Tag Archives: stardew valley

The Five Best Fishing Mini-Games

Sometimes, between fighting monsters or zombies with swords or guns or whatever, you want to kick back and enjoy a different type of challenge in a video game. Fishing mini-games bring bite-sized blasts of outdoorsmanship to our adventures, and while some players hate them, I’ve found there’s fun to be had when fishing’s done right. Here’s a list of some of the best.

The true joy of a fishing mini-game comes from mixing challenge with relaxation. You can relax and watch the rippling waters, but when the time comes and you get a bite, you’ve got to put in some work and battle with a scaley foe. These fights range from being complex simulations of actual fishing to bubbly arcade romps. Using completely arbitrary but totally scientific methods, I have collected the top five recent fishing mini-games and present them to you, dear reader, in no particular order.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley has plenty going on, from farm management to dungeon-crawling and romances. It also has a simple but enjoyable fishing game. If you’re dedicated enough, you can ditch the farm life for a salty sea-faring lifestyle. Whenever you cast your rod and get a bite, a small meter moves up and down. The goal is to keep your icon within a small section of that meter. It’s not too complicated, but the tougher fish are incredibly erratic and require quick thinking and even some anticipation to keep on the hook. This mini-game is a good split between light-hearted fun and a more serious enterprise. Just try not to be mad when you occasionally reel in seaweed or a stick.

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

The Yakuza series is known for its vibrant characters and melodramatic storylines. It’s gaming’s best soap opera. Beyond all the crime and drama, there are tons of side quests and activities to while away your time. Yakuza’s had fishing games before, but Yakuza 6 offers a twist: speargun fishing. Scowling ex-Yakuza and all-around good dude Kazuma Kiryu can don a wetsuit and blast through an arcade shoot-fest befitting the Sega pedigree. There’s even boss battles against sharks and octopi. It’s silly, but it’s a great balance to all the plotting and bloody martial arts battles.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

If there’s one thing that Professor Byleth loves more than her students, it’s fishin’ and more fishin’. Raising teenagers to become dangerous mercenaries and world leaders is exhausting, and it gets even harder when plots conspire to make them battle each other. Fishing is a great way to earn experience in your professor rank, which gives you more activity points, allowing you to do more with your limited free time. (It also helps that fishing doesn’t use up an of those points.) The mini-game itself is pretty standard: press the buttons at the right time to snag a fish. But, much like its distant inspiration, Suikoden 2, the context is hilarious. Teacher, warrior, general, bass fisher. Byleth is all these things and more.

Final Fantasy XV

While Final Fantasy XIV offers an entire fishing profession as a viable way to play, it’s Final Fantasy XV that really nails it. Pick your bait and cast a line, then wait a while, until Prince Noctis ends up in an intense fishing battle with his quarry. It’s a mixture of managing your fishing line’s strain, reeling in the fish, and tiny quick-time events to press the right button. It’s a fun mini-game made even better by a collection of side quests that allow you to catch truly gargantuan fish. I’m talking 100-pound swamp bloobers and alligator-length legendary trout. Final Fantasy XV is often a serious game, but these little side adventures add a lot of charm.

The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time

I’m cheating my “recent” rule here but how could I not include this? For a lot of older gamers, Ocarina of Time’s fishing pond was their first experience with digital fishing. In our young, foolish youths, many of us battled to catch the Hylian Loach. Sure, you could cheat using the sinking lure, or you could stand on the log in the middle of the pond, but True Gamers™ did it the hard way. This isn’t just a fun fishing mini-game. It’s the fishing mini-game.

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Source: Kotaku.com

I Finally Understand The Appeal Of Escaping Into A Video Game To Cope With Stress

Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

For most of my life, I never quite understood escapism. I knew how powerful video games could be, how seductive and wonderful their worlds were, but I never quite understood the idea of wanting to melt through the screen and leave the real world behind. After I’ve had string of rotten luck and high stress, among the most intense in my life, that has changed. I get it now. I get why folks want to fade away into the digital and why it can be so tempting to lose yourself elsewhere.

For example, I recently got very sick, and during that time, I buoyed myself with Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion, “Shadowbringers.” My reward was an RPG campaign that was one of the best I’ve played in a long time. That was my first real taste of how powerful it was to push real-life worries away with a game.

Sure, at previous times in my life, I’ve done this type of thing in small bursts. Played Counter-Strike when I was mad. Played Total War or strategy games when I needed to think a little. Then, this past weekend, during one of the hottest heat waves in New York City history, my apartment became unlivable. Temperatures rose to heights of 97 and 98 degrees, and I had to stay elsewhere. When I arrived in temporary homes, there were games. Fire Emblem: Three Houses, with its tangled tactical webs and charming characters, greeted me side by side with the friends who took me in. And I felt it, truly felt it for the first time: that desire to melt into the screen and leave everything behind. Goodbye Brooklyn. Hello, Eorzea. Hello, Fódlan.

I’ve always thought of escapism as a dirty thing, even irresponsible, and in some ways, I still do. It’s a temporary band-aid on a problem. A way to ignore, to mitigate, and arguably defer responsible action. One more match, one more level. Anything to avoid reality. Yet, as my body truly and genuinely failed me, as I traveled from doctor to doctor and fled my home due to the high heat, escapism made more sense. Sometimes, things just fall apart, and one of the ways that people can deal with that is to put buffers between us and the bullshit. Fight a boss and actually achieve victory, command an army and actually have some sense of control. Video games can offer us a very particular solace when everything is crumbling: they make us feel like we have power again.

In becoming a teacher at the Garreg Mach monastery in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I regained some sense of agency. Even in a simulated space, in a far distant and fake world, that is intoxicating. And that’s what escapism is: an affirmation that you can have control, that you do matter, and that with some effort and trust, there is a path forward.

Of course, you can go in too deep. You can lock yourself in your room, play games and never turn around from your monitor to get back to solving the real-world issues that inspired your retreat into games. You can wade through dialog trees with fake people instead of having necessary conversations with real folks. There is always such a thing as too much. That’s why I didn’t see the value of escapism before. But I think now I can understand the ways that it can be healthy, at least in the short term. Sometimes, shit goes bad. Sometimes your body breaks down, your house isn’t safe, your mood dips low, and everything seems murky. Fuck it, go run your farm in Stardew Valley. Beat up Nazis in Wolfenstein.

Just make sure to come back again, I guess. Complete the quest, slay the whatever, solve the puzzle. Then come back and solve what you gotta do here.

Source: Kotaku.com

This Farming Sim Is Like Stardew Valley Except Really Sad

Screenshot: Lambic Studios (The Stillness Of The Wind)

Picture a stripped down, hollowed out, watercolor version of Stardew Valley, and you’ll have something very close to The Stillness Of The Wind, which released on February 7 for Switch and PC. It feels like a trip to Grandma’s house filtered through the existential loneliness of a Samuel Beckett play. It can be relaxing but also alienating. What start as comforting rituals eventually give way to heart-wrenching sadness.

You play as Talma, an old woman living by herself on a small farm. Her only companions are a handful of goats and chickens and a traveling merchant who occasionally stops by to trade gossip and supplies. Her life is oriented around a day and night cycle that sees her spend her waking hours taking care of her animals, making cheese, planting crops, and going for short walks, before going to sleep most days right when the sun sets.

The materialist endeavours that usually drive video game simulations of farm life, like trying to make bank selling crops or build up an impressive enough estate to attract the affections of a potential partner, are nowhere to be found in The Stillness Of The Wind. Talma’s life goes on, but its days feel increasingly short. Instead of the steady march of player progress and optimized routines, she’s confronted at every turn by melancholy memories—the rock she remembers sitting on when she opened a rejection letter from a university she’d applied to, or a shed that was last repaired back before her last child moved away.

“One by one, everyone left—for the city or across the sea,” Talma remembers to herself at one point. What she’s been left with is far from joyless, and though the game is free-flowing and mostly directionless within the confines of its small and simply defined sandbox, it feels like one of the player’s tasks, in addition to collecting eggs and planting wheat, is to help Talma come to terms with the pleasures still left to as they come to terms with it themselves.

In my handful of hours guiding her through the ebb and flow of nearly complete solitude, I struggled not to pity her. On our walks through the nearby countryside, Talma would playfully drag a walking stick behind her, tracing our mutual path.

Some relaxing games with meditative streaks fail to find the tension and friction in a world without rigid objectives and obvious threats. As a result, they can fail to offer something that might generate the distance between two things necessary for a deeper relationship to take root. No matter how many times I walked Talma through her morning chores, or took inventory of her remaining supplies, she always felt separate and somewhat unknowable. In the end, The Stillness Of The Wind helped create a more mindful headspace to occupy, not because it forced me to look inward, but because it brought me out myself and enveloped me in a stranger’s world. So often the games I play invite me at every turn possible to express myself in some way. I wasn’t prepared for how refreshing it would be to simply subsume myself in trying to fulfill the needs of a mysterious other. There’s no real end-game to The Stillness Of The Wind that I know of, but it feels better that way.

Source: Kotaku.com