The Sunshine Blogger Award!

Well, it’s happened again! The Sunshine Blogger Award has once again been tossed to me like a hot potato, this time by Red Metal of Extra Life! Be sure to check out his excellent, highly-detailed reviews of both video games and movies! Thanks Red Metal! Now, on to some questions!


1) In which cases would you deem the manga superior to the anime on which it’s based?

I don’t know if I’ve ever watched a manga based on an anime, but if I were to simply choose a manga that I enjoyed more than its accompanying anime, I would pick Naruto. It’s probably my favorite manga of all time and I own the entire series. The anime dragged things out way too long for my liking, especially with all the filler at the end of Part One (seriously…almost two years straight of filler episodes!). Also, several of the series’ most important fights were poorly animated, the worst of which to me was Naruto vs. Pain. I’m not sure who decided to use the exaggerated art style they chose for the action scenes in those episodes, but it was horrendous.

2) Which game do you feel has the best soundtrack?

I’ve made it no secret on my blog that I adore video game music. I could go on an on about the character, atmosphere, and nuances that are provided by several of my favorite games’ soundtracks, but I’m going to keep it simple and go with Chrono Trigger. It is simply perfect from start to finish.

3) If you could revive a dead video game series, which one would you choose?

Fable. The first two were amazing, and then the third entry felt like it took a bit of a nosedive in some areas (graphics, weapon/armor options, less freedom for customization) while vastly expanding upon others (intriguing story, vastly-improved locales). And that Royalty system in the late game was AWESOME! I’d love to get this series back with a fresh entry on modern hardware!

4) What game/film/album/book did you have a particularly difficult time adding to your collection?

Not to repeat an answer, but Chrono Trigger. I tried getting my first SNES copy from eBay in the early 2000s. I was using money I had saved up myself, but no matter how many options I bid on someone would always outbid me at the last second. I eventually stumbled upon a random copy (just cartridge) from a now-defunct game store for 60 dollars. I was 12. I still consider it one of my greatest gaming purchases…although I was a moron and got rid of it at some point. UGH. What I wouldn’t do to still have my original file with several New Game+’s and my level 80+ characters…

5) Do you prefer to see a film at home or in the theaters?

While seeing a movie at home is fun and relaxing, going to the theater is an experience. The ticket purchase. Candy. Soda. Popcorn (Yes, of course I want the buttery topping!). A dim, cool room. Comfortable seats that recline back. Trailers for the newest movies coming out. And the booming surround sound. Going to the theater wins for me by a long shot!

6) In what cases did you find yourself siding with critics over fans about a work’s quality?

My most recent instance of this was Red Dead Redemption II. I can understand why a lot of people dislike the game’s slow pacing, but I found it almost therapeutic. The game forces you to take your time with it, teaching you numerous intertwining systems that all interact with each other in complex ways. It doesn’t play as a crisp third-person shooter because it’s not supposed to be: it’s the epic story of Arthur Morgan’s search for his life’s meaning that just so happens to take place in a time period with guns (although personally, I never had any trouble with the combat).

7) In what cases did you find yourself siding with fans over critics about a work’s quality?

In a somewhat stereotypical choice, I would have to say Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I certainly didn’t hate the film: the dynamic between Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren was incredible, and the lightsaber fight in Snoke’s throne room might be my favorite of the entire series. But I felt that much of the movie jumped ship on the ideas begun in The Force Awakens. Almost no questions were answered about anything that had been established in TFA and in their place were entire story threads that wasted good characters and introduced newer, pointless ones. I really hope that J.J. Abrams can right the ship with Episode IX, especially after the entirety of the Expanded Universe was demoted to “Legends” to make these movies happen.

8) What is the most difficult game you’ve completed?

In the context of clearing a game 100%, I’m going to go with Super Mario 3D World. While much of the game was lax and light-hearted, the later levels can be punishingly-brutal. And Champion’s Road…my friend and I spent well over 400 lives (yes, we kept track) as we co-oped our way through its obstacle course of death. And that’s JUST ONE LEVEL. We had to beat the entire game three times over to account for all five characters. It was a daunting journey, but one that I look back on with nothing but good memories!

9) Which game series have you been following for the longest amount of time?

The very first video game that I ever played (probably in 1993) was Super Mario Bros. for the NES and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve played and beaten almost every single one of the main games as well as completed a good majority. Super Mario Odyssey showed the world that our favorite mustachioed plumber is still as relevant as ever. And after 25-ish years of mushrooms, warp pipes, and Koopas, I’m not anywhere close to being tired of him!

10) In what ways do you feel video game critics to be ahead of their film-loving counterparts?

To be fair, my knowledge of film critique is near non-existent. I do feel that game critics are able to give a more subjective approach to their medium, but that can also be a double-edged sword regarding game genres and player preferences. That’s my best answer lol

11) How does hype factor into how you ultimately feel about a work?

I try not to let public hype factor into my own excitement for a game. Lots of games receive critical acclaim upon release that I simply have no interest in and so the hype washes over me with little impact. I create my own hype for myself (and try to spread it to my friends lol). And when I get excited for a particular game, it will consume my thoughts until the release date!


And now for my own nominees and questions!

Strange Girl Gaming

The Gaming Diaries

Words by Wildflower

The Triple Option

Log 1932

Your questions:

  1. Do you tend to be more optimistic or pessimistic?
  2. If you could wake up tomorrow having mastered a talent or skill that you don’t currently have, what would you choose?
  3. Which of the four classical elements (Earth, Air, Water, Fire) do you feel you resonate with the most, and why?
  4. What was your favorite animated cartoon as a child?
  5. You are only allowed to eat one kind of food for the rest of your life: if given the choice, what food would you choose?
  6. What is one of your greatest challenges with blogging?
  7. What is one of your greatest strengths with blogging?
  8. If someone offered you enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life and pursue your greatest passion full-time, what would you choose to do?
  9. What is your favorite video game console of all time?
  10. What is a music album that, in your opinion, has no bad songs?
  11. If you could meet any person throughout history and have a conversation with them, who would you meet and what would you ask them?

Thanks again to Red Metal for the fun opportunity to write about some intriguing questions! And thank you all for reading!

-Andrew

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Bowser Conquers Nintendo of America!!!

Today, Nintendo of America’s infamous Reggie Fils-Aimé announced his retirement from the company. Reggie is known for being a passionate gamer with a friendly, personable demeanor, and even held tenure as several internet memes throughout the years (to his amusement). He cited his departure as being “in good health” and is looking forward to spending more time with his family and friends. Reggie graced Nintendo with his presence for just over 15 years.

His mantle will be donned by none other than the current Head of Sales and Marketing at NOA, Doug Bowser. And before I go any further: Yes, I had to make the title joke. Yes, it was mandatory. Yes, I know everyone else will be making the exact same joke. Embrace this once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity, people!!!

I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ll greatly miss Reggie’s enormous presence at events like E3 and The Game Awards, but I’m sure that King Koo- I mean, Mr. Bowser, will be a great successor to Reggie! Here’s to many more years of Nintendo excellence under Bowser (teehee)!

-Andrew

Question of the Week #5: What is Your Favorite Video Game World?

Video games are enticing because they take us somewhere unfamiliar, dropping us into lands unknown to explore, discover, and learn about our new surroundings. The inhabitants. Culture. Ecosystem. History and lore. A well-crafted world is key to keeping players engaged in their adventure and provide that magical layer of immersion.

While my list of loved video game settings is massive, some pull of the illusion better than others. My personal favorite might be The Witcher III: Blood and Wine’s Toussaint. It’s France-inspired locale is packed with green vistas, mountainous horizons, charming cities, and enough wine-related quests to make you feel like a true connoisseur by the story’s end. To top it all off, Geralt’s estate of Corvo Bianco might be the coziest home I will ever have the luxury of owning.

But what about you? What video location draws you in the most throughout your various adventures? Let me know with a comment below! And thank you for reading!

-Andrew

Opinion- Mission Rankings Are Dumb

I am a firm believer that video games are made to be fun. Perhaps it’s part of my mentality growing up as a child of the 90s, where every TV show, toy, video game, and even article of clothing seemed to be bursting at the seams with zany excitement (which example would you prefer: the brightly-colored clothing, light-up shoes, or the no-tie, springy shoe laces?). But even taking off my nostalgia goggles for minute, it’s no secret that if you take time to play video games, you want the experience to be enjoyable.

Video games have long provided players with feedback based on their performance, with nondescript “points” being the most common currency for well over a decade. It was a way of trying to improve your arcade score, either shelling out quarters to push further than the last time or measuring how many points you can acquire before dying with your allotted lives. But over time, home consoles took over the arcade scene. Why pay a fistful of quarters for a short time of playing when you could own the game at home and enjoy it as much as you wanted? This new way of gaming began taking away the incentive of earning “points” despite many titles still including them. But somewhere along the way, a nefarious soul plotted long and hard about a revised way of gauging a player’s performance on consoles: a form of dark trickery that would artificially expand game time beyond what had been achieved in a product thus far by tricking players into playing the same levels again and again in a vain, deluded spiral of self-masochism. This cursed concept is known as a “Stage Ranking.”

I also individually call them “Badges of Shame,” because it seems that no matter how well I do in games that measure your performance, I almost always tend to get branded as mediocre at best. It doesn’t matter how many fanciful moves I pull off or what mountain of collectibles I drag with me: the brand always leaves a smoking “L” right on my forehead. But why? How does my performance of surviving a level replete with vicious monsters and ridiculously hard boss enemies warrant being effectively called a loser when that stinging “C” smacks the screen? I’m tired of being judged by a single, burning letter. The “You Died” screen from Dark Souls feels less insulting.

Being given a ranking based on certain level criteria takes away a large portion of fun that a game might otherwise provide. Traversing a stage might be a joy, until you realize at the end that you were “too slow” in completing the objective or you didn’t complete enough fighting combos, regardless of the fact that you didn’t take a single bit of damage and also nabbed every single bit of currency in the level. Games rarely take everything a player does into account. It’s irritating beyond belief when you aren’t rewarded for the efforts you put forth and are instead punished for irrelevant things left undone. I genuinely couldn’t care less that I didn’t perform the over-complicated “Mega Dragon Combo Kick” five times in a row and it has literally no bearing on the game’s story, so WHY is my rating decreased? 

Perhaps this is just my own mental block. After all, not EVERY game that ranks performance takes it to the same extreme as my example. But I still feel that encouraging the player to enjoy a game their own way is a far superior approach to being told how to spend your time during a level. My most recent experience with this mechanic is in Wargroove on the Nintendo Switch. I love the game so far, but its mission grading system leaves me feeling demoralized sometimes. A mission might be going swell, then a late-match factor comes into play and messes up my strategy. Units die. Villages are battled over. I enjoy the gameplay part of this challenge: I just don’t like the stinging “Yeah, you passed, but you sucked it up there,” that a C rank leaves off with. I want to experience something fun and exciting, not a jury on how poorly I did despite conquering the level.

What about you? Do you enjoy the challenge that mission rankings provide, or are you a hater like me? Let me know with a comment! Thanks for reading, friends, and game on!

-Andrew

Hollow Knight: Silksong Revealed!

Team Cherry revealed this morning that the new Hollow Knight content featuring the character Hornet is not just a simple DLC…it’s an entirely new game!! You can watch the trailer here.

Silksong is a sequel to the original game, taking place in a far away land full of new enemies and towns to discover. Hornet looks to have a different playstyle than The Knight and makes full use of her infamous “needle and thread” fighting techniques. Several power-ups and bosses were also revealed throughout the trailer. Hollow Knight was one of my favorite games of 2018 when I played it on Nintendo Switch (check out my review!) and I cannot wait for this new adventure!

Did you enjoy the original Hollow Knight? What are your thoughts on the sequel’s trailer? Let me know with a comment! Thanks for reading!

-Andrew

Nintendo Direct 2/13/2019

Holy WOW! What a good Nintendo Direct! We were able to learn a lot of new information about games we already knew about, as well as discover some brand new surprises that were previously unknown! If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here! I was surprised at how many of the titles grabbed my attention! I’m a Nintendo fanboy at heart and while the games shown certainly weren’t ALL up my alley, a good majority are ones that I will absolutely play if time allows! My favorite games shown today were:

-Super Mario Maker 2 (Legitimately wasn’t expecting a sequel to SMM, of all things!)

-Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Castlevania-inspired adventure…from the Castlevania series’ creator himself!)

-Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age- Definitive Edition (with the ability to Switch between modern graphics and 16-bit on the fly! AHHHHH!)

-Oninaki (an action RPG that sees you freeing the spirits of the deceased so they don’t become monsters…Yu Yu Hakusho, anyone?)

-Fire Emblem: Three Houses (you can build your own army, customize the students in your academy, and align yourself with one of three large countries that border each other)

-Deltarune (free to players who own Undertale!)

-Daemon X Machina (with a demo going live before the game’s release to get player feedback)

-Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (migrating over from other consoles)

-Astral Chain (a new action game from Platinum Games, featuring contributions from several other noteworthy game developers)

-And, the biggest surprise for me…The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Switch! (boasting 3D graphics in a VERY peculiar art style! I can’t wait!!)

What games did the Nintendo Direct leave you most excited for? Let me know with a comment below! Thanks for reading!

-Andrew

Question of the Week #4: Who Is Your Video Game Crush?

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Love is in the air, hearts are emblazoned on every surface imaginable, store shelves are lined with decadent chocolates, and everything has become tinged with a sickeningly-sweet red or pink tinge. Or perhaps you hate the season of love: “Bah! Humbug! to all those happy-go-lucky, twitter-patted nincompoops!” you say. Regardless of how you feel, it’s a season that won’t be going away anytime soon. So let’s make the best of it and have some fun by talking about one of our truest loves: gaming!

Video games are filled with some of the greatest fictional characters to ever grace the entertainment industry. From female heartthrobs like Nathan Drake and Geralt of Rivia to the feminine powerhouses of Samus Aran and Lara Croft, there are countless crush-worthy characters that earn every bit of their admiration during their larger-than-life, epic adventures.

While once upon a time I would have labeled Samus Aran as my go-to lady in gaming, I can’t help but feel her spot has been usurped by the lovely and mysterious Yennefer of Vengerberg from The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Yennefer is a character with a powerful personality and an inclination for the magical. She comes across as driven and sometimes almost dismissive of Geralt, but we are given glimpses during the story that show how she truly cares for him with her very being. Her methods might not always come across as benevolent, but her motives couldn’t be more noble. Plus, the game’s opening cinematic shows the devastation she is capable of wreaking on any enemies that stand in the way of her goals.

Do you have a crush in video games? Let me know about it with a comment below!

-Andrew