Splat Fashion

I sincerely hope someone is working on a Splatoon based clothing line. Never have I loved fashion more than when I’m equipping my inkling to optimize her abilities and make sure she’s SUPERFRESH!  Since release, I’ve played enough to keep an abundant cash flow coming in and buy everything I wanted fairly easily.

Inkling Girl with School Cardigan, Power Mask, Aeropray MG Pink

After School Special

Mean Green Beret Inkling Girl

Mean Green Beret

I’ve been splurging and shedding gear pretty readily. SplatNet2 lets me check in on the scene throughout the day so I can make sure I’m not missing choice new looks, but I think (for now) my gear shuffle is over.

Salmon Run uniform, rubber waders, Splatoon 2, Inking Girl

Fly fishing or fish frying?

When I’m not scrubbing a Splatfest tshirt for ability chunks, or rocking rubber head to toe for Salmon Run, I’m splatting in a Special Forces Beret, Black Inky Rider and Gold Hi-Horses.

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Gold Hi-Horses are getting some hate, but clearly you nerds don’t know how IN metallics are. They’re glorious. I love the exaggerated chunkiness and Mine came with Run Speed Up and the slots unlocked Quick Super Jump, Run Speed Up, and Ink Resistance. I’m pretty ok with this line-up, but if I can find a pair with Stealth Jump, I’d grab those and add some Swim Speed over the Run Speed.

Splatoon 2 Black Inky Rider

I have both the Black and White Inky Riders (because it’s always great to have a backup!), but favor Black Inky for speed. I hit a trifecta of Run Speed Ups on that one in addition to the main attribute: Ink Saver (Sub). I’m heavy sub users so it comes in handy. My dream is to find one with Ninja Squid and fit it with a mix of Speed and/or Ink Resistance.

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And because I’m a badass from toe to head, I’ve crowned myself with the Special Forces Beret. My ideal set up here would mix Special Gauge Up with Ink Savers, main and sub. I’m a strategic bomb flinger so I need to be able to hurl a bomb without draining my tank entirely.

Alternate set ups include the Blue Moto Boots, Skull Bandana, and Camo Zip Hoodie with Ninja Squid.

Thanks to Murch’s killer deal on Splatfest T scrubs, I’ve been able to build up a nice little stock of ability chunks to prepare for my future murdersuit. What does your gear set up look like?

All The Reasons I’m Hyped for Splatoon 2

Did you catch the Splatoon 2 Nintendo Direct this morning? As a massive fan of the game, I can feel the hype ink flowing through my veins. Here’s what I’m looking forward to most:

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Custom hairstyles! Can I finally fling my tentacles around my inkling’s head in new ways? Yes. Yes I can. And while the ability to do so is amazing, it’s doubtful you’ll see me slinging ink in anything other than that Katniss-style side braid.

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New Amiibo. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really trying to cut down the clutter in my apartment. I’m not a huge collector of amiibo, but for Zelda and Splatoon (and some indies) I make an exception. I’ll be picking up the New Inkling Girl and New Inkling Squid. In Splatoon 2, scanned amiibo will appear in-game and remember your preferred gear, weapons and options so you can easily take your set up on-the-go or in a friend’s game. They’ll also unlock special gear AND the original amiibo will work with Splatoon 2. The Callie and Marie set are my all-time favorites and I can’t wait to see what they unlock! Here’s hoping we get an Off the Hook set!

Speaking of Off the Hook, Pearl and Marina! I LOVED the Octoling aesthetic in the first game so I’m thrilled to see Marina as part of our new pop duo hostesses. Girl crushing so hard right now. AND we’ll get them for at least TWO YEARS of Splatfests! Let’s get more of their brand of burp-step and did I mention I would like an amiibo set, please?

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New NPCs. The new shop owners are SO fresh! Flow– the witchy sea slug who runs the fashion shop- is my new spirit animal. She (and her shrimpy familiar) are conjuring up the slickest new fashions imbued with magical abilities to devastate your enemies. I love it. I love her. PLEASE let there be some gothic fashions to choose from.

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On the other hand, Bisk looks like the spider-crab version of my grade school gym teacher. Fitting, since he’s manning er, crabbing the shoe store. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of killer kicks we’ll be treated to (and that will give me permission to invest in a new pair of running sneaks for my next gen Splatoon casual cosplay 15k race).

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Weapons (duh). I’m a shameless Splat Roller spammer and you haters can get splet. It’s fun, efficient af at covering turf and makes me an easy target for your inkblasting pleasure. The upgrade that allows the roller to be swung vertically will make me a FORCE. Needless today, I’m stoked about the Flingza Roller. Better range. More versatility. More ruthless CARNEYage.

I’m also super down with the Dapple Dualies. They look like a crossbow hybrid with both a high rate of fire and high coverage. I will go ham with these bastards. You ready for me, Ranked?

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Salmon Run Mode. I love that you can play this boss-rush style mode solo or with friends, combating wave after wave of various salmonids. I’m a little disappointed that online play is only event-based like Splatfest. Ranked mode is a lot of fun, but it would be awesome to have online co-op where you’re teamed up with strangers for the greater good for once vs just trying to annihilate each other. It looks like a fantastic mess of chaos and inkblasting though. Anyone else think these salmonids look more like eels?

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SplatNet 2 and Nintendo Switch Online App. Clearly the awkward voice chat workaround poses a problem, but at least Nintendo is trying. And the headset looks like a great addition to the experience (or cosplay piece) and even has INTERCHANGEABLE color plates so you’re guaranteed to STAY FRESH. I’m excited to keep abreast of Inkopolis news while I’m away. The app will keep us updated on stage schedules, stats and even lifetime inkage. It’s also our portal to private battles via friend invites. I’m going to need to pick up that squid phone case (please someone make it real)!

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There’s only one thing left to do. Download the demo and pick a side for the Splatfest World Premiere! Will you join me on #TeamCake on July 15th?

 

Spend Your Summer by the Oasis

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Edina of the Drauk Warriors

After an IMMENSELY stressful week, I was rewarded with the release of Ever Oasis. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks hiding among its various tribes and dungeons, but now I’m ready to come up for air and tell you about it. You play a Seedling responsible for building and maintaining a thriving oasis village while vanquishing the Chaos that threatens all desert life. The game feels a lot like Fantasy Life in terms of questing, story and battling, but with more elements of town and relationship management like Animal Crossing.

Travelers, merchants and noots will wander into your oasis each morning or you can attract them by building requested bloom booths. Your goal is to fulfill travelers’ requests so they become residents. When Seedlings become residents, they can build a bloom booth, which you’ll need to place and keep stocked with materials. Bloom booths provide you with income do you can upgrade your gear and host festivals.

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Shakuro should give himself more credit

As more residents move in, your oasis levels up and expands. Just when things are about to get tedious, you’ll unlock features allowing you to delegate certain tasks so you’re not always running between bloom booths to individually restock or traversing the desert to grind for materials.

It’s not a challenging game, but there’s an addictive draw to expanding your oasis and finding new characters out in the desert. Growing your community and unlocking new areas to explore offers a rewarding experience and the quirky dialogues make the game that much more endearing.

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Err… I think so, Reuben…

If you’re looking for a super casual, yet charming escape to hold you over between major releases, Ever Oasis delivers. I recommend picking it up as the video game equivalent of a beach read.

 

My Hopes for Zelda Mobile

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I don’t consider myself a mobile gamer. I have some time-killers I play on the train, but I still struggle to see mobile gaming as “real gaming.”

But The Legend of Zelda is making the leap to mobile devices later this year and I’ll be on board for that. MORE ZELDA! Still, this version needs to feel as big as the franchise, especially on the coattails of Breath of the Wild, while adopting a mobile formula that encourages habitual use. Some features and functions that I’d love to see include:

Daily puzzles. The Legend of Zelda is legendary for its challenging puzzles- there are 120 shrines to solve in Breath of the Wild. With the breadth of functionality offered by mobile devices from touch screens to gyroscopic/movement-based controls, puzzle innovation is nearly endless and can be varied enough to not feel repetitive. Give me a new challenge every day

Real World integration. Hyrule is a HUGE place and I want to feel like I’m exploring it in the real world. Much like walking hatches eggs in Pokemon Go, I’d like my daily physical activity to translate to my mini hero in-game. Do I need to walk 3 miles to get to Zora’s Domain and unlock new puzzles? Bring me my running shoes and let’s go on a quest!

Link as a secondary character. I’d be less critical of it as a Zelda game and more delighted I get to play alongside my favorite characters and themes. Let me customize my own sprite who interacts with Link in my own story. Maybe Link is my silent sensei, training me to protect Hyrule so he can retire. Or maybe he needs me to rescue him! I love playing as Link, but I’m craving my own adventure. Mobile would be a perfect platform to try this kind of alternative story formula since it’s not a traditional vehicle for Zelda games and players’ expectations for mobile games are vastly different than console. There could even be an opportunity for microtransactions to buy new character features, clothes or accessories.

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Selfies! It’s mobile! Come on. Those Wind Waker selfies were adorable and hilarious. Nintendo could drive engagement and promotion with a selfie feature that’s easily sharable to social.

What do you want to see in a mobile Zelda game?

How Nintendo Switch is Driving me Back to Physical Games

I’m a Taurus. As a lover of physical things, I like to surround myself with the material items that speak most to me and bring joy into my space- candles, jewelry, art, plants.

As a New Yorker, that space is already filled the moment I step into it. The items I keep need to be deeply meaningful and beautiful as well as fairly functional. Moving to digital downloads has helped me reduce clutter AND keep a larger library (read: daunting backlog).

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Hiding my games within a clear carrier from the old Club Nintendo days

And while I do still have a nice little collection of physical DS games for which I’ve found accessible-yet-invisible storage solutions, I actively seek out digital downloads to preserve my sacred space.

Nintendo Switch– and particularly indie game publishers- are changing that.

Artful packaging draws me in a variety of ways. The clear plastic shell for Switch games is much less visible and intrusive than the white 3DS and blue WiiU shells were. It’s a major upgrade toward keeping my space looking like it belongs to someone who is at least trying to look like a grown up.

There’s been a lot of debate about the size of the box relative to the size of the game, but in a loud retail environment, you need a canvas for enticing visuals. Nicalis has even released two editions for The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ each with covetable  covers.

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via Nicalis

It seems instruction manuals started to phase out slowly.  Around the time Club Nintendo shuttered, I don’t remember seeing them anymore at all. I always loved thumbing through the manuals, reading character backstories, admiring the artwork and learning a handful of secrets. The “notes” pages in the back were filled with my hand-scrawled discoveries, codes and strategies like a little game diary.

The Nintendo games I’ve purchased so far for Switch continue the trend of missing manuals, but indie publishers like Nicalis have begun to revive them. Cave Story+ was just announced for a June 20th Nintendo Switch release- with an instruction booklet highlighted.

The Binding of Isaac included a gorgeous instruction manual which conjured nostalgia feels for the original Legend of Zelda on NES with its shiny gold cover.

And that’s not all! Indie physical releases are becoming known for including extras and trinkets. If you pre-ordered Isaac from Amazon (or were lucky enough to get an early edition from another retailer), you got two sheets of stickers AND a reversible game cover!

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Goodies in my copy of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

When and IF Axiom Verge comes to the Switch- the chances of which Tom Happ told me were “decent” back in January, though a Switch release has not yet been confirmed– I’d suspect it will follow a similar format to its other physical releases and include some extras like the STELLAR soundtrack.

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It’s exciting again to pick up a physical copy of a game. And I no longer feel like game cases on my shelf look childish or take away from my aesthetic. Hopefully the future of Switch releases holds many more surprises and shelf candy!

Friday Five- Your Wish Is YOUR Command

If ever there was a year to start a regular gratitude ritual, this one is it. Recommended writing for all of you who need to shrug off the “ugh” and rewire your brain to see the positive. So in addition to one of today’s 5 things, this weekly list of things I’m loving will also serve as a cheery space.

1. An Uncluttered Life.
“The thing most people resist when making a big change [is] the idea that they have to give up some things they may like to get what they love. And they stumble over this.” Since my boyfriend moved in on the 1st, every day has been an exercise in decluttering. I’ve become a better organizer. I’ve learned to let go of things that I like, but that no longer serve me. This applies to my emotional and spiritual self too. I spent a lot of time making due with things that I liked while waiting for what I wanted without realizing that what I wanted couldn’t come until I made the space for it. “it isn’t what you add to your life that makes it great; it’s what you take away.” Toss whatever clutters your heart, your mind, body and your physical space so you have ROOM for the things you want to come into your life.

2. Adopt a Roach for Valentine’s Day. Support the Wildlife Conservation Society and rid yourself of pesky ex (or patriarchy 🙄) energy with this little ritual. This is such a cute and creative little Galentine’s gift for yourself (or a friend who needs to laugh over a former flame). No ill will. All for a good cause and your own levity. And chocolate 🍫. Most importantly chocolate.

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Heyyyyyyyy

3. Shantae: Half Genie Hero. Way back in 2013 I backed this game on Kickstarter because I have a massive crush on Shantae. I just love this little ass kickin’, hair whippin’ heroine and her latest adventures are a WISH GRANTED! I’ve been streaming a little, but mostly I’m playing offline to work on a speedrun later. I will definitely be streaming more. From counterfeit mermaid factories to magic carpet races, intense platforming challenges are woven into a creative storyline that keeps me engaged in every town in Sequin Land. Highly recommend this game. Seriously, get it. Or you’ll feel like this bro.

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You guys don’t get to peek inside yet…

4. Bullet Journaling. The basic premise of a bullet journal is that it combines your planner, to-do list and journal into one simplified system for organizing your life and tracking patterns. There are a ton of different ways to set it up. Here are some ideas. Mine doesn’t look NEARLY so pretty, but I’m seeing positive changes related to mood, appetite and creative output among other things.

I also carved out a space each month for daily gratitude. The goal is to write one thing each day, but some days there are tons! Watching the list build is positive reinforcement in the beauty of the universe enough! Other suggestions for sections- book reading tracker, doodle space, poem prompts and scream boxes (for when you really need to let it all out). And if you’re one of those Washi tape people, go crazy! I’m barely a straight lines person.

5. Soulmates. 🧀. When I was 15, I was madly in love with a boy 2 grades ahead of me. He was popular and athletic, but also dark and brooding and mysterious. I was weird and artsy, often spacing out and constantly scribbling in journals. Somehow, we became friends. He convinced me to manage the Boy’s Tennis team and we’d share one pair of headphones on the bus trips to away games or I’d lie in the sun watching practice until he was done and could drive me home in his “super cool” Honda del Sol. While I not-so-subtly pined for him, he strung me along just enough, but remained aloof. We carried on through his senior year talking all night and casually ignoring feelings all day. Then he graduated. I was heartbroken. I was sure he was my soulmate, but life sort of went on…

We’d talk on and off over the years, but he never seemed particularly interested in me as more than a friend and confidant, so I eventually let go of my infatuation. Until a couple months ago when the cadence of our communication picked up again drastically. I’m of course living in New York City and he had just relocated back to our hometown on the Island of Misfit Toys in South Jersey. We hadn’t seen each other in almost 10 years, but started talking every night for 6+ hours. Gradually my feelings came back and I suspected he was catching some as well. On November 29th, I realized I was in love with him. I was not happy about this discovery. There was a lot at stake and I was really loving my solo life.

BUT he was feeling some things too. So he decided he needed to come for a visit to validate them. December 1st, he was waiting in my apartment when I got home from work looking nervous, but otherwise exactly like he did in high school. Then he kissed me. Then we went to get dinner. Then I took him to Barcade because drinks were required and I wanted to win at Joust. There at the bar, he cornered me in that sexy way that makes me crazy, looked into my eyes and asked me point blank if I’m in love with him. I downed the rest of my drink and told him I am. And guess what? He is too! 🎆

We spent December apart trying to figure out what in the fuck we were going to do about all this, arguing about how crazy this is, browsing engagement rings and lamenting that we missed SO MANY YEARS before landing on the only possible solution: He’d have to move into my little 300sqft East Village apartment on January 1st. So that’s what happened. And we’ve been grinning like idiots for the last 27 days, laughing about how all this even happened and enjoying whimsical sleeptalking psychedelic poetry slams.

So sometimes your 15 year-old self/18 year-old self gets it right and you just have to wait until your 32 year-old self/35 year-old self has her/his shit together enough to make it happen and make it last. 😊

 

Games IRL

Not-so-secret about me: I put more hours into The Binding of Isaac than just about any other game over the last couple years. Now I’ve gotten my boyfriend solidly addicted. And Mr. McMillen can count on my preorder for The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+on Nintendo Switch because a) it comes out at launch, b) I prefer consoles to PC so I’ve been waiting on this update and c) I have an addiction that I justify under the guise of supporting this great game on every platform.

So as I was rushing to a whiskey tasting over the weekend, it should be no surprise that running into Mom’s Heart in the East Village stopped me in my tracks, made me curl into the fetal position and cry in the street.

Follow me on Instagram for more #GamesIRL and tag your own real life game finds!

Preorder your copy of Afterbirth+ and slay Mom’s Heart on Switch!