Thursday Thoughts: E3 Edition

Thursday Thoughts: E3 Edition

With E3 slowly winding down and coming to a close I wanted to join the hundreds of people expressing their feelings on the turn out this year.  I know quite a few of my fellow gamer-bloggers have been live-blogging E3 this year.  I appreciate their stamina and insight, particularly because it allowed me to skip a lot of it due to other conflicts.  If you want a really good exploration of a lot of the showcases I highly recommend Adventure Rules.  His posts made me laugh and were pretty good at capturing the feel of the presentations.

Bethesda:  Let’s start with one I didn’t watch.  Thanks to Ian, my little brother, and my brother-in-law I got a pretty good idea of what happened.  It made me feel very lucky that I didn’t stay up for it… Nothing was announced that sparked my interest, including Skyrim for Switch, because, frankly, that guy stealing Link’s stuff was just weird to me.

Microsoft:  I don’t own an Xbox and I probably won’t ever own an Xbox.  But their overwhelming focus on something that’ll be difficult for people to afford utilizing technology hardly anyone can afford painted them into a serious corner.  So what if your console has 4K resolution?  Are you going to drop $500.00 on a new console only to play it on your TV that’s still 1080P?  In order for this truly to work you’ve got to spend the thousands on a new TV, and then buy the console, and then buy only the games that have 4K capability!  Am I impressed with the technology they presented?  Of course!  It’s a huge leap forward.  But do I honestly think it’s going to work out for them?  I think that’s an obvious no…  At least not right now.

Ubisoft:  I’m not an Assassin’s Creed fan.  I know the stories are pretty interesting, in general, but I think the gameplay is pretty boring.  I didn’t even like Black Flag despite the fact that you’re a pirate and pirate’s were in that year.  But an ancient Egyptian storyline has so much potential!  I think I’ll still feel the same way about the gameplay and, frankly, even with the coolest concepts Ubisoft hasn’t delivered on a storyline I care about.  But then there’s Mario + Rabbids.  It looked like a mixture of straight-up weird and cool.  I couldn’t tell what my feelings were on this one.  At first I pushed back, thinking it was something I would never play.  But the more I see of it, the more willing I am to give it a chance.  It’s a Mario game, after all.

EA:  Confession time: I love Star Wars.  When I went to my very first Comic Con and saw Dave Prowse I started crying because I was so overwhelmed.  He thought that was pretty cool and invited me and my family to dinner with him and Peter Mayhew.  Definitely worked out in my favor.  So when I see a newer and much, much better Battlefront coming, I get excited.  Nothing else really stood out, but Star Wars is always worth it for me.

PlayStation:  Every year my brother-in-law throws a PlayStation party where we gamers come together and watch the showcase.  This year we even had a game.  Each of us wrote down a list of games we thought they’d present and there was a point system and everything.  I don’t always play something other than Nintendo, but when I do, I play PlayStation (keep gaming, my friends), so I was pretty interested in what they’d be showing.  However, since I don’t play it very often, PlayStation would have to show something incredible to get me excited… But that didn’t happen.  I didn’t see anything that blew me away.  Even the new Uncharted, a series I actually love, didn’t appeal because I really don’t like Chloe!  What surprised me, though, was how little the people around me cared.  All the games we had guessed and games we were excited for weren’t discussed and the gameplay didn’t wow.  Though I admit, the zombear was pretty awesome.  Luckily they closed with Spider-man, which has some serious potential for making the Arkham fanbase happy.

Nintendo:  Now for the cream!  I don’t know what I was expecting from this but it wasn’t what we got.  Other than the weird voice-over for Xenoblade 2 (seriously, what was that?), they blew me away with their animation, titles, color, and excitement.  A new Pokemon RPG, a new Metroid, the Breath of the Wild DLC, a new Kirby, an amazing-looking Yoshi, followed up with Super Mario Odyssey.  It was like eye candy and happiness had a baby.  I’m so excited for nearly every single thing they announced and now I’m anxious for it all to get released!  I’m so excited for these games it feels like I’m a kid again.

So who, in my opinion, “won” E3?  I think that’s not really a fair question.  Everyone has different tastes, opinions, and ideas about what they want from their gaming experience.  I am a pretty exclusive Nintendo gamer so Microsoft (obviously) didn’t appeal to me and, while I enjoy PlayStation games and the stories they tell I wasn’t wowed by anything they brought to the table this year.  So it’s pretty fair to say Nintendo, with their colors, graphics, lack of mindless intro’s, and announcements of some new heavy hitters was my absolute favorite.  But it was last year, too, when the only thing they talked about was Breath of the Wild.  I think, based on preferences determined by a quick poll at my laboratory of all the serious gamers there, everyone got pretty excited about something someone was releasing.  Which means that, to me, E3 itself was the winner, bringing another year of excellent games to excellent platforms that appeal to a wide audience of gamers.

So what did you guys think?  Any games you’re super excited to play?

Creamy Heart Soup

Creamy Heart Soup

This recipe was hard.

There were several issues with it right from the get-go.  First: voltfruit, hydromelon, and that giant version of a radish don’t exist in the real world.  Second: The obvious substitutes, based on what the BotW equivalents look like, were a very strange assortment of flavors.  And third: Fruit soup is something I am not a fan of.  Ever.  So finagling a recipe utilizing fruit and a random vegetable was a major challenge to me.

This recipe morphed from an attempted appetizer to a definite dessert soup.  Apparently that’s a real thing – I checked.  Frankly, I didn’t go crazy for any of the combinations I tried, but, as mentioned earlier, I was pretty limited by the ingredients and by my prejudice against fruit soup.  To me it tasted like a melted smoothie until I finally found the right combination to change it to a pureed fruit salad.  Which, to me, is way better.  So is it decent enough?  Absolutely.  Is it something I’ll eat all the time?  Nope.  Was it worth experimenting?  Do you even have to ask?  Will you like it?  You’ll have to let me know!

Creamy Heart SoupCreamy Heart Soup Difficulty and Time Meter

We had to start with the substitutions.  Obviously hydromelon is watermelon.  They didn’t even attempt to change the name.  I made the gambit through all the milk varieties – milk, half and half, heavy cream – and finally landed on whipped cream.  Why?  Because fruit soup really needed some cream and the whipped kind tasted best.  If you need an easy whipped cream recipe check out my Hylian Wildberry Crepe post.  The last is voltfruit.  When I picked up my first voltfruit on Eventide Island a dragon fruit immediately came to mind – and the idea just stuck.  It looks just like it!  So that’s what we went with.

Creamy Heart Soup Ingredients

We start with dicing our watermelon into large cubes, dicing our radish into small cubes, and scooping the fruit from the dragon fruit.  It was actually incredibly easy.  Watermelon is cut into slices, the rind is removed in pieces, and then you can easily cut through the delicious insides.  The dragon fruit is cut right down the center and the edible portion is easily removed with a spoon.  And the radish is diced like, well, everything else.

Add all the ingredients to your blender in this order.  Based on your blender there may be a particular order you should add things in.  For my blender it was: dragon fruit, watermelon, radish, sugar, and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth, stop and add the whipped cream, and then blend until well-mixed.

Creamy_Heart_Soup_06

Once it’s all ready add the mint leaf and stir it around for 30 seconds to a minute.  You don’t need to go crazy – that fresh, minty flavor will be there without any additional mashing or dicing.  Remove the mint and chill the soup thoroughly, at least one hour.  I promise it will not taste as good warm.

Now for the confession.  You know the nicely made fruit balls that look like they float so well in the photo?  Yeah… they didn’t float at all.  The minute I tried to gently place them in they sank to the bottom like a rock.  So it took some serious maneuvering and MacGyver-ing to get the photo to look sort of like the Breath of the Wild photo.  Hey, that’s the price of a photo!  But what does it mean for you?  Well, you won’t be able to present the soup the way I did.  Unless you want to serve it to your guests with a few lids and coins in the center to keep the fruit from sinking…  So whether you want to include fruit balls or not is totally your call.  My recommendation: skip it entirely.  This soup doesn’t need any more fruit.

Gif of Making Watermelon Balls

If you do choose to add fruit simply take either a melon baller or, if you don’t have one (like me!) then use a round teaspoon and gently cut a circular shape from a slice of fruit.  It’s not that hard – I promise!  Garnish however you choose and enjoy slurping your dessert!

Creamy Heart soup final

Link’s Creamy Heart Soup recipe:

    • Any radish
    • Hydromelon
    • Voltfruit
    • Fresh Milk

Creamy Heart Soup

  • Servings: 4 small, 2 large
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Creamy Heart Soup with Watermelon and Dragonfruit from Breath of the Wild


Soup

  • 2 1/2 cups watermelon, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 medium dragonfruit
  • 1 tsp radish, diced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 mint leaf

Garnish Ingredients

  • 12 small watermelon balls
  • 8 small dragonfruit balls
  • 4 radish slices, cut into hearts

Directions

  1. Dice the watermelon into large chunks
  2. Dice the radish into small pieces
  3. Slice the dragonfruit in half and scoop out the edible fruit
  4. Add all ingredients to a blender in this order: dragonfruit, watermelon, radish, lemon juice, sugar
  5. Blend until smooth
  6. Stop the blender, add the whipped cream, and blend until thoroughly mixed
  7. Pour the soup into a bowl and add the mint leaf. Stir and mix for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the mint flavor is infused in the soup. Remove the leaf.
  8. Chill the soup for at least 1 hour.
  9. Using a melon baller or teaspoon remove fruit balls from watermelon and dragon fruit.
  10. Slice and shape radish into hearts.
  11. Garnish the chilled soup with fruit and radish hearts and serve.

A strong, female playable character in Legend of Zelda

A strong, female playable character in Legend of Zelda

I wish more video games had strong female leads.  Having said that, I’m definitely not one of those people who needs a strong female to take over every male role.  In the immortal words of George R R Martin “To me being a feminist is about treating men and women the same” (Salter, The Telegraph, 2013).  There should be, and needs to be, a balance.  There are games that should be about male characters, and that’s okay!  And there are games that should be about female characters, and that’s also okay!

 

What I don’t like is the trend of taking a male character, turning them into a female character, and calling it “good enough”.  We don’t need yet another female who reminds us more of our brother than ourselves.  What we need is a character who is a woman who was meant to be a woman.  With that in mind, I don’t need Link to be a girl.  I need Link to continue to be a boy (because he so obviously is) and I need a game from Zelda’s point of view.

Zelda is already the strong, intelligent, awesome female character we need in the Legend of Zelda series.  She is brave, always fighting alongside Link, like she does as Sheik or Tetra.  She is fleshed out, created as a person with thoughts, opinions, and struggles, as is so poignantly brought home in the memories of Link in Breath of the Wild.  And, more importantly, she’s been there from the beginning.  This is not some character Nintendo would create out of nothing to prove to the public that they, too, care about women.  This would be a way for them to show that, from the beginning, they have cared about women.  It would be a way to prove that, just because their main hero in this series is male, it doesn’t mean they had a completely chauvinistic point of view.  I mean, these are the people who created Zelda’s Adventure, one of the few older games I have played from a female’s perspective!

And not only is Zelda already created, expanded, and real to the story, but she already has an amazing super power – the triforce of wisdom.  How easy would it be to make more difficult, challenging puzzles focusing on the idea that Zelda has to use her triforce of wisdom to defeat them?  Instead of the regularly-encountered boss, why not bosses with a big twist, requiring some serious forethought and skills to defeat them?

Don’t you guys agree that the absolute best remastered version of Ocarina of Time would be to include the original mode from Link’s point of view and a newly released mode from Zelda aka Sheik’s point of view?  It’s not like she sat around doing nothing for 7 years while Link was sealed away!  So what awesome shenanigans did she save Hyrule from?  Or to have a new Skyward Sword utilizing her very particular role at the temples, with new maps, puzzles, and her own set of bosses?

So, in my opinion, we don’t need a new female, playable character in the Zelda series.  We don’t even (in fact, please don’t!) need to make Link into a girl.  Nintendo just needs to jump on the idea they’ve already started and use the amazing character they already have. Let’s make a new Legend of Zelda about Zelda.

So what do you guys think?  Don’t be afraid to weigh in!  I’d love to hear your opinions.