What’s Wrong With Walkthroughs?

Let’s say you’re planning a road trip across the country. You get your maps out (or use the internet) and follow the highways, looking for cities and other places to stop along the way. Before long, you’ve got the whole route planned out, down to every motel or Airbnb you’ll be staying in.

Does this make the trip any less exciting? Most of us would probably say no. Planning ahead is the prudent thing to do – after all, you don’t want to end up in the middle of nowhere with no place to eat or sleep. Having a GPS or map guide you doesn’t make the trip any less of an adventure.

Video game walkthroughs function similarly to a GPS, except instead of telling you which exit to take, they tell you how to defeat those strange new enemies, which block needs to be pushed to solve the puzzle, and where to find any hidden secret. In other words, they’re a map to guide you on your virtual adventure.

Following the road trip logic, using a walkthrough shouldn’t diminish the sense of adventure or excitement in playing the video game. Yet, for some reason, we gamers seem to think it does, and we look down on any one who would dare look up the solution to a puzzle on YouTube. We call them “casuals” and “fake gamers.”

But why? What makes their way of enjoying video games inferior to ours? What’s so wrong with using a walkthrough?

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Which Pokémon Go Team Are Your Favorite Characters On? (+Quiz!)

Two years ago, a little app overtook the world. This app was Pokémon Go, a mobile game based on the popular video game franchise that used GPS and augmented reality technology to bring the cartoon creatures to the real world.

People everywhere grabbed their smartphones and left to explore their towns and neighborhoods. Even today, the game still brings people together regularly. I’ve made some great friends at my school through the game, and there were dozens of people at a local park for the most recent Community Day.

In Pokémon Go there are three teams: Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct. Once players reach a certain level, they join one of these teams and then compete against the others.

The choice of team is arbitrary, but each one embodies a certain set of characteristics. Knowing this, it got me thinking – if fictional characters played Pokémon Go, what teams would they be on? I’ve decided to “sort” a handful of them and give a few reasons why. Plus, if you’ve always wanted to know what team you should be on, I have just the quiz for you!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Video Game Acronyms

Acronyms are a daily part of our lives – we say things like “TV,” “ATM,” and “PB&J” in everyday conversation, and nothing is lost in translation. Some acronyms have even become words in their own right, like “scuba.”

There are some acronyms, however, that aren’t very common. For example, if you didn’t follow Maggie’s Musings, you might not know that “WIR” is an acronym for “Week In Review.” A lot of groups, from writers to musicians, have their own systems of acronyms that don’t usually make sense to anyone outside of that group, and nowhere is this truer than in the world of gaming.

Even though I’m a gamer myself, there are some acronyms I didn’t know until recently. One of my friends kept referring to “DPS” during a Pokémon Go raid a while back, and at the time, I felt too embarrassed to ask what that meant. So trust me, you’re not alone if this jargon sounds like a foreign language – you’ll get the hang of it soon!

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Rules for Spoilers

Spoiler (n.)

  1. Information about the plot of a movie, TV show, book, video game, or any other form of media that ruins the viewer/reader/gamer’s enjoyment of the media in question.
  2. The kind of person you don’t want to be.

Chances are, we’ve all been spoiled at some point in our lives – and no, it’s not the kind of spoiled that happens when your grandparents give you all the chocolate chip cookies you want. Perhaps someone once told you about how Harry Potter ends, or you know what happens in that particular episode of Sherlock, or maybe you know Sheik’s true identity despite having never played Ocarina of Time. Sometimes, spoilers are okay – you probably don’t care about how Harry Potter ends if you don’t plan on ever reading or watching it – but other times, they ruin things we would’ve otherwise enjoyed.

But that begs the question, what makes a spoiler spoil-y? When is it okay to discuss potential spoilers in public? How do I avoid them?

There isn’t a one-size-fits all formula for every single creative media ever made, but I have put together a few of my personal guidelines to give everyone a safe and spoiler-free existence (hopefully).

Because I need examples, there will be a few common spoilers mentioned below, but I’ll be blocking them out in white text and brackets [like this], so if you want to see them, highlight it with your cursor.

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Life Lessons Learned From Pokémon

One fateful day many years ago, someone handed me a GameBoy Advance and a copy of Pokémon Sapphire, and my life was never the same.

I suppose you could take that in the literal sense – i.e. I became a huge geek after that, and my chances of ever being able to pretend I was a normal human being were completely shot – but I think there’s something more there too, something less tangible and obvious than discovering a new hobby.

The things that are a part of our childhoods often have a bigger impact on us than we realize, but we tend to brush these things off as being “not mature enough” to have any real significance in our lives. We look back at the hobbies we had and the games we played as children and think, “Yeah, that was fun, but it doesn’t really mean anything now.”

But that’s where we’re wrong, readers.

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Week In Review – March 16

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’re having a good week, whether there’s snow on the ground (like where I am) or it’s sunny and warm. Despite the weather, I’ve been enjoying my spring break at home – it’s given me a lot of time to work on things I’ve had to put aside lately, and I’ve gotten caught up on some work as well. It’s been a good week!

This week, I wrote about the ABCs of Pokémon, similar to what I’ve done with Writing and The Legend of Zelda in the past. If you’ve ever wanted to be a Pokémon Master, this should get you started.

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The ABCs of Pokémon

Pokémon was my first “geek obsession,” right after I received Pokémon Sapphire for my brother’s birthday (it’s a long story, which you can read here). Ever since then, I’ve played almost every entry in the series, and so I consider myself something of an expert on these Pocket Monsters.

Have you ever wanted to be a Pokémon Trainer, but had no idea where to start? Or have you just been confused by all of the “Pokemans” your friends keep talking about? Well, today’s your lucky day, because I have the ABCs of Pokémon right here for a beginner like you. After reading this, you’ll be a Pokémon Master in no time!

But first, theme music.
(Look, it’s iconic, I couldn’t not include it)

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Week In Review – March 9

Happy Friday everyone!

I hope you’re all doing well! My week had some ups and downs, but overall, it was pretty good. I have spring break to look forward too now, so I’m excited to head home and spend some time chilling out.

This week, I started a new series on my blog called “The Poetry of Metal,” in which I analyze the lyrics of metal songs and show how the artists use literary techniques to convey their message. I analyzed “Panic Room” by Silent Planet this past week, so be sure to give it a read and let me know what I should write about next!

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My Top 5 DS Games

Gaming giant Nintendo pioneered the handheld gaming industry with the Game Boy, first introduced in the United States in 1989. The Game Boy went through a number of iterations and upgrades before Nintendo took the next logical step and introduced the DS, a device similar to the Game Boy, but with two screens instead of one.

Although the DS has since been replaced by its relative, the 3DS, it’s still home to some of my favorite video games. A while back, I wrote a blog post about my Top 5 video games on another old Nintendo console, the GameCube, and today I’d like to do the same with the DS.

The “rules” for this list are similar to the ones for my GameCube post, but with one small exception.

  • A game that was not completed can be included if I feel like I completed it enough to have experienced it fully
  • Only one game per franchise, spinoffs included
  • Games created exclusively for the 3DS are NOT included, as I consider that a different console.

Now, without further ado, here are my favorite Nintendo DS games in no particular order.

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Week In Review – January 12

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’re all doing well and are enjoying your new year so far. I’m back at school now, but so far, things are pretty great! It’s nice to be back and in a routine once again.

On Monday, I reviewed how I did with my goals in 2017, and I also talked about my goals for 2018. There are a lot of things I’m gonna try to do this year, so be sure to check it out and see what I’m up to this year!

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