Well, within the past few weeks, I’ve been tagged with two more Sunshine Blogger Awards. One was a tagback from thedeviot of Comma Eight Comma One whereas the second was courtesy of Pop Culture Literary, so let’s dive right in.
1.) When you’ve had 1 hour of sleep and need to do a full-time shift do you reach for: Coffee, tea, soda, or something else to stay awake and why?
Well, I don’t really drink coffee and haven’t touched a soda in years, so I’d go for tea. I’m especially fond of bubble tea with those tapioca beads.
2.) What is a video game/series you really wish had more attention than it does and why?
Some time ago, I would’ve answered Fire Emblem because, for the longest time, the series sold poorly despite being high-quality. Fortunately, the worldwide success of Awakening seems to have rectified that problem. For now, I think I’ll go with one of my usual answer when asked this question: OneShot. Gaming journalists claim they want to elevate the medium’s cultural standing, yet they completely let that one slip through the cracks. From an artistic standpoint, this was a gigantic failure on their part. Its success was clearly a victory for the normal gamers because it was through word-of-mouth (or fanart, specifically) that I learned of it in the first place. To me, it demonstrates that gamers are a lot more sophisticated than what the media would have you believe.
3.) Pair your favorite game with a proper wine or beer.
Well, this is a bit of a problem considering that I don’t really drink. Though I think Persona 4 and sake would be a little too obvious, those are the cards I was dealt.
4.) Pick one game that came out “Before your time” that you think looks interesting and tell us why.
I’d say that Super Mario Bros. 3 was the single best game that was made before I was born. The 1980s is considered a sacred cow in gaming circles, but there’s no getting around that a majority of the efforts from that time have not aged well. In practice, I would say declaring the 1980s the greatest decade in the medium is like declaring the 1950s the greatest decade in rock music. Doubtlessly were they important, formative periods for the respective movements, but they were not their finest hours.
If we’re only talking about games I haven’t played, then I think I would go with M.U.L.E. From what I’ve read about it, it was really ahead of its time, teaching players the importance of economics in a turn-based strategy game. Just the fact that everyone could potentially lose really did a great job deconstructing the typical dichotomy upon which most contests in general operate.
5.) Pick one game that is outside of your comfort zone that you think you might be willing to check out.
Jeez, that’s a tough one because even if I do like certain games more than others, there aren’t really that many that are fully outside of my comfort zone (discounting ones that would be outside of most people’s comfort zones).
Pop Culture Literary’s questions:
1. If you were to suddenly have a portal that allowed you to choose one (media) world to have a picnic in risk-free with the guarantee that you’d return home, what world would you go to?
If I had a 100% of making it back, I think I’d choose Star Wars. Who could say no to lunch and interstellar travel? Cynical fools, that’s who.
2. You’ve been kidnapped by a dangerous super-villain for _______ reason. What fictional character or team would you trust to come save you? Who would make you feel absolutely doomed?
I can see the Investigation Team from Persona 4 making a great rescue squad. If Nathan Drake and company showed up, I know I’d be hosed considering that they can’t so much as blink without causing the structure they’re in to collapse (not to mention Naughty Dog’s predictable habit of killing off characters who aren’t leads).
3. You’ve been mistaken for the manager of a well-known cafe (can it serve alcohol? Sure!) and tasked with coming up with the menu for today. It’s up to you to keep up the farce! Pair three fictional characters with drinks that you think they’d love.
Someone actually did think that I was a worker at a Target I was shopping in simply because I was wearing a red shirt. Never mind the fact that I had no badge. But considering the shenanigans involved in the scenario I’ve been described, I’d probably end up naming the drinks after the Three Stooges.
4. Choose one fictional world. If you were in that world, what kind of job or power would you have, based on what you’re like as a person in our world? Ok, now do that again, but what kind of job or power would you love to have regardless of how you are in our world?
If I were in the Fire Emblem universe, I think I’d opt to be a War Monk. They have good melee fighting capabilities and healing powers, which is a great mix. Plus, depending on the game, staves have the ability to completely break the game (especially in Thracia 776 where you can capture most staff users without a fight). In our world, I would definitely want to have healing magic. Offensive magic is nice and all, but healing magic has far more applications other than combat.
5. You get to spend the day with your favorite fictional female. Who is she and what do you two do? (You can be in her world or ours!)
I’d prefer to spend the day with a real woman.
6. Has a work of fiction that you loved ever left you feeling let down by how they handled a character or social issue?
I would say the textbook example of a film mishandling its take on a social issue is District 9. It’s one of those films that presents a ridiculously unrealistic premise and hides behind the “it’s satire” defense to deflect any kind of criticism. I don’t care how jaded you are; when we make first contact, you will be in complete awe. Guaranteed.
At the very least, I don’t believe for a second humankind’s first instinct would be to throw the aliens into the slums and forget about them for twenty years. Sure, they hovered over Apartheid-era South Africa, but there more than certainly would have been some kind of outside intervention if for no other reason than because of how popular science fiction was in the 1980s.
7. A while back, I read a book called The Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones. In the book, two parallel worlds have been linked, ours and a fantasy world, and a corporate entity has turned the other world into an adventure park of sorts. People from our world can play as “adventurers” and go on a guided adventure through a made up scenario and after finishing this video-game-like adventure, they return home. If you had the opportunity to do this in any (media) world of your choosing, what would it be and why?
Again, I’d choose Star Wars. The ability to go on an interstellar journey is too good to pass up.
8. You get to adopt a pet from any fictional world you want. Why did you pick it?
A Hydreigon. It’s a (surprisingly affectionate) King Ghidora-lookalike. What’s not to like? For similar reasons, I’d say a Tyranitar would be pretty cool as well; I used one in my Ultra Moon playthrough, and she ended up being the lynchpin of my lineup, taking down a majority of the main antagonist’s HP before fainting among other feats.
9. When you take in (media) works, what’s something that stands out to you as being problematic or something that gets overlooked/left out?
I would have to say that, for the longest time, game creators didn’t really know how best to optimize their stories to fit the medium. I feel the more minimalistic approaches of pioneering games actually complemented the medium’s unique properties better than the AAA industry’s attempts to copy Hollywood’s success in the late 2000s/early-to-mid 2010s. I recently played through Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and I was summarily reminded of everything wrong with that approach to storytelling with its blatant railroading, constant yelling at the protagonist (and by extension, the player) every five seconds, and inability to grasp that certain storytelling techniques just don’t work in this medium. Want to make the pragmatic choice and kill the main antagonist early? Too bad – you must follow the script the writers penned for you.
I’m glad that gaming as a whole is moving away from that because it really makes a lot of games from that era very tedious to revisit. Again, I see video games taking cues from films as the creators’ attempts at legitimizing their medium, but considering how far ahead of the curve works such as Undertale and OneShot have proven to be compared to the most lauded films of this decade in terms of innovative storytelling, it was ultimately a misguided plan.
10. Have you ever randomly picked up a (media) work even though you thought you’d hate it, and been surprised by it?
Well, hate is a bit of a strong term in this case, but when I approached Undertale, I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. Back in 2015, I heard from every source imaginable that it was one of the greatest games ever made and when I finally got around to it, I concluded that the people’s assessment was highly accurate. Indeed, it’s currently in my top ten favorite games of all time alongside stuff such as Planescape: Torment, Majora’s Mask, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3.
For the spirit of the question, I’d say a better example is Brazil. I was going that film expecting to hate it, believing that it was another one of those “ahead of its time and not in a good way” deals. But, nope. It turns out it really was a solid film that actually did a great job deconstructing its own genre. Honestly, it’s not the kind of film I could see getting praise from modern-day critics given that it openly challenges their sensibilities.
11. If you had to choose only one fictional work that you could enjoy for a whole year, what work would you choose?
For this question, I’d choose Skyrim. It’s not one of my absolute favorite games, but the sheer amount of content probably would tide me over for that long. Alternately, I could simply play Persona 4 very slowly.
Here are the questions I’ll ask this time:
- Have you ever purchased something that turned out to be phony?
- What time do you usually get up?
- What time do you usually go to bed?
- What line from any medium managed to hit you like a ton of bricks?
- Have you ever owned a record player?
- What color do you prefer your consoles (or computer) to be in?
- Do you prefer your books to be in a physical format or in an electronic format?
- What is your least favorite thing about a work you like?
- What is your favorite thing about a work you dislike?
- Have you ever attempted to use an alternative keyboard layout?
- What is the longest amount of time you’ve ever been in a plane?
The people tagged this time are: