Round two! I love doing these write ups, since they’re a bit more informal and personal. I love reading other peoples answers as well. Thanks to Red Metal at Extra Life for the nomination – you should follow them if you’re not already. Here are my answers to their questions!
- What do you feel is the ideal length for a studio album (or LP)?
Not sure about this one – I don’t necessarily have an ideal length. I do find it annoying when bands/artists do those Intro and Outro songs as the first/last on their album, as I find them typically to be useless filler. As long as the album has a solid number of songs (probably at least 10) and those songs are good, I don’t have any issues with the run-time. I find it pretty rare nowadays to find an album that I can listen to all the way through and enjoy every single song. Maybe I’ll just share my top 3 albums of 2018 (since 2019 isn’t over yet) as a cop-out answer to this question! My go-to/favourite genres tend to be Pop-Punk and Rock generally, so:
State Champs, Living Proof (2018)
This is one of those rare albums I can listen to all the way through. Absolute bangers. Great summer tunes.
Breaking Benjamin, Ember (2018)
Even though they do the annoying intro/outro song thing, I loved this album – similar enough to their old stuff, yet different enough to feel fresh and enjoyable. This album is on the heavier Rock side, and I absolutely loved it.
Slaves, Beautiful Death (2018)
The lead singer of this band, Jonny Craig, is notorious for dicking bands over and leaving them high and dry – which is exactly what he did to this one as well. This album was fantastic, and I hope this band can replace Craig and continue making music, because they have a lot of potential.
- Have you ever accidentally rendered a physical copy of a game/film/album unplayable?
Hahahaha… yes. I managed to erase my entire save file on my copy of Pokemon Sapphire by blowing into the cartridge (which had never backfired on me up until this point). The game stopped working shortly after. It was the first Pokemon game where I had actually beaten the Elite Four and Champion so I was super upset when I lost the file.
My copy of Majora’s Mask on the N64 was always wonky too, so I’m not sure if it was something I did, or just common issues with the game. Mine would freeze literally every time I played it (sometimes after 1 hour, sometimes 3, or sometimes 15 minutes) but it made the game incredibly frustrating to play – the way that saving worked meant that every time it froze I would lose all my progress. It’s actually a wonder I beat this game at all, considering it was almost impossible for me to get anything done. I have Majora’s Mask on the 3DS now, so I’ve stopped using the N64 version. RIP.
- What series do you feel has a confusing naming convention?
I feel like this is a trick question, because objectively, the correct answer is the Kingdom Hearts series. Kingdom Hearts: good, yes. Kingdom Hearts II: also good. Okay. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days? Birth by Sleep? Dream Drop Distance? Alright… a bit odd, but okay… can’t tell what order these go in anymore… Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue? Piss take.
I really enjoy playing the KH games but good lord, their names needed to be sorted out.
- What critical darling do you feel completely failed to live up to the hype?
People who read my posts are going to get tired of me talking about how disappointed I was in Breath of the Wild while not posting a review, so I won’t say BotW again.
I was really disappointed in Octopath Traveler when it came out in 2017. It’s not my typical go-to genre, but a friend recommended it, so I gave it a try. It was an alright game, but for a title that was being heralded as some kind of amazing, return-to-form JRPG I was seriously disappointed. The game was repetitive, grindy, with some fairly weak narratives, and a structure that I honestly thought was a really poor decision. There were also some really outdated mechanics for a new release – like your party members that are benched getting 0 EXP, for instance. For a game that received so much praise, I felt it was lacking in a lot of critical areas.
- Which work do you feel should have deserved more attention?
I said the criminally underrated Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy for an answer in my previous Sunshine Blogger post, so I won’t put it here again. Since I’m thinking about Zelda now, maybe Twilight Princess? Though the game is rated well, many people complain about its colour palette, gameplay elements (i.e. the Wii motion controls) and too-much-like-Ocarina-of-Time structure, but I thought this was a phenomenal Zelda title. It has one of the most compelling supporting characters in the entire series, Midna, the graphics were fantastic, and the story, strong enough on its own, actually contains some really interesting symbolism. The dungeon design in this game is, in my opinion, better than both its modern counterparts (SS and BotW) and this game also has some great boss battles. I feel like Twilight Princess gets dismissed a lot, but I thought it was a really exceptional game, especially in the Zelda franchise where ‘exceptional’ is the norm.
I would also add Overcooked 2 as a game that deserves more attention – it’s a great party game, easily replacing Mario Party, or Mario Kart for when friends come over. It’s cute, chaotic, fun, and is constantly building itself up – this studio is fantastic. There are a bunch of new DLC’s coming out, as well as a few completely free stages (holiday themed) and chefs that they’ve added since the games release.
- Do you prefer a foreign work to be subtitled or dubbed in your language?
Really depends on the content. Most times, I would definitely say subbed, but in certain situations, I do prefer dubs. In gaming, for a recent example, I was playing Sekiro with the English dub (which people endlessly complain about, even though its fairly well done, but I digress) because I can’t be fighting bosses and concentrating on parrying, dodging, attacking, and reading subtitles at the same time. I need to be able to understand what they’re saying, especially when bosses are talking to you in the middle of a fight, so it was English all the way. I’ve also enjoyed the dubbed versions of certain anime, like Fullmetal Alchemist, which I felt were done well. In almost all other cases, it’s subbed for me – one of my all-time favourites, Haikyu!!, was dubbed somewhat recently in English and it was just… yikes. No offense to anyone who enjoyed it, but subs or nothing for that one.
- Can you remember an instance in which you managed to succeed in a game by the skin of your teeth (e.g. beat a difficult boss with barely any health remaining)?
So probably 90% of my first successful Dark Souls playthrough could be considered “by the skin of my teeth” and sometimes certain sections still give me trouble, even years later. I was playing Dark Souls Remastered recently and struggling a bit against Ornstein and Smough (one of the most notoriously difficult fights in the whole series) and on my fifth-ish try, I finally had Super Ornstein down to a sliver of health, with 1 Estus remaining to heal myself. Right about this time, I had one of my unfortunate lapse of judgement moments – even after years of playing Souls games, knowing that I need to be cautious, I still slip up when I get too excited. So anyway, I also had a sliver of health left and instead of backing off to heal (which would have been the better option) I decided to go in for the final hit instead, my greed taking over.
I swung my Claymore at almost the exact same time Ornstein struck out with his spear – I swear, it was one of those moments where time slowed for a second as I watched his attack animation begin. My sword connected first, by some miracle. I realized then that if I had been a half second slower, I would have been a) dead, b) very salty, and c) starting the grueling 2-phase fight all over again. But for once, I snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and dodged a death that I would have 100% deserved. Praise it – we take those.
- Can you remember an instance in which you got completely robbed playing a game?
We’re not gonna talk about those random chance blocks in Mario Party where your character ends up ‘gifting’ another friend your hard-won 3 stars and you lose the game. The salt is too real for that one.
I can only really think of a couple situations off the top of my head that I would considered being robbed. Sorry to keep bringing up the Souls games, but there were a couple boss fights in the series where I killed a boss at the same time it killed me – unless you get the souls, and the “Victory Achieved” title, it doesn’t count. There were a few times I’d patted myself on the back for a hard fought victory, only to realize it hadn’t counted, because the game hadn’t registered the win before my characters death. Seeing that white fog boundary still standing after you return, thinking it’s all over and you’re good to go, is pretty heartbreaking. I remember specifically this happening while fighting the Demon Prince in the Ringed City DLC for Dark Souls 3. It’s happened a few times, but I think that was the one I was most salty about.
- What is your favorite arcade game?
Galaga! Arcades aren’t too common anymore, but I used to play this with a friend on her NES and it was so much fun. I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I really enjoyed the space theme, and the simplicity of the scrolling and shooting.
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
There are a lot of places I’m looking to travel to in the future – the highest on my list probably being Ireland. I have a lot of family that I’ve never met over there, and it’s such a gorgeous place. I’d love to go someday.
- What critics (in any medium) do you find to actually be reputable?
In terms of video games, I don’t tend to follow too many critics, or read reviews until after I’ve finished a game since I like to go in blind; I like to be able to form my own opinions, rather than being influenced by what others are saying. I do like Jim Sterling (even though he is quite divisive) of the Jimquisition, as I find his reviews to be more honest. If a game has issues, he’ll bring it up, without any sugar coating to pander to larger/more popular releases. He is also hyper critical of issues rampant in the gaming industry which I appreciate.
I also really like the critics at Shut Up & Sit Down – Matt Lees and Quintin Smith (and others) review board games, and their YouTube channel and written blog are both hilarious and thorough. Since I don’t play board games as often as I do video games (and I like to make sure my money is well spent on a game I might take out only a few times a year) I usually check out their reviews before I commit to anything. They haven’t steered me wrong yet, and I tend to trust the authenticity of their reviews – it’s coming from a place of genuine passion for board games. If you’re looking for recommendations or reviews, definitely check them out!
Thanks to Kim over at Later Levels and her blogging party, as well as Angie @ Backlog Crusader and her collab challenge, I have followed/found a bunch of really cool new blogs that I’d love to hear from! So I’m tagging a group of new bloggers for my questions – please don’t feel obligated to do this if you don’t want to though. If you do, I look forward to reading your answers – and feel free to sub out “video game” with movie or book if you feel like you have another medium you’d rather talk about! As always, thank you for reading, and here are my questions:
- Favourite female character in a video game, and why?
- Game you loved but feel like no one else remembers, or is really underrated?
- A game whose ending you felt was really disappointing? Why?
- Favourite indie game? Why?
- If a friend who wasn’t a gamer asked you for a sort-of ‘first game’ recommendation, what would you suggest, and why? Let’s say they are open to all platforms and all genres.
- What game would you credit with sparking your love for gaming, and what about it was so special?
- Favourite, or most memorable video game villain?
- What are your personal thoughts/opinions on video games as ‘live services’? Do you think this is the path video games will take in future?
- Most memorable side quest/NPC questline in a video game?
- Some video games, due to their popularity or following, are considered above criticism. Is there a problematic element, or something that really bothered you in a title that has received universal acclaim? Give me your unpopular opinions!
- Let’s say you have to make a playlist of songs for a particular video game character – songs that represent who they are. Choose any character, and list at least 1 song that you feel would be on their playlist. Any musical genre, no limitations!