Well, for the second month in a row, I’m proud to announce that I’ve been nominated with another one of these blogger awards. I had a lot of fun doing the last one, so I’ll be happy to do this one as well. This time, I was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award by Athena from AmbiGaming, who runs a very well-thought out blog delving into the themes of her favorite games, asking hard-hitting questions few others in the gaming sphere have the courage to ask.
The award’s name is decidedly apt seeing as how…
“The Sunshine Blogger Award is a peer recognition for bloggers that inspire positivity, joy, warmth, and any other emotions you feel when you think about the sun.”
- Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
- Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
- Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
- List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
“If you could change one thing about AAA gaming, what would it be?”
A lot of people probably want me to answer microtransactions or any number of transparent, greedy cash-grabs on AAA publishers’ parts. While those trends are indeed awful and should be excised from the medium posthaste, they don’t tend to show up in games actually worth playing, and therefore, I would argue it wouldn’t improve the status quo substantially in the long run. A lot of people use it for an argument for how gaming as a whole has declined in the past decade, but in reality, it’s no different than those companies issuing horrible games bearing famous licenses. The greed was always there – it just manifests in a different way. If anything, we’re better off now because the internet allowed people to become savvier with the AAA industry’s shady tactics.
Instead, the one thing I would change about AAA gaming is the nihilistic tone many mainstream releases take. I think a lot of artists, Naughty Dog in particular, want to recapture what made the New Hollywood era such a force to be reckoned with and translate it into games. However, the anti-heroes that plague AAA gaming don’t come across as analogues from that New Hollywood era; they come across as analogues from the Dark Age of Comic Books. It really makes certain games grating to get through. Why would anybody help these horribly unlikable characters meet their goals? What’s the point of trying to win a game when the world is beyond salvaging? More importantly, it’s a pointless effort because a lot of those classic moments needed a certain something to make them what they are – and I would argue that certain something is forever lost. That’s not a bad thing; gaming just needs to forge its own path rather than walk the road they have no idea how to navigate.
“Do you think pineapple belongs on pizza?”
If anchovies can, I don’t see why pineapples couldn’t either.
“Is there an article on your site that you would write differently, knowing what you know now? Which one?”
A lot of my early reviews really aren’t that good; I barely go into any detail for a lot of them, and I don’t walk through my opinions particularly well. One off the top of my head is my BioShock: Infinite review. I originally gave it a 9/10 and argued it was one of the best games of the decade and that Ken Levine is one of the best writers in the medium. Looking back, it was just merely an ordinary enjoyable game with vaguely better-than-normal writing. In a lot of ways, it’s like The Last of Us in that it really benefitted from the fact that its competition when it comes to storytelling didn’t quite inject themselves into the mainstream, making it easy to ignore them and declare Bioshock: Infinite the best of the best. If you want a game that tackles similar themes in a much more thorough way, try Virtue’s Last Reward.
“What’s the weather like near you today?”
It’s been pretty sunny the last few days around 65°F. I think the worst of the cold weather is done for the season.
“Do you like pancakes or waffles better?”
I’d say I like pancakes slightly better, but waffles are pretty cool too.
“Is there anything about your gaming hobby/habits that you don’t like?”
The long load times big-budget games tend to get saddled with tend to make me not want to get into them in favor of 3DS or Switch games that load in a matter of seconds. If I’m sufficiently invested, this doesn’t make a difference, but if I’m still not to the point where it’s good, there’s a chance I won’t see it through. As a result, I find my gaming habits to be somewhat unpredictable, and that can get annoying.
“Do you have a preference between JRPGs and Western RPGs?”
I prefer JRPGs over Western RPGs. Narratives tend to be stronger when the protagonist is an actual character rather than a custom-made avatar. Indeed, one of the many reasons Planescape: Torment is my favorite Western RPG is because it has a protagonist with a substantial background.
Also, I like the more turn-based combat over the real-time combat Western RPGs usually have because they’re more intuitive and have greater potential for boss battles. For whatever reason, Western game developers aren’t as good as their Japanese counterparts when it comes to designing boss fights. Some of the only exceptions have been when Western developers are working with a Japanese franchise (Metroid Prime) or when they’re imitating the style of a Japanese genre (Undertale).
“When does an open-world game begin to suffer from open-world bloat?”
An open-world game begins to suffer from open-world bloat when you find yourself with the ability to go anywhere and do anything, but no clear idea on which goal to tackle first, thus ensuring that you do nothing at all. Alternatively, it suffers from that problem when you’re ten hours in and have completed several objectives only for you to realize the plot has not budged an inch. Knowing how to have a good sense of pacing certainly helps.
“What is the most memorable line of dialogue in a game?”
This is quite a difficult one considering how many games I’ve completed, but the first one that sprung to mind was “A puppet that can no longer be used is mere garbage. This puppet’s role has just ended.” Anyone who has played the game will know which one it is.
“Quick! You have 3 seconds to grab one game from your collection. Which one to do you grab and why?”
I’d grab Persona 4 because it’s one of my all-time favorites. Indeed, it was the first game I thought of when asked that question.
“Do you collect anything? What is it?”
Other than the obvious, I’ve been amassing a film collection. I’ve taken to watching classic films at home, and I want to keep my favorites in a collection – especially ones I feel get something out of being watched a second or third time.
Mr. Panda from Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews – I’ve always enjoyed reading his reviews of Nintendo games. Recently, he reviewed a walking simulator that, in stark defiance of nearly every console game made after 1995, doesn’t allow players to save. Also, it crashes a lot.
The3rdPlayer from 3PStart – An old-school gaming reviewer who has been writing an interesting retrospective of the Phantasy Star series lately. Currently up to the third installment, and certainly worth looking into.
The Otaku Judge – He reviews practically everything that catches his attention whether it’s anime series, films, or video games. His was one of the first blogs I began following, and his opinions are always fun to read. Recently wrote a review of the good Thor: Ragnarok.
Nick the Gent from Deconstructing Video Games – Like Athena, I really admire his ability to truly delve into the games he plays. At the end of last year, he wrote a solid piece on the classic console FPS, Goldeneye to celebrate its 20th year anniversary.
- To prove the artistic merits of the medium to a skeptic, which game would you choose to demo to them?
- Gaming’s critical circle is pretty dire if you ask me. What piece of advice would you give to them so they could improve?
- What was your first gaming console?
- Do you prefer 2D or 3D games?
- What is your favorite graphic novel/manga?
- What was the first album you ever purchased for yourself?
- What is your favorite album few people in your social circle have heard of?
- What is your favorite decade in music?
- Do you tend to get a lot of snacks at the theater?
- Which film do you think lived up to the unanimous critical acclaim it received?
- Which film do you think utterly failed to live up to the hype?
Thank you once again, Athena for the nomination! I’ll look forward to seeing how my nominees will answer these questions.