Comfort Food for Your Mind – Gaming Edition

This morning, an image detailing the symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion came across my Facebook feed, and can I tell you, I felt so seen. It seems weird to be suffering from burn out when I’m actually really fortunate right now compared to so many, but there it is. I’m burned out.

Combine this type of exhaustion with fibro-fog (which is made worse by both fatigue and stress), and I’m left with the feeling that I just can’t learn something new or get invested in a story right now. Unsurprisingly, this is putting a major monkey wrench in my oh-so-meager goals for this month.

Instead, I find myself seeking out “comfort food” for my mind. I’ve lost count of how many games I’ve booted up and then almost immediately closed out of. Everything is not interesting, or too hard, or too easy, and nothing is giving me the distraction I’m craving.

If I’m perfectly honest, I was pretty surprised by what finally stuck for me.

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is a game I had previously put about 35 hours into, and it gets hard fast, especially if you’re a perfectionist that wants to gold medal every single level. I elected to restart, rather than jump into my old level 46 save (although I didn’t realize I had two other level 1 saves, oops). The game is just a challenging and fast-paced as I remember and that is precisely why it’s working for me.

CSD2 is works on muscle memory I actually have (typing), rather than most other arcade-style games that work on muscle memory and twitch reflexes that I’m lacking. It’s been awhile since my fingers were so firmly planted on the home row.

I’m trying to take it a little bit easy on myself. Right now, not every level has to be a gold medal (and the coffee shop levels so far are just not a thing I’m capable of at the moment). It’s satisfying in a way that nothing else has been, and I’ll let myself indulge in this comfort food game for as long as my fingers will tolerate.


What are the games you go back to time and time again? Tell me about your comfort food games – either in the comments or feel free to steal the heck out of this idea for your own blog.

Blogger Recognition Award – 2020

I have been tagged by the incomparable Naithin of Time to Loot to do the perfect blog entry for the start of #Blapril2020. Thanks for the tag!

The Rules

  1. Thank the wonderful person who nominated you and leave a link back to their blogs.
  2. Explain your blog’s origin story or its history.
  3. Hand out two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  4. Nominate other bloggers and hook us up with links to their blogs.

Origin of Nerd Girl Thoughts

Oddly enough, Naithin is also probably at least 75% responsible for the existence of Nerd Girl Thoughts in the first place (and I thank you for that as well!).

I had wandered away from my prior blog The Completion Chronicles in May of 2017. I had always intended to go back to it, but really, the whole concept had lost its shine for me.

That blog came to be after I had just come off of what I still feel was my most successful blog project – 366 Days of Gaming, in which I played a different game every day for a year – and I wasn’t quite ready to give up blogging yet, but I also was really unsure of what I wanted to be doing.

So blogging had been put on the way back burner for well over a year, when I saw Naithin tweeting about Blaugust 2019, and I felt like that was the kick in the pants I needed to get back to it. Instead of reviving one of my (many many) defunct blogs, I decided to start fresh with Nerd Girl Thoughts, and leave myself a little bit wider open to write about a greater assortment of topics.


Advice for New Bloggers

Don’t Overthink It: It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want your blog to be about, or what you want it to look like, or how you want to publicize your posts. The first step is actually getting words down about something that you care about. There are probably 8 million good reasons to start a blog, but if you ask me, the best reason is because you want to write. So, write something. Work out all the messy details later.

Look for community, not recognition: If you are considering blogging because you want to get internet famous, or as a side hustle to make big money, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Sure, you can absolutely treat blogging as a business, but – at least to me – that’s the quickest way to suck all the joy from your project and the odds are still against you succeeding. Unless you’re content babbling into a void (and I frequently am, so take that one with a grain of salt), you will need to build a community. Events like #Blapril2020 are great for community building – take the time to figure out who else is writing about things you are interested in, and then interact with those blogs & authors. Chances are, you’ll spark a conversation and maybe even get a follow back.


The Tags

I think this is a great topic & I personally was glad to have the prompt, but if you don’t feel the same, please feel free to just conveniently forget I tagged you, ok?

Syp, author of BioBreak.

Chestnut, author of Gamer Girl Confessions.

Rakuno, author of Shards of Imagination.

Paeroka, author of Nerdy Bookahs.

Quietschisto, author of RNG.

If I didn’t tag you, but you want to use this topic as well, feel free!

Warframe – The Game We Didn’t Know We Needed

As far as video games are concerned, I’m almost scandalously open minded. There isn’t a genre I haven’t or wouldn’t try. Mobile games are games. Idle games are games. If you think it might be a game, I’m probably going to agree with you and ask if I can play it.

My husband, however, really only likes a narrow slice of the bigger gaming pie. Co-operative multiplayer is an absolute must-have, although he is less concerned whether the main focus is PvE or PvP. He is happiest when there’s a need for some base skill level, but the biggest determination of player performance comes from knowledge and research. He’ll tolerate a grind, as long the majority of the grinding is “fun”.

Over the years, we’ve tried almost every major MMORPG that we’ve come across, and although some stuck for a considerable amount of time for him, finding a game that will actually hold his interest for the long term has been quite the challenge.


It’s been awhile since we’d had anything we wanted to play together. He spent some time with WoW Classic, while I played ESO for awhile. Other than a rushed set of raid finders to get a mount just under the wire during the recently World of Warcraft Anniversary event, we probably hadn’t gamed together in six months or more.

Still, I’d been even before the talk of COVID-19 and self-isolation, I had been checking out different games, hoping to find something that would draw him in. Given my own self-imposed purchase restrictions, that basically meant poking at any free-to-play game that had passable to good reviews.

At least for the time being, the game we settled on is Warframe.


In the past 10 days, I have put about 50 hours into the game, but I almost didn’t make it past the first play session. When you’re just starting out, it feels like the game is unnecessarily obtuse. If you’re unwilling to do any research outside of the game (or have a friend teach you the finer points), Warframe probably isn’t for you.

That said, it is ridiculously fun. I’ve really been enjoying games that do interesting things with movement lately, and the movement in Warframe feels fantastic. Shooting stuff is fun, melee is quite possibly even MORE fun, and missions are a reasonable length. If you just want to run a mission or two to blow off some steam, you can easily have a 20-30 minute play session, but there’s plenty to do to keep you online all night.

Despite having released seven years ago, this game had barely even hit my radar. I’d heard of it from other gaming friends, but I never thought it would be anything I’d play, but now it’s something I could see myself playing faithfully for a bit, and then going back to at some indeterminate future point.

But the best part is that I’ve found something my husband and I can enjoy playing together, and we have a couple of other friends who just started playing again as well, so it’s keeping us in touch with them during this time of social isolation protocols. It turned out to be just the game we needed right now.

Stuck at Home With Nothing to Play? Try These Itch.io Titles.

True confession – one of my mental quirks lately has been taking a close look at the “altruistic” things big businesses are doing in the face of this current crisis, and trying to figure out how exactly they expect to make a profit off whatever they’re offering. But I’m always impressed when small businesses, like indie game developers, do something generous when they have to be worried about their own livelihoods.

If you’re stuck at home, and looking for something new to distract you from the panicked social media posts and the deluge of news, check out some of these games, being given away free on Itch.io for a limited time.


Click on the images to be taken straight to the itch.io page for each game!

Art Sqool
Fidel Dungeon Rescue
Far Future Tourism
The Sands of Voltark
Quiet As A Stone – Download Only / Not Claimable
Shuffs
Historia Battles – Rome
monad

I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface, so please let me know in the comments if you’ve found any other hidden gems.

Nerd Girl Goals – March 2020

GAMING

Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

Going to keep plugging along at Far Cry: Primal.

#MitsudaMarch – Community Game Along

I got ahead of myself a little and started playing Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space on my iPhone already. I was surprised how good it looked for a mobile game, and since the theme this month is a composer, I made sure to leave the sound on, and yup, the music is pretty damn great.

This is a free game, and yes, you can spend money in it, but it’s super playable without any financial investment and I have yet to see an ad. If you’re struggling to find something to play for #MitsudaMarch, here’s your no-spend option. I wasn’t entirely surprised that I didn’t have anything in my library to play this month, but I still wanted to participate.

I do get the impression that this game is basically endless, so I don’t expect to do anything that even resembles completion, and that’s okay with me.

Other Gamestuff

This month, I am expecting to lose a lot of time to things that keep me away from my computer, so that probably means I will spend twice as much time gaming as I have been lately.

Since Portal has a super-short playtime, I’m going to put it here and see if #MaybeInMarch is an actual thing I will do.

I listed XBox Game Pass as my subscription for the month, but I have no idea when (if?) I’ll actually reactivate it. Yes, there are games there I want to play – a bunch of which I’ve actually even installed – but I also don’t see the point in putting money down until I’m actually ready to play something. This will come back to bite me at some point when the subscription price goes up.

I don’t think I’m really going to plan anything more intensive this month, because I’d really like to make a dent in my ten games list, even though I have no idea which one I’m going to tackle next.

Nerd Girl Goals – December 2019

I always feel like the winter holidays are such a polarizing time for people. Some people love this season – they go nuts with the decorations and send out a million cards and organize cheerful get-togethers. Others, like me, just go into survival mode until it’s all over.

We’ve just had our first major snowstorm of the year here, and there’s more anticipated for tonight, and I’ll be honest – the last thing I feel like doing right now is setting any kind of goals for myself. Solitary leisure time is going to be scarce, and I expect that most days, brainless entertainment is going to look mighty good to me.

So I’ve decided to pass on having Nerd Girl goals this month. I’m sure I’ll still find things to write about, but I’m going to just take the month “off”, so to speak, and make sure I’m prepared going into my 2020 goals.

A Clean Slate

After a bunch of frustration with my not-entirely-kosher Windows 7 install – culminating today in being unable to open a PDF file to pay my electric bill – I finally bit the bullet and found a repair utility that would allow me to update to an entirely kosher version of Windows 10.

Unlike the last couple of times I’ve had to deal with PC problems, for once, I didn’t lose all my files, but any programs that were installed? All gone.

Getting the functional stuff back online was easy – I keep installers for most of the things I use all the time in my downloads folder. Reinstalling my web browser (because, no Edge, no), Discord, Steam, and the other launchers I use took minutes.

Now, the game re-installation marathon has begun. I grabbed Ode and Aven Colony right off the bat – I have one more level to go in each, and I plan to finish those up over the next couple of days. But everything else is a clean slate – thousands of games at my fingertips, and with nothing installed, every one of them is just as likely to get played next as any other.


And since I was updating my OS anyway, I decide to opt in to the new Steam beta. Now, maybe it’s just me being resistant to change, but I don’t love it.

It’s not just that it feels slow and clunky (which it does), but it feels like it’s just not up to the job of dealing with as many games, and as many categories, as I have. It has also, somehow, resurrected from the dead any of those old free to play titles I have long since uninstalled and they had previously disappeared themselves from my libraries. Which would be fine, I suppose, but it has also resurrected categories that no longer worked for me, so I now need to recategorize to get rid of those categories, and …

Look, I like organization. I don’t like the process of getting organized.

Sure, I could opt back out for the time being, but that’s just stalling. I’ll need to figure out how to make it work for me – at least until GoG Galaxy 2.0 hooks a girl up with a beta key.