Welcome back to another edition of “staying home and talking about video games”. Apologies if you were duped by the first issue into thinking that I would always be discussing software engineering and philosophical quandaries; I’d like to get back to doing more of that, but life is pretty straightforward right now, so this issue will be another short one.
The one interesting thing to come out of this week is that I can finally start talking about VALORANT, Riot Games’ take on the tactical FPS. I was lucky enough to be invited into the game’s private alpha back in February, though we weren’t allowed to talk about it until gameplay was officially revealed by content creators last Friday. I spent the majority of my weekends over the past couple of months playing the game, and have been dying to talk about it.
To follow the guidance that Riot gave alpha members, I won’t be going super in-depth about the game in this issue (I’ll be waiting a few days until the closed beta begins before doing so). What I will say is that I think Riot completely knocked it out of the park. Everything about the it, from the sound design to the art style, aids the competitive, high-intensity nature of the game, and it’s an absolute blast to play. My biggest gripe is its name, and let’s be honest: if the worst part about a game is its name, it’s a pretty damn good game.
I know many teams at Riot have been working super hard for a long time to deliver VALORANT, and I think the title truly has the potential to become one of the next big esports, especially with Riot’s expertise with running professional League of Legends. I am so hyped for everyone to be able to get their hands on the game and try it out themselves.
In other news, I’ve been playing a lot more Animal Crossing. Visiting different friends’ islands and seeing how much decorating they’ve done has awoken my competitive drive. My current layout is giving each villager a plot of land far away from one another so that they can all have their own yards, but I’m starting to wonder whether I should create neighbourhoods instead.
April marked the start of two events in-game: the cherry blossom event and “Bunny Day”. While the cherry blossom event adds a bunch of very nice sakura-themed crafting recipes, Bunny Day’s gimmick is adding various elemental easter eggs onto your island (as well as having Zipper the Bunny explain the event to you). Unfortunately, what this means is that when trying to do something like fish or break rocks, instead of receiving said fish or some iron nuggets, you’ll get an egg instead. These eggs are to be used to craft Easter-themed furniture and clothing, none of which are particularly appealing.
To make matters worse, the main method of acquiring the cherry blossom recipes is via presents, but Bunny Day means that the airspace above your island is clogged with these striped balloons whose presents always contain an egg. I’ve reached the point of not even wasting my slingshot ammo on these anymore, but it’s still annoying how the two events are overlapping each other.
On a more positive note, the whole turnip economy in the game is adorable, and gives me another daily to take care of on Sundays in addition to pumping out this newsletter. I overlooked the the first half of the “Sow Joan’s Stalk Market” pun until today, which is delightful. It’s hilarious to see group messages devolving into people talking about daily price of turnips, but I guess that’s just what the world is like these days.