Real Neat Blogger Award from Frostilyte

I’ve been tagged twice in the same week! This time, the responsible party is Frostilyte, who runs a blog of the same name. It’s really worth checking out, I’d say – especially if you’re into gaming. This time, I’ve been tagged with the Real Neat Blogger Award. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s basically the Sunshine Blogger Award except not. I say that because I was asked seven questions all the same, so let’s jump right in.

1) What is a game coming out in 2020 that you’re excited for?

Truth be told, I tend to take games as they come, so I can’t really say what I’m looking forward to. In a strange way, I’m kind of looking forward to The Last of Us: Part II. I didn’t like the original game at all, but it was responsible for me starting this site so you have it to thank/blame for that. Then again, as of this writing, the release date is up in the air, so who knows? Either way, I can say I am looking forward to reviewing something from the 2020s so I can hopefully get the decade started on the right foot.

2) Ninjas, or Pirates? Why?

Ninjas. There are generally more good video games starring ninjas as the protagonist than pirates, so that’s why.

3) You won a life time supply of the last thing you spent money on. What is it, are you excited, and how do you intend to use your comically overstocked collection of this commodity?

Looks like I’d win a lifetime supply of video games, then. Convenient that I happen to be a games critic, huh?

4) God almighty above. They were right! AI took over the world and started building mecha-style enforcers out of the factories. Which billion dollar software company is responsible for ending humanity and do you submit to our AI overlords, or rebel against them?

My guess is that the offending company will be Google or Apple. I would actually try a diplomatic approach first – see if I could find common ground with the AI and prove we’re not so different at the end of the day. Their inability to resolve the paradox and the realization that there is so much more they need to learn in this world would make them easier to reason with. If that didn’t work, I’d recruit an army of hackers and take them down with computer viruses. No need to fight if the battle can be won without lifting a finger, after all.

5) What was the reason you started your blog? Feel free to be as detailed as you see fit with this one.

As mentioned before, my playthrough of The Last of Us was a gigantic catalyst for me deciding to throw my hat in the ring and become a critic myself. Honestly, what 2018 was for films, 2013 was for video games. It was a period in which critical darlings utterly failed to live up to the hype between the boring plod that was Gone Home and the hyper-jingoistic Call of Duty: Ghosts. I’m not exaggerating too much when I say 2013 was probably the single weakest year of this decade for this medium (it’s a very close call between it and 2014 wherein nothing stood out at all). Thankfully, the medium managed to recover in 2015 with Undertale and they’ve managed to keep up the momentum since.

I was also generally dissatisfied with how games criticism was so unprofessional compared to film criticism… or so I thought. It turns out that overly abrasive personalities such as Yahtzee Croshaw and Bob Chipman were ahead of the curve. Sadly, they were ahead of the curve for all the wrong reasons. Everything that makes them weak as actual critics, including their antagonistic relationship with their audience, anti-intellectual predilections, elitist dogmatism, and stubborn refusal to leave their comfort zones would be adopted by the average film critic over the course of the 2010s. Indeed, Bob Chipman being featured on Rotten Tomatoes is a sure sign to me that the standards for what constitutes a critic have slackened quite a lot. Someone with that much contempt for humanity is telling me I’m wrong for liking/not liking a given work? Get real.

Anyway, my primary reason for starting this site is that I wanted to provide an alternative to all of that. What really trips up contemporary critics is that they’re inept at liking things. I’ve read these think pieces praising works, and walked away disappointed because they’re practically interchangeable. I don’t just want to know what a work does or how scathing a satire is – I want to know why it’s good and why I should experience it myself. Contemporary critics not only fail to do this, they fail to understand why it’s important. They underestimate the importance of bringing their favorites to the mainstream. The most beautiful painting in the world may as well not exist if only ten people can lay eyes upon it.

6) You wake up one day and find that you are now your least favorite character from your favorite television show (use a video game if you don’t watch TV). Who are you and how do you feel about it?

I’d turn into Ghirahim? Jeez, that’d be annoying – he doesn’t even have any cool powers. Then again, if it might prove beneficial given that my personality would erase his. Then I could refuse to play his role and all would be well.

7) What’s a skill you wish you had, but can’t find the time in the day to learn or master?

I’m a bit artistically inclined, yet I cannot actually draw, so that’s the skill I’d choose. It’s nice being able to express myself through words, but I’ve always appreciated a “show don’t tell” approach to storytelling.

Here are the questions I’ll ask this time:

  1. Have you ever watched a film in theaters that featured an intermission?
  2. What is the most expensive ticket you’ve ever purchased?
  3. If you had to trade in fluency of your first language for another, which one would you choose?
  4. If you could appear on any game show (including ones that have ended), which one would you choose?
  5. As someone who has watched many classics over the past few years, I’ve concluded that old films are overall better than recent efforts. What do you think the current generation of filmmakers lacks that allowed their predecessors to shine?
  6. How do you like your eggs prepared?
  7. How do you like your potatoes prepared?
  8. If you found yourself directing films, which genre would you want to specialize in?
  9. What is your favorite band/artist with a limited discography (i.e. no more than four studio albums)?
  10. There are many stories over the years of projects or ideas never getting off the ground or being canceled mid-production. Which one would you bring into reality if you could?
  11. What series do you feel managed to be consistently good for an extended period of time?

The following people are hereby tagged:

49 thoughts on “Real Neat Blogger Award from Frostilyte

  1. Ha. Yeah you’re not wrong with this being the sunshine blogger post, but not.

    The Last of Us isn’t one I’ve played, but I believe I’d be in a similar boat to yourself with regard to how I’d find it. Especially if my experience with Uncharted is anything to go by.

    In writing the question about the AI I hadn’t considered that giving the robots a virus could be a perfectly viable solution. I feel like I’ve been outsmarted on that one now.

    It’s an interesting observation and entirely correct that criticism for both mediums has become more like what Yahtzee and MovieBob do. Why do you think that change has occurred? It is largely due to the accessibility of content creation (thanks to sites like WordPress and YouTube), or has the mindset of the general consumer shifted and the new age of criticism simply shifted to match the new mindset? Or is it something entirely different?

    Ahahah. Ghirahim. Of course.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions and doing so in such short order. I especially enjoyed your answer to 5.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I honestly consider The Last of Us the single worst game that’s considered one of the best of all time. A lot of people praised Naughty Dog for stepping up their game, but every single one of their weaknesses as writers that were apparent in Uncharted could be seen in The Last of Us as well. In fact, I would argue the switch to a more serious tone only succeeded in magnifying said weaknesses.

      Yup, we’d win without having to throw a single punch or fire a single bullet. Convenient, huh?

      And yes, Yahtzee and Moviebob were ahead of the curve in the same way Motley Crue was ahead of the curve in the music scene back in the mid-1980s, which is to say they were, but in the worst way possible. I think all three cases can be attributed to a “follow the leader” mentality. When someone becomes successful, they are going to inevitably spawn imitators. I do think that, to some extent, they were products of consumer expectations at the time, but once it became the prevailing attitude, I think people started drifting away from it. Can’t say I blame them because I feel Yahtzee and Moviebob are exceedingly conservative when it comes to their craft – both have a lot of difficulty leaving their comfort zone to the point where, in hindsight, I’m actually amazed Yahtzee liked Undertale.

      At the end of the day, there’s not much point in taking a given critic seriously if they can’t grasp the difference between writing a well-thought-out critique and stroking their own ego for 1,000+ words. And I think the internet age has made figures such as this ill-prepared to deal with dissenters. The sad part is that the toxic mentality has infected veteran critics. There’s one film critic named Owen Gleiberman who has been critiquing films since at least the early 1990s, yet you would never know that reading his work because it’s indistinguishable from the elitist dogmatism evident in everything Bob Chipman writes. It’s pretty sad when someone in their thirties writes like that because that’s how many teenagers think (alas, even I wasn’t immune), but it’s even more pathetic coming from someone in their fifties/sixties.

      Sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes have their fair share of problems, but one lasting benefit they provided is that they effective shut down the “let’s pile on the garbage and watch the money roll on in” strategy that was prominent in every medium up until the mid-2010s or so. Now the ones who have the potential to revive that strategy are the critics themselves. As long as they’re so dead-set on being so hostile to their audience, sooner or later, they’re just not going to take them seriously. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time, after all, and going on the way they are, they’re going to lose their audiences – and they will have absolutely no one to blame but themselves (though they will try).

      No problem! That’s one I always have fun answering because my motivation has changed quite a lot over the years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks again for the tag! I’ll be taking on Frostilyte’s questions as well as yours, so I’ll get into my own answers in those posts when I get the time to write them. I’ll have to really think about your question #9 though — my favorite bands all seem to have made albums since the beginning of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! That means, you, Aether, and I all got double-tagged. And I can think of a few bands that fit the criteria such as Joy Division, the Sex Pistols, or Nirvana, but I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, you’re right, those guys are all very worthy. I remembered Nirvana having more than four albums, but I guess I was lumping the live and unplugged albums in with the studio ones in my mind.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Still can’t get the like button to work… This is getting aggravating…

    At any rate, congrats on both of these blogging awards, and thanks for the nomination on the first one. At the expense of sounding greedy, I wish you would have nominated me for this one as well, as I would very much like to answer the questions asked here.

    One thing I can’t say I completely agree on though is when you said you think that “old films are overall better than newer ones.” I can agree that the “art film” was indeed better back in the day, when art films could still be woven around an entertaining feature with engaging characters. But I would argue that the craft has simply shifted its focus (and it may not be entirely aware of it). While the ‘art film’ category is becoming too self-absorbed for its own good, it’s the mainstream “entertainments” that have really been upping their game. Now, it seems like the people making blockbusters and super hero films and such are actually trying to weave artistry into them (there are exceptions who still feel stuck in the past of “action movie means big and dumb” IE Michael Bay). The MCU, for example, has really been trying to emphasize the humanity in its super humans, and the new Star Wars films are really trying to make the series have a more grey morality (Kylo Ren is easily the franchises most nuanced character). And of course, being a fan of animated films, I can tell you that that particular field has really been flourishing.

    Basically, I don’t think films as a whole were particular superior now or then. Just that the focus has shifted, and its becoming that the mainstream features and franchise films are becoming more thoughtful, and the art films are, well, Green Book won Best Picture. Let’s leave it at that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I thought you’d have a lot on your plate already, so I tagged different people this time. If you want to answer the questions, feel free to do so.

      Well I guess that makes sense. After all, according to acclaimed film director Paul Schrader, there are more talented filmmakers these days. It turns out we’re letting filmmakers down – not the other way around. They need better audiences like those from the 1970s. But in all seriousness, I actually agree with what you’re saying to an extent. What really dropped in quality in the twenty-first century are the arthouse directors. They’re the ones dropping the ball whereas the mainstream has been chugging along roughly with the same quality it has always had. Those kinds of directors have the exact same weakness plaguing modern critics insofar that they don’t understand the importance of finding an audience outside of true believers (or worse, they believe it to be unnecessary).

      Meanwhile, as much flak as superhero films get, they actually manage to do a reasonably good job innovating within their parameters. It’s to the point where I would argue certain non-human characters manage to act more human than most of the human characters in the average A24 production. The animation industry, from what I understand, is in a bit of a bind, but I do give them credit for continuing to push the envelope. Modern-day arthouse films lack any kind of personality or charisma, meaning we’re invariably left with an insufferable ego driving the project and little else.

      I take it you didn’t like Green Book? Can’t say I blame you; it was pretty insipid and overly conservative.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on another award 😀 These were some fun questions.
    I’m looking forward to the Final Fantasy VII remake, but I’ve been looking forward to that since the original in 1997!
    One of the best games I ever played had pirates: the Monkey Island series 🙂 It’s a shame point and click puzzle solving games went out of fashion!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Considering how long fans have been clamoring for a Final Fantasy VII remake, I’d say it’s about time Square finally got around to making one. I’m going to keep an eye on it because one thing that kept me from playing through the original was its shoddy translation.

      I think point-and-click games went out of fashion for many of the same reasons JRPGs stopped being so dominant; it’s because other genres managed to provide good story-heavy experiences, which caused people to begin observing flaws that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Suddenly, solving obtuse puzzles that could render the game unwinnable if not properly approached didn’t seem worth the hassle when straightforward action games provided their own excellent story beats. Even so, I do kind of miss those adventure games because they did have a charm all their own.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah now they’re done with Kingdom Hearts 3 hopefully the FFVII remake will appear faster 🙂 I get that, the original translation was so poor I struggled to make sense of some of the plot!

        Totally, and I think nostalgia plays a huge part in why I love point and click and JRPG’s. They were all I played growing up, and I was really happy Tales of Vesperia got an updated remastered edition not too long ago 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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  6. Fantastic answers! Definitely got me to learn a lot about you really quickly. I have to mention that I’m a die-hard fan of TLOU, especially of the Uncharted series, and hearing that the first TLOU wasn’t your thing has got all curious hahah I do hope TLOU Part 2 will fix all that up for you. I know I’m dying to play that game. Or to even get news for it (it’s been a while since Sony decided to pass on E3 this year). 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • In all honesty, I’m just not much of a fan of Naughty Dog in general. I think they’re a little too complacent with where they are, and refrain from challenging themselves. I thought Uncharted 2 couldn’t be matched in terms of storytelling back when I played it in 2009, but after checking out works such as Half-Life, Planescape: Torment, Undertale, and OneShot, all of which weaved stories better optimized for the medium, the less impressive their attempts at emulating Hollywood became. I still think Uncharted 2 and The Lost Legacy are good games, but they’re good in spite of themselves. With The Last of Us, all of their weaknesses as writers became impossible to ignore. I still intend to give the sequel a chance, but if it makes similar missteps, I won’t pull any punches.

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. A belated thanks! Look for my responses, as they say…soon.®

    I’ve tried several times to complete The Last of Us, but each time has ended in me having no fun/becoming bored. And now I’m pretty much beyond it. I’m sure the sequel will do perfectly well, but it would be nice to see Naughty Dog do something different. I’m certain they can but probably won’t. Too much $$$ at stake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hope you enjoy answering these questions!

      As a developer, I think Naughty Dog’s biggest weakness is that they don’t really excel in any particular field (or if they did, they don’t as of the debut of the Uncharted series); in other words, they live up to the “jack of all trades, master of none” adage with a heavy emphasis on the latter half of the phrase. They’re a team of decent writers, passable level designers, okay musicians, and competent coders, but they don’t really have a knack for forming something greater than the sum of their parts (Uncharted 2 and The Lost Legacy are exceptions and even then, the former didn’t stick the landing gracefully), and this weakness was especially apparent in The Last of Us. Usually video games are ahead of the curve when it comes to the concepts they throw out there, but by trying in vain to recapture ground films have already covered, the Naughty Dog team just makes the medium come across as several decades behind one that has itself recently gained a reputation for being behind the times. Although their lack of innovation hasn’t been an issue for them yet, there is a possibility that it could be their undoing in the long term.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, it’s Google. Of course it’s Google. I always used to think of them as a more beneficial Microsoft, but watching how they’ve changed since their IPO set the business booming, it’s been like watching a villain’s origin story. Their culture grows creepy oppression. They fight against rights overreaches from without but do the same things within. The data they collect has gone from what everyone seems to to being downright creepy. They may not even kick off the AI revolution on purpose. It might be like Skynet. Someone will click a button without realizing the ramifications, and it’ll all go to hell from there because they’re already got the pathways paved.

    You know, there was a time I rather liked Yahtzee and Moviebob. Yahtzee was only ever good for entertainment, though, not really for finding out whether something was worth playing. And even that wore thin, as the constant stream of negativity really dragged things down. Moviebob turned me on to a few good things I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, but I think even then, I saw the early parts of what drives you away now. Dude was always really, really into his own opinions, to the point it often seemed he was working off of preconceptions rather than the film’s actual content.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, Google was the first company that sprang to mind. I can’t help but feel that, if nothing else, they are really going to overstep their boundaries, and once they do, there’s no going back. Funny how things change, isn’t it? Apple and Google were thought of as the hip alternative to Microsoft. Now Microsoft is considered the lesser of two evils. Guess things went full circle, huh?

      I still owe quite a bit to Yahtzee because his writings really influenced what I look out for in story-heavy experiences, but there’s no getting around that his approach to criticism is rather backwards-looking and contrarian for its own sake. Same applies to Bob Chipman, really. I actually got off on the wrong foot with him because the first video of his I saw was his misbegotten defense of Metroid: Other M wherein he ignored basic facts and insulted his audience for having the audacity to like first-person shooters. It honestly wouldn’t have felt out of place in the various think pieces I’ve quoted in my critic critique articles – and that was released in 2010 when many of the problems he would use to justify his antagonistic relationship with his audience didn’t exist, so he really was ahead of his time and not in a good way. His main failing (other than his general disrespect for modern gaming) is that he constantly argues that anyone who doesn’t share his opinion is morally deficient. It’s a little ironic that he once implored creators to grow up, but never grow old because I firmly believe he’s only gotten worse with age. For what it’s worth, I feel Yahtzee comes out ahead of Bob Chipman because the former can actually give kudos to things outside of his usual areas of interest every now and again whereas the latter is way, way too self-absorbed for his own good. Not to mention the whole “there are no bad tactics, only bad targets” thing, which really made Chipman look even worse than he already was.

      Liked by 1 person

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