Category: games

MyArcade Atari GameStation Pro reviewed

Youtube influencer GenXGrownUp has just livestreamed a hands-on review of the MyArcade GameStation Pro.

The full livestream by GenXGrownUp.

The big news is that the GSP has an SD card slot. And apparently, according to GenXGrownUp, it will play ROM files from the SD card. This is exciting news and should heighten interest in the system. My initial impression of the system is improved considerably with this information. I think I can safely upgrade my recommendation from “wait and see” to “buy” based on GenXGrownUp’s review.

GenXGrownUp reports some latency in the controls, which is to be expected, but GenXGrownUp describes it as minimal, and manageable, and he likes the quality of the controller.

He also mentions that the joystick has three buttons, not two, and that the placement of these buttons works better for some games than others. The layout has the A button in the top-left corner of the base, in the traditional position for the classic Atari joystick. The B and C buttons are on the stick, on the top knob and in a trigger position, like on a fighter plane. All of which are fairly classic, normal placements for additional buttons.

One downside of the system, the console switches for the Atari 2600, for difficulty A and B, and B&W/Color TV, are accessed through on-screen menu. There are a few Atari 2600 titles ( such as Space Shuttle, Riddle of the Sphinx, Raiders of the Lost Ark) where these switches were used during gameplay, which would make playing these games a bit awkward, but these are the exception rather than the rule, and I don’t know if any such titles are among the catalog of pack-in games, so this could be a non-issue for the most part.

MyArcade Atari GameStation Pro or Atari 2600+: which?

It’s an interesting time to be an old middle aged guy who still loves ancient video games. 45+ years on from the launch of the Atari 2600, the console still remains culturally resonant, at least with my generation, and maybe some younger people as well.

There are two new mini consoles coming out in quick succession this fall, both aimed at our demographic: Atari’s 2600+ and MyArcade’s Atari GameStation Pro.

Both are very similar in capability, but differ in features. So which is the better buy?

The MyArcade Atari GameStation Pro is a pre-loaded system, similar to the AtGames Atari Flashback consoles of the past, but this one blows those systems away: with over 200 built-in games, HDMI output, wireless joysticks, and includes games not just from the Atari 2600’s library, but the Atari 5200, Atari 7800, and arcade as well. It is available for pre-order, with the shipping date now set at Oct 31.

MyArcade GameStation Pro. Tiny, slick, stylish, retro-modern Atari style.

The Atari 2600+ is a mini Atari 7800/2600 SOC-based emulation console with a cartridge slot and HDMI output. It’s available for pre-order now, but it’s unclear when they will start shipping. Probably in time for holidays, assuming it doesn’t get delayed.

Atari 2600+. Mini, authentic, old-school design.

Which one provides the better value? That’s tough to say, but on paper at least I think I’ll give the edge to the MyArcade system. It’s considerably less expensive, at $100 for the console plus two joysticks, plus all the included games.


MyArcade GameStation Pro: $99

Atari 2600+: $130

Advantage: MyArcade.

The Atari 2600+ is 130% more expensive at $130 than the GameStation Pro, and includes just one controller, and only 10 games. The GameStation pro includes 200+ games, plus two controllers.


GameStation Pro: 200+ built-in games from the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, and arcade titles.

Atari 2600+: cartridge slot, including a 10-in-1 cartridge. The compatibility list promises over 500 compatible cartridges from the 2600 and 7800 library.

Advantage: Toss-up

One advantage of the 2600+ is that it has a cartridge slot, and if you have a large collection of cartridges, it’ll be the system that can play them — if they’re compatible with it. Having to buy cartridges separately only adds to the cost of owning the 2600+, but if you already have a collection of old games, that cost is already paid for. And if you don’t, the games are common and usually pretty cheap.

On the other hand, the GameStation Pro’s 200 games probably include most of the popular games you’d ever want to play from these systems, but if one of your favorites is missing, you won’t be able to play it. It also supports a broader range of games, considering that it includes titles from the Atari 5200 library, and even arcade games.

It ultimately depends on what you have and what you want. If you have a large collection of games for the 2600 and 7800, the 2600+ might be better for you. If you don’t have a collection or don’t like to swap out cartridges, and are satisfied with the selection of the built-in games of the GameStation Pro, or like the idea of having access to the arcade and 5200 games, then those advantages are certainly attractive. On the other hand, if your favorite game(s) are missing from the built-in selection, you’re out of luck.


Atari GameStation Pro: 2 joysticks, 2.4GHz wireless, 2-button, plus paddle dial.

Atari 2600+: 1 CX-40 joystick; additional joysticks, CX-30 paddles sold separately.

Advantage: Undetermined

A great advantage of the Atari GameStation Pro is that the controllers it comes with feature a dial which provides built-in compatibility for paddle games. The joysticks also feature two buttons, a necessity for playing many of the Atari 7800 game titles.

The Atari 2600+ can support paddle controllers, but you have to buy them separately, adding still more cost. If you do, they’ll be real paddle controllers, the same design as the original Atari 2600’s. And they should feel the same as the original controllers, providing the most authentic experience. It remains to be seen how good the manufacturing quality is for these new sticks, and whether they’ll truly measure up to the original sticks from the 70s and 80s.

But Atari do not seem to be selling 2-button controllers to fully support the 7800’s library. If you have an old 7800 Proline controller, it should work with the 2600+, though. Of course those old sticks can be worn out or unreliable.

So it remains to be seen, but if the GameStation Pro joysticks feel good and don’t have a lot of lag, they might be better. If on the other hand the authentic feel of the original style controllers matters most to you, the 2600+ is better, assuming the modern build quality measures up. But the lack of 2-button options and including only a single CX-40 joystick are disadvantages.

Emulation quality

Advantage: To be determined.

A big part of what will determine which if either of these systems is worth owning will be how well they emulate the games. If they don’t feel right due to imperfect emulation or input lag, that can be an insurmountable dealbreaker.

The GameStation Pro’s joysticks have some advantages, though. They do support two button input, and they even have a built-in knob that serves to provide paddle game support. So it should support the full library of all the games that are included with it. Early reviewers have reported that these controllers feel well built, solid, and heavy, not cheap or junky.


Although neither system hits all the checkboxes that I would have wanted on my perfect system, I think I’m leaning slightly toward the GameStation Pro. The big unknown that I have been unable to find any answers to is what are the 200+ titles that come built-in? It likely has enough built-in games that I would like to play, and I think the fact that they are built in is an advantage, since I don’t have to switch cartridges to play a different game. But if it doesn’t have some of my favorite titles — which is probable, given that many of my favorites are third-party games — then the advantage goes to 2600+ for its expandability offered by having a cartridge slot.

Either system including a SD card slot or a cartridge slot would make them much more attractive. As would being FPGA-based rather than SOC. Even if an FPGA system doubled the cost, it would be worth it to me for the greater fidelity to the original hardware, which would mean full support for the entire library of games produced for the system.


I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to pre-order either system. It’s best to wait and see what the reviews are like after they’ve hit the market. Likely both systems will have drawbacks and disadvantages that will bring down the recommendation rating.

For enthusiast gamers who already have a means to play their Atari games, whether on a PC through an emulator, or through original hardware, I think it’s tougher to recommend either system. Unless your old systems are not working reliably any longer, and are too much of a pain to keep in repair, stick with them for now. If you enjoy the advantages of emulation, you can run an emulator on any PC, and there are adaptors that allow classic controllers to be plugged into a USB port.

We can hope that eventually in the future a proper FPGA-based system will be released that offers full compatibility with all games, HDMI output for modern HDTV, high quality joysticks, and a cartridge and/or SD slot to allow access to the entire catalog of games.

For casual gamers who aren’t as concerned about perfect gameplay, or nostalgic gamers who are looking to get back into retro systems, it’s easier to recommend either system. Either is also a reasonably good starter system for a younger gamer who never had the opportunity to play these systems in their heyday.

Ultimately, both of these systems are going to appeal mainly to a casual, nostalgia-driven consumer audience, rather than the enthusiast gamer who never quit playing their original systems, and learned to do field repairs on them to keep them in tip-top working order for decades, and modded them for superior TV output.

TOTK Diary 56

Well, if there’s only one more SkyView Tower to unlock before I can fully activate the power of the Purah Pad, then maybe I should make that my next goal. Gerudo Highlands, it is.

I fast-travel to the Gerudo Desert tower, shoot up in to the sky, and glide as far toward the Gerudo Highlands Tower as I can. As I’m in the sky, I can see a long way in all directions, and note two Geoglyphs that I am sure I haven’t visited yet, as well as several Shrines dotting the landscape, and numerous glowing lights on the ground, possibly fires or but they look a bit larger than typical campfires, and I wonder about what they might be.

My flight path goes nearly directly overhead the nearer of the two Geoglyphs, so I attempt to make landing there first. It’s quite a bit short of how far I could have glided had I wanted to maximize my distance and reach the tower directly, but I figure this will be worth my while. As I descend, I can see that this Geoglyph is painted on the side of a steep and very tall mountainside. Nearly all of it is near vertical, and I am not sure where the reflecting pool may be. I pinned the spot on the glyph that I thought looked most likely, but it’s on a sheer face, and as I climb to the spot where the pin was, I can tell this isn’t the location. I have little choice but to try to move around until I can find it, but since it’s so vertical, that’s really difficult, and it’s even harder than normal to get enough distance to be able to see the features of the geoglyph’s image so I can tell where might be another likely spot to check.

I climb down very far, and then head back up. Maybe 2/3 of the way up, or so, I think, there’s a long, flat, wide ledge covered in snow, cutting the Geoglyph about in half. I run along this ledge, looking for the pool of Tears. I collect a lot of forage and encounter a Ice Lizalfos, some wolves, chuchus, and keese, before I eventually find the Tear.

The vision is of Ganondorf, pledging his loyalty to King Rauru, long ago in the distant past. Although he accepts the pledge, Rauru knows of Ganondorf’s evil nature, and as he explains to Zelda why he accepted him, it’s in order to keep Ganondorf close so that he will be aware of his actions.

Awakening from the vision, I return to finishing collecting the available forage, and then return my attention to the SkyView Tower hunt. By now I’ve climbed so high on the Geoglyph that I’m able to get a long glide in, and get myself most of the remaining way to the tower.

When I get there, I find no entrance at the base of the tower. Next to the tower, though, there’s a tent, with a note from the building crew, who say that due to heavy snow they had to take shelter in the nearby cave.

I look around for the cave, and find one at the base of the north face of the nearby cliffside. I enter, and discover a tunnel leading down to a warm, dry spot. There’s an underground river running along, and some construction materials. Another journal left behind by the construction crew explains that they had to shelter due to the cold weather and heavy snow, but explored the cave and found that it was safe and warm, and that the river runs directly beneath the tower, so they’ve undertaken a project to shore up the tunnel to provide a stronger foundation so that the tower will not cause a cave-in.

The key then is to realize that when I get to the foundation of the tower, I can Ascend upward and enter the interior of the Tower, and hopefully activate it.

The cave is rich with forage materials, and I pick up a few brightbulbs, some bomb flowers, and a few miscellaneous other things. There’s fish and lizards too.

I use the building materials to construct a raft, and then float down the river. I go over a waterfall, and continue until I hit the structure the construction boys wrote about in their journal. There’s still more forage material around to be scavenged, so I take my time and clean the place out as best I can. Not all of it is easy to reach, and what I can’t reach easily, I ignore. I discover a well hidden, tight passage, which leads to a small inner cave, behind the waterfall I came down, and here I find a treasure chest, containing a decent bow.

I return my attention to getting into the Tower. The raft I constructed is now wedged under the foundational structure, making a nice platform from which I can Ascend into the Tower.

I do so, and once inside, I find that the tower is in perfect working order, although the doorway to the outside is completely snowed in, and not even my fireseeds seem to do anything to melt the snow.

I activate the Tower and shoot up through the top, and add the map data to my map.

I note that I’m near a sky archipelago, and drift toward it. It seems that gravity is much weaker in this area, perhaps due to the altitude, or if not then I’m not sure why. But my falling speed is like that of a feather. I come to a landing on the nearby sky island, which is inhabited by two Soldier Constructs, one of whom activates and starts shooting rockets at me. I hit him with a shock fruit arrow, and take him out in one shot, then do the same for the other Soldier, who doesn’t seem to notice me.

Both Soldier Constructs were standing guard over a floating stone platform, which have two rockets lying on them. I use the rocket to attach to the platform, and then activate it, flying much higher and farther than normal, with considerably more momentum, and end up high over the archipelago, with a commanding view of it. I descend to the next highest island, and destroy another Soldier Construct, but there’s nothing much of interest here. Looking far down below, I’m very near the second Geoglyph that I had spotted earlier, and I also note that there is another one of those five-petaled sky islands that all seem to have some interesting carvings on them, which I know now need to be photographed and shown to the scholar man who works in Kakariko Village.

I glide down to this island, and snap a picture. As I do so, the center of the island falls free of the ring of stone “petals”, and I fall down with it. As we fall together, a shooting star falls from the sky, almost directly next to me. As I fall with it, I attempt to match speeds with it, and eventually get close enough to it that I’m able to snatch it right out of the sky! This is really cool.

I’m so high up, I still have a tremendous distance to fall, so I re-orient myself and attempt to glide the rest of the way to the second Geoglyph. I think this one looks a bit like Rauru’s Queen, Sonia. When I land, it has just started to rain, and I have to switch my gear to non-conductive materials in order to stay safe. To my surprise, I find Impa and Cado have traveled here, apparently to study this Geoglyph themselves. I talk to them, and then run around until I find the Tear pool, and view the vision it unlocks.

This one is of Zelda and Sonia. Zelda expresses a desire to master the power over Time that Sonia has. She thinks it is the key to returning to her own time. Sonia tells her how to approach it, saying it’s like seeing the memory of the object that you wish to reverse time for, and then coaxing it backward. She also tells Zelda that she has another power, more powerful than control over Time, which is the power to disspell the power of Evil with her power of Light. This is a bit cheesy, admittedly. Zelda tells Sonia and Rauru about Link — and Rauru is not familiar with that name. Sonia advises Zelda that it is OK for her to return to her own time, and return to Link.

There’s a ton of things to explore and discover here, but right now I’m just here for that final SkyView Tower, and that’s done. Time to return home, across the entire continent, to see Robbie and get that final Travel Medallion for the Purah Pad.

So I zip back to Hateno Village, talk to Robbie, and max out the Purah Pad, other than the Compendium, which I ain’t payin for. It’s too much money, and I have plenty of opportunities to take pictures of things if I just remember to do so.

Speaking of which, I have one new photo in my album of ancient runes to show the guy in Kakariko, so I fast travel there, and show him, he tells me this one tells of ghostly sightings of a figure resembling Princess Zelda in the ancient past. I guess she’s been doing some kind of fast travel herself, only maybe through time as well as space.

Then I fast travel to Lookout Landing, and talk to the Well Girl, who gives me 50 rupees for finding 5 new wells. Now there are 36 remaining wells in the land, which I don’t remember how many there were to start out, but I’m probably down to a little more than half of them at this point… She suggests that if there was a way to search for things, it could help, which I take as a suggestion to add a photo of a well to the Compendium so I can search for it using the Search+ feature on the Purah pad. Sure enough, that works.

I also talk to Hestu, and I have 10 korok seeds, which is just enough to expand my Shield stash one more slot, so I do that. Now I need at least 17 for the next cash-in.

I’m low on rupees, so there’s nothing else I can buy here.

I go talk to Josha and Purah again. Purah says I should go to Lurelin Village and invetigate the reports of Pirates causing trouble there, but also tells me that I should avoid the southern lands, because there’s a lot of monster activity there, and I still have three Regional Phenomena to check out, so I guess that’s probably my next thing to do.

I buy 20 bomb flowers from the weird statue, and buy the location of another of his bretheren in the underworld. I’ve now gotten 3 locations and have yet to visit a single one down there.

Finally, I stop outside the front gate of Lookout Landing, and there’s a fallen sky rock, which I’d all but forgotten about from when I checked it out a long time ago. But there’s a hylian man standing next to it, staring at it on wonder, and it reminds me that there’s something up there. So I go there and there’s a Zonai construct steward there, and I talk to him, and he tells me that he can expand my Zonai power pack by 8 cells for 800 zonai charges. So I give it to him, and he expands my battery. 8 cells is equal to two 3-unit batteries, plus another 2 units, so in all I now have 3.75 batteries worth of charge capacity on my belt. Which is a HUGE upgrade from the single battery of 3 cells that I’ve been stuck playing with this entire time.

I only have 5 Zonai charges now, which kinda sucks, because now that I have all this battery capacity, and the QuickBuild power, I suddenly have a lot more useful things I can do with Zonai. I have a feeling that the things I can build are finally going to come into their own, and I’ll be making use of them a good bit more than I have been so far.

Atari acquires AtariAge

Today AtariAge proprietor Albert Yarusso announced that he has agreed to a deal to have AtariAge acquired by Atari. Yarusso will stay on and become an Atari employee.

This is an earthshaking announcement for the Atari homebrew community, and raises many questions.

The homebrew game development scene has always been a hobbyist community, first and foremost. As enthusiasm for the hobby grew, in large part thanks to the efforts at community building through the web forums on retro gaming websites such as AtariAge, these efforts became larger and more professional-ish, culminating in the production of physical game cartridges, complete with manuals and packaging which often equaled or even exceeded the quality of original commercially released games from the era when Atari was an industry leader. AtariAge has, for the past few decades, been a de facto leader in the homebrew scene, and gradually turned itself into a publisher and manufacturer of original homebrew games as well as romhacks. (For the uninitiated, romhacks are modified works where an original game has been edited to create a new game, or in some cases a bugfixed or enhanced version of the original game.)

These projects often leveraged earlier copyrighted and trademarked works, creating potential legal liabilities for the developers as well as the entire operation. But for the most part the IP rights owners have been mostly tolerant of these projects, for reasons which we can’t truly know, but may speculate about. Quite likely the IP rights associated with these works in many cases were essentially abandoned, or in many cases may have been deemed to have a low enough value that they were not worth pursuing lawsuits or even cease & desist threats over. And so AtariAge has managed to operate in plain sight, yet under the radar of companies that could have caused trouble that would have sunk their operation entirely.

There have been exceptions of course, and on occasion games such as Princess Rescue, a “de-make” of Super Mario Bros. for the Atari 2600, had to be taken down after actions by the notoriously protective and litigious Nintendo. But, by and large, AtariAge have been able to operate without weathering serious legal storms, and by so doing have kept interest in the old systems alive, and even growing.

Of course, much of the published video games from the early 80s are essentially abandoned by the industry. Many of the original companies went out of business, although their IP likely continues to be owned by someone. Typically the games were deemed obsolete with no real market opportunity for them to continue being manufactured and sold, at least not in their original format. Quite a few of the more popular games have been brought back over the years in collected formats, either ported or emulated on newer generation hardware, or repackaged and sold in all-in-one mini consoles, etc. Although from a legal standpoint copyright and trademark protections persist for the abandoned works, the lack of interest in protecting these rights has allowed hobbyists to ignore copyright and trademark, or to treat them as quasi-public domain properties, which they could then use to create new works. As long as these new works weren’t deemed a threat to the IP holders’ business interests, they were often ignored by them and allowed to skate by, existing in a legal gray area. Something akin to “squatters rights” for abandoned properties has been asserted by proponents of the “abandonware” movement, and I believe that there is considerable merit to the idea that it benefits our culture for these works to be affirmed to belong in the public domain. But that has yet to come, and perhaps may never happen.

In June of this year, AtariAge announced that they were removing certain IP-encumbered titles from the store, offering its customers a last chance to purchase them before they were removed for good. Yarusso offered some faint hope that he would bring these titles back, if and when he could arrange for it to be done with the approval of the rights holders. By being acquired by Atari, it seems that this is now much more likely to happen, at least for those games that belong to Atari. Games for the Atari home consoles which were developed by third parties may not be affected immediately or directly by this move, but it seems like it would be more likely for negotiations to acquire the rights from still-existing third party publishers to happen through Atari than through AtariAge.

AtariAge was mostly if not entirely a one-man operation, with Yarusso maintaining the website, physically manufacturing game cartridges and assembling them, shipping them, and so on, and this was not a primary occupation for him. And that meant that his availability to pursue licensing agreements or rights acquisition was for all practical considerations nonexistent. Now that he is becoming an employee of Atari, this becomes his full-time job, and that affords him more availability as well as more resources, potentially, to pursue agreements with IP owners so that these games may return.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the independent hobbyists who develop the games that are discussed, shared, and released on AtariAge. Technically, I believe that each individual homebrew game is owned by the developer who created it (other than any trademarks that may be used by them without explicit permission of their legal owners) and are manufactured and published by Atari Age with the consent of the developer.

If games published by AtariAge will now be considered “official” releases, released with the intent to be commercial products, rather than handmade hobbyist souvenirs, this could change how hobbyist homebrew developers view their work.

While many hobbyists produce their projects out of love for the hobby, and without expectation of meaningful revenue, that may change as sales go up from niche hobbyist levels to commercially viable levels.

Many homebrew developers may regard this as a positive development, meaning greater sales and more revenue to them for their games. But others may feel differently about this, perhaps not trusting or respecting the current owners of Atari. They may want nothing to do with Atari. Or they may wish to re-negotiate the business terms so that they too are treated as employees, to be paid a salary with benefits in addition to royalties. Or they may wish to be treated as third party developers who are paid under a commercial agreement for commercial releases, if their former hobby is going in a more commercialized direction.

And that could be the undoing of the hobbyist scene. If you don’t care about other people making money off of the work you donate freely to the world, it may not matter. On the other hand if others are creating a business based on games that you’ve spent a great deal of time and skill creating, perhaps you start to feel like you’re rightfully owed a slice of the pie as well. Oftentimes people are more than happy to donate to causes that are not deemed commercially viable, simply because they’re cool, but once enthusiasm for the cool thing grows to the point where it perhaps becomes commercially viable, things can change. Certainly, an individual hobbyist developer may object to Atari asserting ownership of their works, with or without due compensation for it; they may wish to retain all rights owned, even if that means severing agreements with AtariAge to produce and sell copies of their works.

In short, almost anything can happen, and it depends a great deal on how individual players and stakeholders perceive their worth, and how willing they are to play together to keep all the pieces together to enable the magic of game development to continue to put games in the hands of the gamers who play them.

We on the outside aren’t privy to the negotiations on how this came about…

Consider: AtariAge for the past 20 years has hosted a ton of IP that they don’t own copyright or trademark for. Scans of manuals and box art, ROM images, new games created with IP without permission or license of the original owner, etc.

Doing this was a valuable public service in terms of historical preservation. Without someone doing it, much of the cultural artifacts of the Atari era would have been much more likely to be lost forever, or at the very least been much less accessible to the public. And, aside from re-releases of a small subset of games, none of the companies that own these works did anything on the level that AtariAge did to curate these works.

But hosting IP that they did not own did put AtariAge in a precarious legal position. At any moment, the IP owners of the content could have taken legal action to shut AtariAge down.

Who knows, but it’s entirely possible that Atari pulled a power move, leveraging the threat of legal peril to broker an acquisition deal that potentially benefits both parties. It’s shrewd of Atari not to destroy AtariAge — the backlash from Atari’s true fanbase would have been lethal. The takeover could be the best way forward for all involved, all things considered. Even if there may be unavoidable downsides.

Anytime Nintendo takes down a fan-produced game that they didn’t have permission to use Nintendo’s IP for, people have said “I wish Nintendo would have just bought the project and hired them to complete it.”

I have no idea, but something like that could be exactly what just happened here.

How exactly things will shake out remains to be seen, but for now I am hopeful that we’re witnessing the beginning of a bright new era of the AtariAge story.

TOTK Diary 55

I fast-travel as close as I can to the Akkala Ancient Technology Lab, the Akkala SkyView Tower, fly into the sky, glide as far toward the Lab as I can, and then hike it the rest of the way on the road.

The first place I come to is the Akkala Stable. It’s one I haven’t been to before, so I stop and talk to everyone. Penn is here, but says there’s no leads for any Zelda sightings, and he needs to move on. There’s a few people here who I talk to, but I can’t really say they said anything memorable. I catch a nap to get the extra pony points, visit the well, which this one has a hidden prayer statue, which I use to cash in for another Heart Container, and then I visit the shrine near the stable.

The shrine has an interesting challenge. A Jenga tower of metal blocks, atop which sits a ball. If I glide over to the platform where the Jenga tower stands, the platform opens up like a trapdoor and dumps the whole tower, resetting the challenge. If the ball rolls off and falls into the pit below, the whole thing resets. Apparently, I’m supposed to Ultrahand blocks out of the tower, and then catch the ball as it falls, before it goes into the bottomless pit and triggers the reset. I manage to do it after 3-4 tries, and it’s not that hard, just takes the right timing.

There’s some electrical circuits, which I can use to activate a moving platform to ride out nearer to the Jenga tower, where I can grab a treasure chest. There’s another chest on a high platform, which I can use a Jenga block to climb to. All in all, a decent puzzle, but not as challenging as all that.

I get the Light of Blessing and continue on. Further up the road, I encounter a Hylian, actually a Yiga ninja in disguise. I fight him on the road, and then two Moblins in a nearby camp take notice of me. I’m surrounded and not doing well. I manage to take everyone down, but I burn through some food and two fairies. I am pretty annoyed. Fairies are much harder to come by in TOTK, and I had just the two left, and hadn’t managed to come by any more in ages. I wasn’t wearing my best armor, the Moblins were well armed and carried shields, and all I can seem to manage to do against any enemies in melee is to run away from them, while they plod behind me, but somehow keep up, and then before I can turn around to face them, or get the camera pointed the right way, they’re already on me again, and I’m sick and tired of sucking at combat in this game already.

I go still further up the road, and find Addison, help him out with his sign, and then make it up the rest of the way up the road, and I’m at the Akkala lab, which has been taken over by Yiga, and mostly destroyed. I go to enter the door, but am greeted outside by two Yiga, a ninja and one one of the heavily muscled swordsmen. By this time I’ve switched up my arms and armor, and am better prepared, I deal with these two pretty easily.

And then that’s it. Inside the ruined Tech Lab, there’s a guy who makes clothing, who had been kidnapped by the Yiga, and was making their uniforms. He gives me one, so now I have Yiga Clan body armor. He says if I can get the complete set, I should be able to blend in among them and infiltrate their organization. So that’ll be a fun mission when it comes up, I’m sure.

I find the travel medallion in a locked chest, and check out the rest of the Lab before fast-traveling back to Hateno, where I quickly give Robbie the medallion, and he upgrades my Purah Pad so that I can now use the fast-travel power from anywhere I place the travel medallion. He also tells me he can further upgrade the Purah Pad so I can have as many as 3 travel medallions. I’ve already explored enough of the world to unlock the 2nd one, and he says I need to visit more SkyView Towers to unlock the 3rd. It looks like there’s only one more place to go to unlock a tower, in the Gerudo Heights area, where I have yet to travel to. Despite ranging far and wide all over Hyrule, above and below, there’s so many places that I’ve barely been to for any length of time: Goron City, Zora’s Domain, Lurelein Village, Hateno, Gerudo Town. I’ve barely been to any of them, really. Goron City and Hateno being the most explored of these, but still just one real visit so far to each.

There’s a lone cherry tree blossoming on a mountaintop near Hateno Village, and I glide out to it, to make offering and summon Satori, Lord of the Mountain. He appears, and reveals the locations of hidden secrets all around in this part of the world. I try to mark a few of them, but again the topography hides a lot of the cave entrances from view, so I can’t easily mark them with Map Pins. It seems like it’s easier/better to visit them in person.

I travel back to Dueling Peaks Stable, to get some more of my armor upgraded at the fairy fountain nearby. I am able to upgrade a lot of my stuff up to level 2, but it’s expensive. These fairies in TOTK need rupees as well as materials in order to do upgrades, and for 50 a pop to go to Level 2, per item, it’s a fuckload of rupees. This game is going to make me grind forever to get everything. I don’t have even half of the armor sets, and not even one complete set yet. While I’m here, I visit the well there, and screw up, scaring 3-4 fairies away by whistling accidentally. FML.

I give a lot of meat the the dog here, but apparently once you’ve found the hidden treasure for a given dog, it doesn’t regenerate, so I just end up wasting a bunch of meat feeding the dog.

I talk to the guy who thinks there’s some special Pumpkin in the woods nearby, and I go again to look for it, but don’t find it. I do find a bunch of other forage, and end up fighting some bokoblins, an evermean, and the Hinox, who has re-spawned here. This Hinox fight is very wasteful, as I lob probably 8-9 bombs at it, and hit it with a bunch of arrows, missing the eye almost every time, I’m just sucking at everything I’m trying to do today in this game. I do manage to take down the Hinox, and decide that’s enough for now, and give it a rest.

TOTK Diary 54

Robbie has headed to Hateno Village, and Josha wants me to go there too. They have a technology lab there, and if I go they can enhance my Purah Pad some more. They mention something about activating my sensor, so I can detect things nearby. I barely used this power in BOTW, and found it more trouble than it was worth, to be honest, but it won’t hurt anything to get it. Plus, I’ve been playing the game for two months plus and have yet to go to Hateno village even once yet.

I fast-travel to the shrine nearest to the road to Hateno, which just happens to be the Dueling Peaks Stables. The shrine is halfway up the mountain, so I use the altitude to glide halfway across the field. When I land, I find a korok nearby, and spot a Hinox wandering about in the field. It’s a bit of a novelty, I think every one I’ve ever encountered has been asleep when first encountered. I’m not afraid of a Hinox, so I run right up to it and get in a fight. I am not very accurate with the bow, and waste several arrows trying to hit it in the eye. Also, after I do manage to hit him and put him in a stun, I find out that he has wooden armor on his legs, and I can’t hurt him even if I’m not trying to hit the leg armor. I light the legs on fire, then, and go another round with him. My more powerful melee weapons do enough damage to put him within a hit or two of death during the second stun, and I finish him off with a final arrow to the eye.

A bokoblin on horseback spots the fight and comes to join it, but Tulin takes care of him for me, which is pretty awesome. I manage to take them both down without taking any damage.

Continuing on, I get on the road East toward Hateno, and before not too long I’m at the stone fortress wall. I find the gate has been taken over by a moblin and some bokoblins.Not wanting to fight them all, I spot a fallen piece of sky island, and use Recall to raise it back into the sky, and once I’m over the wall, I glide down.

There’s a treasure chest on a column just on the other side of the wall, and that small wood cabin that I remembered being abandoned in BOTW. I check them both out, and pick up a shield, some mushrooms and apples, some wood, and discover that the inhabitant of the cabin is none other than the guy I met in Kakariko Village, the scholar who’s studying the Zonai culture. His journal says he’s going there to help decipher the zonai glyphs on the ring ruins.

Continuing along the road, I encounter two Koroks who need to be reunited with their friends, and two Hudson Construction sign guys. I help them out, and fight a couple of bokoblins on the road.

After helping the second korok, I’m just outside Hateno Village.

I enter, and start talking to everyone. It’s a large village, I think it’s even bigger than it was in BOTW, with new construction. The traditional farming and fashion shops are still going strong, with a new fashion designer, Cece having gained influence. The town is decorated with mushroom-inspired designs from her shop. The Mayor of Hateno, Reede, feels threatened by her popularity, and she challenges him to an election. Then she asks me for help, and wants me to hand out Hylian Mushrooms to citizens to buy their votes. I guess this is acceptable, then?

I visit a few more shops, a vegetable shop, the dye works, a few houses, a school… everything opens up new sidequests. Both Cece and the Mayor are up to something at night and I’m supposed to try to find out what. A guy in town has a crush on someone, and wants to know what he can do to attract her attention. I talk to her, she says she wants 100 frogs. I don’t think this guy’s getting laid any time soon. I find three different wells in Hateno, each which seems to be connected to the same large cave complex, which I explore thoroughly. It’s got some monsters and a lot of forage: keese, chuchus, horriblins, mushrooms, frogs, fish, bomb flowers, brighbloom bulbs, some ore. It’s not plentiful, but large and spread out, and I collect everything I can while I’m down there.

Mayor Reede’s shed has a secret, and in order to get into it to find out what it is, I need to Ascend through the cave underneath it. I mark the spot on the map, and get in there. There’s a journal with notes saying that Reede is working with a farmer to create a new type of Pumpkin, in an attempt to show his leadership so he can continue to serve as mayor.

There’s children running around Hateno, and they seem to have some kind of game pretending to be secret agents and adventurers, keeping the village safe from monsters.

There are some elders in the village, who don’t care much about fashion, or understand it. And some fashionista villagers, who look down on everyone else. And some tourists visiting the village as well.

The Dye guy tells me he can dye my glider, which I’m not sure why I would want him to do that, but maybe there’s some quest where I’ll need to do that. Who knows.

Up the hill, I spot a shrine, so I need to go there and make it easy to return to the village quickly in the future. This one is a puzzle with a wheel that I need to attach a scoop to in order to scoop balls form below and move them to a higher level, in order to unlock the gate. I work it out, it’s not that hard. But I find it’s easier to just attach the balls directly to the wheel, rather than try to attach a scoop to the wheel.

Having solved the shrine, I’m getting near to the Hateno technology lab near the top of the hill. I’m heading up there, finally, late at nigh, and a shooting star appears. I attempt to retrieve it, but it’s already 4am, and when the sun rises the star fragment disappears. But by the time it is lost, I’m already pretty close to the SkyView Tower for this zone, so I decide to go there. It’s on the peak of Mt. Lanayru, so I need the cold weather gear and climb a lot. I take the most direct route possible, climbing straight up, and when I get to the tower, I find it is in good working order, no task or puzzle to use it.

i I unlock the map, and take a look around at the sky world level — there’s a couple of interesting-looking sky islands to check out. Later.

For now, I’m trying to stick with Hateno. I return and finally visit the Tech Lab. Robbie is there, and he has several upgrades: the shrine sensor, sensor+, Hero’s Path, and one more mode that I have to travel to Akkala for, which will allow me to set up a fast travel destination anywhere I want.

After enabling the Shrine Sensor, Robbie wants me to test it out, and I discover a new shrine nearby, in a cave near the road that leads to the Tech Lab. It’s a Rauru’s Blessing, so no puzzle, but there’s also a Bubbul frog in this cave.

After I get back to the Tech Lab, Robbie tells me about the other modes, and it turns out I’ve already done the things that need to be done to unlock them, so I get a bunch of Purah Pad upgrades all at once. He also tells me about the Hyrule Compendium, but I already know all about that. Ever since I got the camera feature, I’ve been trying to take pictures of as many monsters, items, and materials as I can.

I guess my next destination will be the Akkala Tech Lab, then.

TOTK Diary 53

The underground labyrinth is a huge rectangular building, and its roof appears to be solid. I don’t have a way to get in from the top. The front and back walls on the short sides have a massive, indestructible, immovable barred barrier, which I suspect may be opened by hitting a switch somewhere, but so far I can’t find it. I walk around the entire perimeter of the building, but don’t see a way in. It’s dark, but not so dark that I’d miss something, unless it were pretty well hidden, perhaps midway up the wall or tucked away in a corner in the shadows, but I don’t think I missed anything. Two laps around, and I give up, and try follwoing statues to the next Light Root.

This ends up being a fairly long trip, but each statue is only about the distance I can throw a brightbulb seed, or two throws, and it’s not hard to follow them. Mostly the ground is level, at a couple of points there’s some obstacles in the form of climbing, chasms, or Gloom. It kind of blurs together after a while. I mark each statue I find, and I don’t know how many there were, but it must have been well over 20.

At one point I encounter another Frox in an open field, and defeat it without difficulty. It drops mostly Frox parts, and only a few gems, nothing very special. But it’s a fun fight.

Moving on, I eventually encounter a large bokoblin mining camp. I put the Bokoblin mask on and infiltrate, looting their equipment crates and everything I can forage from around their site. They don’t catch on to me, even after I drop a bomb barrel on one of them, and I move on without having to fight anyone.

The more I move out to the West, the more Light Roots I see dimly glowing in the distance all around. I mark each one on the map, and geez there must be a good 6 or more of them.

At one point, there seems to be a branching of paths. I can continue west, following the statues, but there are two nearby Light Roots to the north. They don’t look that far away, and I want to light them up, so I take a side trip and go for them.

The first one ends up being on the far side of a very deep ravine. I have to glide across, and climb from halfway up the opposite side. When I get closer, I find there’s a Lynel on patrol just above on the lip of the ravine. It’s precarious, but I cling to the wall and hope he doesn’t spot me. After waiting a long time, he finally walks away, but I could tell he was suspicious. Maybe he could smell me, or maybe he has keen dark vision. Probably both. I switched to my darkest looking armor and hat, not that I know they do anything, but it doesn’t notice me. I move as far to the right (toward the next Light Root) as possible before coming up, and then run and glide over to it, and make it.

After lighting it up, there’s another one, but it’s a lot farther away than I thought, and I decide to break off from here, and fast-travel back to the branching point so I can follow the statues to the west. I’m nervous being in a dark area where there’s not much light and I can’t see well, the terrain is getting difficult, and there’s a freaking Lynel about.

I continue west, then, and discover a useful tactic with the little frog monsters. If they encounter a glowing brightbulb seed, they will be attracted to it if they don’t know you’re around, and will eat it. A group of them will concentrate around a bulb to eat it together, making it an easy target to then take out with a bomb arrow. This makes larger groups of them a lot less dangerous to deal with, if you can lay the trap before they detect you. Throwing a bulb while they’re on you will not distract them. They’re not tough, but they are fast, like to stay out of reach unless you have a long spear, and knock you down with their jumping attack, so when you get mobbed by a group of more than 4 of them they can ruin your day.

Eventually I come to another abandoned mining area, and it turns out to be the Gerudo mine. This is where Master Kohga said he was going to go to next, and here I find him. He’s trying to activate a steward zonai, without luck, because he doesn’t have a zonai arm like I do.

I have the drop on him, and I want to just engage and fight him already, but attacking him while he’s occupied does nothing. It’s story cutscene time again. I walk up to him, and he turns and notices me, monologues a bit, and then we are fighting. There’s a large open field shaped like a circle just next to the mining facility, which is where we’re transported for the boss fight.

This time, Kohga spawns a zonai airplane, which he uses to fly over me, attacking with bombs and fire. I use my best bow to knock him off his wing, using monster eyeballs for homing shots which make targeting him much easier.

The thing about archery in BOTW and TOTK is that your bow is very short range. You can see much, much farther than you can shoot, and it seems like you should be able to shoot much farther than you really can. Firing at anything above you, particularly anything fast moving, is very difficult, and if it’s something that changes course, forget about it. Your arrows fly pathetically slowly, which is part of the problem. But the Keese and Aerocuda eyeballs make up for these deficiencies. I hit him with Fire Keese eyes, to do a little extra flame damage.

When he’s knocked off his plane, he’s stunned, prone, or lands head down and comically buried in the ground for a few moments. But he’s usually so far away that it takes most of his stun downtime for me to run over, just to hit him maybe 1-3 times. I get really frustrated, because every time, I try to use the charge attack on him, but it doesn’t seem to go off properly at the end of a long run. I break the run, and have to tap Y to bring up my weapon, and then tap it again to attack. If I hold Y, nothing happens, and if I tap to attack, it doesn’t result in a charge attack. I seem to have to hit once, then I can initiate the charge, but the wind up is so slow, usually I don’t get a series of hits on him before he disappears with his teleport, and then he’s up in the sky again with a new airplane.

Each new airplane is a bit more difficult. The first one I don’t get a chance to see what its attack is; the next has three or four flame projectors firing down. The third one launches bombs, and the fourth and later ones have some extra shielding protecting the front and sides. I discover the only reliable way to hit him in this plane is to let him fly over me, take a hit, and then recover quickly, and take a shot at his back.

A bonus, when he’s directly over me, he’s going to fall very near, so I can hit him just after he passes, and he’ll land not far from me, and I can run up and hit him an extra time or two before he disappears.

When I defeat him, rather than dying, he monologues some more and escapes, telling me that he’s got plans to destroy the world by giving the Magnificent One lots of zonai ore that his Yiga Clan followers have been mining. We’re going to have to talk about that.

After the battle, I awaken a few stewards, and they give me another machine template stone. They advise that to get to the Lanayru Mine, it is a very long distance, and would be best to travel over the surface and go back underground through one of the chasms there.

Before going there, of course, I want to return to Lookout Landing and report to Josha so she learns about my findings. She’s very excited to learn about the Autobuild power. I demonstrate it for her using a broken balloon craft, and she gives me a template stone for this vehicle. So now I have 4 or 5 vehicles I can autobuild. Plus other vehicles that i design myself, it will remember the last however-many of those, which is cool. This makes building vehicles a lot less time consuming. I can grab nearby devices or spend raw Zonai if something is missing, effectively transforming the Zonai ore into the missing pieces. This is really cool, and if I had completed this quest in the first 1-2 days of playing, I bet I would have gotten a lot more into constructing stuff. Early on it seemed pointless because everything was so temporary and didn’t last long. But now there’s potential, especially if I ever get my battery pack upgraded. Which is probably the next thing I want to do.

Then go back to Death Mountain. And then I guess Lanayru and Zora’s domain and the depths to find and defeat Kohga again, hopefully once and for all this time.

TOTK Diary 52

Back down into the Depths I go. This time, rather than returning to the area under Akkala, I go back down the chasm directly south of Lookout Landing. I realize that it’s too hot for me to handle the Akkala underworld for now, and I mainly want to try to build up my forage supplies, especially bomb flowers. But I’m also trying to complete part of the subterranean exploration mission that Purah’s assistant, Josha, wanted me to do. She mentioned that there likely are statues in the underworld which match the carving she’s studying, and they seem to be pointing the way toward something important.

I head down the chasm and land safely. I try exploring to the east, and make my way forward. I have almost 500 brightbulbs so it’s easy to keep the way lit up. I am making good progress, finding a lot of bomb flowers, muddle buds, and puff shrooms, and also picking up lots of zonai ore. I find mostly minor enemies, and I don’t want to waste a lot of time dealing with them. I have 50 Dazzlefruit, and make use of them when skeletons pop out of the ground, so I can take care of them in an instant and just move on. I also don my Bokoblin Mask, and use it to sneak into their mining camps, loot them, and leave without arousing suspicion. I do end up having to fight them a few times, but I’m well armored and they don’t hurt me much, and I kill them off quickly without too much trouble.

I get about as far to the East as I can, and I am actually getting close to the second Light Root that I had spotted and marked on the map in the Akkala region, but wasn’t able to activate before I left during my excursion there. I try to get to it, but my way is blocked by an immense wall of rock. I follow along its length, hoping to eventually get around it, but it’s slow going, and I’m constantly getting turned around whenever I have to negotiate an obstacle or a puddle of Gloom. It’s aggravating, because I feel like I’m just going in circles around this huge pillar, only I can’t tell because the map has no detail here, and no matter what I do, it seems like the Light Root on my map is just on the other side of the wall. Is this a mesa, rather than a wall? Do I need to climb up it to get to the Light Root here? Or is it just on the other side of a wall that’s about as long as the entire continent?

It’s hard to tell, and eventually I grow tired of trying to figure it out, and decide to just follow the wall as far to the south as it will go. Along this route, I spot Light Roots I had visited previously and activated during my first extended excursion to these depths. Eventually I get so far south that I’m into uncharted territory. By this time, I’ve been down here at least an hour of real time, and probably more than that. I’ve picked up tons and tons of Poes, as well as a bunch of the other forage items I mentioned above.

After making my way forward into the unmapped region south of my previous exploration, I encounter a Flux Construct I, patrolling around on a large round stone arena-like platform. I decide I want to try to defeat it in combat now, and give it a try. The combat goes surprisingly well. I equip my best armor, bow, and melee weapon, and take food to max my health out, save the game, and run up to the construct. It’s a pile of boxes arranged in a pyramid-like structure, the “main” one lit up with a dim red searchlight. When I get close enough to detect, it activates. I don’t wait an instant, and bring up my bow, and fire a bomb arrow into the box. It clatters to the floor, and I run up and hit it 6-7 times with a weapon with a damage rating of 37. I take it down to under half its hitpoints, when it reassembles itself into a humanoid, and begins walking at me. I use Ultrahand to rip it apart, and hit the “main” box again, and to my surprise onely 1-2 more hits is all it takes to defeat this one. It hasn’t even hit me, and I’ve wiped it out. It drops a Flux Core, which I can’t add to my inventory, so I have to fuse it or carry it. I fuse to a sword with a damage rating of 16, and it increases by +25. Nice.

Proceeding on into the dark reaches, I eventually come to an open field where I find the Frox, a huge frog-like creature whos back is studded with ore deposits, like a Stone Talus. I was afraid of this beast the first time I saw it and retreated, but this time I am interested in seeing what it can do. I observe it at a distance. It has a huge head, a central, cyclopean eye, and a wide, flat, beaver-like tail, and four legs. I’m pretty sure I need to get on its back and hit the ore deposits to kill it, and I bet its eye is a weakpoint.

I run up to it and it notices me and begins an inhale attack, using its mouth like a vacuum to try to pull me in. I fire a bomb arrow into its mouth, it swallows, the bomb explodes, and it is stunned. I run right up its face and start pounding on the ore deposits. It wakes up and I’m flung into the air, high, and due to the darkness I’m disoriented and don’t realize what’s happening. Before I can attempt to glide to a safe landing, I hit the ground, hard, and it takes me down by almost 2/3 of my health. I get back up and hit the Frox again, stunning it in the mouth like before, and run up and do another round of attacks. I also manage to hit it in the eyeball with an arrow, which also stuns it, and I have it almost down to 0 hitpoints, when it manages to hit me into the air again, this time I don’t go sky-high, and instead am slammed sideways into a wall, leaving me with a fraction of a heart, and then it gets a lucky hit on me and I’m killed.

I respawn and try to return to the place where I found it before, but it’s not there. Disappointed, it was an easy fight, and I know how to defeat it, and can probably do so without making mistakes next time. I bet it drops lots of gems, too.

I continue to explore to the south, still further, going deeper than before. At some point, I find what looks like a stonework construction of possibly zonai origin, which looks like a small temple or altar. I suspect a Shrine could be here? But that’s weird, normally the Shrines are above ground. I stand in the center and look up at the ceiling, and see what look like some kind of runes. It looks like the ceiling is low enough that I can ascend, and I think maybe I’ll get to the top of a tower and find something of value. I try it, and ascend all the way up to the surface, to find that I’m actually out on the top of one of the towers of the large bridge over Lake Hylia, the one that is guarded by the fierce Fire Gleeok.

I don’t want to leave the underground yet, and I don’t want to fight the Gleeok, so I cancel the Ascend and return to the depths. I mark the spot on the Map, and note that there’s already a Flag symbol marking the location. So clearly this is a special spot.

I start to make a connection after this experience, and look at the map more closely. I put the map pointer on one of the Light Roots that I’ve found, and then switch up to the surface level, and notice that there is a Shrine in the exact spot above the light root. I check several more spots, and find a corresponding relationship between Shrines aboveground and Light Roots below! This is a major discovery! I spend some time flipping back and forth between the surface and underworld maps, noting positions on both where I’ve found one but not the other, and mark those places where I need to go with Heart icons (since the Light Roots enable to restore gloomed hearts in my life meter, and Shrines enable me to add to my life meter, it makes sense to me.) Now I have a lot more places to try to make it to on the underworld map.

The terrain thus far had been mostly flat, and not too difficult, but now it’s gotten very steep and I seem to have found a drop-off where I’m at the edge of a vast underground canyon. I see some rail tracks going down, and it looks like another mining site. I jump into the void and glide down, and as I get closer it reveals that I’ve entered the Great Abandoned Central Mine. I enter the area and explore a bit, meeting a couple of Hylians who appear to be explorers, but are actually disguised Yiga.

They’ve found a Zonai Steward Construct, and are unable to wake it. They are trying to research a Zonai technology that allows them to quickly fabricate machines from Zonai parts. Asking me for help, I walk up and activate the Steward, who says I am authorized to receive a new ability, and grants me the quick construction ability. This is something I’ve been wishing the game had! It can remember past devices you’ve built, and re-assemble them for you quickly. You can also find schematic templates to add pre-designed vehicles to your quick-build capabilities. To start me off it gives me a tri-fan glider wing and a 4-wheeled car.

The Yiga reveal themselves to me, and I’m surrounded. In addition to the two I had talked to initially, Master Kohga himself and two lieutenants appear. Kohga challenges me to a combat, and seems to have some ability to create Zonai materials and assemble them himself. He quickly assembles a small arena, trapping me in with him, and quick-constructs a vehicle that he uses to charge me. I shoot him with a bomb arrow, blowing him off and he lands in the ground, stunned, and I hit him a bunch of times with my best weapon. He gets up, disappears, and then reappears on the other side of the arena, creates a new vehicle, and charges again. This time the vehicle has some additional shielding, but I’m good with the bow and manage to blow him out of this vehicle. I do this 4-5 times and manage to drop him on the first try.

It’s a story fight, though, so he’s not truly dead. He retreats, cursing me and says that he’s going to go to the mining site in the southwest next, and will be giving his power to someone who I suspect is the Demon King Ganon himself. Well, we can’t allow that, obviously. But before I can do anything, he crafts an airplane and flies away.

So if I got this ability that he was lusting after, and was jealous that I had “stolen” from under his watch, how’s he doing it now too? Did he copy it somehow while fighting me? It seemed like he already had it when I started to fight him.

Well, who knows. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There are three Zonai Stewards, in addition to the first one I activated I find two more. One teaches me how to construct a car vehicle, and the other is refining Zonaite and allows me to buy his supply of refined charges, which I do. I want to make a new battery cell so bad now, but I still don’t know where to do that other than up in the sky world.

One of the Stewards advices that I should travel toward a light in the distance, where I see a new Light Root. There’s a launch rail for launching Zonai wings, so I use the new quick build ability to create a tree-fan wing, and launch straight in the direction of the light root. My battery takes me about 3/4 of the way there, and I jump off and glide the rest of the way, and activate the Light Root, opening up the map of this region.

From the position of the Light Root, I can see a statue. I run towards it, and when I get close, I see another Hylian, standing next to a Zonai balloon vehicle, looking at it. It seems like another Yiga ambush, and of course it is. I walk up and talk to the Hylian, who reveals that these are the statues that I’ve been looking for, which point in the direction of a path to something… but it won’t do me any good, because they’re here to kill me, but I’m ready for them, and hit them with a freezing blast from my sapphire staff, and take them out.

This is probably the most fun I’ve had in the depths so far, and I’ve gained a new power. I feel I’ve made a huge amount of progress. I defeated my first Flux Construct, Master Kohga, and almost defeated a Frox, going into my first fight with it blind and not knowing what to expect or what to do.

I press onward, following the statues. They are not spaced very far apart, but sometimes the way is tricky due to the terrain and the placement of Gloom puddles. If I can walk in a straight line, I always go directly to the next statue with no problems. If I have to detour around a rock or a puddle, getting back in line can be a little tricky, if I can’t look back and see the previous statue. I mark each statue’s location that I find on the map with a Sword icon, because I haven’t used that one yet and because the statues have swords, and this helps me to orient myself. I can also throw a brightbulb forward before I deviate course, which makes it an easy target to get back on the straightline path to the next statue.

In this way, I have a pretty easy time of it. Encounters with monsters are few in this part of the map. Occasionally I encounter Yiga, mostly in disguise, which is predictable, or sometimes in vehicles.

At one point I am at the lip of a precipice, looking down into a deep valley or canyon below, so large that I cannot see the other side. It’s all black. I throw a few brightbulbs to get a general idea of how far down the descent is, and it’s maybe about 100 feet or so from the look of it. Ahead of me and slightly to my left, there’s a tall mesa, which has been fortified as a Yiga fortress. I’m more interested in following the statues, so I try to stick to that for now, but I get off-track and can’t find my way forward, so I backtrack to the last statue I find, and this time I decide to try to get into the fortress. This is right by the Yiga I met by the first statue, who was next to a campfire, and he happened to have a balloon vehicle. I put some wood in the vehicle and use the nearby fire to ignite it, then with Ultrahand I put it in the basket and up I go. I’m patient and wait until I’m very high in the air, about twice the height of the mesa, and still I haven’t hit the ceiling. A little more and the light begins to brighten, am I about to float out of the underworld to the surface? I want to stay down here, still, and check out that fortress. I leap from the balloon and glide toward the fortress. As I get closer, I observe a Yiga warrior piloting a flying vehicle, patrolling the sky above the fortress. I deploy my bow to get into bullet time, and nock an arrow, tipped with a fire keese eyeball, and target the craft, giving it just a bit of lead, and loose. The arrow flies true, killing the Yiga warrior, and his craft flies out of control into the ground. This cues a momentary cutscene of a locked door of one of the buildings opening. It’s the building atop a tower, which I can glide to. I do so, and enter, and there are two chests. One contains another zonai vehicle schematic, cool, and the other contains I forget, a zonai charge or arrows or something. I stealthily take out a few other Yiga soldiers in the fortress, all of whom are piloting vehicles which make them more troublesome to take on up close, but an arrow tipped with an eyeball is an easy way to hit them reliably and can kill them in one shot.

After clearing this area out I proceed further, and still deeper, downhill, following the statues. At one point the statues seem to be pointing me straight into a high sheer cliff. There’s several more balloon vehicles here, and torches, and I fight another disguised Yiga soldier. It seems like the thing to do is put more wood in one of the balloons and ride it up, so I do so, and once I’m high enough to see the top of this cliff, I spot another statue, and I know I’m on the right path.

I press on, finding a light root in the distance, which I mark with my scope, and then another, also far in the distance, and a bit to the right. Distance is always deceptive in the depths, and these things can be seen from an incredibly far range, due to the dim light which they emit before being activated. I usually underestimate just how far it will be to them when I spot them. I head in the direction, when I come to another sheer drop. And I stop to observe, when far below, I spot another Light Root, directly below. I have to glide down to it, to activate it, and when I do so the map lights up, and I can see a bit of the surrounding area. I’m at the site of an underground Labyrinth, and it appears that the Light Root I had initially been trying to get to is at the very top of its walls. The only way up is to scale the walls, so I do so. They are very tall, and it is so dark I really can’t see whether I can get to the top from the place I picked to climb. But luckily I can make it, and when I do I quickly throw down another brightbulb so I can see, and avoid falling off the edge. The way forward is clear, and I run to activate this Light Root as well.

The third Light Root in this area is a good bit further away, though, and will have to wait until next time.

MyArcade Atari GameStation Pro: what’s going on?

Ready to launch?

In July, MyArcade announced a product pre-order for the Atari GameStation Pro. I placed an order through Amazon, and it’s supposed to be fulfilled with orders shipping on Sept 2. Since it’s getting close to that time, I went to check on the status of the order. It’s still scheduled to ship on time, but the product page has been removed from Amazon.

I also found that the MyArcade website doesn’t have a product information page about the Atari GameStation Pro any longer. A picture of the product still exists on their website, but any information about the product seems to have been removed.

I tried to find other ecommerce sites where the product can be ordered, and it seems that there are a few places that still have the product page up, but all of them are not accepting orders at this time. Most of them say “out of stock” but that seems like a generic status that the ecommerce site allows you to pick from rather than specific information about this particular product. It seems unlikely that the product sold out everywhere. That might be the case if a tiny number were produced, or if the pre-orders were used to determine an exact number of units to be produced. But typically manufacturing creates bulk orders in lots that are rounded to the nearest big round number, 100 or 1000 or 10000 or whatever. A company would need to produce extra units to cover warranty claims and so forth, as well.

I asked Amazon customer service to verify that the order would still ship, and they assured me that it is going to ship on time. But I don’t have a great deal of faith in that. The customer service people only have access to the information that they have access to, and they may not be aware of a product cancellation or delay, and until they get official information they will provide what information they have.

It seems that some “influencers” have received review copies of the product, so we know that it physically exists and had been produced in at least some quantity.

It’s a bit of a concern that it doesn’t seem to be available for order now, so close to when the pre-orders are scheduled to ship, though. Will they ship? We’ll know in a day or two, but I will not be surprised if I wake up on Sept. 2 and check the status on the order and find that something has changed.

With Atari’s own announcement last week of their new Atari 2600+ console, being produced by Plaion, it makes me wonder whether these two products were poorly coordinated, leading to cancellation of the GameStation Plus.

Update 9/7/2023

Today was supposed to have been delivery day. There was never a shipping number issued, but Amazon’s tracking status said that the order was on track to be delivered by 10pm today. Until just a few minutes ago, when I received an email around 3pm advising that there was now a delay with the order, and it would not be available to ship yet. Amazon required me to confirm whether I still want the item to be delivered, or if I want to cancel the order. I still want it, of course, but I’m suspecting more that the product launch has been canceled. I’m trying to find information to confirm that, but it is difficult…

Amazon Customer Service Associate Chat

Loading previous messages…

Messaging Assistant | Customer Service

Hi! It’s Amazon’s messaging assistant again.

My Arcade Atari Game Station Pro: Video Game Console with 200+ Games, Wireless Joysticks, RGB LED Lights, Asteroids, Centipede

Is this what you need help with?

3:31 PM


3:31 PM

Messaging Assistant | Customer Service

You can go to the Customer Service hub, where you can fix most issues or search help pages.

You can also start over and we’ll continue helping you there. Just so you know, you may answer the same questions again.

If you need more help, you can chat with an associate or request a phone call. What would you like to do?

3:31 PM

Chat with an associate now

3:31 PM

Messaging Assistant | Customer Service

If you have details you think would help the associate, type them here.

An associate will join the chat.

3:31 PM

Gail has joined and will be ready to chat in just a minute.

Gail | Customer Service

Hello, my name is Gail. I’m here to help you today. How’s your day going?

3:32 PM


My order Order# XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXXXX was expected to be delivered today, but now has been delayed. I still want the item. But I would like to know what the exact nature of the delay is.

3:32 PM

Gail | Customer Service

Hi, C! I am very sorry that we were not able to ship out the item yet. I will surely check this for you as I understand the feeling of not being able to receive what you’ve ordered. Please kindly stay connected.

3:33 PM

of course

3:33 PM

Gail | Customer Service

Upon checking here, I can see that your package was stuck in shipment due to an unforeseen problem inside our fulfillment center. In this case, I will file a ticket for this package to be escalated and released. You will receive an email update within 24 to 48 hours about the shipment. Will that work for you?

3:36 PM

Yes, that’s fine. But I am curious as to the nature of the problem. Are you able to give me any further detail?

Does the fulfillment center actually have inventory of the item I purchased?

3:38 PM

Gail | Customer Service

I’m sorry but we don’t have the information about that as the problem is inside the fulfillment center and we do not have access to those kind of information.

Yes, I have checked that there is a supply for this item in the fulfillment center.

3:38 PM

Is the fulfillment center in question owned by Amazon?

3:38 PM

Gail | Customer Service

Yes, that is correct.

3:39 PM

I see. And do you have any information about the product launch being canceled? I pre-ordered back on 7/31, but since that time it seems that information about the product has been taken down from the manufacturer’s website, which makes me suspect that they had to cancel the launch and discontinue the product. But I am unclear about that as there is no information to confirm this.

3:40 PM

Gail | Customer Service

Since the lost stock will be shipped out to you, the website tagged the item as temporarily out of stock.

3:42 PM

how is it lost? you said earlier that there is a supply for this item in the fulfillment center.

3:43 PM

Gail | Customer Service

There is a supply for your order alone

3:44 PM


3:44 PM

Gail | Customer Service

That is why it cannot be placed as new order at the moment

3:44 PM

i see. so you have enough stock to fulfill existing pre-orders, including mine. is that correct?

but you cannot accept new orders until product is restocked?

and for some reason there is a delay with shipping my order, despite the fulfillment center having stock on hand, and you are unable to give more detail as to the reason for the delay?

3:45 PM

Gail | Customer Service

That is all correct. Also, I have submitted a ticket to escalate it and for your package to be shipped out, You must receive an email regarding it within the next 24 to 48 hours :)

Update 9/11/23

I haven’t received an email regarding the order in the 24-48 hour timeframe that Gail promised. This morning I chatted with Amazon customer service again. This time they tell me that the product is out of stock, which is why it has been delayed.

This makes no sense. I pre-ordered the day pre-orders went live, on 7/31. I should be one of the first customers to have ordered the product. And my pre-order should have guaranteed that I would be one of the first to receive the product. It seems unlikely that Amazon would have received stock to fulfill some of their pre-orders, but not enough to ship me my order. More likely, they had all the units in their supply chain, waiting to be delivered, only to receive a last minute recall or product cancellation notice, at which point they could no longer fulfill orders at all. But they are not telling me that.

Something is going on, and Amazon isn’t telling me the whole story. They apologize and offer to help me to cancel my order, but I tell them that I don’t wish to cancel, but that I want to know when they will receive stock. They tell me that they will keep my order and fulfil it when they receive stock. I ask them when that might be. They tell me they don’t know. I believe them.

Update 9/14/2023: Release pushed back to 10/31/23

Today, has updated the product page with a new release date of 10/31/23. No word on why the delay. Assuming the product was already in the supply chain for retail shipping to customers, as I had been told, it seems unlikely that the vendor recalled the product to make some change to it. I guess it’s good to have a new release date; we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Update 9/18/23

The MyArcade website has brought back the product page for the Atari GameStation Pro, and is taking pre-orders, with the same shipping date of 10/13/23 as other retailers. Still no word as to why the delay.

TOTK Diary 51

I restore the game from my save point and look around from atop the citadel, scanning below with my Purah Scope. Off in another direction, I see far below at the base of the citadel mountain there is a bridge, which is partially collapsed, leading to what in all likelihood was once the main entrance to the fortress. Leading away from this, there’s a deep gorge with steep rocky walls, with another, longer bridge crossing it. This bridge seems to be mostly intact, and I spot a large group of monsters — at least three Moblins and I think about six Bokoblins — apparently camped out, guarding it. I decide to glide down to attack them, and as I get close enough I fire bomb arrows at the Moblins, trying to score headshots, and hoping that the blast damage will take out the bokoblins.

This attack is fairly successful, but it does blow two of the Moblins clean off the bridge, and either destroys the monster parts dropped by the Bokoblins, or blows them off the bridge as well. I’m left fighting two remaining Moblins — I guess there were four — but the bombs seem to have destroyed the Bokoblins outright, and the fight isn’t too bad. I take out the Moblins, and then drop down into the gorge to finish off the remaining two Moblins, in order to completely wipe out the group. The group has its own life bar, so it seems that there may be some special reward or mission to be accomplished by destroying the entire group. But when I succeed in doing so, nothing much happens.

I have a long climb to get back out of the gorge to the top where the bridge is. I’m just barely able to get to the top using all my stamina, the climbing suit, and un-equipping my weapons and shield. Looking back at the bridge, one of its main support columns is broken in half, and I see a korok puzzle in the hollow of the column. I swoop back down to solve the puzzle — Ultrahand glue a heavy rock to a cork on a chain, and drop it off the column to pull the cork and the Korok appears.

Then I climb back up the bridge once more, and look around trying to find any clue as to what else I was supposed to have done. I don’t see whatever it is I’m missing.

I’m very low on bombs now, I think I have fewer than five in my inventory. And this means it’s time to brave the depths once again, and go on an extended foraging session.

There’s a chasm to the underworld nearby, in the bottom of the gorge I just climbed out of. So I drop back down into it, and land in a new area of the underworld map that I haven’t been to previously, beneath Akkala.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, the ground down here is as rugged and steep as the terrain on the overworld above. It seems that there is some connection, a mirror like connection, to the worlds above and below. I don’t know everything there is to know about this, but I’m starting to notice some interesting connections. It’s an old Zelda trope that goes all the way back to Zelda III: A Link to the Past, where you have a dark world and a light world that you had to travel between, and which were linked together in numerous, subtle ways. So I bet there’s something like that going on here in TOTK as well.

The first thing I come to in this part of the underworld is a bokoblin mining operation. I put on my Boko hat and try to fit in, hoping to mine the Zonai ore in front of them without arousing their suspicion. But they get too close to me and when I swing my hammer at the ore it hits one of them, angering it, and it triggers a combat. Very well, then, fine. I fight the bokoblins pretty well, and defeat them without much trouble, loot the place, mine the ore, and move on.

It’s very dark and I seem to be moving along the top of a steep ridge, and I can see a Light Root off a ways. Distance is deceptive underground and stuff that looks near in the Purah Scope is often much farther than it seems. I mark the Light Root and look and it doesn’t look that far even on the map, but in reality it’s fairly far. I try throwing brightbulb seeds to see what’s in the space between us, and observe the brightbulb falls way, way, way farther than I had expected it would. So there’s an incredibly deep chasm below and this Light Root I’m looking at is on the far end of it, on another high ridge.

Looking down into the ridge, I see that there is actually a Light Root right below me, easily within reach, all have to do is drop down to it. This will sacrifice a lot of altitude and mean a big climb back up, but I can’t pass it up. I drop down and open up the map by activating the Light Root, and then make my way in the direction of the first Light Root that I had spotted, hoping to find my way to it.

I’m making pretty decent progress, and not really running into any problems. Some Lizalfos skeletons pop out of the ground, but I dispatch them quickly with a thrown Dazzlefruit seed. It’s the quick and easy way to deal with skeletal enemies, they die instantly from the burst of light if they’re caught in the radius of it. I climb a bit further, and encounter some flat, man-made looking stone platforms, fight another Lizalfos, this one not a skeleton, but a Blue Lizal. I climb to his level and am right there in front of him when I get to the level ground where I can get my footing. He doesn’t attack right away, surprised to see me I guess, and I hit him hard enough to knock him down and disarm him, which makes the rest of the fight go easily.

I’m almost to the next Light Root, and the way is very dark. I spot one of those mysterious pedestals with a shadowy statue atop it, holding a weapon. I figure I should take it, so I move in that direction. It’s very dark in the nearby surroundings, and there’s a bit of gloom off to the left, which I’m trying to avoid. The way to the right looks open and flat, as I can see a lot of Poes in the near distance, which give me some idea of the topography without burning a Brightbulb seed.

As I get close to the weapon pedestal, I’m spotted by a Lynel. I quickly duck and hide behind the pedestal, hoping that he doesn’t see me clearly and turn hostile. The Lynel comes closer for a better look and I sneak around the base of the pedestal, trying to stay out of sight.

This more or less works, but when the Lynel is what looks like a safe distance away, I need to use a Brightbulb seed so I can find my way. The Light Root is very near, but the ground is very steep, and there’s a lot of gloom around. Unfortunately when I throw the Brightbulb, it alerts the Lynel, who runs over and starts roaring, and move in to attack me. I try to run for it, pressing through Gloom that saps my life strength, and then I catch fire. I’ve stepped into a region of extreme heat, but with the combat underway I misinterpret this as the Lynel hit me with a flame based attack. I don’t realize what’s really going on, and before I know it I’m dead.

I respawn, and wait a bit longer this time for the Lynel to get further away, and am more careful about how I get to the Light Root this time. I manage to avoid the Gloom spots, and don’t trigger the Lynel to attack me, but still catch fire, and realize that this Light Root is in a very hot zone. I put on my Flamebreaker armor suit, and even that’s not putting the flames out. I equip my sapphire rod, and still I’m burning. Down to my last heart.

There’s a third Light Root nearby which I had spotted, and marked with my Purah Scope, but I’m too near death to try to make it there. I need to fast-travel to safety, and it seems like a good idea to go back to Lookout Landing and replenish some stocks, cash in some Korok Seeds, and see what else I can do before I go back into the underworld again.

At Lookout Landing, I have enough Korok seeds to expand my weapon, shield, and bow inventory slots by one each. I talk to a man at the armor shop aboveground, and he mentions he wants to add another shelf so that the merchant can offer more wares. I wish I had rupees enough to buy some of the armor suits. It seems like there are a lot more of these suits in TOTK than there were in BOTW. I don’t even know how many there are in total. There’s one called the Fierce Diety, that I can get by finding more of the Legendary Bandit’s stashes, and the Frog Suit one for completing the Lucky Clover Gazette missions. And most of the armor suits from BOTW, and probably more that I haven’t learned about yet.

While I’m in Lookout Landing, I talk to Purah’s two assistants. One wants me to go back into the underworld to look for these statues that seem to be leading to some interesting discovery; the other wants me to go to Hateno Village to use their research lab to expand the powers of the Purah Pad. I have yet to go to Hateno Village in all my travels in this game so far. So I think that is what I should do next.

If I want to go back to sub-Akkala, I’m going to need to complete the Fireproof suit, which I might be able to do if I go back to Goron City and sell off some diamonds. And if I’m there I might as well complete the quest with Yunobo. So that’s something I’ll be taking care of soon, as well.