No one warned me about the adorable dogs!

So I finally FINALLY had a few minutes of uninterrupted downtime today to play Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch. I hadn’t gotten out of the Sand Kingdom yet and both the Beasts are WAY ahead of me so putting in some catch up time was overdue. So I finished up with the boss (That is an awesome boss battle, btw!) and played a couple of the little minigames that unlock when you do… and then I ran into The Puppy.

So there’s a dog wearing a little pork-pie hat in the town just wandering around. If you follow him and try to play with him (translation, bonk him with Cappy a few times) he’ll lead you a little ways into the desert to a beam of light emitting from the sand. If you ground pound the beam, you get a Moon. Standard side quest stuff. What I was not ready for was for the dog to become your BFF for the rest of the time you stay in the Sand Kingdom, loyally trotting around after you wherever you go. You can even play fetch with him if you toss Cappy for him to chase, and it is the Cutest. Thing. EVER.

Go get it, boy!
Who’s the best boy in all the Kingdoms? It’s you.

And then this happens.

Noooooo, puppy. 🙁

He can’t get on the Odyssey with you. He’ll look distressed and then do this thing where he’ll stand up to follow you, and then sit, and then stand up again. And you’re like… nooo new puppy friend, I want to take you with me! But the game won’t let me!

Not gonna lie, I was a little bit heartbroken to have to take off for the Lake Kingdom without my hat wearing buddy. I guess in this game there can only be one faithful companion on this adventure. Damn you, Cappy!

…and of course, kill Dracula.

So the RCA to USB thingie arrived on Saturday. Installed and test ran it, and pleased to say that while the picture feed isn’t the sharpest, it does work pretty well after you tinker with OBS a bit. So for my Monday night stream, I’m going to be doing a nostalgia run of Super Castlevania IV, which is, oh, only my FAVORITE game ever for various reasons.

I’m hoping this’ll be my first “oh hey you can see my face!” stream too, provided I can work around some latency issues with my cam/phone/mic. So you’ll get to see each annoyed face I make when I mess up, in living color as well as in stereo (where available).

Anyway. Come check me out, I’ll be starting at 8pm EST.

Some thoughts on retro gaming, nostalgia and childhood stories

A section of the splash screen from Tetris (Original game boy edition)

So after a few weeks of streaming some of my current PC games, I’ve been trying to think of what sort of overall theme I want my Twitch/YouTube presence to have. I could keep mostly streaming Minecraft * but really there are a million MC streamers out there. Really there are about a millionty-one PC game and current console streamers already out there, and I feel like if I keep doing what I’m doing, even keeping the “my kids** and their friends are watching lol look at how bad I am at this okay self try not to cuss too much” angle, it’ll keep feeling a bit too much like a retread of what literally everyone else is doing.

This week I’ve been bopping around on Amazon staring lustfully at the ElGato HD60 because I was thinking about streaming my hilari-bad attempts at playing Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey*** but I can’t quite justify the cost of an HDMI capture card, not at this point in my fledgling streaming… experiment? Sure, let’s call it that. And then, poking around the cheaper options, I stumbled across RCA to USB converters and something in my brain said “Aha!” and immediately the theme from Zombies Ate My Neighbors started playing in my head.

Look, y’all know I’m an Old. Full disclosure, I’m staring down the barrel of 40. Not quite Pong old, or even quite Atari/NES old, but old enough to remember needing a box or a stool at the arcade because I was too tiny to reach the controls at five or six, old enough that having a personal computer (moment of silence for my Apple IIGS) was still a revolutionary thing to have, especially for a kid, and definitely old enough to remember the sheer unadulterated joy of finding Super Nintendo games under the Christmas tree in 1991, knowing that the console itself was under there somewhere (and my dad muttering something about “someone put the cart before the horse” but enjoying my moment anyway). I still have that exact console, which still works and get played with regularly in my house. I also still have a working Game Boy**** as well as all but one (two?) of my own games. So yeah. Old.

A while back, in a conversation I had about reissued game consoles that tend to hit the market every Christmas season, a friend of mine said something about not understanding the idea of spending money on retro-gaming. As far as games were concerned they didn’t want to keep wallowing in the past, but wanted to embrace the now or the future in terms of game consoles. This person has also previously stated a similar viewpoint on keeping/rereading books, because “what’s the point if you know how the story ends already?” Needless to say I respectfully but vehemently disagree, as my home library can attest. While I admittedly should go through and cull the books I am definitely never reading again, my library contains volumes I have acquired over the years – dusty hardbacks, Scholastic Book Club paperbacks I have meticulously repaired with scotch tape, gifts from friends – that I return to repeatedly to the point of almost considering the books themselves old friends.

Unsurprisingly, I have the same attitude towards games. While I had both Game Boy and SNES growing up, I only had a handful of games because I was 13, games were expensive and my parents, being Olds even at the time they were raising me, really didn’t see the point of constantly buying me new ones. I think I had less than 5 total for the SNES, only a couple more for the Game Boy and borrowed the rest from friends. Then high school started really kicking my ass and I didn’t have time for video games again until after college. As a result, I’ve played the ever loving crap out of my handful of games, and occasionally going back and revisiting them has the same feel as picking up a well-loved book. Sure, I’m older and wiser and not as blind to various flaws in the game (Example: that rampant Princess as Macguffin trope as well as other problematic gender stereotypes in Mario games – shoutout to Black Girl Gaming, btw) but picking up an old controller and executing a series of jumps that are still in your muscle memory a quarter century later is its own kind of weirdly comforting.

Anyway. I bought a cheap ass analog to USB converter dongle, and this weekend I’m going to see if I can get it to work. If I can, I’ll take y’all on my latest trip down Nostalgia Lane with me. Possibly with less cussing.


* I know, I know, I need to make a post about the Contemporary build eventually. lol I am bad at game blogging.

** by “kids” I also mean my former Minecraft server kids, they didn’t call me Server Mama for nothing.

*** insert pout about how much farther Husbeast and Wee Beast are than me – I’m still in what is essentially Mario Mexico because I’ve barely had time to play.

**** Not my original; my nephew drowned that one in a bucket of water in, like, 1997. I’m still bitter.

Some news type things

Two characters, Pearl and Marina, from the game Splatoon 2. Pearl is glaring at the camera, Marina looks excited.

Open a gaming blog, immediately neglect said blog; that seems to be my general M.O. I’m thinking scheduling content time might be the only way to keep me posting regularly, so I declare Sundays are news post days… starting now!

ARBT gets a Switch

One of the major reasons I’ve been absent the past week is I got a Nintendo Switch after stating that “I’ll get it for my birthday” nearly all year. Wellp, up came my birthday and here we are. This is the first console I’ve ever actually bought for myself, so I’m kind of stupid excited about it. (My previous two were the SNES and the Wii, the latter of which I primarily used as a Netflix delivery vector before we got a Roku.) I’ve haven’t really gamed on any kind of console in literal decades, so I’m having to finally confront the irrational controller fear that kept me away from Xbox and Playstation. (Oh God, so many buttons. I’m an Old, shut up.) This is me trying to get past that hurdle/prejudice/aversion/something something dark side.

So far I’m slowly (very slowly) figuring out how to handle myself in Splatoon 2. Not ready for salmon runs or what have you yet by any measure, but at least I am thoroughly enjoying beating up tentacled creatures and making a huge inky mess in the bargain. Husbeast also got Mario Kart 8 maybe the day after the Switch arrived, and we also later picked up another set of Joy-Cons so we could all play it at once. The trash talk factor in my house has gone up exponentially much to my amusement, especially since Husbeast and Wee Beast pout in exactly the same way when they lose races to either Eldrich Teenthing or me.

ARBT on Twitch *

I’ve now had two streaming sessions on Twitch and have had decent feedback on both, so I’m going to set a regular stream time from here on out: Monday night from 7pm US EDT to ??? I’ve done one session on Minecraft (which I’ve lost – kind of a bummer) and one on Stardew Valley (I may chop that session up into highlights and put clips on Youtube… haven’t really decided yet). I may do a run on Rust this Monday just because I wanna do a bit with the Halloween features before Thursday’s wipe. I may switch it up mid-stream but I’m not 100% sure yet. I’m still kinda figuring out how to Twitch and the overall character of my channel right now. I’m sure I’ll settle on some direction as I do it more, but for now it’s pretty much whatever I feel like doing.

And that’s pretty much it for this week’s news post. Since it’s all stupid and rainy and both the kids are otherwise occupied I’m gonna go put in some more Splatoon time.

ARBT out.

* The rhyming headlines were in no way intentional.