually defeat any boss.

I am currently stuck on the final boss who has three phases, but I managed to get through the first phase. I am using what I have learned to defeat the final boss!

What lessons have tough bosses in video games taught you?

Importance of Bonds in Xenoblade Chronicles

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I am currently working through Xenoblade Chronicles 3D on my Nintendo 3DS. I have now played 99 and a half hours and I still need to complete the main story. This game is long! While playing I have come across two main theme I wanted to write about. The first being about love and relationships and the second one I will write later once I have finished the game. The second theme requires more story in order to discuss it properly. Warning: Full spoilers up until the Gadolt boss battle where I stopped.

Party Relationship

The standard for any RPG is usually some form of party. This game has a special mechanic were the more you sync up with your party with attacks, the more a link for fills up. Once this link fills up, you can do chain attacks. You also need to encourage your teammates in battle when they get discouraged. During battle, team mates will cheer each other on like “We can definitely do this”. Battle also encourages skill links which create special effects during battle such as an Agility buff when the battle begins with higher level enemies.

There’s also Heart-to-Hearts which unlock special cut scenes from a character’s affinity link. Affinity links are basically how much they get along which increases as they battle together.

In terms, of story the party generally bonds as the story progresses. You see Reyn and Shulk, the first main party, deepen their friendship as they work to save Bionis. Sharla, a woman who joins when you meet Colony 6, and Reyn get closer along the story as well. Reyn clearly likes Sharla and tries to bond with her which she does find adorable.

Family Bonds

Family is also an important part of Xenoblade. Dunban and Fiora are brother and sister who look after each other. Fiora nurses Dunban back to health after he injures himself wielding the Monado and he looks after her when she gets a Mechonis body and needs to stay hydrated.

Melia has a brother named Kallian and a father named Emperor Sorean. Melia is very close with her family. She loves her father and her brother looks after her. When Sorean dies, Melia is devastated. She is made the new leader of the High Entia, but asks her brother to stand in for her while she accompanies Shulk to fight the Mechon.

A bond that has become tense over time is Miqol and Egil. Miqol is the father of Egil. Egil is, at the moment, responsible for the tension between the Homs and Machina. He has led the Mechonis to fight and kill the Homs. Miqol does not want the Homs to die over past history and is currently tell Shulk to kill Egil. We’ll see if this changes over time.

Community Bonds

During any time in the game, you can look at the Affinity Chart which shows your relationship to the different communities in Xenoblade Chronicles. My highest community is Central Bionis which is at 3 stars. This is where the Nopon live.

During Xenoblade you come across different communities. These can be other Homs communities like Colony 6 or other races such as Nopon (basically sentient fluffy creatures), High Entia (similar to elves in intelligence and life span), and Machina (the machine people). Some of these are even added to your party.

Nopon can seem annoying at first, but Riki is kind and determined to help his friends. His moves can even help friends like healing. Melia is a High Entia. At first, they seem like they only care about themselves, but they do decided to help the Homs. Melia uses magic to either hurt enemies or give her allies buffs. The Machina really want to stop Egil and are willing to help the Homs. All they want is peace.

Romantic Bonds

The first romantic bond is Shulk and Fiora. They are friends that are clearly interested in each other. Before they can form a romantic bond, Fiora is killed by a Mechon. This drives Shulk to want to destroy all Mechon. He doesn’t change his mind until he sees Fiora in a Mechon’s body. This Mechon behaves strangely because the Mechon clearly knows how Fiora feels about Shulk and decides to protect them. In fact, the Mechon destroys itself protecting Shulk.

After Fiora has been released from the Mechon, her and Shulk kiss beginning the romance they were too nervous to start at first. Fiora is actually nervous about the possibility of becoming fully human again because she desperately wants to help Shulk when he is fighting. She also is originally afraid that Shulk wouldn’t want a relationship with her now that she is part Mechon, but he just loves having her in his life again.

The other major romantic bond is between Sharla and Gadolt. Sharla and Gadolt were in love and had a close bond together. She tried to console Gadolt during the war against the Mechon. Gadolt went missing during battle and was perceived to be dead. Turns out he is alive, but one major problem. He is a Mechon and this time he has no memories of his past. After Fiora turned rogue from her memories and Mumkhar’s obsession with Dunban led to his demise, Egil decided that completely erasing memories, thus erasing bonds, would ensure that his next legion of Homs-Mechons would be even better warriors. Sharla is devastated that Gadolt no longer remembers her and that their bond has dissolved. But, it seems he may remember her because he purposefully misses her when he attacks the party.

Future Bonds

I am hoping that Sharla and Gadolt will have a mended bond. I am hoping that there is some way to regain his memories. I am also interested to see how Shulk and Fiora’s relationship will deepen now that they are together again. I also am hoping that there might be some way to stop Egil without killing him. Maybe if they get through to him that destroying another race will not help him with the pain of his past, he’ll stop this violence. That one unfortunately I think is the least likely outcome.

What are your thoughts on the bonds in this game? Maybe there is another game you can think of that focuses heavily on bonds.

 

 

Later Levels’ Thoughts on Odd Couples in Video Games

It’s Valentine’s Day, and gamers all over the country will be putting down their controllers in favour of red roses, soft music and candlelit dinners for two. But there’s no reason why video games can’t feature on this day of love for some of the most emotional stories ever known have been told through the […]

via Gaming’s unlikeliest couples — Later Levels

Kim from Later Levels had some great points on why some of these couples just are not a good match! The weirdest one was The House of the Dead! I have no idea who thought that was a good idea to match those two in the first place, but that was a terrible idea! I also agree with Matt and Emily in Until Dawn because Emily was really bossy while Matt was more easy going. That would never work in real life! As for my own experiences, I’ve been thinking and honestly the couples that are in my video games do tend to go well together. Let Kim know here what couples in video games did you think made no sense together!

Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey – Fun Time With Friends

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I usually don’t do movie reviews on here, but I really wanted to talk about the fun day I had with this movie! I just decided to see it on a Saturday afternoon and it turned into a Galentine’s Day with old and new friends!

Plot

The general plot is that Harley Quinn and the Joker break up and she struggles to find her identity. After struggling to get over her breakup privately, Harley Quinn decided to publicly announce to the world via an explosion that she is no longer the Joker’s girlfriend.

The problem with doing that is now everyone who has had a grudge on Harley in the past decides that it’s time to come after her and kill her since she’s no longer under the Joker’s protection.

After being kidnapped by the Black Mask, she manages to get her freedom by promising to find a famous diamond that would unlock an old mafia family’s bank vault. The problem is it’s with a pickpocket kid named Cassandra Cain. So Harley must decided to either sell the kid out or protect the kid from danger.

Humor

This movie is full of funny moments so here’s a list of my favorites.

  • Any time a villain appears on screen to come after Harley and she would list the reasons why they hated her such as putting a permanent tattoo of a clown on someone’s head.
  • The dramatic moment with Harley and her egg sandwich which a friend of mine made afterwards and said it definitely was worth the dramatic moment.
  • Any time the Huntress attempted to be dramatic and came across as awkward.

Surprising Moments

The first major surprise was when I walked into the theater. This movie is rated R for a really good reason as the language is extremely strong (a lot of “motherf***er being thrown around) and the film is extremely violent (Black Mask has a really disturbing method of torturing his victims that I could not watch). So why did some parents bring their kids? Those kids definitely learned some colorful language and probably had nightmares about the Black Mask for a while!

As for the film itself, I was surprised by:

  • The Black Canary’s special move since I did not know much about her before the film.
  • How the Birds of Prey came to be since they all started out not liking each other.
  • The larger role of the Huntress in the film.
  • The stunt work that had to be done for Harley Quinn: She does backflips and cartwheels, takes down guys twice her size, there was a stunt involving a motorcycle and a rope. I was really impressed because those stunts looked really hard!
  • The little hair tie moment was a cute little surprise of women helping each other out during fighting.

Thoughts (Spoilers)

Overall I really enjoyed the movie! I thought it was fun seeing Harley Quinn find her way in life. I also liked seeing the other women form their own path. The Canary went from working for Black Mask to kicking ass and forming Birds of Prey with the Huntress. The Huntress was able to defeat everyone who killed her family. Rene got out of the police office where she felt like no one respected her. Cassandra and Harley Quinn formed their own firm with the money from the diamond. I just enjoyed that it was a feel good movie that just made you want to smile and appreciate the friends you have in your life that support you like The Birds of Prey eventually supported Harley.

Friends

What made this movie really special was watching it with friends. I sat down at the theater and saw someone waving me over and it was an old friend from college! She was actually dressed in a Harley Quinn cosplay complete with makeup and the little black heart on her cheek. I met some of her friends and then we hung out together after the movie for a while. So watching a movie about forming bonds while hanging with old friends and making new friends is what made this movie so special to me!

What did you think of this film? Let me know what is one of your favorite memories of going to see a movie!