Posted in Gaming, IRL, Kitty Korner, Mobile Gaming

Friskies CatFishing 2: A Kitten’s Review

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my newest family acquisition — my kitten, Spriggan. Actually, he’s almost a year old now, and while he’s just tall and lanky, not quite as bulky as Sebastian (my older cat), he’s starting to match him in height at least.

Spriggan, quite frankly, is still a kitten mess. He’s starting to become a bit more affectionate lately. But that’s mostly because everything to him is about playing. I mean everything. And he’s come to learn that he has the most fun playing when an actual person is dangling one of those string/wand cat toys.

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Like this one. RIP feather toy.

He lives for the hand holding the cat toy. He’s as crazy about it as we are playing our video games. ūüėÄ

He even picks up the toy in his mouth and physically brings it to me (or drapes it across the couch arm next to me if I’m not paying attention) just to get me to play with him. This is constant. And he is not just energetic, but extremely hard to wear out.

The problem with Kitten is that he is smart. He needs constant mental stimulation. He figures things out. Like opening kitchen cupboards and rummaging within them…

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My kitchen cupboards, temporarily duct-taped shut until I got the child-proof locks installed this past weekend. He still opens the ones in the bathroom, though.

He also has a new habit of stealing my gaming chair any time I leave my desk unattended (above first picture). He likes to do this when I’m playing my Switch, since the couch and my desk are side by side —¬† so he’s close enough to have that cat socializing while I play, and is claiming my chair for himself at the same time.

Anyhow, I saw this great video about cats having fun playing with iPads.

And I thought to myself… You know, Spriggan might actually enjoy that little fish game! It might keep him out of trouble!

So I pulled out my poor old Nexus 7, updated it, and installed the Friskies CatFishing 2 app for Android on it. It was free. It has swimming fish, and from time to time, makes a cat meow sound. Pretty simple.

Well, I gave it to the Kitten, and he patted at it a few times.

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Being a smarty-pants, he kept trying to look under the tablet and sniff the fish, wondering why these swimming things on the screen weren’t actually real.

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But after that… he decided its value was mostly in being something warm to lay on.

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So, yeah. I couldn’t get Spriggan to focus on the moving images on the tablet. He was too smart and too hung up on the fact that the fish weren’t real… and he couldn’t lift up the tablet to see them inside/under it.

Why can’t I just have a normal kitten?

Posted in Animal Crossing, Gaming, Mobile Gaming

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp (Mobile) Coming in November

I’ve been keeping my eye on the announcement around the upcoming Animal Crossing mobile game, now revealed to be called Pocket Camp. If that’s enough for you to be excited already, you can sign up for a notification to let you know when it’s out.

Anyhow, I watched the little video (below), and here’s my impression so far. It’s got a lot of callbacks to normal Animal Crossing, but the gameplay has been adjusted to what you’d expect from a mobile game. It is free to play, it does have microtransactions…. but it looks like most of the leaf dollar things just speed up times to build stuff and give a few perks that aren’t absolutely needed. Pretty normal.

This is good news to me because I really want to see an Animal Crossing come to the Switch. I feel like this is a mobilized version, and will in no way take away from a full version we’d see later. In fact, it might build up publicity for it, if the mobile game is done well enough.

I’m certainly putting this on my phone when it comes out!

Here’s the video:

Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming, Virtual Pets

Magikarp Jump

So I’ve been itching for a pet raising/breeding game lately. And while the new Magikarp Jump mobile app is not really that, it still seems to scratch that itch. Bonus points that it’s simple, cute, and doesn’t take a lot of my time up.

I’d been hearing about this around the net, and decided to download it yesterday. The idea is that there’s… well… here…

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So you come to Hoppy Town, where Mayor Karp wants to regain morale by winning the league. Not the Pokemon League. But the Magikarp jumping league.

See, about the only thing you can train Magikarp to do well is jump higher. So this is a game about doing just that, and then taking your trained Magikarp to the league to challenge other NPC trainers to see who jumps the highest.

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The Pond and Food

Your Magikarp gets their own little pond where food slowly rains down. You tap the food to feed them.

Each type of food increases their JP (Jump Points) by a different amount. You can buy different types of food as your trainer ranks up, and you can actually rank up the individual food types by coins that you earn through playing the game.

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You can also buy decorations and themes for your pond. Decorations can have different bonus effects, such as bonus experience for your Magikarp, or your own trainer levels.

Leveling System

I’ve been talking about leveling, but how does that work?

You have two types of leveling going on: your Trainer rank and your Magikarp’s level.

You gain more Trainer ranks as you win battles and successfully retire your Magikarps. Each time your Trainer rank rises, the max level your next generation of Magikarp can be raises.

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For example, at the start of the game, your first Magikarp is capped at level 11. Once he reaches that point, he must challenge the league and make it as far as he can. Once he can no longer beat the next opponent, he retires to a nice life in a retirement pond.

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Then, you’re allowed to fish up a new generation of Magikarp. However, since you’ve likely gained a few Trainer levels between now and then, your new Magikarp now maxes out at something like level 13 instead of level 11. And it keeps going up in that sort of cycle.

Training

Aside from food, another way to increase JP is to train your Magikarp. Here’s where the timed mobile app elements of the game comes in. You have a max number of training points (right now I have 3), which replenish over time.

Sometimes an event will give you a point back. When you gain a Trainer rank,  you get your training points back. And you can use items to get the points back.

So, if you’re impatient, yeah, ¬†you can use real money to buy fake money to buy items to replenish your training points. But I honestly don’t see a reason to need to.

Patterns

Magikarp can come in a variety of colors and patterns. This is another one of the collectability features of this game. You even have a Dex to record the patterns you’ve found so far.

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I know that Shiny Magikarp exist as I’ve seen it mentioned online.

Overall

Overall, this is a cute little Pokemon pet game you can play whenever you have a little bit of time to waste. While there are in-app purchases, I don’t see it as being super tempting to me, and it’s not so in-your-face as to turn me off.

I left out a few details here and there so that if you decide to try the game, there would still be a lot of surprises to experience!

Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming, Pokemon, Pokemon GO

Pokemon: Go for Halloween + Sun/Moon Final Starter Evolutions Leaked

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I’d heard about the Pokemon Go update previously, but lots of thanks to¬†Wilhelm for reminding me about the Halloween event! I know that it only lasts for a few days, but I have to say that the bonuses it gives was enough to entice me to pick the app back up (though I already had plans to use it more with the cooler weather rolling in).

So they’ve added a¬†number of spooky Pokemon to the list that show up more often, and you get double the candy for captures and transfers. Your buddy Pokemon also gains candy at a highly accelerated rate. See video below.

While they list a number of ghost type Pokemon here, I’ve also noticed a vast increase in Meowth and Cuebones.

How is this working? Oh man… the game is so much more fun this way. I launched it to see what I could see and actually have been able to catch Pokemon from my desk at work, which was never the case before this. I can walk around my work parking lot and just rack the catches up because the spawning Halloween Pokemon have a high rate in between the Pokemon who are generally out there.

2016-10-26-15-25-09Look at this guy. Right out there in the parking lot next to my desk at work.

I took advantage of the double candy rates, too, cleaning out my stock of commons and earning some evolutions I didn’t have before.

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And, of course, catching all the ghost type Pokemon that I’ve never seen anywhere else before…

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It’s exciting to see my Buddy Pokemon earning candy so fast. I’ve been out there walking as much as I can since the weather is nice and the rewards are high.

I earned a new achievement from all this yesterday…

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And I leveled up, too!

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Yes, I know. Only level 19. But I’m not in a rush. ūüôā

Pokemon Sun and Moon Evolutions

So it seems that the final evolution for the Sun and Moon starters have been leaked, and then released right after I wrote this. I’m a little disappointed that the previously-leaked designs were actually true. Early stages mean nothing if the final evolution, which you’ll be looking at for the rest of the game, isn’t appealing.

I wanted to pick Litten as my starter, but I’m just not a fan of the final evolution. I loved it all the way up until that point. So, while I’ve never picked a grass type Pokemon starter before, I think this time around, I’ll go with Rowlet. I was teetering on picking him anyhow, so let’s see how this goes!

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I haven’t yet checked out the demo, but I hope to this weekend.

Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming, Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO: Starter Buddy Challenge

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If I haven’t been playing Pokemon Go as much as ¬†used to… it’s not so much that I’m done with the game, but that I’m waiting for the weather to cool down so that I can enjoy my time outside without melting in the summer heat. I really can’t wait for fall to get in swing so that I can catch Pokemon more comfortably.

When Syn visited a few weekends back, I took her out to our local Veteran’s Park and we had a good time as I taught her the ropes of the game. There were happily some lures out and enough Pokestops, one which surprisingly spawned Psyducks consistently (it never had before). She was able to level up to 5, whereupon she chose to go with Instinct of all teams. Ah, well.

But in playing that weekend, I found I was still excited about catching Pokemon and having a good time. That’s why I’m happy I finally got the Buddy Pokemon update yesterday.

Buddy Pokemon

If you haven’t heard about this newest feature, this allows you to choose one of your Pokemon to make a walking buddy. As you walk with them, they will find candy, which you can use to evolve them and make them stronger over time. Different kinds of Pokemon find candy at different rates, with the rare Pokemon taking longer. You can change your buddy at any time, so no worries about picking the “wrong” Pokemon.

I really like the idea behind this system because it does several things:

  • Level up Pokemon when you’ve only ever seen/caught/hatched one of them
  • Level up Pokemon that take a long time to earn candies for (Magikarp)
  • Encourage people to move around and not just sit and farm a few adjacent Pokestops

I knew exactly what I was going to do with my Buddy Pokemon slot.

The Starter Buddy Challenge

I chose Charmander as my starter, just as I did back in the Pokemon Blue days. I’m happy I did because in all this time that I’ve played, I haven’t seen a hint of another Charmander anywhere nearby. Not even a shadow. I’ve caught a Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Squirtle in the wild… but never another Charmander.

This means I’ve never earned any candies for my Charmander, nor have I found a stronger one to replace my starter. He remains in my roster, one of the weakest Poekmon that I own, just like this:

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For me, my starter is special and I’m sorta glad that I haven’t found any to replace him. Because now, with the Buddy system, I can challenge myself to level up my Charmander purely from walking and traveling around with him! I know it’s going to take a long time to do as I’m not always the most active person, but this gives me a goal and an incentive to get out and be more active on top of just catching Pokemon in general.

In fact, I’m pretty stoked about this prospect and hope that I don’t accidentally hatch another Charmander along the way. I’ll let you know how the challenge progresses over time. Don’t look for any updates soon, though. I have a lot of candy to gather…

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Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming, Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO One Month Later #blaugust2016

This post is a part of Blaugust 2016!
2016-08-09 08.44.54 I began my Pokemon GO journey back on July 6, the night of release in the US. So it’s officially been over a month since I began playing. I wanted to check back in on the game that’s become a phenomenon, and talk a bit about the progress I’ve made.

I’m currently level 17. However, I’ve long since stopped trying to level. I heard too much about how Pokemon get harder and harder to catch as you keep leveling, and that just doesn’t sound like fun. I know that there’s currently a bug that makes catching things more difficult than they need to be, too. I’ve felt it myself as I’ve played, and I’m hoping they squash that bug soon.

I still play a little bit every day, even if it’s to stop and snag some Pokeballs from the local Pokestop on my way home from work. Pokeballs are my number one issue in this game. I don’t live in a big city, and to hit a place with several Pokestops, I have to actually go to a park or some place that I wouldn’t normally go on my daily routine.

Unlike some lucky folks, there’s no Pokestops within walking distance of my house. My Pokeball stash tends to run on the low side, which is stressful with the current bug that has me wasting way too many Pokeballs on low level catches.

So, playing this game takes travel and effort on my part. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that it’s the dead heat-stroke of summer in the deep south of America. I understand that the team wanted to release the game when kids were out of school and people were traveling.

However, common sense tells you that when the heat index is 106 degrees outside, it’s not a healthy time to be touting around the park in the sun. The past few weeks have been so hot that we’ve hardly seen it cool down at night. But you’re not supposed to be in the parks at night, anyhow. My town doesn’t have any Pokestops that I’m aware of in a sane indoors area, like some malls in other cities have, either.

So, though I may not agree with all the changes the devs introduce to the app, the major thing that’s keeping me from playing is summer heat right now. It’s been a really fun experience, I’ve had a great time at the Pokehunt event my company held a few weeks back, even. Once fall comes around, and the weather cools down, I’m going to be all over exploration and stopping by the park for walks after work.

Until then, here’s a list of my best Pokemon so far. I don’t have any of those super-powered Pokes, but my collection is improving slowly every day. That’s all I really need to keep me playing.

How’s your Poke Adventure going?

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Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming, Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO is Changing Everything

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That Bulbasaur up there got away, even though I used Razzberries and got two “Nice” throws. Oh well.

The important thing is that this picture was taken at a place in my town I didn’t even know existed until yesterday, and was taken on a Sunday… when I would usually never have left my house.

I’m a creature of habit and a bit of a hermit. I go to work, do a few errands, but spend most my time off at home. On weekends, I usually don’t have the energy or social bandwidth to do much. I just want to loaf around and play games.

But something about Pokemon GO has changed all that. My FitBit testifies to this.

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Friday after work, instead of coming straight home, I drove around to see if I could locate Pokestops. Saturday, early in the morning, I drove back into town a different way to scope out Pokestops. It’s rather sad in my town if you look at just the normal places people go… there just isn’t much.

So, I got online to research parks, and discovered some really neat places, some I didn’t even know about. Not but 2 minutes from my work, there’s a Florence Veteran’s Park, that looked like a prime location for Pokemon catching. So, on Sunday, I decided I needed to get some cat food, and while I was out, I would see if I could find this place.

Only, I ended up getting distracted by the fact that someone had dropped a Lure on the Pokestop at the Mellow Mushroom. Actually, it’s not the Mellow Mushroom that’s the Pokestop, but rather the water sculpture outside of it, titled “Grotesque Snail.” Yeah, that’s how hard up this side of our town is for landmarks.

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The very first Pokemon the Lure netted me was my first Meowth!

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I hung out in my car until the Lure ran out, then I dutifully went to get the cat food I was after. Coming back out of the pet store, I noticed another Lure was popped at the Mellow Mushroom. I hadn’t planned on eating pizza that day, but I felt a little bad about just hanging out in the parking lot without being a customer, and I was getting hungry. So I went inside, and noticed a group of college students sitting and playing while eating pizza. It was certainly their Lures.

I had to fend off the wildlife while eating my meal.

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Get away from my calzone, you rat!

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Once I finished lunch/dinner, I decided I should probably walk it off a bit, so I went in search of the park that had actually been my goal. I did find it, and it, too, had a Lure.

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The neat thing about this park is that it has several very cool monuments to visit. ¬†The area isn’t huge, but there are 4 Pokestops and 1 Gym there, and a nice sidewalk path that loops around the area. It’s just large enough that by the time you come back around to the first Pokestop, it’s ready for you to activate it again.

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Despite being over 90 outside, there were several college kids and older teens out there walking and catching Pokemon. I didn’t really socialize with them, but it was neat to see other people involved in the game.

Plus there were just some thought-provoking monuments to visit.

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I never even knew this place was there — I drive past it every day.

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I can see myself visiting this place more often.

I can also foresee more walks down the neighborhood street after the sun goes down, like I did last night. It’s just too hot to be out there in the afternoon. I like that Pokemon GO is released, but I wish it wasn’t the dead center of summer when it’s seriously dangerous to be going out there in the heat.

Anyhow, this game has got me moving and planning things (like trips to the park, or maybe the beach) that I wouldn’t have done before. I know I’m not the only one. I’m looking forward to seeing where this game leads in the future – more activity for me is a good, healthy thing!

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