Games Rants

Animal Crossing: New Hype-rizons

I love Animal Crossing. It’s such a chill game and something you can play at your own pace. You don’t have to deal with irritating players who are constantly mucking up the world or unlocking content way ahead of pace like MMOs; You don’t have this stupid sense of urgency around anything, just do it when it suits you. Animal Crossing is a lot of fun.

That is, until you play it on local multiplayer. Then it becomes a fight.

Here is a list of reasons why Animal Crossing: NH local multi-player is utter trash:

  • Want to pick up stuff you gathered to your own inventory? Nope, sorry, if you’re not the leader of the party, it goes straight to the town’s recycle bin
  • Want to access your inventory? Haha, nope, not unless you’re the leader. The only thing you can do is cycle through your tools
  • Want to go through “gated” content with your friends, like getting a museum or the town store? Nope. Only the player who started the island gets to
  • Want to wander and enjoy the lush scenery alone? Nope, you’re teleported back as soon as you’re sufficiently off-screen
  • Need to check your mail, or do anything with your house/tent? You have to wrest control of the group from the leader

I really wanted to enjoy this game with my family, but I can’t. It just turns into a collection of three frustrated players trying to do different things, but only the leader gets to choose. Everyone else is dragged along for the ride.

This leads everyone, especially myself and my wife getting mad at each other when things aren’t being done or someone wants to do a different task or just focus on improving themselves. You must follow the group and that is that.

The problems are all compounded by the fact you can only have one island per-Switch. That means if you don’t like the way the direction of the island is going, or just want to do your own thing, you can’t start your own. Or, you can, if you buy your own new Switch device.

Now, I feel guilty when I take the Switch with me and get some single player time in. My wife gets mad because I’ve gone ahead and played “selfishly” by improving myself or doing things without the consensus of the group. I don’t enjoy playing with the group because it feels like an exercise in frustration and becomes boring as I watch other people play or am conscripted into a task I don’t want to do.

Combat, town, together, apart? Done seamlessly.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 did local multiplayer infinitely better (and with a smaller team/budget). When you play with other people, if you’re close enough, the screen merges and you all play on one screen. If you move off to go do stuff yourself, no problem, the game boxes you into split screen so you can go do what you want. You can even have combat going in one area while someone is in town making money or getting into other kinds of trouble.

I have to say. After all the hype, the waiting and the build-up. I’m kind of let down. The game is fun, but it’s also frustrating for all the wrong reasons.



Playing the included quick start guide as we learn how the mechanics work.

Often, “crunchy” games are complicated because they are sort of like D&D. Lots of rules and functions and numbers to check and compare. Sometimes there are cards that help, or illustrate; Sometimes there are miniatures and place mats to organize and strategize over.

Wingspan is “crunchy”, but much more elegant. This game is all about building machines. With birds. Um… yeah.

So, each of the gorgeously hand-illustrated cards is like a cog in a well oiled machine (or, sometimes not so well oiled). In the beginning you may not even have birds to put in each of the sanctuary types, but as the game goes on, you hit a tipping point and suddenly birds are powering this egg-laying, card drawing, food producing machine that can cause larger games to run out of resources available.

Not only is it a fun, intricate game, it’s also a beautiful and informative game. Each card has the bird’s common name, scientific name, wingspan (ha!), region that it inhabits, average number of eggs it lays, nest type, and a quick factoid. All of this is included on the card that has a hand-painted picture of the bird, region it’s allowed to be played in, food it requires to play and (as in most cases) a power that it provides. This is all in addition to the cutesy little bird feeder that doubles as a dice tower, for rolling random food dice.

The game is also sort of competitive. You’re vying for most points, so you’re looking at birds, finding good fits, and fitting this all in with end of round goals, secret bonus goals and more. While points is the main method of competition, you can also push other players out (or just hinder them, really) by consuming resources they need or picking/tucking better birds to deprive them of high-scoring options.

If that wasn’t enough, the company also provides what appears to be a more competitive option for scoring, and a solitaire mode — you know, in case you’re quarantined alone.

Everything about this game oozes quality, attention to detail and downright adorableness.

If you haven’t played a good, deep board game in a while. Pick this one up.

Local (area)

Life Continues


Reading Time

Since video games can only sustain my entertainment for so long (yes, really). I am digging into my collection of digital and physical books to see if I can either entertain myself, or learn something new. Up on the docket is: The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde), Permanent Record (Edward Snowden) and Automate the Boring Stuff with Python (Al Sweigart).

I used to be quite a voracious reader, when I was younger. With games (video, card, board, etc), I became less of a reader. I still read technical stuff, but I find fiction hard to stomach, sometimes. I have a poor tolerance for crappy content. When I do want to read fiction, I often look for reviews because I really don’t want to waste my time. Kind of snobbish, I know, but I’m not going to apologize for who I am.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is the reason for all of this, I think people should take this as an opportunity to improve on their own skills. While that can be hard in certain cases, it doesn’t have to be an immediately useful skill. Even just reading or writing can help with your ability to communicate.

Stay safe, everyone.


What I’m Feeling

The world is getting a face full of COVID-19 and is not taking it well. Many places are closed or have changed their procedures. Places like Starbucks have gone to drive through only. Other places where people congregate have just closed altogether. Techy companies are moving any available workers to remote-work.

Except me. I’m here in the office. I was actually looking forward to working from home, since it’s a much more comfortable environment and I could get some stuff done. I’m a home-body, so I think I would have really enjoyed it.

Well, I’m somehow deemed “critical”. So much for that staycation.

Additionally, Animal Crossing is delayed delivery due to this stupid virus. Our anniversary trip to Disney is canceled. Our Disney cruise is also similarly canceled. My son now has to take his instruction via the web and even my goddamn weigh loss group is going to Zoom.

Work is also piling on. We have constant meetings with Microsoft regarding issues with their Outlook client. Demanding logs of all shapes and sizes be uploaded and proof, undeniable proof, is levied before they lift a finger. I also have been conscripted to develop PowerShell scripts that I’ve never done before, and for deployment to masses of users.

I feel beat down. Burnt out. Tired.

I tried to take a walk. I was interrupted for more work.

I finally got outside. It feels like a middle-finger seeing all the people out, having a good time, walking and talking to friends. Basically the opposite of what we’re supposed to be doing.

I just don’t care anymore.