A few weeks ago, EA released a new patch for The Sims 4 that ended the gender restrictions on hair, clothing and makeup when creating a Sim. The Sims series has a long history of being progressive and that is one of its most enduring qualities. I still remember when I realized while playing The Sims 2 that the game allowed for same-sex relationships. This patch was just another step in the game truly letting people create Sims that they can identify with.
I’m beyond pleased that this patch was released, but I am unhappy with the quality of work that went into recreating the clothing for the other gender. In many cases, it seems like only the smallest amount of work was put into the project, as the images below will illustrate.
Here’s a simple picture of a female Sim wearing “feminine” clothing. Everything looks smooth and fine here.
This is a picture of the same Sim wearing clothing tagged as “masculine”. Pay special attention to the chest and crotch area. The chest suddenly has jagged lines, the silhouette of the body has changed completely and the crotch is a bulky mess.
This outfit, however, is the real winner. I don’t even know where to begin to describe its many problems.
I cannot stress enough that I am exceptionally happy that EA finally lifted the restrictions so that people can create whatever Sim they want. It’s a wonderful addition that will add so much for many players. I just think that the players deserved better workmanship on the quality of the CAS parts. I’m hopeful that they might fix these issues in the future, but since many of the bugs in The Sims 4 are still around, months after complaints first surfaced, I’m not too optimistic.
As someone who absolutely loves mysteries, the first season of Broadchurch was satisfying. The characters were intriguing, and the town’s idyllic setting was perfect for a murder mystery. It was riveting television. Sadly, I felt that the second season just didn’t hold up very well. In fact, I didn’t finish watching the show. This was mainly for two big reasons:
This is the biggest reason why the second season failed for me. I’m not unhappy that they decided to make the trial become the main plot, but I am very disappointed with how it was handled. There are a number of specific examples:
- We are told that Jocelyn Knight is an amazing lawyer, even though she hasn’t actually worked on a case in several years. It takes several conversations for her to even agree to take on the case. Unfortunately, she ends up being a disappointment that the show doesn’t even recognize. What I mean by that is that she does a terrible job during the case, but we’re still supposed to think she’s amazing. In one particular exchange, she lets the defense completely walk all over Ellie without even raising a fuss in the slightest.
- The show completely mishandled Joe’s confession. From my understanding, in the real world, a discussion of the confession would have happened between the lawyers and the judge without the jury present. It just makes sense. Why taint your jury pool by admitting that there is a confession, but there are some potential mitigating circumstances around it? It would be very difficult for a jury to ignore the confession’s existence.
- The dismissal of the confession is also sketchy when it was easy to prove that it happened before Ellie showed up. It’s amazing that the prosecutor would let it go without much of a fight. A confession is a pretty big deal; why wouldn’t you fight harder for it?
I don’t deny that perhaps I am being too picky about the technical aspects of the trial. Some liberty is required to make a courtroom drama more exciting, I get that. But I think there were ways to have a good courtroom drama without excessive flaws. I also realize that British courts are different from American courts, but I read posts from people with actual experience and they said that some of the technical aspects of the show were flat-out wrong.
The Sandbrook Case
It was difficult to feel interested in the Sandbrook case. It was obviously a very important case for Hardy, and the plot at least tried to weave it into the town of Broadchurch. But it was difficult to connect with the case at all. Perhaps if we had learned more about the families and the victims I would have felt more invested in the story. Although I didn’t finish watching the episode that fully explained what happen, I did read the summary and felt underwhelmed by its conclusion. It just wasn’t that interesting to me.
Broadchurch does have a third season on the horizon. While I may have been thoroughly disappointed by season two, I still intend to at least check out the third season whenever it arrives.
Crunchyroll has featured plenty of enjoyable anime over the last few months:
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
This anime is about a Japanese art form known as rakugo. As Wikipedia best describes it, rakugo is essentially a sitcom with only one actor. The actor takes on the role of all the characters in the story he is telling. It’s a fascinating form of art that I had never heard of. The show is a slice of life type show with some performances of rakugo sprinkled throughout. The majority of the show takes place after the end of World War II, giving viewers a glimpse into the many changes that went on during that era. We haven’t finished watching it, but I recommend it. The show will have a second season in the near future.
While the name of this anime gives you little clue of what it’s about, it is worth giving a shot. The show follows Satoru, a young man with the ability to go back in time by a few seconds and change the future. After a shocking event, Satoru throws himself years into the past and into the body of his elementary-age self. Satoru quickly realizes that he will have the chance to change something that has haunted him for years: the disappearance and murder of one of his classmates. The mystery plays out at a quick pace, and although the identity of the perpetrator may not be too surprising, it’s still a good show.
It’s worth noting that while the series never shows you anything too gruesome, there are some heavy topics within the show beyond the violence.
Looking back, I’m not entirely sure why we finished this show. It was okay, but it was nothing I would really recommend or ever watch again. The premise: A teenage boy, Kazuma, dies in the real word and is given the chance by a goddess to live again in a world very similar to an MMO world, complete with choosing a class and gaining experience. Kazuma is allowed to take one thing with him, and so he chooses to take the goddess into the new world. While I found the show funny at times, it does have more than a few problems. For one thing, Kazuma is a jerk. He has his redeeming qualities, but I’m not fond of the way he treats women. Second, the anime does have an unfortunate amount of fan service. For the most part, it was mild, but there was one episode in particular that went overboard.
Currently, we are watching three shows that are in the middle of airing:
I love the Ace Attorney games, so watching this anime was a no-brainer. I’ve only watched a couple of the episodes, but I am hoping they show veers from the game to give us other stories. There are a lot of interesting characters in the show, so I’m hoping we see more stories that are new to the players. The show has had the added benefit of reminding me that I still have some Ace Attorney games to finish.
This show is sort of difficult to describe; most of the time, I’m not sure whether to laugh or feel very sorry for the show’s characters. The show is about a group of girls who are considered so unlucky they need to attend a special school that aims to improve their lot in life. Each girl has their own challenges; one girl can hardly do anything physical without breaking a bone and another girl constantly gets lost, even when people try to point her in the correct direction. The growing friendship between the girls is sweet, and the absurdity of the show makes it fun.
Sailor Moon Crystal
Sailor Moon Crystal is back again with a third season. Just as with the other two seasons, you may suffer a bit of whiplash at how fast this series burns through the content, unlike the languid pace of the original anime. While I love moving through the story at a good pace, I do still feel like I don’t really know the Inner Senshi that well in this version. You don’t need to have endless amount of fluff to let us get to know the characters. It’s fun to finally see Haruka, Michiru and Horatu in this version, however. Also, I really enjoy the fact that people in this series actually have the ability to recognize each other and determine their real identities. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to the original series.
In an effort to try to make more out of my website and spend more time on one of my favorite hobbies (making websites), I decided to try making some tribute sites to some of my favorite things. The first, and hopefully not the last, is a website for The Sims 4. It’s taken me way longer than it should have to make it, but I had a lot of fun making a site from scratch without using WordPress or another CMS. The site is not meant to even come close to the content of general sites for The Sims 4. Instead, I just wanted to focus on the parts of the game I love the most, including custom content and writing random articles about the game. It’s also a great place to dump my collection of screenshots.
Without further ado, please visit Moody Sims!
March 16th, 2016 | Posted in Games | Tagged with Review | Comments
Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game that was recently released on Steam. This amazing game was developed by one person and was inspired by the Harvest Moon series. Although I don’t have much experience with Harvest Moon, I’ve played (and loved) Rune Factory 3 and 4. I find this type of game very charming, so on the day Stardew Valley launched, I read a few reviews and quickly purchased it. Turns out, it was a smart choice and I’ve already put in quite a few hours into the game. This is not meant to be a comprehensive review; rather, it’s a just a collection of my thoughts as I’ve played the game.
A Fun and Engaging Beginning
The beginning of games of this type are always a little tricky. Some games don’t give you much to do when you start out; you have to play more to keep unlocking things. This is true in Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Harvest Moon: A New Beginning, among others. In Stardew Valley, you hit the ground running. There’s no long tutorial, unlike A New Beginning. You can immediately start exploring the town, plant some crops, fish, start making money and much more. The game gives you some directions in case you’re not sure what to do in the form of some easy introductory quests. There’s really nothing in particular that you have to do when you start; you can immediately take the game at your own pace doing whatever you want. Some things, of course, are not immediately available, such as the mine. But you’ll still have a long list of things you can do from the very beginning.
Fall in Stardew Valley.
A Solid List of Characters
For the most part, Stardew Valley has a good cast of characters. A few of the characters seem a little flat, but I assume as you build up a relationship with them, you’ll learn more about them. I’ve already seen this with a couple of the townsfolk that my character has managed to befriend. I was impressed with the addition of Linius, a homeless man who lives in a tent and is on the fringes of Pelican Town. Where I live, homelessness is currently a very polarizing topic, so it is nice to see his story handled with care. A few of the female characters could use a little more variety; their portraits alone make them look very similar to each other (Penny, Leah, Jodi and Robin). I will say that overall, it’s nice to have only one character that seems to hate your guts right from the beginning, which is better than I’ve seen in other similar games.
The Bachelors and Bachelorettes
One of the first things I wondered about when I got the game was whether the player character could marry a bachelor or a bachelorette, regardless of the gender of the player’s character. I know for many people, it has been frustrating that you couldn’t marry whoever you wanted in the various Harvest Moon/Rune Factory games. I was pleased when I found out that you could marry either gender if you so wish. This adds a nice level of inclusion.
As for the choices themselves, I do wish there was a bit more variety. On the male side, I feel several of the choices are a bit too young. Sebastian, Alex and Sam seem like they’re supposed to be in high school. The same is true of a couple of the girls. I guess the point was to give players some variety, but I think I just wish the choices tipped a bit more to the older side. But, I don’t find the marriage aspect as important as the rest of the game, so it’s not a big deal to me.
Charming Music and Cute Art Style
The music of Stardew Valley is very peaceful and pleasant to listen to. While it may not be hugely memorable, it perfectly suits the atmosphere of the game. The game has a couple of types of music: music that fits the outdoor areas and the kind of music you might expect in a rural and rustic town. I love that the music changes with the seasons and matches very well with the weather. Summer’s music is nice and upbeat, while fall has a pleasant melancholy feel to it.
Stardew Valley’s art style is sort of a retro/pixel look that you’d expect from an older game, but it really works for this game. Even though your character sprite is quite small, you can still add detail to it and really make it your own. I’m sure that this simple style means that the game will run quite well on older computers and could potentially make a jump to mobile platforms.
Looking out into the ocean.
As mentioned above, Stardew Valley was created by one person. ConcernedApe (his moniker) is active on Twitter and the Stardew Valley reddit (and perhaps others places as well). He’s already released several patches to fix some bugs and has mentioned future content that he’d like to add, including adding more to the post-marriage parts of the game. Multiplayer options are also on the to-do list. In other words, Stardew Valley has a lot of room for growth and is clearly cared for by its creator. It’s a refreshing thing to see a game get that much devotion from a developer.
A Single Tip for New Stardew Valley Players
You won’t have to look far to find long lists of tips from players to help you maximize your playtime. In my opinion, I think it’s best to skip these lists and just discover things on your own. Yes, you may end up needing to wait another season or even a year to accomplish a particular task, but I think it’s more fun to just play the game organically and focus solely on what you want to do. If you worry too much about optimizing the game, you’ll miss out on the fun and it will feel more like a job. Who wants to keep consulting a list of tips when you’re playing a game?
As is probably pretty clear, I think Stardew Valley is an exceptional game that is well worth the money and the time. It’s the type of game that can easily appeal to just about any type of gamer. I look forward to seeing what happens in the game’s future.