Stardew Valley – Junimos & Egg Festival

Day 10

As I came out of my house today, Clint was right outside my door. He said that he’s been noticing I’ve been breaking rocks open and finding ore. Wait, has he been following me into the mines? Anyway, he gave me the blueprints to a furnace. It would allow me to smelt metal bars, which I can then use for crafting, construction, and upgrading my tools.

After the screen faded to black, Clint turned into Marnie. Marnie came over to bring me…a dog! She said it was a stray that was sitting by the entrance to my farm. She asked if I wanted to adopt it. Well, duh! I had to name the dog, and the default name was Yogi. But it’s a dog, not a bear. I chose the name Rufus. And just like that, I have a dog!

Marnie: Well, Rufus... You be a good pooch now... okay?After that, I was walking towards town when I triggered yet another cut scene. Mayor Lewis showed me the Pelican Town community center. It’s all run down and in poor shape. He said Joja Corporation wants to buy the land and turn it into a warehouse, but he doesn’t have the heart to sell it. Although he said he may change his mind if anyone else buys a Joja Co. membership, that won’t be me. Down with Joja!

Lewis: This is the Pelican Town Community Center... or what's left of it, anyway.He unlocked the door and took me inside and murdered me. He was telling me about the place, and I kept seeing things when Lewis’ back was turned. It looked like a slime from the mine at first, but maybe it was just a ghostly green apple with arms and legs. At any rate, this place is haunted!

I see a ghost in the community center.Lewis was starting to think I was going crazy, although he tried to act like it was just a rat that I saw. He left, but he said he would leave the door unlocked from now on, so that maybe I can catch the “rat.”

I continued exploring the community center, and in one room, I found a strange scroll with some weird writing on it. I didn’t know what to make of it, so I continued on with my day. Next, I worked in the mine, and then went to the saloon to chat a bit.

On the way out, I saw Linus (the old guy who lives in a tent) going through George’s garbage can for food.

Linus digs through a garbage can for food in Stardew Valley.George heard the noise and came outside, thinking it was raccoons making the noise. He saw me and asked me to scare off the raccoons for him. I went over and had a chat with Linus. He asked if I thought anything was wrong with him taking the food scraps, and I said no. He then agreed to stop rummaging through George’s can.

But as he walked off, he then started going through the saloon’s garbage can! Gus came out, and told Linus that if he needed food, to just ask. He then gave Linus some zucchini fritters. Once the cutscene was over, I went home for the night.

Day 11

When I came out of my house, there were tons of things floating in the air. They looked like feathers, so I wondered if my new dog just killed a chicken or something! But then I realized they were probably supposed to be cherry blossom petals.

Cherry blossom petals fall from the sky in springtime in Stardew Valley.I had a letter in the mail, from a wizard! He said he may have some information about my “rat problem,” and he told me to visit him up in his tower. I also had a letter from Robin, offering a 250g reward if I find her missing axe.

But first, I headed over to the blacksmith. I gave him a geode I had in my pockets, and he cracked it open for me. There was a green “jamborite” inside. Is that a meteorite that came from Jambette? Anyway, I donated it to the museum next door.

As I headed toward the wizard’s tower, I found Jas and Vincent playing by the sewer. They wanted to explore inside there, but it was locked. The kids got spooked and ran away when they heard something squishing inside.

The kids (Jas and Vincent) get scared when they hearing something inside the sewer.
Maybe it’s just the Teenage Mutant Nin-Jas Turtles.

After that, I continued on to the tower, where I met the wizard. He had a surprise for me… he had one of those apple-ghosts!

The wizard and his junimo ghost in Stardew Valley.He said they call themselves the Junimos. They’re mysterious spirits that refuse to talk to him. Wait, then how did he know they call themselves Junimos? 😛

I apparently told him about the scroll I found in the community center. Odd that he knew about me snooping inside there, yet he didn’t know about the scroll. So he teleported to check out the scroll and then returned. Conveniently, he was able to translate the scroll. Apparently the Junimos are able to help us out, if we give them gifts of the valley. He then drugged me and I started hallucinating.

Seeing trees and leaves as I hallucinate in Stardew Valley.That forest juice he made me drink allowed me to now decipher the scrolls for myself. So I returned to the community center, and I could now see what I had to do. There are different “bundles” listed, and a reward.

Summer foraging bundle. Reward: Bridge repair.Apparently, if I donate all the required items, the little apple ghosts will repair a bridge. While I donated a few items, I have a long way to go before I can complete the bundles. Well, that’s something to work on for the future.

After unsuccessfully looking for Robin’s axe, I returned home for the night.

Day 12

It was raining today. I got a letter from Mayor Lewis, telling me that the egg festival would be held tomorrow. I worked on cleaning up my farm a bit, and I found an unusual shop. It was a carriage that was apparently pulled by a purple pig? They had some veggies and seeds for sale, as well as bug meat. Sounds delicious, but I passed this time. 😛

Unusual food truck?I really didn’t get much done today. I planted a few seeds and then went to bed.

Day 13

As the day began, I finally had the 2,000g I needed to expand my backpack! Unfortunately, because of the egg festival, shops weren’t open. But that’s okay, because I got to see what the egg festival was all about! I couldn’t go into town until 9 a.m. though, so I had to scramble to kill some time. But when the time came, I joined in the fun. It’s a shell of a party!

The egg festival in Stardew Valley.After I spoke with everyone, the egg hunt began. I had 52 seconds to find as many eggs as I could.

Lewis: Let the egg hunt begin!I only collected six eggs in that span, and it wasn’t enough. Abigail was the winner of the egg hunt. Lewis gave her the prize, but it wasn’t revealed what that prize was. I’ll have to try to win it next year. The festival then ended, and I went to sleep for the night. See you next time!

Here’s a video showing the highlights of days 10-13:

Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses

Last night, I attended the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. A 66-piece orchestra and 24-person choir performed many songs from various games in the Zelda series, as footage from the games was displayed on a large screen behind them.

Not only is it a performance of some great music, but it’s a trip down memory lane for Zelda fans–especially those who have been long-time fans of the series. This was my first time attending…but it won’t be the last.

An opening montage shows a bit of each game as the main Zelda theme is played. Subsequent segments focus on one game at a time. There are segments for Breath of the Wild, Majora’s Mask, Ocarina of Time, A Link Between Worlds, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, A Link to the Past, Skyward Sword, and…more. 😉

As you’d probably expect, I most enjoyed the segments with the games I knew best. The Link to the Past montage brought back lots of memories, and I also loved the cheerful Wind Waker compositions. But you don’t have to be a fan of each game to enjoy the performance.

The Ocarina of Time segment just before intermission was my favorite part of the event. It was amazing, and yet, it provided an example of how the Symphony of the Goddesses could be even better. After hearing the beautiful overworld theme over a montage of video clips from the game, we see the emotional goodbye between Link and Saria, when Link first leaves his village. Saria gives him his first ocarina, and reassures Link that they’ll always be friends. They are also shown years later, when Link returns after he has grown up.

After a trip across Hyrule Field, the Lost Woods theme (Saria’s Song) was played. I was in heaven. But before long, it shifted to battle music as Link fought Ganondorf. Link attacks, jumps to the platform, returns Ganondorf’s fire, shoots a light arrow, and on and on. It dragged on a bit, and virtually the entire final battle was shown. I felt too much emphasis was placed on boss fights with tense battle themes. I’d rather see that time spent exploring the various locales of the games.

Two of my favorite songs from Ocarina of Time are the Zora’s Domain theme and the Gerudo Valley theme. Those locations were not represented at all, musically or visually. Likewise for Lon Lon Ranch, where Link first meets Epona the horse. (Link and Epona are shown briefly jumping over the outer wall, but the interior of the ranch is not shown). These locations, and others, are rife with memorable moments and tunes that would evoke nostalgia even with short segments.

Maybe I’m just being greedy. Perhaps it’s not realistic to expect more than 3-4 songs from each game. But the show has potential to be even more powerful, more nostalgic, more emotional, and more amazing than it already is.

But even though they’re not going to play every song you know and love, the Symphony of the Goddesses is truly an amazing experience that every Zelda fan should attend at least once. I’ll be sure to check it out again the next time it comes to town. If you’re interested, check out the upcoming tour schedule.

The outdoor chandelier at Playhouse Square in Cleveland.
The outdoor chandelier at Playhouse Square.

Believe it or not, this was actually the first gaming-related event I’ve attended. I was expecting to see a lot of cosplayers, but I only saw a few. There were a couple of Links (with elf ears, of course), a Zelda wearing a fancy dress, and a (possibly confused) Mario. But the most amusing was this girl dressed up a Link (or possibly Linkle), who proudly carried around a stuffed chicken (Cucco). She was holding it up in the lobby like she just scored some treasure from a treasure chest. 😛

One last note: I was expecting to get a lot of StreetPass hits on my 3DS, since this was a Nintendo event, but I only got six. Oh well. On the bright side, it seems that they all had Animal Crossing: New Leaf, so I had six new homes to visit in the Happy Homes Showcase.

Super Mario Odyssey Impressions

On Friday, I got the latest Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch. Since I pre-ordered the game at Best Buy, I also got this collectible coin. The front and back shown; I don’t have two coins. 😛

Both sides of the Super Mario Odyssey collectible coin.I’ve spent about 4.5 hours with the game so far, and I’m really enjoying it. It reminds me a bit of Super Mario 64, but without being thrown back to a hub area after collecting each star (or moon, in the case of Odyssey). And that’s a very good thing.

The worlds (called kingdoms) don’t have individual levels per se. Instead, you just collect power moons that are scattered throughout each world. Some of them are earned for completing objectives, like climbing a mountain or beating a boss, while others are just hidden throughout each world. You’re free to explore each world to seek out its secrets, and that’s a lot of fun.

Running through the forest in Super Mario Odyssey.Some of the hidden areas you can find include fun 2D mini-levels that look like the original Super Mario Bros. I’ve also found some references to Super Mario 3D World, so there are many things to discover. As for the coins you collect, you can spend them at shops to buy new caps and outfits for Mario.

Fashionable Outfit: I'm not clashing, YOU'RE clashing!Gotta Capture ‘Em All

One unique feature of Super Mario Odyssey is the ability to capture certain animals, enemies, or objects by throwing your cap at them. Each thing you capture has a unique ability. For example, the first thing you capture is a frog. You then basically possess that frog, and you can directly control it. That allows you to jump much higher.

Mario captures a frog in Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch.Other areas let you capture an entire stack of Goombas (standing on each other’s heads) or even a tank (which you can use to shoot at breakable stones). It makes for some bizarre scenarios, but that’s part of the fun.

Taking Photos

A really cool feature of this game is the ability to take in-game screenshots. You can pause the action, move the camera, zoom in or out, apply filters, and so on. Even taking pictures can be lots of fun. Here are a few I’ve taken.

Mario captures a Moai statue and stands near a power moon. Picture taken in Super Mario Odyssey.
Moon, Moai, Moon
Mario and a taxi driver. Picture taken in Super Mario Odyssey.
Is this Super Mario Odyssey or Crazy Taxi?
Mario is afraid. Picture taken in Super Mario Odyssey.Controls in Motion

If I have a slight complaint, it’s with the controls. Don’t get me wrong, the controls are good overall. But when Mario runs, he almost seems to be a bit out of control; the controls don’t seem quite tight and precise enough. Maybe I just need to get used to them a bit, or maybe I need to move slower and point the camera at a higher angle when precision jumping is required.

Also, the game uses some motion controls by default. For example, shaking the controller after throwing your cap makes the hat home in on nearby targets. While motion controls aren’t mandatory, I’m trying them out for now, at least. They generally work fine, I’m just generally not a big fan of motion controls.

Out of this World

Super Mario Odyssey is a lot of fun so far, and it’s one of those games that is hard to put down. That’s a sign of a great game. While I’m not far enough into the game to definitively say if it’s the best 3D Mario game yet, I’d say it has a chance. It’s definitely up there with the best of them.

Update: Here’s a video showing my first 50 deaths in the game. I hope you enjoy!