Sunshine Blogger Round 2 – Electric Boogaloo

A month later and I’ve been nominated for another Sunshine Blogger Award. This time from Red Metal over on Extra Life. They’re an exceptionally talented writer who writes critical reviews of movies, both old and new, as well as game reviews (mostly retro reviews as of late). Thank you for the nomination. I hope you find the answers to my questions satisfactory. There are a few odd replies in here.

What do you feel is the ideal length for a studio album (or LP)?

Seventy to eighty minutes. Seriously.

I’ve always done a lot of music listening while walking, or while studying. As I got older studying turned into my day job and blogging. Because of the volume of time I spend doing both of these activities I enjoy having a nice meaty album playing in the background so I’m not acutely aware of the passage of time. Nothing sucks more than when you hear an album finish, look over at the clock,  and see you’re still stuck at work for another seven hours.

It also helps that one of my favourite bands, Dream Theater, makes most of their albums that length.

Have you ever accidentally rendered a physical copy of a game/film/album unplayable?

No. At least, not that I can remember. My parents might be better equipped to answer this question though. I might have destroyed stuff as a wee potato and have long since forgotten.

What series do you feel has a confusing naming convention?

Kingdom Hearts is the definitive example for this, so I’ll go with that for my answer.

I don’t know what crack pipe the people over at Square Enix were smoking, but someone deserves to be slapped over Kingdom Hearts‘ various titles. 358/2 Days? Re: Chains of Memories? 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue? What degenerate is responsible for conceiving this? Furthermore, how did it get the seal of approval to go out the door?

Kingdom_hearts
Meanwhile at Square Enix HQ…

What critical darling do you feel completely failed to live up to the hype?

I already put the final nail in what I want to say about Nier: Automata with my bottom five games of 2018 post, so this time I’m going to bring out my favourite whipping boy: Uncharted.

To this day I still don’t understand what people saw in this game back in 2007. To be fair I played through it in 2014, almost seven years after its initial release, but the whole thing screams of mediocrity. I’ll admit that compared to other console games at the time the graphical fidelity on display is impressive, but that’s where it stops for Uncharted.

Given the reputation of the franchise’s writing I was surprised by how bad it is in the first outing. Most dialogue consists of quips which starts out funny, but becomes increasingly annoying. Leading man Nathan Drake in particular is an arrogant nob who went from being mildly irritating in the opening chapters to incredibly frustrating by the end.

It’s not just the moment to moment dialogue that I despise either: I also don’t like the overarching story. It’s very safe. The kind of safe that gets made into a summer action film that people go to see, love, but quickly forget. It’s entirely predictable and leans very heavily on the set-piece moments, which are often the parts of the game that people remember.

It even has a bit at the end where the guy gets the girl despite leaving her for dead on island in the middle of the ocean. I don’t know any human who would forgive someone for something like that. A dog might though.

Then you have what I’ll politely refer to as gameplay. This consists of puzzles that aren’t tremendously puzzling, platforming where the game does the jumping for you, quick time events (blargh), and cover based shooting (also blargh). Very engaging stuff. Despite having excellent pacing I found myself bored as nothing Uncharted offered was actually engaging.

I still can’t believe this game spawned three sequels, three different spin-offs, and a movie. Well…I can believe the movie one since it almost seemed like the folks at Naughty Dog would be happier making one of those than a video game.

Drake
Oh my!

Which work do you feel should have deserved more attention?

SuperGiant Games‘ last full release: PyreBastion is the one game that most people know the studio for and is easily their most successful game, but Pyre is so much better. Pyre is the amalgamation of all the things that made Bastion and Transistor so good, but refined through years of continuous improvement. The scope is far greater than their previous games and is beautifully executed upon. The reception to the game was generally positive, but I think it deserved so much more than it received.

Do you prefer a foreign work to be subtitled or dubbed in your language?

Dubbed because I am a degenerate. I have difficulty reading subtitles fast enough and they distract me from what is happening on screen. This is a problem that, as far as I have been able to tell, is unique to me and I prefer dubbed as a result.

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)?

Not a specific instance, but that’s because stuff like that happens all the time. There have been so many moments in Monster Hunter: World where I landed the killing blow milliseconds before a monster would have blown me away. That game in particular is responsible for several close calls, so they’ve become entirely forgettable events due to the frequency that I survive them.

Sorry I know that’s not a very good answer, but Meghan over at Meghan Plays Games wrote a clutch story about one of her Dark Souls encounters if you want to read a good answer to this one.

Can you remember an instance in which you got completely robbed playing a game?

Not to make myself sound like the luckiest person alive, but there are just as many instances of me making it out by the skin of my teeth as there are of me dying horribly while being within arm’s reach of victory. Again I don’t have a specific instance for this one, partly because of the frequency and partly because I get so salty that my brain turns off.

salty_frosti
Salty Frosty

What is your favorite arcade game?

Dig-Dug.

I have a lot of fond memories playing this as a kid on my home computer. Dad had it setup (among other Namco games) because he enjoyed playing those games in the arcade before marrying Mom. I never could get very far in it before dying, but I do remember him yelling at me once for taking too long to play a round because I managed to do well enough for an additional continue. Now that I say that I think that might have been the last time I ever played the game.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

The rainy part of the United Kingdom, or Vancouver. As someone with seasonal allergies who also doesn’t like heat, the mild temperatures and rainy weather of both places would make them ideal travel locations. Though for the United Kingdom I’ve heard that I’d want to stay clear during the summer and winter. I’m sure some of my readers could confirm or deny that.

What critics (in any medium) do you find to actually be reputable?

Yahtzee Croshaw is still my favourite critic to listen to and has been for many years. His Zero Punctuation series is a bit on the satirical side, but I’m amazed by how he is able to describe something in eloquent terms when I have struggled to. Plus when he’s not trying to crack a joke he can offer some genuinely insightful criticism.

Joseph Anderson and Shammy both do long form game criticism over on Youtube, which I generally enjoy when I make the time for it. They sometimes take a bit too long to get their points across, but are insightful.

Lindsay Ellis is the other big one, though she does film criticism which isn’t really my wheelhouse. I like her content so much because I come away from it feeling as though I’ve learned something whenever I take the plunge on one of her videos.


There you have it. Another sunshine blogger award under my belt.

This is normally where I’d nominate eleven other bloggers to receive the award and answers some questions, but I was nominated another time before getting this post up. I don’t want to spam people with nominations, so I’ll be saving my eleven questions and nominations for my next post.

13 thoughts on “Sunshine Blogger Round 2 – Electric Boogaloo

    1. I like to live dangerously.

      To be fair I’ve heard, and read that the writing across the board improves significantly in the sequel. Though I had such a miserable time playing the first that I didn’t want to try any of the other games out.

      Thanks Mallow.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The whole UK are the rainy part of the UK xD Or to quote Asterix in Britain: “Is there always fog like this in Britain?” – “Oh my goodness, no. We have fog only when it isn’t raining.”

    Although, cliche aside, every time I have been over there the weather has been nothing but nice. But maybe I’m just easy to please weather-wise.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It depends. It’s nice when you’re inside, or when you’re hiking and there’s a light drizzle shortly before your destination. It’s not so nice when you’re out in the woods…in the dark…10 kilometres from the next warm place…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Man, I loved Nier:Automata, so I might have to see what you wrote about it to get a different perspective. It was definitely hyped up, especially when compared with the first game that got barely any press at all when it came out.

    I have to admit that Yahtzee is a very witty, entertaining guy. Even if I completely disagree with his opinions on JRPGs and on a lot of other subjects.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What I wrote in my bottom 5 of 2018 was the quick and snappy version of it. The biggest reason I didn’t enjoy the game was the story didn’t connect with me…at all. That is what the focus of the game was and that entirely missing for me was a big factor contributing to why I didn’t enjoy my time with it.

      There were a few other little things that bugged me more and more as I played through that didn’t help either. The world feels too large for how sparsely populated it is. That’s gotta be a stylistic decision to show how empty the world is with everyone being dead, but it also meant a lot of my time playing the game was down time where I was just running from point A to point B.

      The combat was also…lacking. I was expecting Bayonetta and it was Bayonetta-lyte. You have all the same base components of the Platinum combat system, but they were simplified down to a level where I spent most of the game just button mashing the exact same combo to destroy everything. As an additional piece of context for that: I played through both games on the same difficulty and found Bayonetta a lot more engaging due to the greater depth with the enemy attack patterns and available combos. Though that is like comparing an apple to and pineapple. Bayonetta was designed entirely around the combat system, while NieR was designed around its story. That’s entirely on me as I went in expecting a Platinum game and got…sort of a Platinum game.

      Unlike Uncharted I at least get why people like NieR though. It’s weird in a way that not a lot of other bigger budget games are allowed to be, the story covers subject matter that most companies wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot poll, and the Platinum-lyte combat is a much better experience than what was present in the previous games. It’s by no means a bad game, but I really didn’t like it.

      Yeah from reading a few of your posts now I get the feeling we wouldn’t agree much on Japanese games in general, but it’s always neat to read/listen to an opinion that differs from your own. Helps give you perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see your reasons for not liking NieR. The game is so story-centered that if it doesn’t connect, there’s not much left. It’s true that the city was sparse, but I liked the atmosphere that created. Though if the game were more realistically proportioned, I think the city would have to have been both larger and more densely populated with androids and especially machines. That was a thought I had when I was playing.

        And yeah, it would be boring to just read and talk to those who only share your opinions. I don’t know how people do it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dream Theater is awesome. “The Dance of Eternity” definitely remains one of my favorite songs – metal or otherwise.

    Surprisingly, you’re only the second person I asked this question to who replied no. I was beginning to think I was the only one around here who didn’t destroy a disc or cartridge at some point. I did once send a copy of Anubis II through a paper shredder, but I assure you that was not accidental.

    I think Kingdom Hearts is the objectively correct answer for video games. I remember hearing about the release of Kingdom Hearts 3 and my immediate reaction was “Didn’t they pass that number several years ago?” But no, it turns out the series have a truly ridiculous amount of spinoffs. Are they really all canon?

    Absolutely. The original Uncharted is a mediocre, style-over-substance game that doesn’t even feel like a finished product. The sequels improve on it somewhat, but I don’t think the series ever really became anything better than merely “good”. After having played six of their games, I think Naughty Dog’s biggest weakness is that they don’t really excel in any field. They’re decent writers, except any serious group seeking to create a story-heavy experience would leave them in the dust. The level designs are alright, but compared to what Nintendo pulls off with their own big-name franchises, it comes across as one-note – like you’re just tracing. The action sequences are pretty good, but they have little interactivity beyond making the next big thing happen. Their music is alright, but other than Uncharted’s title theme, the style doesn’t really stand out. Really, the only advantage they have over their competition is their stellar presentation, which doesn’t really give them much of a leg to stand on in the long term.

    The role-playing sports game is an entirely untapped market, I’d say. I may end up checking that one out in the future.

    I myself prefer subtitles for live-action films and I could go either way for animated stuff (in that case, it just boils down to which one is better).

    I managed to defeat the final boss of Metroid Prime 3 with only a tiny sliver of health left (I don’t know exactly how much because the number isn’t displayed in that fight).

    I think one of my failed attempts to get the invincibility cheat from Goldeneye, which involves going through an otherwise simple level in less than 2 minutes and 15 seconds, counts. It took me several tries to get it right.

    Dig-Dug is a classic. I myself really enjoy Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga, which were also made by Namco.

    From what I’ve heard, the U.K. can get pretty hot in the summer. I can imagine that would catch some people off-guard.

    Would you believe Yahtzee Croshaw was a big influence on me? Because he was, though I have to admit I haven’t really watched his content in a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man. That’s such a good song. A Nightmare to Remember is probably my favourite song from them, but Systematic Chaos is my favourite album overall.

      Oh really? Huh. That is surprising. Growing up my parents didn’t have a lot of money for games, so I always had to be extremely careful with them. If I broke them I wasn’t getting another one. That’ll tend to make one more careful when handling stuff.

      Ah ha. That’s such a weird final boss. It makes perfect sense in the context of the story, but…you’re battling a giant brain attached to a spine. I do like how that entire area of the game incorporates the phason mechanic that the rest of the game is built around. Of the prime games, Corruption had the best ending area + fights. Or at least I enjoyed them more than the Emperor Ing or Ridley + the Metroid Prime.

      We had both of those on the computer too. Dig-Dug was my favourite. Just something really fun about running around pumping guys full of air until they exploded into dust.

      I could see it. It’s always interesting to learn about what influences people have had. Though I’d say your work is written in a more serious tone than a lot of Yahtzee’s more recent stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kingdom Hearts was the correct answer for that question.
    I always enjoyed playing the Uncharted series, but I also totally understand when people say they’re overrated and poorly written. I don’t disagree, but I always just thought they were good fun.
    Thanks for the mention by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

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