Sunshine Blogger Award from AK of Everything is Bad for You

I have been tagged once more with a Sunshine Blogger Award. This time, it is from AK, who runs a blog called Everything is Bad for You. It’s an amusing blog that manages to highlight many games I grew up with. Plus, unlike the gaming press, he actually acknowledges what indie games have accomplished in the last few years. Anyway, he asked eleven questions, so here are my answers to them.

  1. Do you have a favorite game composer? If so, who is it?

I have quite a few. Nobuo Uematsu was arguably the first one to really evoke emotions in gaming with his scores and Koji Kondo’s compositions are some of the most memorable in the history of the medium. Then, of course, there’s the super-talented Toby Fox. Not content with having made Undertale, which is one of the greatest story-heavy games of all time, he had to go and write his own music as well – and he was incredibly good at it. However, for the purpose of this question, I think I’ll give an unsung hero the spotlight: Motoi Sakuraba. He is most famous for having scored Golden Sun and its sequel; his grand style grabs your attention like nothing else. Despite having a trademark sound, he has proven to be extremely versatile over the years, scoring games such as Dark Souls, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (along with Yuzo Koshiro, Michiru Yamane, Keiki Kobayashi, and Takeshi Yanagawa), and Mario Golf. Most composers are limited to a certain genre. Not Mr. Sakuraba – he’s the kind of composer who can easily make a surprise appearance in the closing credits.

  1. Same question as above, but for game artists/art directors.

There are plenty of great artists out there, though I think I would go with Yoshitaka Amano. He is definitely one of those artists where, even if you don’t know him by name, chances are good you will recognize his work. Most fans know him best as the artist behind the early Final Fantasy installments, though he is extremely prolific, having collaborated with Neil Gaiman for the famed author’s novella, The Sandman: The Dream Hunters. Mr. Amano’s style is one of the most unique out there. It’s almost what you would get if you crossed Western comic book styles with manga styles. I can imagine he played a major role in moving copies of the early Final Fantasy series given how important it was to have good (or at least eye-catching box art at the time).

  1. Is there a character you’ve encountered in a game that annoyed you immediately? If so, did that character grow on you over time, or do you still dislike them?

Bubsy, though I’m not sure if it’s a result of his personality or because his games are so consistently terrible. If we’re taking gameplay out of the equation, I’m going to have to pick the single worst character from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and, by extension, the entire franchise: Ghirahim.

He is the most annoying character I’ve ever encountered in a video game – and this is coming from someone who has played Earthbound, thus being subjected to Porky Minch. To be fair, it’s a pretty close call between the two characters as to which one I find worse, but Porky does have a somewhat timeless quality to his annoyance (for whatever that’s worth) and inspired the creation of a much better character (Blue from Pokémon) whereas Ghirahim is very much a product of that “hey, let’s just have our villains spew meme fodder to appeal to the ‘haha random’ crowd and worry about giving them an actual personality or interesting motives an extremely distant second” zeitgeist that was completely inescapable back in the early 2010s (2011 in particular seemed to spawn a lot of villains like him for some reason). Being so patently one-dimensional, he never grew on me, not even having a vague change of doing so.

He’s also disappointing from a meta standpoint because I can’t help but feel he is a result of Nintendo’s ill-advised attempts to remain relevant when Breath of the Wild proved there was never a point in gaming history in which they weren’t relevant. Alternatively, it’s just bad timing, but the end result is the same – the single worst character they ever created.

  1. If you could own any vehicle from a game, which one would you own, and would it be a practical form of transportation?

I’d go with the Epoch from Chrono Trigger. Who wouldn’t want a time-traveling aircraft? Shortsighted fools – that’s the answer. Even if it couldn’t travel through time, it’s still a fast mode of transportation, so it’s very versatile.

  1. How do you feel about contributing to crowdfunding campaigns for games and other works?

Like most investments, they’re something of a gamble. When they have a good payoff, such was the case with Shovel Knight or Undertale, it can lead to a sense of personal satisfaction, contributing to the creation of something great. Otherwise, you’ve just wasted your money. Still, as long as the person behind the campaign has the talent, there is something to be said for putting oneself out there.

  1. Reversing a question I was asked – what movie would you want to see adapted into game form?

I’d really like to see John Wick adapted into a video game. I think one could make an excellent first-person shooter out of it. I also feel its show-don’t-tell method of storytelling would work really well in this medium.

  1. Do you buy physical copies of games? How important is it to you that the publisher releases a physical copy of a game, or does it matter at all?

I tend to buy physical copies of games if it’s for a home console (or if I know it’s bad/mediocre and want to sell it after I review it). For the PC or portable consoles, I tend to favor digital copies because then all I have to do is click on the icon. It helps that you don’t have to be connected to the internet to make digital copies work on portable consoles such as the Switch or 3DS, though I can see why people prefer physical copies.

  1. If you could have dinner with/hang out with any one main cast of characters from a game, which one would it be?

I think I’d go with Yu Narukami from Persona 4. The guy’s got a cool head on his shoulders and his unapologetic idealism is quite infectious.

  1. How important are a game’s story, characters, and overall message to you when weighed against the quality of its gameplay?

It depends on how story-heavy the experience is. There have been plenty of instances in which I played through a game of middling quality just because the story was just that good. Planescape: Torment has the be the premier example of that, having a very tacked-on combat system, but boasting one of the greatest stories in any medium. Having said that, I can also say that there have been plenty of instances in which a game’s story ended on a sour note and thus ruined the entire experience for me despite having solid gameplay. System Shock 2 is the best example – had it not been for its ending, I would’ve given it a passing grade for sure. I’ve remarked in the past that story-heavy games in general are a tricky proposition because if the story falls flat, the gameplay, no matter how good it is, can’t make up for such a slight, and it’s a position I still stand by.

  1. If you were exiled to a desert island and could only bring one game console with you, which one would it be? Not counting the PC – you’re allowed to have a PC on the desert island. You also have access to power sources.  This is a really convenient desert island, isn’t it?

Considering that the Switch has a majority of my favorite console-exclusive games from this generation, that’s what I’d go with. Not only that, but they’ve been a massive boon to indie gaming. Nintendo has kind of the video game equivalent of A24 lately (well, A24 if they had actual respect for their audience).

  1. How much money do you think you’d get for your entire game collection in Gamestop in-store credit? (This one might not be comprehensible to people outside the US. If you’re not familiar with Gamestop, look up “gamestop in-store credit” on Google and you’ll see why I’m asking this question.)

I have to admit a majority of my games are digital copies, but considering that I have at least one-hundred physical copies of games, I’m going to estimate I would get a whole dollar out of it – maybe ten if they’re feeling generous. I tend to sell stuff on eBay instead; it’s more work, but you can get more money out of trading games that way. I’d say my craziest accomplishment doing this was when I actually managed to sell my copy of Ride to Hell: Retribution for $7. There’s no way I could’ve pulled that off at GameStop. The best part? I even straight-up said the game was hilariously bad in the item description.

My questions are as follows:

  1. What do you feel is the ideal length for a studio album (or LP)?
  2. Have you ever accidentally rendered a physical copy of a game/film/album unplayable?
  3. What series do you feel has a confusing naming convention?
  4. What critical darling do you feel completely failed to live up to the hype?
  5. Which work do you feel should have deserved more attention?
  6. Do you prefer a foreign work to be subtitled or dubbed in your language?
  7. 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)?
  8. Can you remember an instance in which you got completely robbed playing a game?
  9. What is your favorite arcade game?
  10. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  11. What critics (in any medium) do you find to actually be reputable?

The owners of the following blogs are hereby tagged:

50 thoughts on “Sunshine Blogger Award from AK of Everything is Bad for You

  1. Thanks for the tag! I haven’t played most of these games, but I love the question about GameStop. I’d probably get about 50 cents for my collection. 😂

    I also prefer physical copies for my consoles and I’m pretty surprised their isn’t a John Wick game out? Seems like something that would lend itself well to game format!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re welcome! So, you have fifty physical copies, I’m guessing?

      Yeah, for consoles I prefer physical copies because your game collection is always going to be there. It’s pretty annoying being on the road and either having to tote a card case or realizing you just flat out don’t have the cards in the first place. And yeah, I myself am surprised there’s no John Wick game; it would be a very easy conversion. There is a VR John Wick game, and he is playable in Payday 2 from what I’ve heard. Otherwise, there’s apparently a game called John Wick Hex that was announced recently, though it’s surprisingly going to be a timeline strategy game rather than a first-person shooter as I would have suspected.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm- odd choice for John Wick I would think. Although I haven’t watched the movie, it definitely looks like a shooter.

        And I actually have more than 50, but maybe only 20 of them are for a console they’d actually buy (PS4), maybe 3DS… most of them are PS3 games, which I’m guessing are utterly worthless to GameStop now. They are so bad.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 100% agree with your Ghirahim answer – I feel like Zelda has had its fair share of annoying characters, but I found Skyward Sword particularly bad. Ghirahim, Fi, and the 95 fights against the Imprisoned made me put the game down and never come back to it. Also, physical copies for life!
    Thanks very much for the tag! Looking forward to answering your questions!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ah good, I’m glad someone out there agrees. A lot of people say he’s one of the greatest villains in the franchise, but that mostly comes from the aforementioned “lol random” crowd, so I find the consensus untrustworthy. I do think Skyward Sword is an above-average experience, but its main problem is that it never settles for being passively not good. Whenever the experience isn’t good, it’s actively bad. In a lot of ways, that does make it a more frustrating game than one that’s consistently mediocre/bad because you know a talented team is behind it – they just couldn’t make the ideas work. I will say that of the 3D console Zelda games, it has aged very poorly.

      Hope you enjoy answering these questions!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the tag. Recently did one of these, so I’ll respond to your questions in…time.

    Good choice on the epoch. As you said even without the time travel you’d still be in possession of an incredibly fast transportation method.

    I must admit…I was surprised you didn’t go with Fi when you mentioned Skyward Sword. But I suppose I’d accept an argument that she isn’t a character because she barely demonstrates any semblance of a personality over the entire course of the game.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ah, I hope you end up enjoying answering these questions.

      Yup, that’s why I chose it; it’s a win either way.

      Actually, that is precisely why I find Ghirahim more annoying. I find whenever people criticize Fi, they tend to go about doing so in a way that doesn’t grasp the true issue. You see, Fi’s worst tendencies are symptoms of the game’s poor design and narrative choices. It is exceptionally irritating that you’re not allowed to go anywhere except where the plot tells you, and Fi’s dialogue is how that obnoxiously linear design is enforced. As it stands, 75% of her dialogue is gameplay-related, meaning she barely gets a chance to be a character at all. When the narrative actually allows her to be a character, she is actually quite endearing. The problem is that because she barely gets a chance to be a character, she lacks a definable arc. The vague semblance of an arc is there, but it doesn’t get a chance to develop organically due to the mechanical nature of the game. Ghirahim, on the other hand, is a character who would’ve been completely insufferable regardless of how the game turned out, so I have far more contempt for him than I do Fi. I’m also inclined to cut Fi a little bit of slack because as bad as she gets, she isn’t nearly as annoying as Linebeck from Phantom Hourglass. If we’re talking about annoying sidekicks, Linebeck is the quintessential example; I’d even go as far as saying he’s worse than Cedric from King’s Quest V.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I anticipate I will. I’ve already got my wheels turning on some of them.

        Very well made point. I’ve almost wiped the entirety of the DS Zelda games from my memory so I’ll take your word on Linebeck. I do wish Nintendo found a better balance for accessibility without being patronizing when it comes to Zelda games. 😐

        Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked reading this post! People may debate over whether or not the Golden Sun games have aged well, but the quality of the soundtrack cannot be denied. Hope you enjoy answering these questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Uematsu is definitely one of my favorite composers. I guess I have to say my absolute favorite game composer is Shoji Meguro, though. His soundtracks are one of the best aspects of the Persona series and other Megaten games, though someone else has taken the reins with the mainline series since IV.

    As far as artists go, I really like Kazuma Kaneko and Mel Kishida. Takehito Harada, the guy who does the art and character designs for the Disgaea games and spinoffs, is my favorite in that category. Amano is great too; his style is unmistakable. I always see his giant Final Fantasy artbook when I’m at the bookstore (on the rare occasions I still go there, I guess.) Tempted to get it.

    The whole crowdfunding scene is interesting to me. There have been a few great titles to come out of it, as you point out, but it also brought us great disappointments. I much prefer Patreon to Kickstarter – the monthly subscription setup means that creators have to stay on the ball and be communicative, otherwise they’ll lose support. There’s one guy in particular I’m thinking of, but I probably don’t need to mention his name.

    John Wick is a good choice for a movie-to-game adaptation; it’s the kind of movie that might actually work as a game without too much tweaking. There aren’t too many movie games that are good, but there are certainly more of those than there are good game-to-movie adaptations. And now gamers everywhere love Keanu Reeves even more after his presentation at E3.

    I think the P4 protagonist would make for some great conversation over dinner (maybe over two of those Meat Dimension bowls you can get in the game?) Funny since he’s mostly a silent protagonist, but I love the weird dialogue options you can select for him when the game gives you the chance.

    You make a good point about story-heavy games. Most people can’t just write an amazing, captivating plot that easily, much less implement it in a format that could make storytelling awkward or difficult. I think this is especially a problem for visual novels, though. if your story isn’t excellent, you’ve really got nothing left, and some VNs just aren’t worth playing for that reason. Even an RPG with a predictable plot and stereotypes for characters can be fun if it has an especially good battle system, but no such luck with VNs. Though I guess it’s debatable how much a straightforward VN counts as a game.

    Managing to get someone to take Ride to Hell from you in exchange for any money at all is an achievement. How they could release the game in such an unplayable state I have no idea. Maybe there was a hard deadline and a contractual obligation to put something out, or maybe they’re just jerks.

    Very interesting answers, thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, that’s the thing with these kinds of questions; I pick a good one only to kick myself later when realize I didn’t consider a different obvious answer when it’s brought up. One cannot deny that there are a lot of talented composers in this medium. I like to joke that anyone who claims there is no good music isn’t a gamer, though that may not actually be far from the truth.

      I haven’t played any Disgaea games, but I definitely agree it has a great art style. Another one I like is
      Yoji Shinkawa, the lead artist of the Metal Gear franchise.

      Is it Keiji Inafune? Anyway, I myself am pretty neutral on the subject. It can be used for good or for bad – much like any other system. It’s a shame when they don’t deliver, but at the same time, it’s not like those who took the money and ran robbed them at gunpoint (not that it excuses them for it).

      Yeah, John Wick is like watching an expert zoom through Goldeneye; it’s memorizing. Anyone who thinks there wasn’t greed and rampant corruption in the gaming industry back in the 1980s is clearly looking upon that decade with rose-tinted glasses. There were plenty of developers using big-name franchises to scam kids out of money, and for want of a strong critical circle, nothing could stop them. I can, at the very least, say Detective Pikachu was surprisingly decent, but otherwise, you’re right. It’s really difficult to translate a medium that requires human interaction into one that doesn’t. Successful examples seem to either take place in a large universe or tell a story in a way that doesn’t even bother to replicate what makes the games so good.

      Yu does speak in the animated adaptation, but otherwise, I actually find certain silent protagonists have more interesting characters than ones with real dialogue (Frisk from Undertale being a great example).

      Yeah, I find whenever the Western AAA industry tries to write a story-heavy game, there’s a real left hand vs. right hand thing going on. Naughty Dog’s games in particular seem to be written in a way that assumes filmmaking tropes will translate to games 100% of the time. As a result, I’ve found them (and any similar developer) to be rather inconsistent. If the story falls flat under those circumstances, that’s it; there’s no fallback plan. Then again, I also dinged games such as Tri Force Heroes and Yoshi’s Story for having stupid plots despite gameplay being the main focus in both.

      I was completely stunned that I sold it for $7. Again, I didn’t even try to hide the fact that it was bad, using words “hilariously bad” in the description. As for your speculations on what they were thinking, I’m just going to say “yes”.

      You’re welcome! You asked some interesting questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel like everything in life is telling me to get a Switch, Even without one, I’m certain that with it *and* a PC on that deserted island, you’d never need to bother with humanity ever again.

    Thanks for the inclusion here. I will do my best to reply in due course!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’d say of the console-exclusive games of this generation, the Switch has the best ones. Plus, it really has really helped the indie scene blossom in the last few years.

      You’re welcome! Hope you like answering these questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The joys of being tagged. | Comma Eight Comma One

    • Indeed he is. I find the only people who tolerate him these days are those who grew up with his games. Anyone else rightly dismisses him. How his series got a revival when other good ones struggle to get a second look is truly beyond me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: June 2019 in Summary: Midyear Mayhem | Extra Life

  8. Hey, thanks for the nomination! I always appreciate you pitching some more good, easy discussion my way.

    AK nominated me as well, so I’ll keep my discussion on these points pretty brief, but I have to admit, Yu Narukami would make a pretty good buddy for just hanging out with. He’s an expert at that. Just helping you talk through whatever challenges you’re going through, quietly supporting you through some good personal growth, all the while just being so cool you pick up some of that by osmosis, that’d be the life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! I myself enjoy doing these tags because it gets me thinking about topics I wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

      Yu is awesome; he’s level-headed, a great cook, and an overall cool dude. What’s not to like?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Sunshine Blogger v3.00 | Lost to the Aether

  10. Pingback: Indie darlings: just not getting it – Later Levels

  11. Pingback: Monthly Maunder: July 2019 – Recollections of Play

  12. Pingback: Sunshine Blogger Round 2 – Electric Boogaloo – Frostilyte's Blog

  13. Pingback: Super Sunshine Blogger Award! – The Brink of Gaming

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.