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Gamers’ blog party: winter 2020 invitation

Christmas may be less than two weeks away but before that: it’s time for the latest blog party here at Later Levels. There’s no better way to celebrate this time of year as well as meet some new blogging friends and read their awesome posts.

The rules are simple:

🎉   Arrive at the party: don’t be shy and stand in the corner – say hello and introduce yourself in the comments below! Give an introduction to your blog to welcome new readers and let us know what you’re all about.

🎉   Present your gift: think about the posts you’ve written this year and choose your favourite or one which was fun to write. Leave a link to it in your comment and explain why you’ve picked it.

🎉   Show us your festive spirit: a blog party is nothing without good music and video games. Tell us which favourite festive tune you’ve brought with you, and the video game you’ll be playing this holiday season.

🎉   Mingle: grab yourself a drink, put on a party hat and get to know your fellow guests! Check back on the comments throughout the day to discover excellent sites and meet new bloggers.

🎉   Party all day: the comments below will be open for 24-hours until 06:00 GMT on Tuesday, 15 December 2020 so you’ve got plenty of time to meet and greet. Plus your posts will be shared on the Later Levels’ social media channels!

These blog party events are my way of giving something back to the amazing WordPress community and showing my appreciation for all of your support. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some lovely people and talented writers since starting the site at the end of 2016; here’s a little thank you and a way of finding some awesome blogs you may not have come across already.

Have fun – and excuse me while I grab some more ice for the drinks and turn the music up louder!

We’re taking part in GameBlast21 to support SpecialEffect, the gamers’ charity.
Making a donation will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

212 thoughts on “Gamers’ blog party: winter 2020 invitation Leave a comment

  1. Hello? Oh, cool…first here. I’m Nathan and I write on my personal blog – Gaming Omnivore. I don’t write about any particular aspect of video games, just whatever I’ve been playing recently or is on my mind at the moment. More recently, I’ve been streaming a random assortment of games on my Twitch channel along with the weekly(most of the time) blog post. My gift for the holiday blog party is a post I wrote this past April on DOOM Eternal after playing through the game for the first time…

    For music, I’m bringing along Bing Crosby’s – Mele Kalikimaka, one of my most-listened to songs during the holiday season(last year’s song too, I think?). As for video games, I’m usually jumping back and forth between several games at a time, but I’ll go with….Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and I’ll most likely still be playing more Hades.

    Now that I’m done with anothe awkward introduction, I guess I’ll stand here by the cookies with a cup of coffee…Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 12 people

    • Coffee? What happened to the whisky saves?! 😮

      I have to thank you for persuading Pete to play DOOM Eternal. It’s been ages since he played something he’s truly found enjoyable thanks to all the release delays this year, and it’s good to see him want to return to a game. Hopefully we’ll manage to get the PC sorted soon and then he can get back to The Division 2…

      Liked by 4 people

    • Showing my age but the first and only Doom game I’ve ever played was back in the dusty days of Mac gaming, even before the imacs burst onto the scene…

      Liked by 3 people

      • I had never actually played a DOOM game until I was in my later teen years after DOOM 3 was released. The games had been(are?) synonymous with pc gaming, so it wasn’t until more recent years that I started getting more into the series.

        Liked by 2 people

          • I’ve played both the original and the remaster(actually a pre-order bonus for Eternal) and the remaster plays pretty nicely now. They cleaned up the visuals so you can actually see without having to max out the brightness setting on your tv/monitor.

            Liked by 2 people

    • Doom Eternal was a really great time, although the intensity could get a bit much sometimes, it was definitely not something I’d play to wind down. Sad it didn’t take anything home from The Game Awards, but hey.

      Have you played the DLC at all?

      Liked by 2 people

    • This is as good a place as any to ask this (I was going to wait until I caught you streaming again) – do you also think Marauders suck donkey ass? I finished Eternal over the weekend and was floored at how awful the design of this enemy is. There are a few other glaring oversights, but Marauders stick out as the big one owing to them feeling like they’re from a completely different game.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah…the one enemy(well, there’s the Sentinel Prime boss too) that throws a wrench in the combat flow. You string together everything else pretty nimbly,but you have to NOT shoot at a Marauder and wait for it to shoot a projectile at you, sidestep, and then wait for it’s eyes to flash green quickly before you can hit it approximately one time before repeating the process.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Arriving second? that’s always cool 🙂 I’m Charles and I write on my page, Comfortably Adventurous. A sort of, English digital Smorgasbord covering everything from games to Christmas cookies with the odd attempt at a serious piece every so often.

    My gift for this always excellent Christmas party is a little piece I wrote when I visited the Making of Harry Potter tour in November in London:

    My Christmas song is a little different, its everyone’s favorite festive themed animal, Dominick the Donkey by Lou Monte. Once you’ve heard it, it’ll be in your head for hours, you’re welcome 🙂

    Sitting back with a gluten free mince pie and something soft to drink whilst spending the next 7 hours at work trying not to think about my last day of work on Friday. Not at all….

    Liked by 10 people

    • Morning Charles! 🎉

      I’m really glad you shared your post about Christmas at Kew this year. We’re due to go on Friday evening but my mother-in-law doesn’t feel entirely comfortable with the talk of tier 3 restrictions, so I think the tickets will be cancelled. At least I got to see what the event was like through your photographs!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Was really difficult to write as wanted to focus on the positives but equally, it’s London and distancing was a pipe dream. Pretty but anxiety filled.

        Going to put up the fountain videos at some point this week which were amazing as always


        • Ah I look forward to seeing them! My other-half and the stepkid have never been, and this is the part I thought they’d like the most.


  3. Good morning party people!

    *places cake to one side*

    I’m Krista and I write about my adventures in the world of video games over on LeeksPlays.

    Lately I’ve been playing a variety of games including Immortals Fenyx Rising, Cyberpunk 2077 and Animal Crossing New Horizons to name a few. Hopefully will have a few posts up in the near future about some of the games too! 🙂

    One of my recent blog posts that I’ve shared is about my ownexperiences with mental health and video games.

    Thank you for the invite to this year’s Winter blog party. Looking forward to catching up with you all!

    Liked by 13 people

    • Morning Krista, lovely to see you here! 🍰

      I loved your post about video games and mental health. One of the positive things to come out of 2020 is how we’re more openly discussing our wellbeing and are ready to support each other in having those conversations. I’m not sure what I’d have done without the friends I’ve made through blogging and gaming this year – I can only imagine how tough it would have been without them. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Lovely to be back! It’s been something I’ve wanted to write about for a while but just didn’t know how or when the right time was until recently. I can definitely agree that friends across blogging and gaming have helped me and many others that I know tremendously this year.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Great read and it’s always so much more powerful reading peoples lived experiences and how they use the medium as a support mechanism of sorts. It’s definetly been a great form of escapism for me over the year away from work.

      Liked by 2 people

    • One of the things I love about the geek blogger community is that there are a lot of us who openly talk about our mental health and we’re able to do it without stigma. As Kim said, coming together to support each other in this way is one of the positive things to come out of 2020.

      Liked by 3 people

      • It really has been! The geek blogging community has been wonderful through this surreal year. I was so scared to share this post but at the same time so happy that I did. I think that seeing other people talk about their own personal experiences and journeys gave me the confidence to finally share mine.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Krista! I really enjoyed the video games and mental health post. Video games have kind of saved the day(again) this year in being something that has helped to deal with…everything this year has thrown at us and it’s also served as a common denominator for actually engaging and interacting with others – this very moment, for example.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you! 🙂 They really have, I feel that you can always find something to relate to in a vairety of different ways with video games. Even being able to share blog posts and talk with others has helped so much this year too!

        Liked by 2 people

    • What’s your opinion on Cyberpunk 2077 so far? I’ve heard that the game is good but it’s got its fair share of bugs.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m playing on a Xbox One X and I wouldn’t say my own playthrough has been as negative as some I’ve seen online but I can say it hasn’t been the greatest. Most of what I’ve experienced has been clipping (although mainly pretty funny most of the time) and moments of lag but I’m yet to run into any game breaking bugs that have been talked about. I’ve had a couple of crashes but they haven’t hugely impacted my experience yet. Graphics wise, sometimes it’s okay and sometimes it is a little on the questionable side. Issues aside though, I’ve been enjoying what I’ve played of the story so far and I’m intruiged to see how it unfolds.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. *Wakes up after oversleeping* Yaaaawn… oh wait, I’m not first or second this time, help!

    Good morning all, Nepiki here! I review games over at my blog and occasionally make a different gaming-related article as well. Recently I’ve also been streaming more often! What you can expect from me is a variety of retro games, but also especially indie games and sometimes the occasional modern console game. A game for everyone I’d say!

    As for what gift I have today, it’s a recent article on a topic that I really wanted to talk about: emulation and video game piracy. Especially now that I play retro games on an emulator on stream, and Nintendo is doing their best to make themselves not beloved, I figured now would be the perfect time to talk about them. Enjoy!

    Christmas this year probably isn’t going to be too interesting in and of itself for me, though I am going to become an uncle between now and two weeks so the time of the year will be special regardless! I haven’t really listened to any Christmas-related music… oh heck, now that I think about it, I haven’t even heard a single Christmas song this year! What is wrong with me! Though this year was weird in general because I had zero preparations for Christmas. I’m mostly just listening to snowy level themes from video games and that’s about it–the Sonic games always have good snow-themed music so I often have these on autoplay! I don’t even have anything planned for games so far… though I do know there’s another Genshin Impact update coming next week which will probably consume all of my time… Oh well! I’ll probably play some random games since I do have two weeks off for the first time in ages so that’s nice 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

    • Hey Nepiki, thank you for coming along today. I’ve managed to visit a couple of your streams now and lurk in the background, and I’m hoping that work calms down enough this week to enable me to be able to chat. 😊

      I can’t believe that it’s Christmas in such a short time. I haven’t decorated the house or bought anything for the Christmas lunch yet, so I’m feel pretty unprepared too ha ha! Like you, I’m just looking forward the time off and playing come video games – I hope you enjoy your two weeks off!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very appreciated! Whenever I see a stream on (and when I’m not streaming haha), I also try to join. Good thing two weeks off are coming up soon so I hope I can be a bit more active then as well! My mother always decorates the entire house with Christmas-related stuff, though even she’s late to the party for her standards. I guess this year is just mostly flying by pretty quickly, which I don’t mind as all as I want to leave this year behind as quickly as possible and move on to (hopefully) better years!


        • Yes, I know exactly what you mean. All the days seem to be merging into one at the moment and it’s like a race to the end of the year. Here’s hoping 2021 will be the start of something wonderful!

          Liked by 1 person

    • A really interesting take and enjoyable read. Caught my attention coming home yesterday on the train and sat reading it which is always a good sign. It’s a tricky one and very shades of grey with some companies taking a tough line more than others but I suppose we set our standards and live by them 🤷🏼‍♂️

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! It certainly is a gray topic with no definitive morally- and legitimate right or wrong answer, but I hope I’ve made my opinion come across well and also explained what the general take of the internet is and how I personally think about it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • In that brief window between dvds, dvd rippers and streaming services had much the same conversation around TV series and films I owned on disc and had less mora qualms obtaining other ways as already owned it in one state but yeah, it’s a difficult one

          Liked by 2 people

          • I also used to brand dvds and music back in the day but when I did, I wasn’t on the internet much and all our friends were doing the exact same so I’ve barely had anyone argueing with me at the time that what I was doing was illegal. I did have it with video games when I was younger, because some people took it almost as an attack that I was illegally playing without purchasing, though that is not something I have to deal with anymore. And if anyone does have issues with it, I point them towards my article :D!

            Liked by 1 person

      • They very much are, and unfortunately they are allowed to do what they want because their target audience isn’t influenced by their… questionable decisions. The target audience unfortunately doesn’t care about copyright and the likes, as long as they can just buy a family-friendly console with Nintendo games. The Pokemon Sword/Shield controversy is a good example, where a lot of people ended up being disappointed online, but it ended up being the best-selling Pokemon game at launch which gives them the idea that they can just continue doing what they want to do.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. *Solarayo is passed out peacefully under the Christmas tree, surrounded by crushed beer cans and no less than three empty KFC buckets.

    She seems to be wearing a traffic cone as a hat. It has been badly painted red with a white tinsel ball cat toy roughly glued to the top. Guess it kinda looks like a Santa hat… huh.*

    Liked by 10 people

  6. Morning all! I’m over at Gaming Diaries where I sometimes chat about games, geeky stuff and some other life thoughts. I also stream so you get to hear my random thoughts or comments too!

    I bring along my most recent post because the general thoughts were fun to work out why there us a difference but the challenge to myself was also inspired by certain people *cough Phil and Ace Asunder cough*

    I also bring I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas as the music as for some reason it’s in my head again but don’t think I’ve actually heard it recently… so sharing is caring 😉

    Thanks for the winter blog party. I’m off to the corner to sneak all the good chocolates/sweets and to be comfy in my Christmas jumper.

    Liked by 11 people

  7. *stumbles in to the room dressed as a Resident Evil 2 RPD cop zombie*

    Happy Halloween!! I’m Luke from and despite my recent sporadic silences i blog about games and what I think about games and suchlike!

    For this spooky time of year I’ve brought with me a copy of Bioshock infinite that I’ve been replaying on Switch recently (I had forgotten how good it was) and a festive song “Anything Goes” because it’s got that Fallout vibe. I’ve also brought along my thoughts on ‘Realm of the Dead’ that I played earlier this year thanks to a game swap with Kim… One of the stranger retro experiences:

    Now…. Where are the twiglets?

    Liked by 9 people

    • What’s a blog-party without Luke and Twiglets?

      Hopefully we’ll get a chance to meet up and actually go to that game market in 2021! And hopefully I’ll be able to find you a better game there than Realm of the Dead. 😆

      Liked by 3 people

    • Having enjoyed the Bioshock games and having access to all manner of Steam games, I bought System Shock 2 a while back and want to play through it. I know a lot of people hold it in pretty high regard – near Half-Life level and consider it a precursor to Ken Levine writing Bioshock.

      Cheers, on the Cole Porter pick! I remember first hearing the song play on the radio and thinking “Isn’t this the song that Kate Capshaw sings at the beginning of Temple of Doom?” Funny enough, the name of the club was called Club Obi-Wan….

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’ve never dabbled in System Shock 2, but I should probably give it a go. I’m currently just about resisting going back to Bioshock now that I’ve played Infinite again (also the buried at sea DLC). Gotta give a nod to the Switch port which is really very solid.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I’ve been wanting to make it through a few games for the first time before I give in to the urge of playing the first Bioshock all over again…ironic, considering I just played through DOOM Eternal another time this year.

          I’ve heard the Switch ports of Bioshock have been pretty good!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, I’m Frostilyte. Still writing over on Frostilyte Writes where I’ve pivoted over the whole of 2020 into writing about game design instead of strictly focusing on reviews. Much like this post I wrote on Hades:

    I also stream on Friday which is something I was inspired to do in-part thanks to our wonderful hostess. That’s largely given me time every week to improve my artistic skills and oh man I didn’t realize how much better I’d gotten until I was writing a post that will be live in a few hours. That’s worth a read if you want to see what 12 months of practice looks like.

    Anyway, I’ve just about cleared out my backlog of games so…uh…tentatively nothing? The holidays are usually filled with family commitments, which I guess I won’t have this year so I should really come up with something to do during the holiday season, eh?

    Liked by 9 people

        • Read the reply I left for Charles. Just takes a bit of willpower and forethought.

          You can’t get more time so you gotta cull the titles that aren’t jiving with you. 😛

          Liked by 2 people

      • It comes as a result of knowing when to cull titles and moving on from titles I’m not enjoying. After a handful of hours most folks know if they’re enjoying an experience. I’ve adopted the mindset of, “If I’m not enjoying it then I should spend my time on something else”. Time is the one resource you can’t get more of, so it can’t be wasted on an experience that doesn’t click with you after a few hours (even if they reportedly get a lot better after a few hours).

        Liked by 3 people

        • I’ve started to do this with some geeky things in my life, like TV shows. I used to feel this all-encompassing guilt (why can’t I get into it? everyone else loves it?! maybe if I just go back to it… ) with them. Like Frostilye I just started to adopt the same mindset of ‘not enjoying this, move on’. For me the epiphany came from developing ME; my energy levels are super precious to me now. I don’t have time to waste on something I don’t enjoy because I don’t *have* that energy to waste. I’ve started to do it with books too. A few pages, maybe a chapter and that’s it. Moving on.

          I’m hoping to start on my gaming backlog next year (insert complicated mess here which I’ll be blogging about in the new year) so I’ll be doing the same thing 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

    • Well, I should have known you’d show up today with a post about Hades! ha ha

      We all love your Friday streams. It’s nice being able to chill out after the working week and chat to friends about video games – along with some other stuff we probably shouldn’t mention here – and watch you draw. I know you said that this was only a temporary thing during the lockdown, but I hope you realise we’re all going to try and convince you to keep going or move to another day once things are back to ‘normal’. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I mean…it is one of the only games I’ve written a proper post about in the last 3 months and I wrote 2 different posts on it so…

        I appreciate that. And I think I like streaming’s impact on my wallet more than I like the pub’s.

        At least with things going tits up here in Canada the end isn’t in sight any time soon. A bunch of raving lunatics are raising hell now after being locked down for almost a year and are actively stating this is all just a hoax to take away their freedom. But with that kind of crazy running around I don’t have much of an incentive to return to pre-varus times.


  9. Good morning all. DanamesX from Tales from the Backlog here. I couldn’t find any animal friends to bring with me this time, so I brought a copy of The Animal featuring Rob Schneider on VHS with me (please don’t kick me out).

    After going over my post from this year, I realized that I haven’t been writing as much. So to be fun, I wanted to share a post from the beginning of the year and see if my expectations were met or flatten.

    The first holiday song that came to mind was Silent Night performed by The Temptations. I remember hearing this on the radio one night and it felt soothing. What wasn’t soothing was finishing Trails of Cold Steel 3 last night and immediately starting the fourth game. Hopefully it won’t take me all year to finish this one.

    Now if you excuses me, I have to go figure out what this “holiday spirit” is and see if it taste like chicken or rum.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Ah, that gold holiday spirit… yeah, still looking for it too ha ha! I just don’t feel Christmassy at all this year. I’m hoping that once I’ve got a controller in one hand and mince pie in the other on the big day, I’ll start getting that festive feeling. 🤔

      It was fun reading your post and hearing what you were excited for in 2020! What ended up being your highlight of the year?


      • I think my highlight of the year was a game that I didn’t even know was being officially released this year, Hades. It scratched that challenge/reward feeling that I hadn’t had in a while. Biggest disappointment of the year was the game I was looking forward to the most. Goes to show how unpredictable things can be.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi all, I hope you are doing well! I am William Robinson (WCRobinson) and after taking a couple years out from writing, I have returned to it this year. I write on games most of the time, but also films, TV, and more! I try to be positive and considerate whilst keeping a balanced view, sometimes in the form of my Let’s Chat articles where I debate a topic with other contributors!

    For me perhaps the most rewarding article I wrote this year was my review of Resident Evil 3. This is my current Game of the Year, and I am aware this is not an opinion shared by the majority, so I enjoyed putting down in words exactly why I enjoyed it and replayed it so many times. Furthermore, it was quite the project, as it included my writing a review for Resident Evil Resistance (the packaged-in multiplayer game) inside the review!

    Next is music and video games (an awesome combo!). As Taylor Swift just released another amazing album I am going to link to her Christmas song Christmas Tree Farm! There are multiple games on the list to play, to name one I imagine I shall be playing a lot of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, soaking up all that lore and backstory 🙂

    Merry Christmas all!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hey William, welcome to the party! For the record, I got an advert featuring cats when I clicked on your YouTube link above and my own cat went crazy. 😆

      So how have you found returning to writing after a break? Has it been easy to get back into the swing of things? It’s great to have you in the community and I’ve been enjoying your posts, especially the ‘Let’s Chat’ ones!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you!! Haha amazing, Taylor Swift and cats do go together often, I hope your cat enjoyed aha xD It’s been very satisfying to return to writing, it was a part of my life I hoped to get back to and the search for a productive activity to give some direction to the days during this year led me back to it. With the Let’s Chat posts it also allowed me to convince some friends to get in on the action as well aha which has been fun!!


        • Yeah, they work really well – definitely looking forward to reading more of them next year. There’s just something about blogging that gets under your skin. I’ve taken a couple of breaks over the past few years and always end up returning to WordPress as I end up missing writing!

          Liked by 1 person

    • I played through the Resident Evil 3 remake earlier this year and really liked it. I’m not sure just where I’d place it yet on my GOTY list, but I definitely want to make another run or two through the game.

      I’ve been playing Age of Calamity a little here and there the past few weeks and I’m having a lot of fun with it. Haven’t played any of the other “Warriors” games before, so I was curious to give it a try. I’ve been taking my time going through all the side missions and items, so I’ll probably be playing this for one for a while…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Glad you seemed to enjoy it! Yeah it really clicked for me, a sort of merging of film and game into this awesome cinematic experience. As I say, aware not everyone felt the same. Would suggest making sure you play the higher difficulties too, there are some really fun (and brutal) twists they put in.

        I have played the original Hyrule Warriors and also Fire Emblem Warriors and had fun with each, and the added aspect of new lore around the time of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is intriguing and exciting. I enjoyed the first few levels, and I welcome the option to play as characters such as Zelda and Mipha! I wonder if short hair Zelda is going to be the player character in the next mainline game.

        Make it happen Nintendo.

        Liked by 2 people

    • A review in a review?? the inception of review writing 🙂

      have mused on doing some form of discussion post at some point, enjoy or have done some podcast stuff previously but enjoy writing more and seems a good mix of both genres

      Liked by 3 people

      • Haha, redefining the review, that’s me 😉

        With Let’s Chat it is a nice way to get people in as it is perhaps a less intense commitment than video or audio, and lets people reply at their own pace. As with lots of these sorts of ideas, just getting it up and running and getting the first iterations out is important, and then you can improve the rapport and styling of the conversations after. Would encourage you to do it if you can find others to join you! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  11. “Oh Tannenbaum, Oh Tannenbaum,
    Der Opa sitzt im Kofferraum!”

    This is the (slightly altered) beginning of a traditional German Christmas song. Just be glad that there’s no audio on comments!
    Judging by the mostly familiar faces here, most of you know who I am. For those who don’t: I’m Quietschisto, and like everyone else here, I write about video games! Who’d have thunk it?
    Unlike everyone else (apart from the good Charles) I also have started writing about food around the world. Since I can’t visit my family all the time any longer, it does progress somewhat slowly though.
    My favourite post I’ve written this year is…every single one of them. I’m quite happy with what I’ve posted this year. However, the one that you people liked the most was:

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe I’m needed at the punch stand for the rest of the day!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Well hello there, bartender extraordinaire! 😀

      I agree with Frosti that this was a great choice, I really enjoyed this post and Megan’s response. The wife-dying-in-your-arms cliché gets me rolling my eyes every time… and the best wives know how to save themselves!

      Liked by 2 people

    • My high school German kicked in there, was curious about the song but yeah, an interesting variation on that song. It feels a little superficial in English singing about a Christmas tree, sounds more spiritual in Deutsche.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Full version:
        “Oh Tannenbaum, Oh Tannenbaum
        Der Opa sitzt im Kofferraum.
        Die Oma knallt die Türe zu,
        und Opa schreit ‘Du blöde Kuh!'”

        “Oh fir-tree, Oh fir-tree,
        grandpa sits in the trunk.
        Grandma slams the door shut,
        and grandpa shouts “you stupid cow” ”

        The real song is pretty much just a translation of the original English version (except that we sing about the fir-tree itself, as you pointed out)

        Liked by 2 people

  12. *Athena waves at everyone and slips a tray of homemade tiramisu onto the table*

    Hi everyone, I’m Athena from AmbiGaming Corner, a blog dedicated to exploring real-life concepts through the lens of video games. I was looking at my blog, and I was amazed at just how much I’ve written this year that I was really proud of. The past few blog parties, I’ve felt sort of stuck, trying to find one I’d like to share, and now I’m here wanting to share most of them! 2020 was good for something, then! haha

    I think my favorite writing was actually for Normal Happening’s Characters That Define Us collaboration, and my fangirl heart wants to share all my recent posts about obsession and philosophy and Dragon Age(!!!) BUT I think, since 2020 is coming to a close, I want to share a post I made about real-life sanity meters:

    For music, and differing wildly from the tone of the song I brought last year, I’d like to present “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” sung by Bing Crosby.

    *eyes tiramisu* Anyone else wants some? It’s not too early for dessert, right?

    Liked by 7 people

    • Hi Athena! Was wondering your thoughts on the Bioware announcements in The Game Awards for Dragon Age and Mass Effect, knowing how invested you are in those two series!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi William! haha I do have a few thoughts on the announcements that came out 😛 For Dragon Age, I’ve been looking at the 2018 teaser and the 2020 teaser, and if I had to wildly guess, it seems like the game is going to continue after Inquisition but also tie in the other stories/games in a much bigger “world on fire” kind of way, which I’d be interested to see. It also seems like they might be returning to the “average nobody” hero like in Origins, which is exciting for a number of reasons (to me) that I feel bad boring you with here haha

        In terms of Mass Effect, it was nice that they were like “Yeah we’re still here,” and I’m interested in why they have Liara in what appears to be Andromeda, but what was most interesting was the presence of the Reaper blast in the opening music. Not sure if that was used because it’s an iconic “sound” from Mass Effect, or if it means something else, considering the developers have said that Reapers don’t exist in Andromeda…. hm…

        Despite my excitement, I have to say I’m a little cranky that they revealed Mass Effect at the end of the awards. I sometimes feel like Dragon Age gets a lot less attention from fans and BioWare in general, so it was a little sad to see the new teaser of DA4 sort of be overshadowed by Mass Effect just showing up and being like “Hey I’m not dead.” But I’m glad to see the series seems to be in good hands and moving forward, at least. I’m just hoping they aren’t any sort of always-online kind of game.

        …maybe I should write a post on this haha I hope you’re not sorry you asked! 😛

        Liked by 3 people

        • No no, I enjoy these detailed thoughts from someone who I imagine knows these series (especially Dragon Age) more than me! Makes a change from when whilst viewing The Game Awards I am like “THAT’S SOLAS!” and my friends with me reply with a sort of silence ahaha xD In that vein, yeah, I hope they continue the story of Inquisition!

          Oh is that Andromeda? My initial reaction was that it was the aftermath of the Earth fight in 3 and that Liara was finding a piece of the armour of Commander Shepard. Perhaps I am very mistaken aha xD The trailer seemed to point towards them sticking close to the original trilogy after the lukewarm reaction to Andromeda, so the Reapers being back could be possible if they are going that way. I have seen Star Wars recently suddenly bring back a past threat in the last film (an example for sci-fi comparison) and that felt rushed, however perhaps Bioware can make it work in the new Mass Effect. Yeah I am very concerned at them making the games into more online experiences, but perhaps Anthem has let EA know that it isn’t necessarily the answer for a critical and commercial success.

          If you write a post on this I shall certainly read it aha!

          Liked by 2 people

          • haha Well I’m always happy to talk about Dragon Age (and Mass Effect) whenever I have the chance!

            I’ve read that about Mass Effect, that it is in the Milky Way, and there is a part of me that thinks the same thing. But then there was also what looked like an arc, from Andromeda, that was blasted to bits, so I wonder if it will perhaps tie the two together? We’ll find out what happened to the missing arcs and merge the Andromeda story with the original trilogy? I hope EA has learned its lesson, as well…

            Well, if you’re going to twist my arm like that…

            Liked by 2 people

            • Yeah I reckon it indeed might return to the Milky Way, I hope that they do not completely ignore Andromeda though and find that way to link to each story. I am so excited it is back, with the reaction to Andromeda I was concerned the series might be away for a while.

              Liked by 2 people

    • ATHENA! It’s never too early for dessert. 😉

      I’m so glad to here you’re happy with all of your posts from this year. We all love reading them and know how great you are, and it’s lovely that you’re feeling that yourself too! Should we expect more Dragon Age content coming for 2021?!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Excellent! *digs into tiramisu*
        Aw, thank you! 😀 Yeah it’s been such a nice feeling to feel like I’ve actually produced worthwhile content, instead of content just to fill the space, if that makes sense. I appreciate your sweet words! ❤

        And YES you can definitely expect more Dragon Age content in 2021!!!!!! 😀 Every month is Dragon Age Month in my heart haha

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, it makes *total* sense. Whenever I go back over old posts, I can always tell if my heart was in them and I’m disappointed in myself if I see I’ve produced ‘filler’. It’s always so much more rewarding when you know you really enjoyed writing a post so long may that feeling continue!

          I’ve only ever played a tiny bit of Dragon Age, when I first met Pete and he was playing Inquisition. I feel kind of guilty whenever I read your posts because I know I should give the games a proper try! 😄

          Liked by 2 people

    • You’ve done some amazing Dragon Age content over the last month that has been a blast to read, follow and engage with! Fingers crossed DA4 lives up to the expectations, long live the Inquisition! *maybe*

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Hi 🙋‍♀️ it’s been a minute since I’ve popped my head into a blog party. For anyone who doesn’t know me I’m Michelle and write at A Geek Girl’s Guide. I write about a lot of things, gaming included.

    Since its the end of the year I decided to take some time off before 2021 so no new posts recently but I do bring my most recent post which shares the top 9 posts of mine from 2020.

    I also bring the Christmas Can Can by Straight No Chaser as a song. It’s on the humorous side of christmas music.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Hello there Michelle, glad you could join us! I hope you enjoy your well-deserved break and have a great start to 2021 when you return. Enjoy! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello, Skylar-Mei here! I infrequently write about gaming (with occasional anime and music posts) over at gamergal.exe!

    Today I have brought with me an introductory post for my new project, The Visual Novel Hovel. This mainly focuses on my Steam Curator page designed for visual novels which I updated each day during November. I hope to expand this brand much more next year with my main 2021 focus set for my backlog of VNs.

    As for a Christmas song… my favourite is probably back number’s ‘Christmas Song’. It’s not very festive (I’m really not a fan of Christmas music), but it’s one of my go to songs to play on guitar at the moment. As for games, I’m trying to round off everything I’ve got ongoing before the end of the year. I did purchase Spiritfarer when it was on sale last week, so I hope I can also spend some time playing that over the holidays.

    Thank you for hosting another blog party! Hope you all have a great Christmas! 🎄

    Liked by 8 people

    • Welcome, Skylar-Mei! 😄

      I haven’t played Spiritfarer myself yet but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, and friends who have played said they really enjoyed it. Seems like a great game to play over Christmas! Looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I enjoyed the demo so took advantage of the 25% off sale! I’m hoping it’ll be a chilled out experience that should suit nicely with all the Christmas stress and excitement 😃

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m looking forward to seeing what else it has to offer that wasn’t shown in the demo. Really looking forward to playing it, hope you enjoy it too! 😊

        Liked by 3 people

  15. Oh gosh I’m late 🙂
    Hi I’m Daniel from Germany. I don’t have a blog, but I can offer my SRC profile…?

    So I speedrun games on Twitch, and got to know LaterLevels when I raided them when they were playing “Shivers”, a game from both their and my childhood.
    I started speedrunning with the MYST series (well, technically the 11th Hour, but that’s because the run was free 🙂 ) and I’m making my way though games in no particular order, but prefrably puzzle games.

    For those unfamiliar: A speedrun is an attempt (usually recorded) of beating a videogame as quickly as possible. The community determines the rules of how the start and end of the run are defined, and times are compared on a leaderboard. Sometimes there’s several ways of completing a game, (with 100% of the in-game tasks completed for example) so separate categories of the same game can be run.

    My gift would be this “Any%” run of the original Myst. It is probably the easiest to learn, as the game can be beaten with relatively few clicks. The challenge is to get all the clicks in the right positions and in under 1 minute. Spoilers in Video.

    Knowing where to go when and in what order is known as “routing”, and

    My go-to videogame music is from Obra Dinn

    or possibly the Persona 5 soundtrack.

    My favourite videogame is LOOM from LucasArts, but I play a *lot* of Mario Maker 2 currently. My game of the year is the out of left field surprise “General Horse and the Package of Doom”, see here for a short excerpt (content warning: language):
    and I thank LaterLevels for introducing us to that gem.

    I’m having coffee, might switch over to single malt later tonight 🙂

    (finishing the “routing” thought:) […], and you can see different routings for even a short run like Myst Any% by compairing runs on the leaderboard. Note how Nausium for instance has a different path to the giant gear, and a different way of entering the fireplace code.

    Liked by 8 people


      It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you through your streams over the past couple of months. Not only have I got to watch you play games I remember from my childhood but in a different way, you’ve also made me add a few more adventures to my wishlist! I bought Quern recently so I can give that a go over Christmas and I still need to finish that playthrough of Shivers. I’m a bit scared to go back to it though because I remember how much it frightened me as a kid… 😆

      General Horse has been my surprise game of the year. I’m not sure what my highlight was: that sea-shanty, or watching you play it wearing that wig ha ha! I think we need to start a Kickstarter campaign for General Horse 2.

      Anybody reading this comment: if you’re a fan of point-and-clicks and adventures, make sure you give Daniel a follow on Twitch – you won’t be disappointed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there, Darkshoxx! Good to see ya! I haven’t played Return of the Obra Dinn yet, but I know a lot of people around here on WordPress have really enjoyed the game. I will get to it eventually….

      Cheers to coffee and scotch!

      Liked by 1 person

      • What I wouldn’t give for some chocolate cake and cocoa right now… sounds perfect! 😀

        I’m not played Valhalla but so many of my friends are wrapped up in this game right now. To be honest, I only tried the first Assassin’s Creed and wasn’t overly keen on it – but loads of people have told me the series has improved greatly so I really should give it a second chance.

        Liked by 2 people

  16. Hi everyone!

    The last time I came to one of these I pretty much did the equivalent of standing shyly in the corner. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has helped bring me out of my shell this year 🙂

    I blog over at Just Geeking By about all things geeky, including Star Wars and World of Warcraft which I completed a 30 day challenge for both this year. I tend to play MMORPGs more than other games, although hoping to change that next year and spend some time enjoying my backlog. The post I’m sharing with you today is my most recent and is my monthly update for October and November;

    I’ve brought some *warm* cinnamon rolls to the party (I made them last year for the first time and oh my goodness they are some yummy) and my favourite Christmas song; A spaceman came travelling by Chris de Burgh.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Good afternoon Heather, hope you’re having a good afternoon!

      Funnily enough, I made cinnamon rolls for the first time on Saturday morning and they were flipping awesome – I can definitely see those turning into a regular bake here in the Later Levels household. And I’ve just started getting into WoW myself and I’ve seen all your posts, so it looks like I’ve got a lot to look forward to!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh dear, am I to blame for this too?! 😀 I’ve already been poke by Solarayo for getting her back into it, hehe. If you need anything just holler 🙂

        The only problem I had with the cinnamon rolls was rolling out the pastry (my wrists can’t handle it) so earlier this year we tested out the Jus-rol tin ones. They taste just as good and are much easier for me to do.


  17. Hi, I’m McKenna from McKenna Talks About Games and I write a lot about Zelda, Animal Crossing, and increasingly, indie games (I have so many farming/life sim rpg indie games coming out next year I want to write about).

    The post I’ve brought is from my ongoing “A Year of Zelda” series in which I am playing each Zelda game in release order and evaluating how the series progresses, as well as doing dungeon rankings for each. I think the Oracle games are highly underrated and I’m hoping that with the series’ 35th anniversary coming up next year, they’ll get a little extra attention in the form of remakes. So I brought my Oracle of Seasons post, which will be followed up with an Oracle of Ages post this week!

    I really enjoy listening to seasonal video game music, so the tune I’ve brought with me is Snowpoint City’s theme from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.

    I’ll bring Hades to play, because I still haven’t played it and I’ve just got to see what all the fuss is about. Although I’ll probably switch between Hades and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which looks gorgeous this time of year, all that snow.

    *Looks around for snacks and cookies*

    Liked by 9 people

    • Hi KcKenna! Your Zelda project sounds awesome! It must be so cool to see how a series progressing from start to finish, and see what the games built on and what they tweaked/phased out.

      Also, can I interest you in some homemade tiramisu? 😀

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hey there McKenna, welcome to the party! 🎉

      I’ve only played a couple of The Legend of Zelda games so, as someone who isn’t overly familiar with the series, it’s been lovely getting to know the games through your post. Has it been hard working your way through all the releases?

      Liked by 2 people

    • I forgot to answer the game question on mine but I am also planning to play Hades! I love all of Supergiant’s previous games and I have kind of been saving this one up to play when I have a bit more time.

      I enjoyed reading your post on Oracle of Seasons (which I haven’t played before) and will check out the others! Also looking forward to when you get to Wind Waker because that was the first one I played and has been my favourite ever since.

      Liked by 3 people

  18. Hi guys,

    I’m Ross, hailing from the North of England, Yorkshire. I write mostly reviews but I’d love to write more long-form and practice my more analytical side. This is my first time reaching out to a community, aside from the odd comment here and there.

    The gift I’d like to bring would be my post on my top 5 favourite first levels in games, found here:

    In terms of what I’m playing this Christmas, it is obviously Hades, like most people on here, but I am also getting around to Control since I missed out last year. Pretty good so far, even if it runs a little choppily. I’d love to pick up Phogs at some point too so that I can play with my partner!

    Being northern, I make a lot of pies, so I hope you like them, the savoury kind. Chicken & Chorizo was my latest effort, and it was pretty banging to be fair.

    Hit me up with your favourite first levels in games if you like! Merry Christmas and whatnot!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Anyone who brings pies – or anything containing chorizo – to a blog party is more than welcome here. 🤤

      It’s lovely to see you at your first event and everyone here is really friendly, so hopefully we’ll be able to introduce you to some new people today. Sounds like they’ll soon have another person joining their Hades fan-club ha ha! I haven’t played it myself but I watched a friend work through Control a few months back and it looked really interesting – love the level design.


    • Welcome 🙂 pies are always a welcome addition to any festive shindig.

      Favorite first level in a game? a bit more challenging these days as most tend to be tutorial stages of some sort, I’d probably pitch an oldy from the first Rainbow 6 game on the PC/Console that had you doing a mansion infiltration without any guidance or direction.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree, tutorials nowadays are kinda drab! I haven’t ever played a Rainbow 6 game, I think I might have picked up Vegas in a bargain bin somewhere, but never put it in.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Great idea for a post and I loved your description of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and its immediate appeal. The first first level to come to mind for me is the one from Turrican on the Amiga, a brilliant, sprawling introduction to the game, and the way the background slowly changes from sky blue to black is wonderfully atmospheric

      Liked by 2 people

      • Is it shameful that I had to Google what that was? I do need to go back and play more stuff like that, I’ve done the classics, your Mega Mans, your Ninja Gaidens, but any more niche ones recommendations would be appreciated.

        Oh, Zombies Ate My Neighbours was good too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Not shameful at all! Out of the ones you mentioned I’ve only played the Spectrum version of Ninja Gaiden (Shadow Warriors).

          Liked by 1 person

  19. Ho Ho Ho everyone! I’m Pix and I blog about video games and anime over at Shoot the Rookie! I hope everyone is feeling suitably festive by now, but if not never fear as I have brought mulled wine and pepperkaker to help with that! The Christmas tune I’ve brought is a wonderful version of Silver Bells by rockers Twisted Sister from their classic (and imaginatively titled) album Twisted Christmas – it is a very fun and jaunty version so I hope you all enjoy it! As for gaming I’ll just be finishing off Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, which I am loving even more than the original (if that is possible). As for a blog post, I’d like to share my post on the exercise game Fitness Boxing: which I really like even though it is kind of broken! I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and I look forward to reading all your excellent posts!

    Liked by 8 people

    • Well hello there, Pix. I haven’t had a glass of mulled wine yet this year and now I really need one! 😀

      I was able to watch a friend play Xenoblade Chronicles on Twitch a few months ago and that was pretty enjoyable. It’s not my kind of game, but the music was so lovely. Sounds like you’re going to be busy over Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I definitely recommend starting on the mulled wine! Dunno why but this year I’ve started the Christmas stuff earlier than I usually do and I have to say I’m really enjoying it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Maybe some mulled wine will help me get into the Christmas spirit? I’ve not been feeling it this year so I’m starting to get a bit worried about myself! I’m going to give the wine a try. For scientific-experiment reasons, obviously.

          Liked by 1 person

  20. Hello everyone, my name is George but I also go by my blog name thegamerwithglasses. I blog about video games that I am currently playing and sometimes video game news. I also do some retrospectives where I look at the history of a game or what I’m currently working on, video game movies.
    The post that I’ve brought is my review on the Mega Man Star Force Series on the Nintendo DS

    I’m playing Devil May Cry 3 this Christmas and then move on to Devil May Cry 4. I never played them when they came out and recently bought the HD collection. DMC 3 is my favorite so far.

    I made some M&M and chocolate chip cookies yesterday and those were pretty great so I would recommend those.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi George, welcome to your first blog party! There are a bunch of cool people here already so hopefully you’ll meet some new friends and find some new blogs to follow. I’ve recently become aware of your site and I’m looking forward to reading more. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • Now your DMC comment on my introduction makes sense! You are in for such a treat, 4 & 5 are fantastic too. I’ve put plenty of hours into 4 specifically, so maybe that is my favourite – particularly Legendary Dark Knight difficulty. When you get there, you’ll know!

      Liked by 2 people

  21. Hello again, Alex Sigsworth here from my eponymous blog. This year, I’ve been taking part in The Characters That Define Us at Normal Happenings, so my only posts this year have been reblogs of everyone’s articles for it. That’s why I’ve been experimenting this year with microblogging on Twitter, which I’ve enjoyed.

    What’s for next year? I’ve done a bit of podcasting this year (like Untitled Video Game Music Podcast, available here: and now that I’ve got into podcasting, I don’t really want to stop. It may be that I focus entirely on that from now on. Also, I’m working on a novel, and I’m spending so much time on that that I don’t really want to be writing any more in the day just for a blog post. So I probably won’t be blogging as much as I used to, but I’ll still be here reading and commenting so I’m still going to be here, just less active.

    Still. I have written some articles this year: two guest reviews (sort of) for Super Chart Island. The first was of DRIVER but I ramble about that all the time, so I’ll share my second article, which was about Mario Kart: Super Circuit:

    As for my choice of song, it’s a little bit odd. “Does Santa Claus… ?” By The Yogscast. It ties-into my article for The Characters That Define Us. It’s worth it for how much Simon completely throws himself into it and because Trott looks cute in his animal onesie.

    Anyway, I’ll be setting myself up somewhere playing games. It was DRIVER 2’s 20th anniversary earlier this year so I revisited it and finally finished the story, now I just have to complete the driving games and find the last remaining secret cars.
    Also, I’ve started playing Kingdom Hearts ’cause of how much Chris Durston from OverthinkerY kept recommending the game. I’m generally enjoying it, though I didn’t grow up on Disney films, so I’m taking this opportunity to discover a lot of the classics on Disney+ by watching the ones that inspired the different worlds as I progress through them. For instance, I watched Alice in Wonderland for the Wonderland world and next I have Tarzan for Deep Forest. I’m having a lot of fun doing it this way.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hey Alex, lovely to see you! And busy as always, I see – it’s not a true blog party unless you arrive with a long list of all the projects you’re working on. I hope everything comes to fruition in 2021 and you have the most successful year yet!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi everyone! I’m Iain Mew, I’ve been blogging for more than a decade, but mostly about music in the past. I’ve played games for about as long as I can remember, though, starting with the Commodore 16. A couple of years ago I decided to start a project where I play every game to have reached #1 in the UK sales charts, which has been a research mission as well as a playing and writing one! I’m blogging about each game in turn at Super Chart Island (, complete with gifs, and have got from 1984 up to 2001 so far. I’ve had some help along the way from wonderful guest posters including Alex and Pix who are here at the party!

    My favourite post I wrote this year, which I was looking forward to since starting the project, was on Final Fantasy VIII, and how playing it as a teenager changed my life:

    Rather than just a Christmas tune, I’ll bring you one which covers multiple festive needs from the end of October to the end of the year, Seo Taiji’s

    Thanks for putting on such a lovely party!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Morning Ian, thanks for joining us and welcome! 🎉

      It sounds as though you have a big mission on your hands and you’re making good progress on it. How long do you think it will take you to reach the present day? I’m looking forward to following you on the journey!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, good morning too! I have it all scheduled out and if I manage to stick to that I will get to the present #1 (Cyberpunk 2077) by the end of 2025. Of course by then I will have another five years of games to play, so it will be the end of 2026 before I’ve actually caught up


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