2020 Partly in Review


Nintendo sends out a summary of games played and so forth:

The bulk of my hours was split between Slay the Spire (which I also own on Steam), Fitness Boxing, and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate.

StS is fantastic and my total combined time on Steam and Switch is approaching 300 hours. My favorite character is the Defect, whose mechanic is summoning and evoking orbs for various effects: lightning for damage, frost for shield, plasma for energy, and dark for damage (scales up over time). On Steam, I’m at ascension level 6, whereas on Switch I’m on ascension level 2. The game has randomness, but allows skillful choices to steer towards an improved/better outcome. It is easy to pause and resume, which really helps.


I remember getting these kinds of summaries for Playstation, but I haven’t seen it yet. So… not sure, maybe it is still coming? I’m curious what my numbers look like there. It’ll be mostly God of War, ESO, some Ghost of Tsushima.


Over in Pokémon Go, I hit level 41:

I have the XP for level 42, but lack 2 of the achievements: using berries to catch 200 pokémon, and evolving each of the eevees. The latter is the reason I’m currently walking a flower eevee – getting in 10km for a future flower Umbreon (and later, flower Espeon). The Glaceon and Leafeon evolve with special lures on pokéstops, while the Flareon, Jolteon, and Vaporeon are random (which is extremely annoying). Playing the odds I evolved 2 flower eevees into a Flareon and Jolteon, but producing a Vaporeon is now just a 1/3 chance so I’ll just do regular eevees since they are more plentiful.

I’m evolving flower eevees for this (except for the Vaporeon as noted above) because I already have a set of shiny and regular eeveelutions. I’ll work on a different set, flower eevees instead – and I don’t have enough party hat eevees for a set of those. I already used the naming trick or I’d be able to guarantee myself a flower hat Vaporeon. I know, I know, #firstworldPoGoproblems.)

Disc Golf

I took up disc golf midway through the year, as a way to get some social distance outdoors fun in. I found out that a few friends also played, without any of us knowing the others did. I also introduced 2 friends to the game (and am working on another) so once it warms back up I’m looking forward to playing a round every week or so.

Of course there is an app for that, and I’m using UDisc, the official app of the Professional Disc Golf Association. It’s pretty handy, letting you keep score, and often displaying a map of the course. It utilizes the phone very well, letting you measure how far you threw a disc with GPS (subject to GPS accuracy).

I’m a RHBH thrower (right hand back hand) and a good throw for me is a little over 200 feet. I’ve tried forehand and it feels really weird. So, something to work on here and there. I can improve my distance by at least 50% (i.e. throwing for 300 feet) so there is huge room for improvement.

I’m also working on accuracy, throwing the direction I want to go. 😉 I am fairly accurate, so my favorite courses are wooded or lightly wooded, since those tend to have shorter distances from tees to baskets, favoring accuracy over distance. Worst case for me are wide open courses, because those tend to have large distances involved – after all, if there aren’t many obstacles the only way to increase difficulty is to lengthen the holes.


I’m going to try a round robin system in 2021. If left to my normal scheduling, I’ll tend to “split” time between 2 games in a 80-20 proportion, which is pretty far off of 50-50. 3 games comes down to 70-20-10 or even 80-10-10 – basically one game is dominant while the others get a cursory log in.

But I like 3 games… FF14 has a fun storyline, smooth mechanics, and above all hassle-free grouping. Which is the point, otherwise I could be playing a single player game. I’m nearly at Ishgard and looking forward to unlocking Astrologian.

LoTRO of course is my very long term game, which I wander away from but come back missing it. I left my Boerning partway through Vol 1 Book 3, Defense of Trestlebridge as I recall, and want to move him along. I somehow have not managed to meet up with the coworker who also plays, but that’s fine, I’m poking along with a different character than the one I used my Valar boost on. Maybe I’ll just give up on meeting up with my coworker and look for a kinship to join.

ESO’s action combat feels a lot different, but the variety is nice. Now that I switched over to the Stadia version, I can play while visiting family (and also freed up nearly 100 GB on my gaming PC). I have a friend also playing via Stadia, so there is the possibility of questing together with someone I know, maybe even doing some basic dungeons. I don’t think we’re interested in hardcore modes, veteran modes, any of that stuff…. just the basic XYZ Dungeon I version would be a ton of fun.

So, I was thinking about some kind of day-pinning rotation: ESO on Tue/Fri, FF14 on Wed/Sat, LoTRO on Thu/Sun (with Mon off since that’s currently Zoom boardgames night). I’ll schedule ESO first as that’s the game I have a friend actively playing, and try to sync up. So this overall plan is a 33-33-33 split without emphasizing or ignoring any particular game.

Or maybe be more flexible and try for something like ESO Tue, FF14 Wed, LoTRO Thu, and then whatever for the other 3 available days. Worst case one game gets 2/3rds of the attention, but at least play each game once a week.

I know, probably overthinking this but that’s what this end of the year planning time is for. 🙂

PS4 – Racing Games

Racing games seem to come in two varieties: hyper realistic, and hyper unrealistic. The first type has accurate physics modeling of cars, roads, etc. The other has a more cartoon physics attitude: bounce off opponents, crazy jumps, impossible race courses,  and perhaps even powerups and weapons.

I’m definitely a fan of the 2nd type.

One of this month’s free games via PSPlus is Dirt Rally 2.0. I tried it out for a bit, driving in solo/training mode for a few laps around some random course that had both paved and dirt sections.

Car handling definitely changed moving from pavement to dirt, along with turning responsiveness. I hit a few obstacles because I didn’t quite make a turn and accumulated damage to my car. First a flat tire, then a crumpled hood. After finishing I had the option to repair my car. So I did.

Then I tried an online mode, racing other players. I think this is the only way to advance in career mode, actually racing other players.

I didn’t do so well.

At the first transition from pavement to dirt, I was last, and the cars ahead threw up a thick dust cloud. I sort of remembered the way through, just a few minor turns, but fell further behind. Trying to catch up I slammed into a barrier and got a message about unrepairable damage and that ended the race for me.

That’s fine, I went to check out another PSPlus game I received months ago: Trackmania Turbo.

Now this is what I was looking for!

Right from the start there is a solo mode where you are racing for gold/silver/bronze against the clock. The game shows a ghost racer labeled with the time goal (e.g. “bronze medal” ghost car) you can try to match. If you repeat a race you can even see your own ghost racer labeled with the your current time record.

The race starts with your car being dropped in by a crane onto a ramp. Each course is fairly short, averaging about one minute so far… but the courses feature impossible designs such as gaping chasms to jump and inverted loops.


I mis-timed by screenshot here. This course features a straight section with a ramp, and a giant tire you have to jump through in order to land on the bridge and continue. (I wanted to show the tire). Too slow and you crash into the tire. Faster, but not fast enough and you don’t land on the bridge. Fast enough and you sail through the tire, land on the bridge, and keep racing. It’s super fun!

Gravity Rush

With the extra time I have, I’m trying to clear a backlog on my PS4. Yes, I have a boardgame backlog, Steam backlog, PS4 backlog, etc.

One game I bought a while ago was Gravity Rush, apparently a cult-hit on the PS Vita. In Gravity Rush, you play Kat, a young woman in a mysterious world. Your superpower is that you can suspend gravity and manipulate how it affects you.

For instance, hitting R1 causes you to float up, then with a joystick you can “aim” what direction gravity will pull when you hit R1 again. L1 returns to normal gravity, which is something to be careful of because that might mean falling quite a distance.


In this screenshot, I’m trying to get to the next mission point, which is 89 yards away. In a straight line, possibly through a building. By aiming the faint blue circle where I want to go, R1 will cause me to fall that direction. In this case, after reaching the visible ledge, I hit R1 to drop on it, then figure out where to go next. After looking around, I saw a lower alley (not visible now) I could fall to, so I did. That alley led me to the courtyard the next mission point was.

I’m not too far along, currently in the 4th mission, and I like this game. Combat is on the easy side which is good, and so far the story involves either collecting stuff for your home, helping people fix various broken things (collect crystals which means using your gravity superpower to “fall” around to them), and possibly helping fight weird monsters while doing both of those things.

It’s relaxing and fun, and not too punishing. As in, I’ve fallen off the world and rather than dying, you get repositioned in the mission area. That was nice even though one time I was trying to collect crystals near my home, got completely disoriented, and wound up climbing up above the city in order to drop back to the streets and find my way home. I was determined not to just say screw it and drop too deep and get restored nearby.

PS4 Games

Here’s a few PS4 games I also play, besides Elder Scrolls Online.

Detroit: Become Human

This is essentially a choose-your-adventure game, sent in the future with you playing 3 different androids. Markus is an assistant to a disabled man, Kara helps around a home, and Connor works for the police.  At least so far.

The game has you respond to various UI prompts so you have to walk places, pick things up, manipulate the environment a bit.

I’m about 25% though and so far it’s enjoyable. The story looks like it has something to do with android becoming self aware or “alive” and whenever possible I’m making choices that are decidedly pro-android. 😉

At the end of each chapter you get a flowchart showing what you did along with optionally showing percentages of what the player base did as a whole.


Persona 5

This is a JRPG that mixes attending high school and fighting as a vigilante at night. There’s a lot of story so far, with a bit of battle here and there. It’s got great music and a very distinct visual style.

Like many games in this genre, the storyline and tutorial are interwoven. I’m not far into the game and a typical play session will be: a lot of dialog to move the plot along, followed by a tutorial over a game mechanic.

The plot involves… heck it’s bizarre. Students entering a weird castle in their dreams (or perhaps an alternate universe), odd cat-like beings helping out, opponents that are twisted version of their real-life counterparts… well it doesn’t have to be realistic to be fun.

God of War

This game…what can I say that hasn’t been said. Fantastic voice acting, plot, visuals, combat is very satisfying… I bought this after renting it from a RedBox first, and it is amazing all around.