Tetris Journey

From my previous blogs, it may not be a surprise to some that I really like Tetris. I’ve talked about Tetris in general, my personal favourite favourite game-modes, and even the latest Tetris games. This time however, I would like to talk about my journey with the game.

The first time I remember touching Tetris was in grade 6. It was a math period, we were doing geometry or something, and our teacher let us play Tetris for a bit. It was really weird and the details are a bit fuzzy. What I do remember was that everyone was playing on a N-Block website. For those who don’t remember or haven’t read my previous blogs on the Tetris game-modes, I dislike N-Block. After a few minutes of trying to play and ultimately never surpassing a 1,000 points, the class kind of fooled around. Honestly, this experience kind put a bad taste in my mouth. If I knew I had just subjected myself to the hardest game-mode, I might have picked up Tetris again much earlier. Unfortunately, I didn’t and it wouldn’t be until grade 8 did I pick the game up again.

After a year or so of avoiding Tetris, our story resumes during the final months of grade 8. It was free time (or lunch period I can’t remember), and one of my friends was playing Tetris. The thing that caught my eye was the hold feature. I had never seen it and it was a feature absent from my first encounter with the game. After finding out the website, which was called Tetris Friends, I started playing again. Remember that website, it’s important later. Anyhow, I found my experience with Tetris Friends was much better. I stuck to the modern game-modes like marathon and 2P, while avoiding older ones like N-Block and Tetris 1989 (for now). It was also around this time, some of my other friends started using the website. However, this Isn’t important until a bit later. 

Jump forward to grade 9 and most of my friends have at least played the game. Out of all my friends, only 3 of us really played. Out of the 3 of us, we had a little completion to see who could accumulate the most points. The others played a game occasionally but not often. For the most part, we spent most of grade 9 trying to top each other’s scores and earn the highest rank on 2P. We also met some other in the school who played the game and this when I discovered Tetris.com. I knew of the websites existence, but never had much reason to switch. Most of my friends used Tetris Friends and the websites had multiple game-modes unlike Tetris.com

Over the course of the year, my friends and I have been moving through the game-modes. We played through marathon, 2P, sprint, Tetris 1989, basically all the game-modes. The most relevant point was that one of my friends and I were competing for the lowest time on sprint. At this point in time, I had reached my limit with Tetris Friends and most of my friends had dropped the game. Only one friend still played and he was slowly losing interest. From that point on, I had to make a decision. Stick with Tetris Friends, or migrate to Tetris.com. Ultimately, decided to move on from website that brought me into Tetris.

My first real taste of the Tetris.com would be during forth period tech class. This was around the time my friend and I were competing in sprint. Since I reached my limit on Tetris friends, I asked my neighbors what website they were using. After finding out Tetris.com was the most used website in school, I tried a game. I believe during my first go, I got around 60,000 point which wasn’t that high. This was primarily due to how the controls differed between the websites. Although I did say this was first taste, it didn’t mean this was the point in time I permanently made the switch. Honestly the control switch was so jarring, I just stuck to playing marathon on Tetris Friends. Eventually, I realized I could have changed the controls. It was also around this time most of the people on Tetris Friends moved to Tetris.com as well because it was the most popular. From that point on, almost everyone I know used Tetris.com for the most part. 

Once I was on Tetris.com, things didn’t change as much as I thought they would. Aside from 2P and marathon, I didn’t play the other game modes. Nothing major happens until four months ago. Over time I had been honing my marathon skills and managed to reach level 25. In Tetris.com you can skip levels and 25 is the highest level you can skip to. At that point in time, I didn’t know if you could progress any further. After another two months of play, I managed to answer that question. Tetris.com does in fact go beyond level 25 but I also encountered another problem. The pieces barely give you time to rotate. It Isn’t as bad as classic Tetris or N-Block, but still bad. That is when I accepted the fact, I had reached the peak of what I could currently achieve without changing my playstyle drastically. Instead of aiming for high-scores, I would integrate new techniques into my play style. Prior to this, I had always only used the right rotation exclusively. To eliminate the number of rotations I had to turn the pieces, I started experimenting with left rotation. I also tried using z and s spins but found I could use them reliably at higher levels. However, I believed it paid off because of as of last week, I beat my previous high score. I managed to beat my old 780,000 score and breach the 800,000 milestone. 

And that’s it! From my first interaction with Tetris to surpassing 800,000 points. Overall, my Tetris journey has been quite long, longer than most games I play. I guess the next step from this point is to aim for the 900,000s. I believe it will be a while until I have anything to add to this, but when I do, I hope I reach my ultimate goal of a score over 1,000,000. 

Super Smash Bros 2019

Ever since I got the Switch, multiplayer has never been a main priority. I have always been a more single player focused guy. However, with my Switch being the newest entertainment platform for parties, the need of new multiplayer games arises. I’ve already talked about Mario Kart, so this time around I’ll be talking about the latest iteration of Super Smash Bros. 

Super Smash Bros is basically Nintendo’s answers to games like Street Fighter. It’s a side scrolling fighter game where player sight for the most points or until they run out of lives. I always found the Smash series of games really unique because it brings characters from all of Nintendo’s games into one. You can play as the iconic or even the forgettable Ice Climbers. Smash Bros has even brought in character not directly licensed by Nintendo over the years, such as Sega’s Sonic the hedgehog or Capcom’s Ryu from street fighter. Since listing off every character would be boring, I’ll just be talking about my favourites. The first ever character I used in a round of Smash was Kirby. There were several reasons for this, the primary one was the game only gives you eight starting characters. Anyhow, the most defining characteristic of Kirby, in my opinion, is his recovery. Kirby is only one of two characters that can jump five times in the air consecutively. This works really well with Kirby’s down special, which turns him into a rock. It’s just really fun crushing your opponents and the added invincibility is also nice. The second character I would like to talk about is Lucina. Unlike Kirby, I had to unlock her through game play. However, once I did, it was really fun playing with her just like I use to on my 3DS. Finally, a character I didn’t expect to like playing was Samus. I think the reason for this was how easily I managed use the tactics from Kirby. Instead of turning into a rock, she turns into a ball that drops bombs. It actually surprised me how well I could use her. Overall, the roster of character is huge and I can’t wait to unlock all of them. 

Besides the large amounts of character, I also want to talk about the differences from previous iterations. Since I don’t have a WiiU, I’ll be using the 3DS version as reference. The most notable difference was how the latest Smash Bros locked away a majority of characters. You start off with eight characters, Mario, Samus, Kirby, Fox, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Link. Like I mentioned earlier you need to unlock the remaining fighters by playing the game or going through the story. I originally found this quite strange but I guess Nintendo wanted people to actually play through the story this time around. Another difference is how the latest version got rid of the ability to alter your fighter. Instead, we got stickers. Instead of altering one specific character, it stickers just buff whatever character you are currently using. I didn’t find that this change affected me much and when ever we play, we usually just play without stickers. As for the story, I don’t really know what they changed seeing as I’ve never played the story in either game. 

Overall, I really enjoy the latest version of Super Smash Bros. As one of the few game more than one player can join in, it’s played almost every time we have guests over. I was very fortunate my parents payed for the game because without them we would be stuck playing Mario Kart all day long, or Tetris (but nobody wants to play with me). I just hope to unlock all the characters soon.

Monster Hunter World

This week, I will be talking about a new game I got last week, MHW (Monster Hunter World). A few weeks ago, I talked about MHGU (Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate). In that blog, I talked about how I might get another game in the franchise, and of last week I have one now. Since the main objectives in all monster games are somewhat similar, I will be highlighting the differences between MHGU and MHW. 

The most obvious difference when you first launch the game is definitely the graphics. However, in defense of MHGU, it is an older game that was created for the 3DS then was upscaled for the big TVs when ported to the Switch. In comparison, MHW was just released last year, not even a year old, for PC and both major consoles. When you think about hardware difference, there really is no competition. Some may think graphics may not play a big role in games, but for games like Monster Hunter, I think it is necessary. When you’re playing a game with as many cutscenes as MHW, it is a lot easier on the eyes. Even with older titles in the series, the graphics also make the game feel more immersive. 

Besides the pretty new graphics, Capcom also implemented new features that make MHW a lot friendlier to new players. Unlike MHGU where there was no tutorial for almost anything, MHW turns that around 360 degrees. The game is littered with tutorials from movement to weapon crafting. Admittedly this can get a bit annoying because it feels like the game is holding your hand through the first two hunts, but more tutorials are better than none. Another change MHW made was how a player tracks monsters. In previous titles, you had to go through each zone and find the monster. After doing so, you would need to throw a paintball because the monster could escape before killing it. In MHW, the developers removed the zone system, so no more loading screens, and improved how to find monsters. Instead of luck, a player would instead find clues that would lead them to the monster in question. The more clues gathered the easier the monster is to find. Speaking of monsters, Capcom also improved monster combat. Unlike previous games, MHW makes the player use the terrain to their advantage much more than previous titles. There will be skirmishes between monsters you can exploit, areas to make it easier to mount monsters, and safe areas to escape to. However, the best change Capcom made where to the potions. In previous games, you couldn’t move when consuming potions leaving you susceptible to enemy attacks. On the other hand, in MHW you can move, albeit rather slowly. Still, this was a welcome change that saved me many trips back to spawn. 

As for my personal experience with the game, its been pretty good so far. The biggest change for me when moving to MHW, was the weapons. When I began MHW, I decided I change my weapon from Insect Glaive to Light Bowgun. I had several reasons for the switch, but I guess the biggest reason would be, the large amount of responsibility placed on an Insect Glaive user. The role of an Insect Glaive user is to mount and topple the monster, allowing for teammates to attack the monster without restraint. Unfortunately for me, I was never that good at mounting. Instead of dragging my teammates down in multiplayer, I decided to move to the ranged weapons, specifically the Light Bowgun. In the Monster Hunter games, there are three kinds of ranged weapons the Bow, Light Bowgun, and Heavy Bowgun. Bows are typically more focused on elemental damage and fight more right out of the enemy reach. Out of the three options, I immediately crossed this one out. I was never good at keeping track at what monster were weak to what or dancing around the enemy either. However, unlike the Bow, the Bowguns seem more like a viable option for me. The primary differences between the two, was that the Light Bowgun traded in power and defense, for elemental damage and speed. The deciding factor for me was ultimately the speed. In MHGU I keep getting hit because I couldn’t avoid attacks in time. However, I do plan on trying the Heavy Bowgun and Insect Glaive sometime in the future. 

Overall, MHW is a great game and, in my opinion, better than MHGU. MHW is a lot friendlier to new players and graphics are stunning. The only downside I could think of was, the multiplayer. For a game that focusus is teamwork, the community has a poor idea of what that is. My advice is if one wants to play with others, just play with friends. They won’t complain, ditch last minute, or troll the hunt. On a positive note, I hope to play this game more and play with the few friends who do own this game. 

Mario Kart 8

This week, I will be talking about a switch game I have had for a while, Mario kart 8. The reason I have put off making a blog on it is because I don’t normally play it. However, during Kalen’s birthday party, my friends and I probably spent a good 2-3 hours on it. With all this time under my belt, I’m now confident I could make a decent blog and know what I’m talking about. 

In Mario kart 8, there is only really one game mode we play, which is grand prix. Basically, you create your kart, like in every other game mode, then you select a prix. A prix is just a round of four pre selected circuits. I prefer this game mode over the others because, it’s the most simple. You make a kart and play, no extras. As an added bonus, you can even win trophies if you land first place every single stage. Thats is what I primarily what I try to do when I play by myself, win trophies. In the end, these trophies don’t really do anything and are really only there for bragging rights. Overall, great game mode fore playing with friends, but can get a little boring if playing alone. 

The next kind of game mode we play sometimes, is party mode. In this game mode, there are a lot of different individual games that can be played. There is a game where you see who can get more coins, how many ballon you can pop, and much more. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even played all of them before. I usually only play this during parties because playing with bots is just chaos. Besides, it is more fun to play with friends anyway. 

In general, whenever you select a stage of any kind, you need to select the CC. I don’t know what CC actually means, but I just interpret it as kart speed. The higher you go the faster your cart gets. There is 50CC, 100CC, 150CC, and 200CC. Usually, I like to play on either 100CC or 150CC. 50CC is to slow and 200CC is unplayable in my opinion. Another feature that is in almost every game mode is the items. There are a lot of items in the game, so I will only cover my favorite few. Out of all the items, I tend to favor the shells, star, and bullet bill. In terms of shells, there are three in total, green, red, and blue. Green is the most basic with no tracking and the fact you can hit yourself, red is the second with and almost guarantee chance it will hit someone, and finally there is the blue shell that will always hit the person in first place and hit others along the way. The star is another fun item that is extremely useful in desert maps. When the start is activated you don’t need to fallow the course and go off-roading. It can be slightly dangerous if you don’t know how long the buff will last, but it is fun none the less. Finally, there is Bullet Bill, the best come back item. Normally, you won’t obtain this item unless you are in the last five places. However, if you do get it, depending on how well people are doing on the map you can land yourself in sixth or fifth place. What it does, is turn you into a bullet that follows a set course on the map at a speed faster than what any kart is capable of. 

In the end, I have had a wonderful experience. I think Mario Kart was our most family-friendly game. Before we got our hands on smash bros. After many consecutive hours with friends and family, I can say this is a really fun game for everyone.