Things I Hate(About Games I Love)

You ever have a game that you LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT except that one thing? It could be an enemy, level, storyline progression, etc. and, while it doesn’t necessarily cause you to dislike the game any less, you still have no particular eagerness to experience when replaying the game – i.e. Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple. In an utterly uncharacteristic display of pessimism(sarcasm?) I’ve decided to throw out my most disliked parts from some of my favorite games. Starting with…

Super Mario Bros. 3 – Plumber Hell

Super Mario Bros. 3 has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I love it as much in my adult years as I did as a kid. As much as I love it, there’s still one part of Mario 3 that I still have an intense dislike towards. World 7 – Pipe Land is easily my least favorite part of my favorite game. As the name would suggest, the entire goddamn world(well, nearly) consists of a maze of goddamn pipes, and wherever you find pipes you will almost assuredly find piranha plants, along with what seems like hundreds of Munchers, their younger siblings. If that wasn’t enough, Pipe Land is where Mario 3 throws some annoying puzzle-like sections in the castle stages. Perhaps I didn’t possess the level of patience as a kid(or adult) that the game requires to successfully navigate, but it’s definitely emphasized here, making it the one section in Mario 3 where I absolutely will not hesitate in using a Warp Whistle to leave this godforsaken level and to the next area.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Slip Slidin’ Away

Alright, so…Breath of the Wild may not even be my favorite Zelda game, but having invested just short of 300 hours into the game across multiple playthroughs that I *do* love the game. For me, I tend to think of it as an open-world game that encourages and (mostly?) rewards exploration first, and a ‘Zelda game’ second. I’m not exactly in the minority when I say BotW is one of my favorite Switch games, but I also understand where others may not hold the game in as high regard, particularly in how it deviates from elements historically found in other Zelda games. I could mention either the “brittle as an 80 year old’s bones” weapons, which seem to break after precisely 4 hits, or go into some unhinged rant about being driven to near madness collecting ALL 900 KOROK SEEDS, but honestly those don’t irritate me *as much* as they do others. No, the thing that frustrated me the most in BotW is the never-ending episode of ‘It’s Always Rainy In Hyrule’. One of the departures from previous Zelda games is the fact that you can climb nearly anything in BotW…as long as it’s not a wet(slippery) surface. What makes it frustrating is when it feels like the entire eastern half of Hyrule has been affected by this meteorological malice. Don’t even get me started on the Faron region – the Florida of Hyrule, where it’s seemingly ALWAYS RAINING. You need to climb that rock wall? Well you can be damn sure it’s gonna start raining…it never fails. Maybe I’m just exceptionally lucky??

Resident Evil 4 – Water Hall(& Oates)

I may or may not have mentioned it before, but…I love Resident Evil 4. It’s my favorite game(alongside Mario 3) and the one I’ve played through more times than any other. That does not mean, however, that it doesn’t contain a few sections that are a bit of a headache and it’s more of a conscious effort to push through. This brings us to the Water Hall, located in Salazar Castle. This is pretty easily my least favorite part of RE4. The sequence begins with Leon and Ashley making their way through the castle and entering a giant room with…an indoor moat. During this test of both patience *and* accuracy, Leon must defend Ashley from waves of enemies as she makes her way around an upper walkway to raise a set of platforms to allow access to the far side of the room. Sounds simple, right? Yes…mostly. The concept is as straightforward as it gets, it’s just the fact that it takes Ashley an absurd amount of time to get between the two cranks, all while an army of cultists waddle towards her with intentions of carrying her away like a lunch box. Once you make it to the next room…this is where the real fun starts. Leon and Ashley barely make it through the doorway before being greeted by yet another swarm of cultists in yet another large open room with almost no cover whatsoever. Once again, the task is protecting Ashley as you make your way downstairs to a back room where you both need to step on opposing floor panels to reveal…that’s right *another crank* upstairs which will lower the staircase to make it the fuck outta there. Again, this is pretty simple stuff, it’s just the matter of being hit with arrows, axes, and flails while trying to accomplish this AND keep Ashley from getting carried away(or dying). My Pro Gamer™️ strat is usually to immediately run for the downstairs room and play defense – it’s much easier this way as you have your back to the wall. There will be a handful of enemies that can drop from through the ceiling above you, which means you still have to remain somewhat attentive to your backside, but you can still focus primarily on the shielded(or iron masked) enemies being funneled through the narrow doorway. All in all it’s probably not the most *complicated* sequence, but I still feel blood pressure spike whenever I reach that part of the game, which has been about once a year since 2005.

Bloodborne – Forbidden Woods

Well done, good hunter. You’ve defeated Vicar Amelia in the Grand Cathedral and interacted with Laurence’s skull, prompting a flashback conversation between Master Willem and Larry where we first hear the line – “Fear the Old Blood.” Now that we have the password, the next thing to do is leave the Cathedral Ward and set out on a scholarly visit to Byrgenwerth College. The only obstacle in your way is the Forbidden Woods. This oppressive, maze-like forest contains countless beasts and a number of traps to bamboozle inattentive hunters, but the single element here that catapults the Forbidden Woods to “I love this game but hate this place” territory is actually quite simple. Snakes…fucking snakes. The latter half of the Forbidden Woods is infested with disgusting creatures very imaginatively named Snake Balls, which really are nothing but several venomous snakes tangled into a knot. Sounds horrible, right? Well, even better, there’s the Gigamax version too – Great Snake Balls(it’s alright, I’d laugh too if I wasn’t terrified), and upon reaching the end of this area you get to fight the Shadows of Yharnam, the obligatory FromSoft gank fight against three cloaked assholes that can, and will summon gigantic snake heads that emerge from underground and generally scare the living hell out of me. Again, I love the shit out of Bloodborne but I’m *not* the biggest fan of the Forbidden Woods. <end rant>

Thanks for reading!

Comfort Games

You know those days where you just want to relax and feel comfy? You don’t have to worry about work or any other responsibility of “being an adult” so you feel like kicking back in your pajama pants and Doctor Who slippers in front of the tv while eating some of your favorite comfort foods. For many people comfort foods are something usually like mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, or if you’re anything like me, pizza is your go-to comfort food. Also, if you’re anything like me, you may want to accompany your favorite comfort food with some video games; the games that you’ve maybe played a hundred times but still find yourself coming back to as you settle into bed or your living room. Having had a few of these type of days recently I came up with the idea of writing a post of my own personal “comfort food” games that no matter what kind of day I’ve had I always enjoy playing. Also, with Thanksgiving, a day of calorie-laden indulgence coming this Thursday, it seemed fitting to share my video game equivalents of a heaping plate of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Super Metroid

I wouldn’t be able to write a list of go-to games without including Super Metroid; there’s never a time in which exploring the planet Zebes and blasting a few Space Pirates along the way doesn’t appeal to me. The game after all these years is still considered the pinnacle of the Metroid series. I have loved this game since I was a kid and regard it as my favorite SNES game.

Far Cry 5

A more recently released title on this list, but since first playing Far Cry 5 I have been absolutely hooked. Far Cry 5 at its core is the over-the-top action movie as you run around the rugged Montana landscape with your rocket launcher, but you can kick back and enjoy some fishing or go for a relaxing(?) drive through the mountains.

Resident Evil 4

While it may not seem like the most “relaxing” game to some, the first scene in which Leon fights off a horde or villagers is anything but. Resident Evil 4 has been one of my favorite games to play since I first bought it at the Kmart I worked at in January of 2005. It’s a game that I usually run through about once a year. It’s also one of those games that I’ve purchased multiple times….you’re welcome, Capcom.


A game that I can always sit down and play whether for a few minutes or an hour, Tetris has always been one of my favorites, along with most other puzzle games. Since Tetris 99 was released for Switch Online subscribers earlier this year I have spent 60+ hours in what, in all seriousness could be my favorite battle royale game.

Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country recently celebrated(well, not really) its 25th anniversary since being released in November of 1994 and with it, Rare brought back Nintendo’s aging primate to mainstream relevance. Everything about this game brings warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia rushing back to me and the platforming gameplay, sound and visuals have held up exceptionally well. I still remember the first time I cleared those mine cart levels…

Super Mario Bros. 3

Since childhood, I have probably spent more time playing Mario games than any other and Mario 3 is probably my favorite game of all time, with Super Mario World following closely. I still remember every level and shortcut of the game. Similar to Resident Evil 4, I have purchased this game in multiple forms for many different consoles as I’m still in love with this timeless NES classic. For me, Mario 3 is as close to a perfect game as I have ever played.

That’s it for now, what are some of your “comfort food” games? Let me know in the comments. I know there’s plenty I’ve probably missed, but it’s a start. If you’d like to compliment your gaming meal, I recommend checking out a post that Kim from Later Levels recently did suggesting wine pairings with video games. Here’s hoping everyone out there has a great Thanksgiving and will hopefully get some time to relax and play some games!