Another Sunshine Blogger Award from AK of Everything is Bad for You

Well, AK from Everything is Bad for you has tagged me once again. Like last time, I suggest following his blog because he talks about a wide range of stuff. The fact that, in stark contrast to the gaming press, he actually acknowledges the indie scene counts for a lot. This time, he asked seven questions, so let’s get right down to it.

1) Have you played a game that was so immersive and compelling that you ended up feeling disconnected from the real world while playing it?  If so, what was it and what do you think drew you into its world?

The first game that springs to mind would be OneShot. Considering the sheer avant-garde nature of its narrative, anyone who gives it the time of day will be completely mesmerized by it. I know I was; it’s easily one of the most immersive, compelling story-heavy games out there. Not sure what I’m talking about? Guess you’ll just have to experience it for yourself, huh?

2) Is there a game that’s had a profound impact on you, either as a kid or as an adult?  What was that game and what influence do you think it’s had on you?

I’d say Undertale had a gigantic impact on me. It’s one of those games that really seemed light years ahead of what the AAA industry was doing at the time in terms of storytelling (or the films industry, for that matter). While the AAA industry attempted (in vain) to recreate what made Hollywood such a force way back when, Undertale made a very strong case that such an approach was unnecessary. Indeed, after playing it and the Zero Escape trilogy, I began to realize how behind the curve the walking simulator movement was. You see, those games along with OneShot have a real minimalistic approach. Walking simulators such as Gone Home, on the other hand, made the rookie mistake of throwing the baby out with the bathwater in their attempts to promote a minimalistic ethos. Knowing the difference is key to success in the indie scene.

3) Is there a game that you loved as a kid but that disappointed badly when you revisited it as an adult?  What do you think appealed to you about it then, and why do you think that appeal’s been lost?

Oh, that’s easy: Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures. As a kid, I loved its unique gameplay wherein you don’t really control the title character as much as you guide him through his world. I was especially amused by the sheer amount of ways in which he could get in trouble – many of these situations were unavoidable, in fact. However, nowadays, I realize just how poorly designed of a game it is. This was cemented when I saw a particularly amusing Let’s Play of it and I proceeded to watch the two players completely grasp at straws the entire time. To this day, I have no idea how I managed to complete it without a guide.

Another good example is King’s Quest V. Despite the fair amount of acclaim it received back in 1990, it really has not stood the test of time between its puzzles that don’t make any kind of diegetic sense (and others that lack plain old common sense) and its absolutely horrid voice acting. To be fair, it was one of the first games to feature full voice acting, though that doesn’t excuse Cedric.

4) How do you feel about the use of subtitles in games?  Would you want every game made in a foreign language to be dubbed into your native language if possible, or do you prefer subs?

When it comes to gaming specifically, I actually prefer it to be dubbed. I’ve always found the difference between languages to be a fascinating subject, and I enjoy seeing how translators deal with aspects that don’t otherwise translate well. If the option is available to me, I like to see what the original lines were whenever I suspect there was an invention for the dub. My views on anime are similar – I generally like them to be dubbed, though in both cases, I realize one set of voice actors are superior to the others. Which one it is tends to be on a case-by-case basis. Conversely, when it comes to live-action films, I always prefer subtitles because I like seeing the original performances as they were.

5) Have you ever sold a game, game console or handheld, accessory, or similar object that you later regretted selling?

Honesty? Not particularly. I kind of regret selling my copies of rare games such as Super Mario RPG, but I was able to get a majority of them back in the end, so it’s not too big of a loss.

6) With the dominance of Amazon and digital game markets, do you think brick-and-mortar game stores will be able to hang on for much longer?  If they can’t, will we lose anything meaningful as a result?

I have heard the argument that the potential loss of brick-and-mortar stores will deprive gamers of a chance for human interaction and that opportunity to espy an overlooked classic. Then again, that argument was made by Bob Chipman – an individual who I feel has a lot of problems with interaction and the art of negotiation.

To wit.

Therefore, I seriously question the validity of his argument. I find that while I did get into some interesting conversations with the clerks over the years (one even pointed me in the direction of Treasure of the Rudras, one of my favorite Square games when I mentioned Live A Live to him), I find randomly browsing the internet and hearing suggestions from you guys works just as well (I found out about OneShot through fanart). I do like getting physical media from the stores because I can check for damages, but if they disappear, then there’s not much anyone can do about that.

That said, I do think that there is a possibility that Amazon and digital game markets will overstep their boundaries, thus making brick-and-mortar stores relevant once more, so we’ll just have to stay tuned.

7) Your government approaches you with an offer: join its upcoming first manned mission to Mars.  You’ll receive a large salary, and if you have a family, they’ll be very well compensated.  If the mission is successful, you’ll be away from them for at least three or four years.  However, the mission is so dangerous that there’s a high chance (let’s say for the sake of the hypothetical 70%) that you will never return to Earth.  No matter what happens, you’ll be immortalized in history if you join this mission, and if you end up dead or stranded, your family would continue to receive a large pension.  Would you take them up on the offer?  (Assume also that you have skills that would be essential to such a mission, but that other experts would be equally able to perform the same functions, so the mission would still proceed if you decline to join.)

I do like the idea of interstellar travel (or traveling in general), but I think I would miss the Earth too much to risk a 70% chance of never being able to return. Guess I’ll just have to find some other way of obtaining notoriety, huh?

Here are the questions you get to answer:

  1. Have you ever been involved in an emergency situation (e.g. a burning building/an earthquake)?
  2. What is the worst film you’ve ever seen in theaters?
  3. What is the best film you’ve ever seen in theaters?
  4. What is the strangest method by which you discovered a work you enjoy?
  5. What do you feel is the greatest compilation of collected works in your collection (of games/films/music/books/etc.)?
  6. Have you ever re-experienced a work you enjoyed a long time ago only to determine it has not aged well?
  7. Have you ever re-experienced a work you hated (or were indifferent towards) a long time ago only to warm up to it?
  8. What is your favorite opening theme to a television show?
  9. Excluding Western comic books, what series with a single, ongoing narrative do you feel has (or had) gone on for far too long? In other words, I’m not counting shows or other forms of media with entirely self-contained episodes such as The Simpsons or anthological works such as The Twilight Zone with this question.
  10. Have you ever been invested in a series only to be heartbroken when it was cut short with no resolution?
  11. Do you prefer hardcover or paperback books?

Here’s who I’m going to tag this time:

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

  1. Thanks for the tag!

    That’s an interesting point you make about brick-and-mortar stores; there are definitely a plethora of ways to find out about games and “browse” online, but I find myself hoping that the physical stores don’t disappear. There is something about going to the store and being able to pick up and handle the product that I am considering buying that is satisfying to me, and even the search for a specific game can seem almost strategic. But the future of shopping will go the way it is going to go, I suppose, and we’ll just have to wait and see.

    Speaking of finding out about new games, I’ll have to look into OneShot now…

    Liked by 5 people

    • I stand by what I said because I’d argue that we will find some way to adapt regardless of what happens. You are correct in that being able to inspect items before buying them helps a lot, though.

      Either way, you’re welcome. Hope you enjoy answering these questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the tag! Looking forward to going through your questions.

    When discussing the sense of impending doom around brick and mortar stores it’s impossible not to think of GameStop. I used to love going retro game hunting there, but the excitement was more from searching itself than the actual games it seems. I have come across more recommendations and hidden gems from other across the internet than…you know, direct interaction. YouTube has definitely been an influence as well.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You’re welcome! I know I had fun answering AK’s.

      Unlike other brick-and-mortar stores, GameStop really brought a lot of their own misfortunes upon themselves. By having policies that were so actively hostile to their clientele (both normal customers and game creators), their current situation is like a person smashing the windows of their house out of boredom only to complain now that monsoon season is rolling in. Bob Chipman really likes to dispense advice that he himself does not take, and while hypocrites can provide good points, it’s difficult to take what he has to say seriously half the time when he radically changes his stance so often (indeed, in an older video, he called upon his viewers to boycott GameStop). Really, there is no one true way to find out about works; you just have to pay attention to the world around you – both the physical and digital plane.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy answering these questions. I’m actually kind of surprised I didn’t ask some of them in earlier tags. I thought for sure I would end up repeating at least one by this point.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fascinating set of questions! I love that it’s gaming-oriented. I’m much more into triple-A titles today but used to play a bunch of Nintendo (Gameboy) and PS1 games and hadn’t had my hands on any the older gen consoles to play classic titles. But wow… That Pac-Man 2 game… I don’t think it would’ve been too appreciated today though hahah I would’ve seen it as an attempt to make more money off a franchise! Great answers nonetheless! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! And yeah, AK certainly asked a lot of interesting questions, that’s for sure. I like to think of my gaming patterns as a sinewave and AAA titles as a straight line. On occasion, what I play ends up intersecting with the mainstream, but in other cases, I’m off doing my own thing. And yes, Pac-Man 2 is total garbage. I enjoyed it back in the day, but I can’t lie to myself – it’s one of the worst games I played as a kid.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OneShot really was an excellent game with an interesting world. I’d say what I thought of it, but you’re right — don’t want to spoil any potential players.

    I’d say the same for Undertale. I’m happy I played it before the weird fandom really got rolling and started putting people off of the game. Not that Toby Fox can be blamed for that. I still love the soundtrack as well. As far as walking simulators are concerned, I always felt like they were missing the point. If a game doesn’t have any meaningful gameplay to it, the exploration element doesn’t work for me because there’s no point to exploring anything, which is not at all the case with OneShot or Undertale.

    Cedric was sure as hell annoying. I don’t watch LPs anymore, but the Retsupurae guys on Youtube did a great playthrough of King’s Quest V years ago and really took off on the game; it was like watching an MST3K treatment of it.

    In the subs vs. dubs war, I’ll usually take the subs side, but there are some English VAs I really like and a few series that I’ll play dubbed every time, like Disgaea. When it comes to anime, I pretty much go subs only. I’m sure it’s true that some lines are difficult to translate, though; some concepts expressed by phrases like “it can’t be helped” probably can’t be translated in a one-to-one way because of cultural differences.

    I know I called myself misanthropic in my own post, but damn, Bob Chipman deserves that adjective way more than I do if he’s going to call most of his fellow humans psychotic apes. I get you have a bad day sometimes, but still. It will be interesting to see what Gamestop and other chains outside the US do to try to hang on beyond increasing their stocks of Funko Pops I couldn’t give less of a damn about. I kind of hope Amazon does overstep its boundaries as you say, because they’re way too dominant.

    You make a good point about that Mars mission. A 70% failure rate might have been too high, but I figure it would probably be realistic. There are days when I’d jump at that opportunity, though if I ever have kids I might change my mind. I was in a mood when I wrote that question, that “I’d like to leave Earth and wouldn’t mind if I never come back” kind of mood, but those moods don’t usually last very long.

    Thanks for your insightful answers, as always.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Indeed it was. And I think I’ll follow your example.

      Honestly, just like hype, I don’t let obnoxious fandoms ruin something for me because, quite frankly, I don’t want to give them the pleasure of altering my opinion. Besides, as bad as they get, they were the reason I found out about Undertale the first place. That right there puts them light years ahead of A24 fans in terms of usefulness.

      I’d say what trips up developers of walking simulators is that there’s a fine line between minimalism and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. You have to realize that, as strange as certain aspects of gaming seem, they can enhance a narrative. An openly cynical product such as Gone Home can’t possibly grasp the medium’s latent storytelling potential.

      The game may be nearing its 30-year anniversary, but Cedric’s annoyance is the stuff of legends, huh? I myself had a lot of fun watching Paw Dugan’s LP of the game, though the Retsupurae take was great as well.

      I don’t really have a preference, and I tend to take it on a case-by-case basis, though I will say for live-action films, it’s subs or nothing for me.

      That’s why I didn’t take you seriously when you called yourself misanthropic. Sorry, but Bob Chipman is in a league of his own in that regard. He is basically the Gen-X equivalent of Owen Gleiberman with his openly antagonistic relationship with his audience and inability to accept differing opinions of a work. In about two decades, he’s going to have the exact same out-of-touch mindset. Hell, he’s basically a misanthropic curmudgeon already – at age 38, no less. That he’s considered a legitimate critic according to Rotten Tomatoes suggests to me that the standards have slackened quite a bit over the years. The other part that gets me about him is that he is a massive hypocrite. Earlier in this decade, he was calling upon his audience to boycott GameStop. Now that things aren’t looking so good for them, he’s quick to rush to their defense, saying that the people celebrating their inevitable demise are wrong now. I can appreciate changing your mind about a subject ( I’ve done it myself with my stance on gaming criticism), but there’s a difference between evolving your viewpoints and being a perpetual contrarian, and Chipman shamelessly careens into the latter camp every time (he’s another person who would rather get a root canal without anesthetic than ever admit the masses are correct).

      Anyway. GameStop. Although I can imagine brick-and-mortar stores going out of business will be a shame, I think in GameStop’s case, they brought 100% of their misfortunes upon themselves. They were so openly hostile to everyone they did business (customers, employees, and developers) that they effectively spent the 2010s digging their own grave and didn’t realize it until recently. There’s not much that can be done if other stores follow suit except appreciate them now.

      And yes, I think that’s a fair assessment; I actually imagine the failure rate being quite a bit higher than that, but I wouldn’t be willing to risk a 70% chance for that. My attachment to this planet is a little too strong for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d really like to say I wouldn’t let bad fanbases ruin games for me. For example, it grates on me when people claim the Sonic series has “never been good” — personal tastes aside, nobody can deny how much thought and craft went into the classic Sonic games, yet people want to dump on them just because of the obsessive fanbase. I still love those games, I don’t care how weird the fanbase is.

        While there have been a couple of walking simulators that played with interesting concepts, I always felt unsatisfied by them in the end. You’re right that minimalism can only go so far and still be effective. I haven’t played Gone Home, though. Sounds like a slog based on what you’ve said about it.

        Yeah, when I called myself a misanthrope, I guess I wasn’t being totally serious. Chipman, though. I really don’t understand making a career out of writing and looking down on your readers at the same time for being a bunch of dumb plebs, as if you’re a prophet of God or something. Wouldn’t it be better for you to try to actually lord it over the masses with real power if you’re that sort of person? Maybe it’s better if such people just spend their time writing snobby reviews so they can’t do any more damage than necessary. I got a similar vibe from Yahtzee Croshaw — he’s a clever guy, but I never felt so attacked for liking the games I like as when I’ve watched a few of his reviews (though he agrees with me that Thief II is a great game, so he gets one point from me at least.)

        I’ve heard the horror stories from Gamestop employees about being forced to shill those preorders and memberships. The management only has itself to blame for Gamestop’s impending failure for sure. Not sure how they don’t go the way of Blockbuster at this point unless they just convert into a full-scale “nerdy” gift shop, and even then they’d have to compete with Amazon.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I can’t possibly agree with the assessment that Sonic was never good. Even if the character was clearly a product of the early 1990s, there was a lot of great level design that went into the first three Genesis titles.

          Remove all of the things you liked about the walking simulators you played and magnify what left you unsatisfied, and you’ve got Gone Home right there.

          There’s a world of difference between a legitimate critic and a person who gets paid to fanboy/fangirl (or Stan, if you will) and figures like Bob Chipman fall squarely in the latter camp. He does tend to write in ways that doesn’t give his audience enough credit – as though he is the only one who observed these subtle details when, in most cases, they’re smarter than that. I do think that Yahtzee isn’t as bad if only because he is a little more consistent and doesn’t actively hate on his audience, but that someone who freely and proudly admits to being a misanthrope being considered an authority on anything really speaks to the low standards we’re working with. Sadly, he’s still leaps and bounds over the average modern film critic if only because I actually found his opinions useful once in a blue moon. For what it’s worth, he did introduce me to Dark Souls and Papers, Please, though his actual reviews didn’t sell me on them. Both are case studies in why it’s important to keep your ego in check, though Yahtzee at least has the courtesy to back away from a bad situation whereas Bob Chipman has absolutely no filter.

          I personally witnessed GameStop go from a great business to a predatory one, and I can believe that working for them was not fun. One could argue they’re a source of human interaction, but in all honesty, I barely ever got any meaningful interactions out of going there.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on your well-deserved award! And thank you for the nomination. I’ll have to give some thought to your fab questions.

    As for travelling to Mars, I’m with you. As exciting as such a trip would be, I would miss earth far too much.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! And yes, I tried to make these questions as broad as possible because I know I have quite a variety in my audience. Hope you enjoy answering them!

      Glad you agree with my Mars answer. I would be ecstatic about interstellar travel, but only if my survival was about as guaranteed as it is on the average plane trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats and thanks for the tag. It’s been a while since I had one of these although i think I’ve probably tagged everyone I know already! I’ll certainly give your questions some consideration though! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I saw this yesterday- and I didn’t have a chance to comment but I enjoyed reading this! There’s a few games here I think we’ve talked about before but I’ll have to see if I can track down. And thank you for the tag!

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. Oh, that Pac-Man 2, that hits home. I remembered having a great time with that when a friend rented it as a cub. And then I bought it as an adult, thinking I’d have the same great time with it. Oh my no, it wasn’t good at all. A pain to play at every level.

    Strangely, the whole meta aspect of OneShot kept me more grounded in the real world, less immersed than I likely would have been otherwise. I absolutely loved what it was doing and I don’t think it’s a flaw in the game, but the whole aspect of “You are really you interacting with this world through your computer” served to anchor me firmly in reality while I was playing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Same here. I actually owned the game as a kid, and while I still liked it for a long time, when I watched a Let’s Play of it, I realized it was basically the Japanese King’s Quest V in terms of absurd, user-hostile design.

      That’s a very good point. That important pieces of information would appear on your own computer is something that made me feel as though I was in the game’s world even as I was going searching through reality to find them. I’ve seen a few works of fiction pull of the “nothing is real” trope, but OneShot outdid them all.

      Liked by 1 person

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  14. I don’t mind subtitled games. The cost saving of not hiring English language voice actors means that it’s more likely a game will be brought over to the west. It depends on the genre though. I played a bullet hell shooter once and had to ignore the dialog, because I couldn’t afford to divert my attention from the action to the text.

    Based on what I see at my local high street, digital stores are hurting brick and mortar ones. Being able to download stuff is convenient and digital sales tend to be more generous. I don’t think physical game stores will vanish, but they will be less common. Even if I buy a lot of stuff digitally I don’t want physical copies to disappear. A disc version is more permanent than an online game that can be taken down at any time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s fair enough; if they need to save money by not dubbing it into English, so be it.

      And you’re right; I don’t see brick-and-mortar stores dying outright, and I definitely prefer having the option between digital and physical copies, though I think Nintendo and GOG have been good when it comes to digital copies because you don’t need to be on the internet to use them.

      Liked by 1 person

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