Feeling Lonely | Minecraft Dungeons Review

Blitzwinger
UnlimitedMagic

A recurring gag during a recent Minecraft Dungeons livestream by Blitzwinger was the “Feeling Lonely? Teleport to a Friend” dialogue box. The box would appear every time Blizwinger and UnlimitedMagic separated, even briefly. The joke gave me an idea for a parody on the song “Mr. Lonely” by Bobby Vinton.

Lonely, feeling lonely?
My party is on their own.
Feeling lonely?
Press F1 to teleport.
Wish I had someone to message on Discord.

(I know it’s bad, but it’s still funny…or cringey.)

What I’ve seen of Minecraft Dungeons, it looks pretty good. I don’t think it is groundbreaking; I’ve seen other dungeon crawlers. But, I do like the simplicity of it. It doesn’t seem like a game that takes hours to master. I think most people will be able to catch on quickly, even if they’ve never played a dungeon crawler or Minecraft.

I also enjoyed how the game continued in the tradition of allowing you to craft your own lore. Just like the OG Minecraft, you are given just enough to make your own theories and stories about Minecraft. That is what I like about Minecraft; there is no official lore–my story is just as valid as anyone else’s. Not only do you craft in the game, but you craft the lore.

Granted, there is a little more lore in Dungeons, you are told the Arch-Illager was exiled, but you aren’t told why, as far as I know at this point. You aren’t told where the Orb of Obedience came from (I think). you can still fit it into the universe of Minecraft; it doesn’t necessarily have to be some parallel world. Maybe the events of Dungeons takes place before Minecraft proper or maybe after.

It is kind of odd coming from the world of Minecraft where you can do just about anything you want to a more restrictive world like Dungeons. You can’t mine or craft; and as far as I know, you can’t create your own avatar–you can only chose the ones unlocked.

I do, however, like the ability to choose your difficulty level on every level. You can adjust the level according to your needs; you don’t need to constantly return to a menu screen. The limited number of respawns adds to the stress of the game. Knowing that you have a limited number of tries can push you and make the game more challenging.

Minecraft Dungeons is a nice prototype showing that Minecraft can be more than just a sandbox survival game. It can fit into other genres. The developers did an excellent job of bringing some freshness to Minecraft while staying true to what made it unique to begin with–somewhat; it is still weird that you don’t mine or craft in the Dungeons game. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

Rapid Reviews: Google Stadia and More

Google Stadia Pro 

Not long ago, Google announced that newcomers to their video game streaming service, Stadia, could receive two months of Pro membership for free. I tried it out and it was an adventure.

It took me hours to sign up because it was a little confusing on what I needed to do and what equipment I’d need. One article sounded like I needed the $130 Founder’s package while another said Stadia was free. Another article would say that Stadia worked on everything, yet another would say it didn’t work on iOS systems. I went to the sign-up page; it said I needed to download he app; I downloaded the app and it asked for my activation code. “I never got an activation code,” I said.

I ended up nearly quitting many times before I finally found the FAQ page and learned that I could use Stadia if I had a computer with Chrome. OK, I have Chrome and the right version, but it is on my Surface. Could a Surface handle Stadia? Also, I didn’t want to deal with using W, S. D, A keys to play. There were many articles stating Stadia was compatible with many game controllers. I finally found the list of controllers it worked with.

Thankfully, I finally got my account set up. I was also able to connect my controller. Seemed like I was ready. Now, I just needed to see how Stadia would react with my Surface.

It worked well. 

I don’t have the best Internet or the best computer, yet I found Stadia to work well. It didn’t lag; I could get into the games with ease; and the graphics looked as good as any console. The images were sharp and bright. I pressed the left stick and the character moved immediately. I seriously thought about using Stadia for all my gaming needs. According to Google, there is no need to get a new console nor do you need to wait for downloads or updates.

I then had some problems purchasing games. Unless I was on an Android device, I couldn’t use Google gift cards. I also couldn’t use Paypal unless I was on Android. All I could use was a credit card; not a big issue but very limiting. On PlayStation I can add to my wallet through Paypal (or credit card) or I can use gift cards. Also, Google has said that with Stadia you can play anywhere. That’s true, as long as you have an Android. Right now, you can’t use the iOS app to play games…or buy them. Google has stated that they are working on this shortcoming.

If Google ever does work it out so that I can buy games via Paypal on my computer or use gift cards (on something other than Android only) or make it so I can purchase games through the Apple app, I just might not need an Xbox or PlayStation. Instead of spending money on a $399 or more console–that you have to update every five-ish years–I’d put money towards the $130 Stadia package where I can get a controller and plugin so that I can play on my TV. Hopefully, on my TV…I’ve heard from some that not all TVs work; yet another issue for Google to work out.


Disney Sorcerer’s Arena by Glu Games Inc

I ended up liking the mobile game right away, and it wasn’t solely because they had Ian and Barley from Onward as unlockable characters. The art style was refreshing. It kind of made the characters look…mystical, like they were part of some artwork that you’d see in a magic school. 

I also liked that I could control the characters. I’ve played the Disney Heroes Battle Mode game. I like the game, but you don’t get to play as the characters. The game is 99 percent auto-play. What’s the point of having Goofy, Darkwing Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Baymax, and Stitch on a team if you can’t play as them?

What I like about Disney Heroes Battle Mode over Sorcerer’s Arena is that Sorcerer’s Arena really plays the in-app purchases game. Every five seconds is an ad. They’ve also really *cough* rigged *cough* the game in a way that you want to pay for diamonds so you can unlock characters. They also have a season pass program. Finally, unlocking characters is a little harder in Sorcerer’s Arena. When I was playing Battle Mode, I’d unlock a couple characters a week without having to spend money and/or very few diamonds (which I didn’t have to pay money for); in Sorcerer’s Arena, I feel like it takes me weeks to just unlock a one star character.

But, a Disney crossover game where you actually get to play as the characters is hard to pass up. Also, the many limited events, such as the current (as of this writing) Toy Story event, makes it feel like there is always something to do. The events also allow you to get character tokens for some of the more difficult to obtain characters.

What are some of your favorite mobile games? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next wormhole…thanks for reading! (and wash your hands–even when the lockdown is lifted)


Good news! The Smashwords Authors Give Back Sale has been extended to May 31! 

You have another chance to buy The Beast of Camp TimberWolf, Gift of the Minion, and now Who Pranked JR for 60% off!

Rapid Reviews: Tower of God and More

PlayStation Play at Home Initiative 

From April 15-May 5 everyone with a PlayStation can download and keep Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey for free. 

It was pretty nice to return to the Uncharted series. I’d bought the collection when it first came out (or soon after), but ended up trading it in because I needed the money for another game. I am also terrible at shooter games and got frustrated within the first few chapters. Fortunately, I started playing Fortnite and got “better” at shooter games. Now, I can actually make it through multiple gun battles before dying. (Usually, I only die because I threw the grenade at my feet or because I missed a platforming jump.)

As for Journey, I haven’t had much time to play it; but from what what I’ve seen, it does live up to the hype. The game is pretty amazing. It is hard not to just sit and enjoy the scenery. It did take me awhile to figure out what was going on–controller and story plot-wise. There isn’t much in the way of a tutorial. Also, a clone of my character appeared out of nowhere and started moving around. I’m guessing it is some kind of online feature showing me other players, but it was still very confusing. But, I still enjoy the serenity of the game. I feel like I could find the soundtrack and mediate to it or have it play in the background. I also wouldn’t mind having a few screenshots for desktop images. Finally, I enjoyed the fluidity of the controls. It made it feel like my character was gliding at times.


Tower of God by SIU 

Unfortunately, I can’t watch The Tower of God on Crunchyroll because of a lack of subscription, but I can read the comic on Webtoons, so I can’t say much about the cartoon. As for the comic, it’s the classic story of a boy trying to find the girl; but in this case, it might not be because of romantic love but friendship love.

To tell the truth, if I’d heard about the series during a time where I had other comics or shows to watch/read, I wouldn’t have given Tower of God a second look. The plot seems pretty standard: boy loses girl; boy must face tough challenges to find her. Even the climbing the tower seems normal for an anime. It seems like there is always a tower or some kind of series of levels the protagonist must pass. The art style was also a little weird; however, from the glimpses I’ve seen of the more recent chapters, it looks like it has improved while not completely revamping itself. 

The strange thing about the series is by a logical-review standpoint the series is not that special. Like I said, a young man going through challenges to find the woman he likes, the protagonist possessing some strange gift, and the fact that he has to hide he is different makes the series seem more tropeish than original (though it is extremely difficult nowadays not to be cliche–when you look at anything too hard you’ll see how familiar it is). I’ve read and seen countless series that followed this formula. Yet, there’s something interesting that I can’t put my finger on. Even the fact that while others are climbing the Tower for money, power, or the thrill of the hunt, the protagonist is doing it out of love is a common story line.

Right now, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. 

How about you? Have you heard of Tower of God? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments section.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading (and stay safe out there).


Good news! The Smashwords Authors Give Back Sale has been extended to May 31! 

You have another chance to buy The Beast of Camp TimberWolf, Gift of the Minion, and now Who Pranked JR for 60% off!

Recommended #46

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Who would have thought I’d be doing a second Recommended post dealing with stuff to do while under the COVID-19 lockdown? I didn’t. Well, it was more like hoped I won’t have to–I’d hoped that it would have been over by then.

MKIceAndFire
Ghost Paper
TheOdd1sOut
MKIceAndFire

Do you have any recommendations? Tell me in the comments.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.

Rapid Reviews: Comics and More (Quarantine Special)

The Gamer by Sangyoung Seong and Sang-A (Webtoons): The comic features a young man who one day gains the abilities of a gamer; he can level up his intelligence and strength. He is also able to learn new skills. The series has a interesting premise and the art style is nice. The characters have a realistic comic book look, but the switch between the “realistic” style and the cartoony-over-dramatic drawings offer a break and humor. The fact the comic focuses more on the main character leveling up than battles and action is also a unique choice (at this point I’ve only ready about 50 parts, so that might change later). What I enjoyed about his semi-lack of fights is that I didn’t noticed it until I was about 40 parts into it. Even though most of the story involves the main character pondering what to do, the series is not slow nor without mystery.

Erift’s Journeys: Secrets of the Sealed Forest by J.T. Tenera: Tenera accomplished what most writers dream of–an interesting hook. The beginning of the book immediately peaked my interest. The interaction between Joseph and Eric kept the book interesting and alive. However, the book does enter a dry period as Professor Ben explains his research in great detail. I kept feeling like, “Let’s get on with it.” But, the book ends strongly with a lot of suspense, action, and mystery. I enjoyed that the ending was left open with the “Big Bad” escaping and hints that Joseph’s story is far from over, but Secrets of the Sealed Forest left me satisfied. I felt like while the overall story was not over this adventure was; the story did not leave me with a feeling of frustration or like I had a hole inside.


DOOM Eternal

DOOM ETERNAL Walkthrough Gameplay Part 1 – INTRO (FULL GAME) by theRadBrad ‪(YouTube)

DOOM ETERNAL Gameplay Walkthrough Part 1 – 2+ HOURS FULL GAME – Intro + Mission 1 PS4 DOOM Gameplay by‬ GhostRobo (YouTube)

DOOM ETERNAL Gameplay Walkthrough Part 1 FULL GAME [1080p 60FPS PC ULTRA] – No Commentary by MKIceAndFire (YouTube)

The soundtrack and setting was awesome. I loved how the soundtrack made you feel like you were a slayer/gladiator ripping and tearing your way through horde after horde of demons. The set pieces always amazed me. The scenes made me feel small (yet strangely not powerless) while also making me feel like I was part of the world; I felt transported to the universe of DOOM. Since I hadn’t played a DOOM game in a very long time, and only for about a half hour or hour then giving it up, I was lost with all the talk about Maykrs and the Legend of the Slayer. And the game didn’t offer much in the way of help. I finally had to look it up on the Internet. But, I was still confused by why Doomguy would trust anything Dr. Hayden would say after he apparently betrayed Doomguy in one of the other games. Doomguy seemed to have no problem following Hayden’s orders. Finally, I enjoyed that the game never seemed to have a slow moment. It seemed like you were always on the move–especially during battle (you stood still for very long, you were killed). DOOM Eternal is a pure adrenaline rush from soundtrack to setting to action.


Urban Animal by Justin Jordan and John Amor (Webtoons): Urban Animal follows the life of Joe Gomez who discovers he can change into any animal, even going so far as to mixing parts and creating new animals. I enjoyed the raw art style. It felt very primal and animistic. The sharp edges and semi-muted colors gave the comic a very ancient, caveman-like feel. I could have lived without so many naked people scenes (Joe and other Chimera can’t morph their clothes–thankfully they can use nature to make a new set). As for the story, the writing was excellent. I felt like the story was always moving forward and that every scene meant something.

The Boring Days and Awesome Nights of Roy Winklesteen by Sally Dill: Dill seemed to know her audience. The book is definitely designed for middle school readers. The story’s flow of easily resolved problems isn’t ideal for adult or teen readers but is excellent for younger readers who want to “feel safe.” However, this ease of conflict resolution leaves the story feeling like there is no rise in action or risk to the character. In one chapter, Roy’s father uncovers how Roy escapes from his room every night. Roy is worried that his father will remove the rope. In the end, the father forgets about the rope. Roy doesn’t even have to attempt to convince his father to leave the rope or plot another escape. One feature of the story I enjoyed the most is that many of the unimportant events are summarized. When Roy decides to spy on his neighbor, I thought, “Oh no, now we’ll have 10 chapters of him following his neighbor around.” I was happy to see that the spying lasted about a paragraph–the story then moved on to the next plot point.

Ialin’s Curse by Isakytm (Webtoons): I felt that the artwork pulled you in. The switching between light colored scenes to dark, more threatening scenes set the mood. I felt as in danger as David did. When David felt frightened, I did as well. I am also glad that the series creator answered many of questions while leaving just enough unanswered to keep me coming back. The author also did an excellent job of placing cliffhangers for ultimate effect. 

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


From Mar. 20-Apr. 20 The Beast of Camp TimberWolf and Gift of the Minion will be 60% off during the Smashwords Authors Give Back sale.

The Secret Meaning Of (Cliffhanger)

I must be suffering from Quarantine Brain. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “I’ve figured out the secret of…Minecraft.” (What you thought I was going to tell you the secret of life?)

I realized that Minecraft is not real. I don’t mean not real as in it’s a video game. I mean, obviously it isn’t real. No, I mean that it is not a post-apocalyptic world. It is all in a person’s mind. Their imagination/creative space to be more exact. And to be even more exact, the mind of a young teen or older child. 

Think about it for a second. Cake replenishes your Hunger while carrots, melon, and apples only refill your Hunger a little. But, once you cover the apple or carrot in gold (*ahem* caramel), it becomes way more useful. In what world is cake and junk food better for you? A kid’s world.

Also, you can build and do just about anything in the world of Minecraft. Where else can you do just about anything? In your imagination–especially in the imagination of kids.

But, I’m thinking that the Minecraft world takes place in the mind of older children or young teens because of the ruins and the mobs. The ruins are the old playthings of youth. As we get older, we no longer want to be an explorer looking for treasure in jungles or under the sea. We are no longer interested in playing pirate and looking for buried treasure. We also start to realize that we’ve been placed in this lonely and wild world and we have to survive it.

In other words, the person is at that point where they are growing up but haven’t quite let go of fun and magic.

As for the mobs…

Zombies: These represent those who follow the trends. This is why they all wear the same clothes. They follow the latest trends (fashion or otherwise) and want to “convert” everyone else.

Creepers: Seems pretty self-explanatory. Camouflaged people who like to hang around your base and sneak up behind you then go “tsss.” You know…creepy people. Stalkers, perverts, people who just like to ruin your work by blowing up once you step outside. You know, jerks and creeps.

Endermen: The cool kids. They pretty much leave you alone unless you look at them. Some might chip away at your confidence by running off with blocks from your build (i.e. make fun of your skills, personality, or appearance). They also seem to have the cool clothes/skills (i.e. teleporting–or running really fast depending on which game theory you believe).

And then finally, you make it to the home of the cool kids (The End). You think it’s going to be this awesome place full of awesome things and people, but it really is just a wasteland with a bunch of people standing around. That’s when you learn that they are being enslaved by their own “coolness.” They have to obey the Rules of Cool or the Alpha Cool Kid (the Ender Dragon). It is then your realize the reason they stole your build’s blocks was not out of spite but because they want to craft and build like you.  You then realize they are not as scary as you thought; they’re like you.

Spiders: Fear. They’re scary at night; but during the daytime, they’re not so bad. Or maybe hormones; one minute you’re calm then someone attacks and you go crazy.

The Villagers: These guys and gals are adults. The villagers have, well, a village. They have “civilization.” They have jobs and trading/commerce. It is also nearly impossible to get them to do what you want. They are confusing and stubborn and you wish Mojang would just make it so you could use leads on them! Also, they go “meh, meh, meh,” at you all the time just like the adults in the Peanuts comic strip (LOL). 

Next, the Nether. It is pretty obvious that is supposed to be school. I mean, the Ghasts are wailing. The soul sand holds the tormented souls of students. If you say or do or wear the wrong thing the Pigmen (now the Piglins) will attack you in force; everyone will come after you and not leave you alone until they have pummeled you to death. But you have to go to school (the Nether) in order to mature (i.e. get potion ingredients so you can become faster or stronger or be able to craft an Eye of Ender).

Also, there are the beds. What happens when you try to sleep in the Nether? BOOM! The bed explodes. What happens if you try to sleep in school? BOOM! The teacher comes at you with a ruler.

The Nether could also be puberty. *Shivers* Puberty. What a horrifying word.

Now, one last word to sum up this theory. Have you noticed that the mobs only spawn at night or in dark places? And when do monsters come out to frighten kids? Night. How do kids protect themselves from the monsters? Nightlights. How do you stop the monsters from spawning in Minecraft? Torches or other light sources.

But hey, that’s just a theory…

Nope, no. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to make fun of The Game Theorists’ catchphrase, but I will mention they have been working on a Minecraft Mega-Theory. And with that I finish by saying…

Happy April Fools! 

Now you get to decide if this post was an April Fools joke or not.


This post might have been an April Fool’s gag but the Smashwords Authors Give Back sale (Mar. 20-Apr. 20) is not. The sale was created by Smashwords authors who wanted to help those who are feeling isolated or bored thanks to COVID-19 and social distancing. As part of this sale, two of my books are 60% off and you can pick them up at this link or you can check out the books by other authors here.

Fortnite Rambling

With everyone doing those “best of the year” blogs, vlogs, tweets, and so on, I figured I might as well do a post about some of the best things I came across in Fortnite. It’s not going to be long since I’ve only been playing it for like four months.

Note: These are not in order of importance or any such thing.

I might as well start with Winterfest. As I said, this is the first Winterfest (Fourteen Days of Fortnite) I’ve dealt with, but from what I’ve heard from others, it has been a good event. First, Epic Games gave everyone two free skins–according to others, they’ve never done that.

Then there was the introduction to dynamic weather. Every ten minutes or so, a snowstorm hits the map; and depending on the strength, it can make it impossible to see anything. I liked this addition and hope they’ll do more weather events; it made the game even more suspenseful.

The last part of Winterfest I wanted to mention was the XP fireplace. In the Winterfest lodge you can stand by the fire and gain random bits of XP. You can get 10, 20, or 1,000. I’ve heard rumors of 5,000. It’s also nice to just sit back, relax, drink some hot chocolate, and watch the fire.

The next item on the list is the Star Wars event. It was awesome to see a special scene from The Rise of Skywalker. The Whisper glider is also nice.

Of course, I have to mention the lightsabers. It is so fun grabbing a lightsaber and chasing down a foe. I like that you can block with it (kind of wish this was a standard feature–I suppose building the walls is a way of blocking).

I like how the lightsabers are powerful but not OP. You can’t use them in the water–found that out the hard way–and while they are cool to look at in the night/snowstorm, it also announces your location to everyone. Also, if people know you have a lightsaber, they’ll come after you in force trying to take it away. Finally, you have to get in close. It is not a range weapon, which can be difficult and dangerous at times.

But on the plus side, you can do an awesome combat/dodge roll. And did I mention the ability to block?

Next on the list deals with two challenges. One was to make it into the top 5 for Squads while the other was make it into the top 10 for Solo–not once, but three times for each mode. I figured that would never happen. But, I managed to; and it was stressful. The whole time I just knew someone was going to eliminate me when I was at 11.

I managed to do it by staying out of the named landmarks and away from places used in challenges; I avoided people as much as I could. I also stuck as close to the edge of the storm as I could–people tend to stay away from it. I also made use of the hiding spots, like the porta potty. My controller was almost completely covered in sweat by the time I was done.

Some of the best moments, however, were not part of a challenge or event. At one point, I lingered outside the safety circle too long and got caught in the storm. I had to run a good portion of the map in the storm, but I managed to escape with one point of health remaining thanks to having tons of bandages.

Another time, I learned that you can get umbrella gliders. I kept trying to get one for months and finally did. Why would I care? Simple. So, I could say, “I’m Mary Poppins, yo!” Ah, it’s the simple things in life.

Do you have any favorite moments from 2019? It doesn’t have to be gaming related. Let me know in the comments below.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading and have a great year.