Familiar Territory: Tagged by AK of Everything Is Bad for You Once Again

AK of Everything Is Bad for You has recently hit a milestone, for he now has 500 followers. Congratulations! To celebrate, he did a Sunshine Blogger Tag, and, in turn, tagged me (among others). It’s been awhile since I last did one of these tags, and he asked some interesting questions this time, so let’s say we get right to it?

1) Are you buying or have you bought one of the new next-gen consoles, and if so, which? What factors played into your decision?

Last year, before the pandemic struck, my old computer finally died (though miraculously, I was able to recover all of my information off the hard drive). I wanted to post my review of Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom on Leap Day, but that event threw a wrench in my plans. It also forced me to finally get that gaming PC I always wanted, but was too lazy to actually splurge for until my old computer dying forced my hand. Because 90% of the games I’m interested in are available on Steam or GOG, I find I’m not really in that big of a hurry to get a PS5 or an Xbox Series X (still not over that name, by the way).

That said, when I do eventually get one of those consoles, you can safely bet it will be the PS5. With the exception of Marvel’s Spider-Man, the super-hyped PS4 exclusives were really nothing to write home about (although to be fair, when it comes to exclusives, you can’t really beat Nintendo), but they were generally more enticing than those of the Xbox One, and it appears that will continue to be the case in the foreseeable future.

2) Related to that, how much importance do you place on the specs of a new console?

I find I’m not really concerned with the sheer processing power of the consoles I buy. As long as they run the games they’re advertised to run, that’s good enough for me. Also, I find if the quality of your game lives and dies based on how pretty it looks, you’re doing it wrong (same applies to other mediums).

3) Are there any emerging technologies you’re especially excited to see develop? If so, what are they?

Quantum computing. The idea of using subatomic particles in these machines is quite the fascinating concept, and I’m really interested to see where they’ll go with it.

I’m also interested to see how much the electric car will evolve in the coming years.

4) Is there an upcoming game, film, anime, or other work you’re especially looking forward to?

Ah, here’s the weird thing. I tend to be only very vaguely aware of release dates for major games, films, or anime. I tend to take works as they come, and oftentimes well after the hype for them has died down. Not to mention the fact that my methods of finding out about these works is less than scientific – occasionally involving me stumbling into them by accident.

That said, I am looking forward to seeing what Toby Fox manages to do with Deltarune, and I’m kind of interested to see what becomes of that lil gator game that achieved memetic popularity lately. Really, I think it’s been firmly established after Undertale that the indie scene is doing way more interesting things than 90% of the people working in the American entertainment industry, so, in general, I’m always looking forward to that next great indie smash.

5) Is there a genre (of game, novel, film, whatever) you liked as a kid but now dislike? Alternatively, is there a genre you disliked as a kid that you now like or at least appreciate more?

My opinion on individual games may have changed over the years, but that’s not really the case with entire genres. I like role-playing games now just as much as I did when I was a kid, for instance.

I think the problem is that the genres I actively dislike the most (mumblecore for films; walking simulators for games) weren’t really a thing when I was a kid. Mumblecore gained traction in the 2000s, but it wouldn’t be until the 2010s that its influence/damage on the medium would begin to show, and while one could make the case that Dear Esther wasn’t the first of its kind, once again, it wasn’t until the 2010s that it became a trend. In any case, I dislike both genres because they tend to be products of creatively exhausted artists who, whether it was for want of them or having used them all up long ago, have no new ideas to bring to the table. Even the only halfway decent walking simulator I’ve played, Tacoma, succeed mostly by virtue of rebelling against the tired science-fiction tropes of its day, and not because it demonstrated the potential of its genre.

In the end, I feel it’s ultimately for the best that walking simulators fell out of favor once Undertale proved that you can absolutely make an impactful artistic statement without compromising the game mechanics. I hope that someday filmmakers are able to do the same with mumblecore because whatever the indie talent is doing now, it clearly isn’t working.

6) We’ve probably all read, watched, or played through at least one story with a disappointing ending. Do you feel a poorly written ending hurts its entire work or series, and if so how much? Can you still enjoy or appreciate the work even if you feel the ending was lousy? (I think I’ve already written about this a bit, and I have a feeling I can guess what a couple of you will say to it, but still a question I’d like to throw out there because I think it’s an interesting one.)

In a word, yes. In fact, a significant part of what got me into reviewing games in the first place was being completely disappointed in how the ending of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us was handled. It’s interesting because my reason for disliking the ending has evolved over the years. At first, I thought it rendered its protagonist unlikable. While I still find the character in question to be overrated (not to mention very generic-looking), I later found the ending was at odds with other pieces of information presented in the narrative. Now, I find the reason it fails is that and because it exudes a very anti-intellectual (and arguably anti-science) sentiment, and that’s just about the quickest way you can lose me. That story could only have been conceived by someone who hasn’t accepted that the 1990s are over along with its “being dumb is cool” zeitgeist (which might also explain its resurgence in 2010s science fiction and contemporary criticism). It’s the reason why, as controversial as the sequel ended up being, I actually find myself giving Neil Druckmann credit for moving away from that (albeit by retconning certain inconvenient plot details out of existence). Either way, you have Naughty Dog to thank/blame for me deciding to throw my hat in the ring, so be sure to thank them the next time you see them.

That game was also partially responsible for my stamping down on works with bad endings (along with System Shock 2 and Mother 3). As longtime readers know, I hand out severe penalties to works with lousy endings. You can now tell if that’s the case if you see the words “Adjusted Score” as opposed to “Final Score” at the end of a review. How it works is simple enough; a penalized game cannot get a score higher than a 5/10. For that matter, as some of you may have noticed, I have recently decided to add .5 scores to my assessments. This is meant to give readers an idea of how high on a given tier the work is (though for obvious reasons, 10.5/10 is not a real score, and I refuse to go below 1/10 because that just comes across as the kind of petty thing a Pitchfork writer would do). So, a new caveat in light of that is that penalized works cannot receive that extra .5. If a work makes such an egregious error, it doesn’t really deserve to headline its tier, now does it? As a result, games such as The Last of Us, Metroid: Other M, and Call of Duty: Ghosts have fallen several positions since I last revealed my rankings.

Speaking on a more general level, though, recommending any work with a bad ending is a nigh-insurmountable proposition. Payoff is a very important part of any work, and if you make your readers slog through a narrative only to reward their patience with nothing (or less than nothing), then you’ve only succeeded in wasting time they’ll never get back. There’s a reason that, as of this writing, Game of Thrones went from being the single most discussed show of all time to a forbidden topic on most message boards, after all. Indeed, I remember bringing it up a year after the fact to my coworkers, and it still managed to be a raw wound. Remember: the goodwill of your audience is not a limitless resource. No matter how much you think it is, no matter how successful you are, and no matter how many fans you have, you can lose it all if you don’t stick the landing.

7) Are there any good new blogs or sites you’ve found recently? I’m always looking for new reading material.

I’ve found a blog called The Flite Cast to be an interesting read. The guy who maintains it seems like a very levelheaded individual, having opinions on films, television, and the arts in general that often go against the grain in interesting ways (his take on why critics are a useless burden on films is especially interesting). I have to admit I don’t entirely agree with his “It’s all subjective” mantra because, contrary to popular belief, there is room for objectivity in media analysis. That said, I find I’m more sympathetic to that sentiment than those echoed by the average member of the Fandom Menace and those like them, who misuse the idea of objectivity to push bad-faith arguments.

And it’s not exactly a blog per se, but I’ve been listening to Jukebox Zeroes – a music podcast hosted by Lilz Martin and Patrick S. Barry wherein they discuss albums notable for their negative reception (or in other cases, bizarre stories behind their creation). Their reviews of Corey Feldman’s Angelic 2 the Core and Nostalgia Critic’s The Wall are definite highlights – especially because on the subject of “Worst album of the 2010s”, it tends to boil down to those two.

[My take: both are colossal failures, but I would have to give the nod to the Nostalgia Critic’s The Wall, because while Corey Feldman’s own effort is cringeworthy itself, it did have a degree of artistic sincerity to it; he wanted to make a good album and failed miserably. Angelic 2 the Core is what happens when you have a lot of money, a lot of reach, and zero honest friends, so in the end, it just makes me feel sorry for him. Doug Walker’s own effort, on the other hand, is far more contemptable, not only demonstrating a clear case of arrested development, but an utter aversion to the very idea of self-improvement (or self-awareness). It’s for that reason that I can deem his album the worst of the 2010s.]

8) Are you planning to return to the theater/cinema soon, or once you feel safe going (assuming you liked going in the first place?) Is there anything about the typical moviegoing experience you’d change?

I do miss seeing films in theaters, and I do have to say that after the debacle involving having to see all the “Best Picture” nominees across three different streaming services (at least), I’m looking forward to simply buying a ticket without all the fuss. I still stand by what I said in my last update post, however, in that films really need to reinvent themselves (and possibly rebuild their entire industry from the ground up) if they’re to remain relevant in the foreseeable future because their distribution methods are absolutely not sustainable. The success of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite proved that audiences will make an auteur passion project a smash success if it’s distributed and marketed properly, so if they want any chance of having a future, they’ll need to find ways to make those kinds of success stories the rule rather than the exception (and, you know, maybe not have cynical boardroom goons dictate every single creative decision).

9) Finally, a vital question, and one that I think might have been asked before, but if it’s not, I’ll ask now: what’s your opinion of pineapple on pizza?

I do like pineapples, and I do like pizza, but I’ve never actually combined the two entities. Maybe it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe it’s the worst idea imaginable. As it is now, this question is completely up in the air.

The following people are hereby tagged:

My questions are as follows:

  1. Between music, film/television, and game critics, which do you find the least consistently reliable?
  2. Between music, film/television, and game critics, which do you find the most consistently reliable?
  3. What was your single worst theatergoing experience?
  4. What was your single best theatergoing experience?
  5. Do you think a lousy ending can completely ruin an otherwise great work?
  6. Do you think an incredible payoff can redeem an otherwise middling (or even bad) work?
  7. Do you feel the price increase of AAA games was justifiable or not?
  8. What work did you like as a kid only for you to realize it doesn’t hold up at all?
  9. What work did you not like as a kid only for you to later realize it’s amazingly good?
  10. Are there any podcasts you listen to regularly?
  11. Taking cues from AK’s last question, what is the most bizarre combination of ingredients you enjoy?

And I think we’ll leave it at that. Hope you all stay safe and are able to get vaccinated when possible!

48 thoughts on “Familiar Territory: Tagged by AK of Everything Is Bad for You Once Again

      • I know you asked it, I’m not trying to attack you for it. Sorry maybe I just fail to understand why this is still an ongoing argument/meme today which has become pointless. Put whatever you want on your pizza and don’t let anyone tell you what you cannot put on it if the topping has a different flavor to it, not even Gordon Ramsay. There are bigger issues out there than this to argue about.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No offense taken at all! I just approached it as a dumb meme myself; people can eat anything they like on pizza as far as I’m concerned and I’d have no problem with it. I do find it interesting how heated some of those debates can get, though.

          Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! Glad you liked my answers. I look forward to reading yours.

      I don’t think enough critics realize how important sticking the landing is because there have been several films and games that were darlings of theirs that completely let me down in the final act. I look forward to seeing you elaborate on that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve stuck with Sony for a long time because the games I like have come out on their platforms, but they’ve all seemed to jump over to Switch now. Not planning to get a PS5 myself (not yet at least, and not if the trend keeps up) but it does look like it has some fine games. Agreed on specs as well; the library available is a lot more important to me, and a game with basic or middling graphics can still be great if it has fun gameplay, a compelling story, all that stuff.

    Quantum computing is definitely one to look forward to; wasn’t even thinking about that one, but once we get there the possibilities are insane. I do hope we can go electric quickly as well, at least before all of Antarctica melts and drowns us. I’m personally most looking forward to realistic AR/VR technology so I can escape from that reality.

    You reminded me that I should check on Deltarune. I’ve heard it’s promising. Indie games in general absolutely take far more risks and do more interesting things than mainstream film or AAA game productions. Even digging around itch.io for random stuff is more interesting sometimes.

    I guess it’s no surprise that I agree with you on the issue of bad endings. I’ve only played one game, a visual novel called Ame no Marginal or Rain Marginal, that I gave a bit of a break to because I really liked the characters and the concept, but though its ending was complete nonsense, it at least didn’t destroy those characters in the way something like Game of Thrones did. That was the most disastrous ending to a show I’ve seen, probably partly because it started from such a height and fell so far. I ended up feeling a bit bad recommending it to people before that last season, back when it was going downhill a bit but we thought it could be salvaged. You’re right about audience goodwill in that sense — the writers could have gotten it back with a great ending, but they pretty much insulted our intelligence with what they gave us. At least the novels aren’t tainted in the same way, though God knows whether George R. R. Martin will get that next book out before the end of the universe happens.

    Thanks for the link! FliteCast looks interesting, though I agree that the “everything is subjective” stance is way too extreme, but it looks like they take on some interesting subjects there. Reading the piece on bigotry in fandoms, for example — it’s a good reminder that there is some weird extremist politics and hatred mixed in with these fandom and film/game/etc. criticism issues, and then some of us end up shoved into ideological boxes based on the things we’re into for no real reason.

    As for those albums, I haven’t actually heard either properly, though Corey Feldman’s seems like it should be hilariously bad; I need to check it out. I did see a lot of Doug Walker’s The Wall epic-length review video, though, so I have heard some of his album in that context — and I think I’d probably agree with you, because I can’t imagine Feldman’s music being worse. If you haven’t seen the video, “contemptible” is absolutely the word for it. I imagine this comes through in the music when heard on its own as well, but Walker seems to completely miss the point of the original work, either willfully and cynically, or because he’s too dense to get it. Not that The Wall is perfect. I think there are legitimate criticisms you can make of it, and someone could potentially do a funny parody of it, but Walker’s absolutely isn’t. And the video’s ending sequence is such an abomination that I genuinely don’t know how someone could have conceived of it. Just bizarre, but in the worst, most disjointed way possible. I never cared for Nostalgia Critic much but he was never nearly this ridiculous back in the day, but then the whole Channel Awesome downfall is another story in itself.

    I never went to the theater much, but I do feel like going again just to have that experience. Another benefit of being vaccinated. It would be great if we had more excellent movies like Parasite that distributors here take a chance on — that one proved that American audiences aren’t afraid of subtitled foreign films. I’m biased because honestly most of what I watch is subbed anyway, but I think if the film is good enough, in general people will want to watch it, or at least enough people will to draw a good crowd. But then I’m not one of those cynical boardroom goons either so maybe some Transformers mind-numbing garbage is what more people really want. Just let the rest of us have options as well.

    I’m with you on pineapples and pizza separately, and I also haven’t had either. This is such a contentious subject that I’m really interested now to try this once to discover what my own opinion on it will be. Also, when I see that JoJo arrow I think of Roundabout, and that’s a great song, so thanks for that.

    Thanks for your wishes as well, and for your insightful answers as usual! I’ll need to check out some of the answers to your questions also, because there are great ones in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to admit I’m not terribly impressed with either console so far, but the PS5 is definitely the more promising of the two. Otherwise, I still say Nintendo pretty much has all the exclusives that are actually worth getting the respective console for. It’s interesting because two of my 10/10s debuted on Sony consoles (Metal Gear Solid 3 and Persona 4), but since their debuts, they eventually jumped ship to other consoles, and of any exclusive PlayStation game I’ve played, I’m pretty sure the only worthwhile one is Marvel’s Spider-Man (Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is another one, but you really need to have played the other games leading up to it to get anything out of it, and they range anywhere from good to mediocre).

      I have to admit I don’t know anything about quantum computing, but the possibilities it allows for sound amazing.

      Yeah, it is unfortunate that the AAA industry is lagging behind the indie scene in terms of innovation, although I guess it was kind of inevitability given that the profit-driven mainstreaming is something that occurred with rock music and cinema before it. I just wish gaming journalists actually cared enough about the medium to support the indie talent, although gamers are pretty good at doing that, so it may balance out after all.

      I think I kind of feel the same way about the third Zero Escape game, Zero Time Dilemma in that while it is unequivocally the weakest game in the trilogy, the cast was good, and I really dug the concepts that were being thrown around. And if the ending was guilty of anything, it was simply not being very conclusive rather than being actively bad. It didn’t retroactively rob its two predecessors of their goodwill the way Mother 3 or The Rise of Skywalker did.

      And did Game of Thrones go downhill before Season 8? Because that’s what I’ve heard from other friends as well. It’ll be interesting to see if the books can reclaim that lost goodwill or if the series will remain unfinished.

      Yeah, I’m not a big fan of the “Everything is subjective” stance either because I find that tends to be the last resort of the person who can’t back up their position. Granted, a sizeable portion of the people pushing “objective” critiques are only doing so because their backwards-looking viewpoints aren’t being validated, but I wish critics would have a solid basis for their arguments rather than fall back on “But, how did that make you feel?”

      That being said, I did really like the articles on The Flite Cast. It helps that the person writing has a liberal political stance, but doesn’t blindly subscribe to a groupthink mentality like a lot of budding bloggers do. There were a lot of journalists who claimed the Snyder Cut of The Justice League would set a dangerous precedent, but this guy argued that, of course, Hollywood traditionalists would see it that way; it’s a status quo they directly benefit from.

      And as for the whole bigotry and extreme right-wing politics in fandoms, I find it interesting how many people tend to overthink things when trying to parse that problem. A lot of them end up assuming that there are certain things about the media fans consume that would cause them to become extremists (i.e. gaming promotes conservative beliefs) when the answer is actually much simpler. These niche fandoms have a habit of attracting misfits, and if it grows large enough (but not large enough that it becomes mainstream), they eventually end up attracting misfits were ostracized from society for very understandable reasons. It happened back in the late 1960s when the hippie movement spawned Charles Manson and how the generation after that saw Neo-Nazis spawned from the punk rock movement in the 1980s. It’s not because those ideologies are flawed; it’s because at the time of these indiscretions, they were in that sweet spot between obscurity and the mainstream that can allow a nasty fringe element to ruin everything for the sane people, who don’t have the sheer manpower to tell them to leave. Finding out how, exactly, to make those people leave is absolutely essential if those fandoms want to survive in the foreseeable future and *not* be seen as a safe haven for far-right degenerates. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.

      Oh, boy, are you in for a treat; Corey Feldman’s album is a legendary disaster. Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop called it music’s answer to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, and that’s about as apt of a description as I could ask for because it is mind-blowing just how ineptly made it is. But even with that context in mind, Nostalgia Critic’s The Wall is far worse. I can buy that Mr. Feldman went into his project with the intent of making good art even if the actual result was a spectacular failure. Doug Walker, on the other hand, didn’t. I’m partially cribbing from Dan Olson’s review when I say that Mr. Walker is a fundamentally incurious, insincere person whose critiques are unsophisticated and shallow and whose humor never rises above the level of “What if we have Slipknot perform the SpongeBob SquarePants theme?” – that “lol random” humor that was kind of okay back in the late 2000s/early 2010s, but had long since fallen out of fashion by 2019. It’s surreal how Doug Walker complained about The Simpsons declining in quality for going on too long way back when, and now he’s going through the exact same motions – up to and including celebrity guest appearances in a desperate attempt to remain relevant. Between the awful singing and not even the slightest shred of artistic sincerity to it, it really is the worst album of the 2010s.

      Also, I didn’t realize this at the time, but hindsight has demonstrated that, when you get right down to it, Doug Walker was arguably the single least talented member of the Channel Awesome group. Sure, he got all the spiffy production values, but nearly everyone else, whether it was Linkara, Todd in the Shadows, or even Spoony (before he lost his marbles), brought a unique perspective to the conversation. I can tell that they actually care (cared in the case of Spoony) about their field of interest because even when reviewing the worst things out there, they were constantly referencing things they did like or were passionate about as counterexamples. Doug didn’t and whenever he wants to come across as heartfelt, he just cannot sell it – because he has no sincerity to offer in the first place. He’s in a state of arrested development, and although he is getting by, he’s at the complete beck and call of both his CEO and his audience, who will never let him do anything new. To true visionaries, this is a fate worse than death.

      Yeah, I remember how nice it was to finally be able to walk around without a mask after I got my vaccination. That’s a bit of a silver lining in this pandemic; it really makes you appreciate things you took for granted.

      I have to admit I tend to lean more towards dubs when it comes to animation (although technically, all animation is dubbed – even in its native language); while there are a few instances in which subs are the only sane option, I find dubs aren’t the gamble they were back in the 2000s. That said, when it comes to live-action stuff, it’s subs or nothing for me.

      Honestly, if you see that arrow and don’t immediately think of “Roundabout”, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve always liked that song, so seeing this generation give it a new lease on life is very gratifying.

      And you’re welcome! You asked some great questions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed on Nintendo. There are at least two games coming out as Switch exclusives, maybe (hopefully) both this year that I’m going to get, so getting a Switch is a done deal for me anyway. None of the new consoles have exclusives I’m looking at getting. Kind of wish I had a decent PC, that would help with my options, but that’s another thing to work towards.

        I felt the same way about Zero Time Dilemma. We didn’t even think we’d get that final game in the trilogy, so it’s hard to be too upset with the ending we got, though it certainly had its problems. I remember people asking Kotaro Uchikoshi about one particular very important character who seemed to disappear completely after Virtue’s Last Reward. No resolution on that, at least if I remember correctly. But I guess we’ve moved on. I still have to play AI: The Somnium Files.

        I haven’t played any of the Mother series, but I’ve always heard about how beloved it is. Didn’t know about the lousy ending. I guess some people are very forgiving of such things, but if an ending wrecks the story and/or its characters then I’m with you — sticking the landing is essential.

        People definitely disagree on where Game of Thrones started to fall in quality. The last season was undoubtedly the worst by far, but I think some of that stupidity had its roots in the previous season, and there were things that happened in seasons 6 and 7 from what I remember that were pretty dumb. Generally speaking, I think the problems started when David Benioff and Dan Weiss ran out of source material to work off of, though to be fair you could say that was Martin’s fault for failing to provide it.

        All that said, I don’t think anything that happened up through season 7 was nearly stupid or silly enough to hurt the show that much — that last season with its character assassination and insane twists in logic was on a different level entirely. I also think Martin can definitely salvage the series in general, since the fans consider the books as entirely separate from the show, but whether he’ll actually put those damn books out anytime soon is an open question. (Sorry, I could go on and on about this series.)

        I think you hit it on the head here about the extremist politics in fandoms, particularly with your point about niche fandoms being a place for misfits. As a misfit who took refuge in niche fandoms myself, I understand why and how they sometimes become insulated from the wider culture and how they might foster and encourage some unhealthy ideas about society in their members. When I think about it that way, it makes sense that some of these would attract political extremists. I don’t know if it’s been the case for far-left types at all, but it certainly has been for far-right ones, at least some of the fandoms associated with stuff I like. Maybe putting female protagonists in your works is a good way to drive those idiots off — after getting into the Atelier series of games a lot more recently, I feel like the fan group around that series is pretty accepting and nice and not that tolerant of assholes.

        If Feldman’s album is anything like The Room, I should listen to it. I love those works that are really bad but made in total earnest. Just like with Tommy Wiseau, I don’t think anyone would have remember or cared about Ed Wood if he hadn’t been totally serious about his own lousy movies.

        And I can see that quality in Doug Walker you bring up, yeah. I was a fan of Spoony back in the day, before it became obvious that he really was losing his mind, and I can see the sincerity in guys like Todd, Linkara, Brad Jones. And didn’t Lindsay Ellis put out a novel recently? So she must care about her art as well considering the work that takes. Doug on the other hand always came off as kind of irritating. He did indeed seem like he was following that “lol so random I’m screaming and being hilarious” trend, which was one I never liked in the first place, but it’s become obvious that he just doesn’t care. By contrast, while you could argue AVGN’s stuff hasn’t aged all that well, I feel like he was sincere about his love of games behind the character he played.

        When it comes to anime, I still just watch subs, but I think the general quality of English dubs have risen a lot, and there have always been some great English dubbing jobs out there like Cowboy Bebop’s. And I am playing through NieR Replicant right now with the English dub, and it sounds great. The whole subs vs. dubs fight you find in some fandoms is a bit silly. Agreed on live-action, though. No matter what the original language is in those cases.

        Thanks! These tags are a nice break from the usual thing, and it had been a good time since I’d done one.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know the Mother trilogy has a rabid fanbase, but in all honesty, it’s a pretty tough recommendation. It’s a mishmash of incredibly good ideas and phenomenally bad ones with very little (if anything) in between. As it is, the only game I swear by would be the second game (Earthbound); the first game is very much a product of its time in terms of gameplay and the third game predicted a lot of really bad storytelling trends that would become nigh-ubiquitous in the next decade (on top of having a lousy ending). The circumstances surrounding the fan translation of the latter game made it uncool to criticize, so if it seems universally beloved, it’s because there’s a good chance that people who otherwise would’ve hung it out to dry were kinder than they would’ve been. Plus, not being exposed to a mainstream audience, there isn’t much variation of opinions to be found – it’s like how communal scores of 4.5 with 10,000 people voting are generally more useful than a communal score of 5.0 with only 2 people voting. Otherwise, I’d have to say that most of what the Mother trilogy does well was done better in Undertale; it was a clear case where the student surpassed the master.

          Yeah, a lot of people are quick to claim that Benioff and Weiss are bad writers, but in all honesty, they kind of strike me as Neil Druckmann-types in that they tend to function better as grunts as opposed to generals. That is, if they have someone else calling the creative shots (or simply giving them direction), they can work wonders; it’s when they try to strike it out on their own that they run into trouble. I myself kind of question the wisdom of adapting a work that’s still in progress – especially when it’s on such a loose (possibly nonexistent) schedule such as Martin’s.

          Have you considered writing a post on Game of Thrones? It seems like it would make for a good one – especially documenting how it went downhill and crashed and burned upon reaching the finish line.

          That lack of sincerity really cost Walker because the result is that his audience are only fans of the Nostalgia Critic – he himself has next to none (alternatively, he did have real fans, but lost nearly all of them thanks to the one-two punch of the Not-So-Awesome document and his review of The Wall). He only rose to the higher echelons by giving his audience exactly what they wanted exactly when they wanted it, so when he tried to break away and try something new, it was proven that his audience was – and always had been – firmly in control of his fate. This is a stark contrast to the other contributors, who often opened up and were indeed sincere in their convictions, and thus attracted fans who liked them as people and not just the characters they played. That’s why many of them are more successful and respected than Walker is now (indeed, some such as Todd have only become better since leaving the site).

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve heard Undertale took a lot of inspiration from the Mother series; impressive that it could surpass it. As you mentioned, Toby Fox is a clever guy, and he at least knew that you have to give your player a satisfying ending (or at least a shot at one.)

            I agree about Benioff and Weiss. They were dumped on a whole lot for most everything they did in the last season and some of the stuff before it (the death of a certain character in season 7 was very unsatisfying because it required the character to be uncharacteristically dumb for one example before that last season) but I get the feeling they were just way in over their heads. Back when the show started in 2011 I think, nobody could have guessed that the book series would have stalled out so much either. I completely get the sentiment and share it for the most part, but hopefully these guys can find a better niche on another project that’s actually successful to the end.

            I didn’t really think about writing a post on Game of Thrones before, but maybe I should. It’s a bit outside the norm for what I usually write about, but it can also make for an interesting study into how a beloved series can take a massive nosedive. The overlapping but somewhat different book and show fanbases are also interesting in how they affect (and often how they don’t affect) each other. Might be a good deep reads subject, because I have enough to write about it. Thanks for the idea!

            It’s an interesting thing that the literal face of Channel Awesome was the one who ultimately fell. Well, there were certainly others like Spoony and those connected to some of the really bad stuff in that Not So Awesome document, but after hearing about how little empathy he and especially the guys in charge of day-to-day business there had for their talent, it makes more sense that they end up abandoned. Or maybe Doug himself was just kind of dense, it’s hard to tell.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the tag!

    Tend to agree on the points raised about games. Doesn’t take a lot of graphical fidelity to create a meaningful and impactful experience. Though, evidently there seem to be a lot of people out there who either don’t realize that or don’t care.

    Also, y’all should get around to trying pineapple on pizza. I’ve always enjoyed it despite the flavors being…intensely strange in conjunction with one another.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome!

      And that’s definitely something the indie scene has proven in the last decade or so. While I do think graphics can add to a game, more people need to realize that they don’t always make a better game.

      It kind of does sound like the kind of wacky combination that tastes better than it sounds.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the the nomination! These are very different questions from what I normally answer. I will work on this one this week! Not sure when it will launch as I have a fair bit of blog supply left!
    Be prepared for many vague and situational answers!

    I am looking foward to DeltaRune as well, Everhood is a great hold over game though, if you haven’t played it yet!

    I initially wanted a Xbox if I ever got a next gen console, I like their philosphy about the console better and I can actually store it in my tv cabinet. But I hear no one talking about it, so now my answer would be , I am happy with my Switch and Craptop!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome! I try to keep the tagees on their toes, so I’m glad you like these questions.

      I’ve never heard of Everhood, but I’m definitely keeping an eye on it.

      And honestly, I think that’s a fine combination; Nintendo has all the best exclusive games while a good enough PC can cover all the rest of what’s worth playing in the past few generations or so. It helps that indie games tend to work out for the best on those two platforms.


    • I think that’s about five minutes longer than how most people would last, to be honest. And if it’s one thing that Doug Walker has demonstrated by attempting to branch out like he has, it’s that he doesn’t really have much in the way of talent, so it’s not surprising that he’s clinging onto an outdated formula with an iron grip – it’s all he has. On the other hand, thanks to his antics and bridge burning, this is pretty much the only thing he can do to make money, so he’ll be doing it long past the point where he’s sick of it (assuming he hasn’t crossed that line already).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah it seems like the more he panders to expected standards, the worse off his shows get. I remember a time when his earlier segments didn’t need much other than cheap effects – no side actors, no shoehorned subplots, nothing extra – but he made them work and memorable. Proof? I still remember gags like “Bat Credit Card”, “Big Lipped Alligator Moment” or “Boomer Will Live” and quote them to this day; not so much for whatever new thing he comes up with today. Some of his newer episodes too are a bit meh.

        I know what you’re referring to wrt bridge burning – I was surprised when that (Channel Awesome scandal) transpired in late April of 2018 too. How interesting it all aligned with the declining quality of his show; puts another thing to “writing on the wall” being there all along.

        Liked by 1 person

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  5. Thanks for the tag! Glad to hear your penchant for PS5 over Xbox Series X (yep, that name is atrocious). As a PS fanboy, it warms my heart. There aren’t too many PS5 exclusives to justify an immediate purchase but they’re slowly racking up some good ones, some that are about to release too (e.g. Horizon Zero West, Ratchet and Clank, etc.). Their last one, Returnal, is actually surprisingly addictive but the save system (I don’t know if you’ve heard) makes it a pain for anyone who wishes to beat the game (requiring us to actually play over 5 hours straight to beat the game…). I look forward to the day I somehow manage to squeeze that much time to beat it though hahah

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do think there is a bit of an overlap between the best games of a given console generation to the extent that the cream of the crop tends to be multi-platform games. Nonetheless, if we’re talking consoles and excluding the offbeat Nintendo, I will say that the PlayStation consoles usually have the better lineup, which was the case even with the misstep known as the PS3, which momentarily cost them their dominance against the Xbox 360. But I think it would be for the best if exclusives were eventually phased out, as they’re not exactly a consumer-friendly practice.

      I’ll probably get a PS5 once their lineup improves, but with a decent gaming PC to hand, I’m not in an especially big hurry to get one.

      Liked by 1 person

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