Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

February 27, 2017

RE: The Last Guardian

It goes without saying, but I feel like The Last Guardian is a litmus test for what kind of gamer you are.

If you’re reading this, then you know the story behind it.  The game was announced about a decade ago, and drew plenty of eyes across the medium.  The crew behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus -- two central pillars for the “games are art” argument -- are getting together to release a brand new installment?  Sign me up, we said in droves.  And we waited, and waited, and waited.  But The Last Guardian pole vaulted right over the PS3, and landed on the PS4 in 2016 -- well into the console’s lifespan.  Was it worth the wait?

I can’t imagine how many reviews featured the “was it worth the wait” line as a lead-up.  For me, though?  It was always a given that The Last Guardian would be something special -- like I had no reason to worry because of the minds and pedigree behind it.  “GOTY 2016 incoming,” I thought on occasion.  I thought that it would be the latest pillar in the art debate, without question.  I thought that I could rest easy, because Team Ico and the rest of the funky fresh crew had it in the bag.  Imagine my surprise, then, when some reviews gave it a decent(ish) score instead of an avalanche of TENOUTTATENs -- not enough to change the conversation, but Metacritic can be telling at times.  And imagine my greater surprise when it got a permanent price drop, which seems to signal all sorts of unfortunate implications.

So I pretty much went from “YEAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” to “WELP.”

February 23, 2017

A Big Dumb List of Games I Want to Play

All right, show of hands: how many of you reading this has a backlog of games whose size routinely leaves you in the depths of despair?  Don’t be shy.  It’s fine to admit it.  I’m in just as deep as anyone else.

I’m a lover of video games -- and a connoisseur of them, if you want to give me even a shred of credit.  I write about games to try and show what the medium can offer; that usually means that I have to derail and talk about the garbage that plagues the medium, but every so often I get the chance to sing praises about this mechanic or that story.  The problem is twofold, as you’re likely all too aware.  First: there are a lot of games out there nowadays, and anyone who wants to play them all has a massive task ahead of them.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s the second issue: it seems like a pretty big percentage of games these days require a pledge that runs deeper than wedding vows.

Want to see everything Metal Gear Solid V has to offer?  Cool!  Say goodbye to 50 hours of your life!  Want to get comfortable with Kum Haehyun in Guilty Gear Xrd?  Better get ready to hit the Training Mode dozens of times so you can maybe win hundreds of matches online!  In my case, I’m putting time into Tales of Berseria and Final Fantasy 15 -- two JRPGs, which means that (as per the genre) I’m going to be out 100 hours even if I power through them both.  Not the most enticing prospect.

So you know what?  Let’s do something different.  Here’s a big dumb list of games I want to play.

February 20, 2017

Getting the Most Out of Games

Before I do anything else, I need to ask you Star Wars fans out there a question: what do you think of Darth Vader? 

I’m curious, because I don’t have a leg to stand on.  I’ve seen the Star Wars movies (save for Rogue One, for now at least), but I can’t say they’ve ever occupied a major space in my mind, or formed a crucial part of my nerd identity.  They were just movies I could watch, enjoy, and move on from.  More to the point, they were movies that -- by a twist of fate -- were almost completely absent from my childhood, and even then I saw them in an imperfect form (The Empire Strikes Back was my first, and it would be years before I even thought about watching Return of the Jedi).  So even if I know the key talking points and the details, I don’t have the bond with them that others likely do.

That’s part of the reason why I’m starting with a question about Darth Vader.  I know who he is and what he’s about -- more or less -- but it’s surface-level stuff compared to the true fans.  Smarter writers than me could probably go on at length about why he’s “badass”, or the thematic heft behind his presence in the canon, or why his stint in Soulcalibur IV was such a pivotal moment.  I don’t have the understanding of the character, so that’s why I need others to explain the appeal.

Of course, the other part of the reason I’m starting with a question is this: I recently learned that there’s a Darth Vader RC car.

February 16, 2017

I’m Back to Rise (Basically)

Hey guys, I just had another thought about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.  I’d better write a 7,000 word post to explain a middling and overall inconsequential point.

…Nah, just kidding.  I’ve done more than enough JoJo posts for now.  And you know what that means.

February 13, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Intermission)

And here we are at last.

So.  Let’s go ahead and breakdown, breakdown JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure one more time…for now, at least.

February 6, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 8)

All right.  Let’s talk about “Chase”.

I think that all of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure openings are special -- top-notch work, and a joy to behold and listen to alike.  Personally, that extends to the sixth opening “Chase”.  It’s not my favorite, but it’s still plenty impressive.  From what I can gather, not everyone feels the same way; there have been complaints that the song doesn’t fit JoJo (and belongs with other shonen/anime as per its “generic” nature).  Or, alternatively, they’ll say that the dreary aesthetic and harsh tones are too stark a contrast for a show that revels in its randomly shifted -- and shifting -- color palette.

My argument is that it always seemed as if “Chase” represented a logical progression for the Diamond is Unbreakable anime.  I guessed as much once “Crazy Noisy Bizarre Town” dropped.  Okay, first opening?  Lots of happy sounds and poppy visuals, which can help an audience start falling in love with Morioh and its people.  But since this is JoJo, a series that revels in horror and suffering, it was only a matter of time once the plot kicked in -- and of course, it kicked in right around the time when “Chase” made its debut.  You can’t exactly have the cast dancing and goofing off when one of the story’s major, plot-propelling moments is a serial killer’s murder of an innocent middle school boy who just happened to learn too much.  All because he wanted his sandwich.

So yeah, I like “Chase” as a song, as an opening, and as a representation.  Still, there was one thing that bugged me for the longest time.  I kept asking “Hey, what’s with that weird stony heart with an anchor on it?”  Luckily, I did eventually get my answer -- and like Diamond is Unbreakable at large, it was glorious.

I’ll SPOIL you anywhere
I’ll SPOIL you anytime
You know I’ll SPOIL you
There is no escape (from SPOILERS)