Your roundup of tech, culture, and nostalgia for

May 23, 2023 // Web version //

TimeMachiner. Tech, culture, nostalgia. By Aaron Crocco
Inside Today's Issue:
Galactic Starcrasher
Cooking With Brian Baumgartner
The Lisa That Started It All
A New Quest

Read to the end for a post about naming penguins.

I want to briefly say a big THANK YOU to those who pitched in last week. A few of you became Time Travelers and others tossed me some "coffees". It helps a ton and I appreciate it. I'm going to be unemployed for a while. If you want to help me out, consider a TimeMachiner membership. If membership is not for you, leaving me a tip (AKA "buying me a coffee") is a one-time way to help.

Finally, if you know of open QA roles wherever you work, please let me know. I have 10 years of experience (this is my LinkedIn) and would be happy to talk.

I, like so many out there, are collectively doing one thing right now: playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (TotK). It is rare for so many to play the same video game, but this is easily one of those moments.

Aside from friends with kids who I see playing either Fortnite or Animal Crossing, every single person on my Switch friends list is playing TotK. I've been waiting a year for this game. I talked in previous posts about my issues simply trying to pre-order the Collector's Edition. So now it's been a bit over a week and how is it?

In one word: Amazing.

The Zelda series has been going strong since its American debut in late 1986. This new entry is a direct sequel to the groundbreaking installment titled Breath of the Wild. That was a Switch launch title and has an insane-to-believe nearly 1:1 attach rate to all Switches bought at launch. That game broke the traditional convention of what a Zelda game could be. Personally, I loved it. Until Animal Crossing, BotW was my most-played Switch game, clocking in at a bit over 140 hours.

Sequels are dangerous territory though. Regardless of the medium, it is a delicate balance of giving people the same thing but differently. You have to capture that lightning again but make it new enough that people enjoy it. This balancing act is the main reason why "Insert Movie Here" 2 and Spinoff TV show aren't as good as the first. Tears breaks away from this and is incredibly good.

Nintendo decided to go all in on the Z-Axis and turn the sky into a major part of the game. Instead of running to mountain tops simply to jump off to explore, you find ways to soar above the clouds into an entirely new realm. These "Sky Islands" hold secrets and endless exploration. They're also quite hard to reach, making each venture skyward a special event.

In true sequel fashion, everything I loved about the prior game is there but with some Quality of Life tweaks to make things a bit easier (the Ascend ability is clutch). It only took me a few minutes to re-learn all the controls and get back into the game. Of course, it didn't hurt that the game goes right into the story and ramps up quickly with some incredible story-building and fantastic music.

Nintendo has outdone itself with this game and I am truly impressed it is as good as it is. The prior game had its critics, some with valid points. TotK may not be for everyone, but it is for most people. Just like BotW, it embraces a "You must save the world!! But do it whenever you're ready" pace. You know from the outset what is asked of you, but that's where the urgency ends. I love that I set my own pace and can allow myself to get endlessly sidetracked. It turns the game's progression into one that's uniquely mine. And that is the core strength of Tears.

The only question left is if it'll end up being first, second, or third in my all-time playtime of Switch games.

I want to give an update on the bonus perks for members I mentioned last week.

I've come up with a fun short story idea for a piece of original fiction. These things take time, but I can confidently say that something new is brewing and I hope to get a good amount of writing done in the coming weeks. I'll keep you posted as it progresses. Once done, I'll make it available to all members, then figure out ways to possibly sell it direct and/or through Amazon for Kindle.

I'm still working on the logistics of offering the audiobook of my short story Chrono Virus. Updates to come on that too once I have all the pieces in place.


PS: If you're enjoying my work here on TimeMachiner please forward this email to a friend who'd like it too. It helps me grow. Thank you. 😊


There are different sizes of infinity. Source

Galactic Starcrasher
In not-so-surprising news, Disney has announced they're shutting down its Galactic Starcruiser hotel and experience in September. You know, the two-night immersive Star Wars hotel that costs $2500 per night. Here's the short and sweet announcement from Disney. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is one of our most creative projects ever and…
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Cooking With Brian Baumgartner
Brian Baumgartner's character of Kevin from The Office is legendary. There are many reasons, but of course, his chili segment is The One that everyone remembers. Even Peacock put the recipe into its Terms of Service simply as an easter egg to see who'd notice. While The Office is long over,…
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The Lisa That Started It All
Every time Apple talks about its history during a keynote, they focus on the Macintosh. Its 1984 debut was industry-shifting. However, nearly every groundbreaking idea it embodied stood on the shoulders of its lesser-known predecessor. The Apple Lisa was a much-chunkier computer released 40 years ago. It was a complete flop.…
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