Video Game Tips Roundup

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Over the years I’ve added a handful of posts that feature tips for specific videos games and I thought it might be useful to re-post the links here:

Previous Posts Status Updates

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I recently added some status updates to older posts. In most cases this simply means that I added a comment regarding whether or not a specific device or method is still working since the original post was published.

Logitech Harmony Companion All in One Remote Control

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Last year, after we moved, I grew tired of having to hunt for all of the various remotes every time we wanted to watch one of the two main TVs in our home. Our toddler had a habit of tossing the remotes under the couch, beds or various nooks and crannies. Finally, I decided to consolidate by researching the current Logitech universal remote systems.

After some basic research I determined that the Logitech Harmony Companion would be a good fit for our needs. I would have preferred to get a Logitech universal remote with an embedded touch screen but those were well outside of our price range. The retail price of about $140 is still a bit pricy but the features made it appealing to me.

It’s capable of controlling up to eight entertainment devices; the TV with the most devices in our home has no more than five connected (including the soundbar). The system is composed of a hub (controller) and a Logitech remote. It also provides a remote IR blaster and a mobile app. The app is required to configure and update the system so you need to have a compatible phone to manage it. The mobile app also functions as a universal remote, which can be handy when our toddler has managed to hide the Logitech remote as well (or on very lazy days when you’re tired of getting up for the hundredth time and the remote itself is way, way over there on the kitchen counter).

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Saving TVs from Angry Toddlers (Vizomax TV Screens)

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Last summer I purchased the largest TV we’ve had in our house; a 55-inch LCD. In addition, it also supported 4K HDR. Over the course of a few weeks we eventually picked up a couple of 4K movies including Planet Earth 2 and I already had some games that could take advantage of the TV’s high quality. I splurged on this TV and spent $600. Granted, one could easily spend much more but for us it was a stretch.

We were able to enjoy the TV for several months, until one day in late November or early December. On this day our toddler became angry about something that was probably very insignificant in the grand scheme of things (at the time he was almost two and a half so, as with most toddlers his age, anything could upset him). I don’t recall what it was though he probably wanted to go outside to the playground. If that was the case then I wouldn’t have let him because it was dark outside or because we were preparing to eat. He didn’t mind using the word “no” but he did not like to have it said to him.

I turned around and went back to the kitchen where I was preparing some food and putting up dishes. I just happen to be looking his way when I saw him angrily pickup a Christmas decoration from our coffee table. It was a wooden, triangular Christmas tree-shaped piece. He threw it at the TV. Hard.

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A Good USB Microscope for Education and Fun (Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope)

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Even though our son isn’t yet three years old I wanted to go ahead and introduce him to some cool science. I had the idea that a USB microscope might be a fun way. We could look at various things up close, including insects. After reviewing several devices I decided the Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope with Flexible Arm Observation Stand for Windows, Mac, Linux (2MP, 250x Magnification) would be a good choice. With a birthday coming up soon I chose to add it to my wishlist rather than outright buy it though at only $35 it’s a great price. Sure enough, someone bought it as a gift.

The only thing I can’t offer a comment on at this stage is how well it holds up as I’ve only had it for a week. I’m impressed by the simplicity of how it works. The device easily connected to my Mac and instead of requiring the installation of driver software it connected as a standard USB webcam. At this point the only software I’ve used to view and capture images is Apple’s built-in Photobooth app.

The microscope has a built-in LED light with a plastic guard surrounding the camera. To view something up-close one simply holds the guard against whatever is being inspected. The focus is adjusted by twisting the middle, rubber part of the camera assembly.

It’s USB only though it wouldn’t take much effort to connect an HDMI cable to my laptop and send the video to a TV. I’ve only used it on macOS though its supported on multiple operating systems.

Here are some sample images:

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Close-up of the threads in the comforter on our bed, including some dyed strands.

 

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This is the smooth, aluminum shell of my MacBook Air.

 

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Threads in a pair of my pajamas.

 

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High thread-count bedsheet, which normally looks dark blue.

 

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A closeup of the bottom side of one of my feet.

Breath of the Wild: The Man in the High Castle (Entrance Shortcut)

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Note: To pull off this trick you must have acquired Revali’s Gale.

I’ve put several hours into playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. But it’s time to wrap up the core experience so I can move onto other games like Super Mario Odyssey. Earlier this week I completed the two remaining dungeons and over the past night and a half I’ve spent time building up healing items, Ancient Arrows and other inventory items that I guessed would be useful in the final assualt against Hyrule Castle.

But after spending only a short amount of time within one of the lower castle entrances my Hylian Shield broke so I temporarily abandoned my quest and returned to Tarry Town to purchase a replacement. After jumping back to the shrine nearest the castle I decided to try a different approach.

Instead, I ascended to the top of one of the spires guarding the castle boundaries and from there I floated almost to the entrance of the last room with only one short stop on the way. It’s impossible to actually climb the spires but it is possible to stand on the various raised designs that cover their surfaces. By using Revali’s Gale I was able to reach the top with the most difficult aspect simply being the wait-time required for the Gale power to recharge after three uses. I don’t remember the exact number of jumps I used to get to the top but I think it was around four; it required two recharge periods.

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Once at the top I climbed on top of a dead Guardian and from there used Revali’s Gale once again, except this time I aimed for the upper areas of the castle. From the spire that I used I wasn’t quite able to get to the entrance in a single glide. I had to stop on a wall not very far away from the entrance. It was a fortunate spot as it provided cover between two Guardian turrets, one above and to my left and the other off to my right and lower than where I was. I still had another use of Revali’s Gale before a recharge so I used it again and glided past the remaining dangers and right into the entrance and hallway to the last room, where the final battle against Gannon begins.

Having not fought my way through the castle I can only assume that this saved me a significant amount of time, as well as inventory.

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Playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch

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Note: Minor spoilers about certain items and actions are included here.

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Back in the 1980s I played and beat the original The Legend of Zelda game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was a fun but challenging game and it’s likely that I used a strategy guide to make it through. Sometime later I tried Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on the NES but it didn’t capture me; I did not care for being pulled into battles without any warning when exploring the overworld map and the side-scrolling was just an odd fit.

With the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) I was sucked into the world of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Just when you think you’ve defeated Gannon you learn that not only did you not beat the game but that there’s a whole other part of the game that was nearly as long as the first. It’s remained one of my favorite Zelda games over the years and I thoroughly enjoyed reliving a slightly different experience on the 3DS with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

In the years since I’ve played the many of the Zelda games at some point, excluding some of the handheld editions. While I’m aware that many may have very high opinions of those games, and I certainly can’t say that they were bad, none have captured my attention for very long and certainly not to the point that I thought I might actually strive to finish those games. I spent several hours enjoying The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess when it was released for the Wii but after complete a handful of dungeons I decided to move on.

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I have discovered that, for me, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a very addictive Zelda game that I expect to finish. I have already put in countless hours within a matter of only a few weeks, typically playing late at night. It’s one of those games where you continuously feel compelled to do “just one more thing” before ending a gaming session.

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