A month later and I’ve been nominated for another Sunshine Blogger Award. This time from Red Metal over on Extra Life. They’re an exceptionally talented writer who writes critical reviews of movies, both old and new, as well as game reviews (mostly retro reviews as of late). Thank you for the nomination. I hope you find the answers to my questions satisfactory. There are a few odd replies in here.
What do you feel is the ideal length for a studio album (or LP)?
Seventy to eighty minutes. Seriously.
I’ve always done a lot of music listening while walking, or while studying. As I got older studying turned into my day job and blogging. Because of the volume of time I spend doing both of these activities I enjoy having a nice meaty album playing in the background so I’m not acutely aware of the passage of time. Nothing sucks more than when you hear an album finish, look over at the clock, and see you’re still stuck at work for another seven hours.
It also helps that one of my favourite bands, Dream Theater, makes most of their albums that length.
Have you ever accidentally rendered a physical copy of a game/film/album unplayable?
No. At least, not that I can remember. My parents might be better equipped to answer this question though. I might have destroyed stuff as a wee potato and have long since forgotten.
What series do you feel has a confusing naming convention?
Kingdom Hearts is the definitive example for this, so I’ll go with that for my answer.
I don’t know what crack pipe the people over at Square Enix were smoking, but someone deserves to be slapped over Kingdom Hearts‘ various titles. 358/2 Days? Re: Chains of Memories? 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue? What degenerate is responsible for conceiving this? Furthermore, how did it get the seal of approval to go out the door?
What critical darling do you feel completely failed to live up to the hype?
I already put the final nail in what I want to say about Nier: Automata with my bottom five games of 2018 post, so this time I’m going to bring out my favourite whipping boy: Uncharted.
To this day I still don’t understand what people saw in this game back in 2007. To be fair I played through it in 2014, almost seven years after its initial release, but the whole thing screams of mediocrity. I’ll admit that compared to other console games at the time the graphical fidelity on display is impressive, but that’s where it stops for Uncharted.
Given the reputation of the franchise’s writing I was surprised by how bad it is in the first outing. Most dialogue consists of quips which starts out funny, but becomes increasingly annoying. Leading man Nathan Drake in particular is an arrogant nob who went from being mildly irritating in the opening chapters to incredibly frustrating by the end.
It’s not just the moment to moment dialogue that I despise either: I also don’t like the overarching story. It’s very safe. The kind of safe that gets made into a summer action film that people go to see, love, but quickly forget. It’s entirely predictable and leans very heavily on the set-piece moments, which are often the parts of the game that people remember.
It even has a bit at the end where the guy gets the girl despite leaving her for dead on island in the middle of the ocean. I don’t know any human who would forgive someone for something like that. A dog might though.
Then you have what I’ll politely refer to as gameplay. This consists of puzzles that aren’t tremendously puzzling, platforming where the game does the jumping for you, quick time events (blargh), and cover based shooting (also blargh). Very engaging stuff. Despite having excellent pacing I found myself bored as nothing Uncharted offered was actually engaging.
I still can’t believe this game spawned three sequels, three different spin-offs, and a movie. Well…I can believe the movie one since it almost seemed like the folks at Naughty Dog would be happier making one of those than a video game.
Which work do you feel should have deserved more attention?
SuperGiant Games‘ last full release: Pyre. Bastion is the one game that most people know the studio for and is easily their most successful game, but Pyre is so much better. Pyre is the amalgamation of all the things that made Bastion and Transistor so good, but refined through years of continuous improvement. The scope is far greater than their previous games and is beautifully executed upon. The reception to the game was generally positive, but I think it deserved so much more than it received.
Do you prefer a foreign work to be subtitled or dubbed in your language?
Dubbed because I am a degenerate. I have difficulty reading subtitles fast enough and they distract me from what is happening on screen. This is a problem that, as far as I have been able to tell, is unique to me and I prefer dubbed as a result.
Can you remember an instance in which you managed to succeed in a game by the skin of your teeth (e.g. beat a difficult boss with barely any health remaining)?
Not a specific instance, but that’s because stuff like that happens all the time. There have been so many moments in Monster Hunter: World where I landed the killing blow milliseconds before a monster would have blown me away. That game in particular is responsible for several close calls, so they’ve become entirely forgettable events due to the frequency that I survive them.
Sorry I know that’s not a very good answer, but Meghan over at Meghan Plays Games wrote a clutch story about one of her Dark Souls encounters if you want to read a good answer to this one.
Can you remember an instance in which you got completely robbed playing a game?
Not to make myself sound like the luckiest person alive, but there are just as many instances of me making it out by the skin of my teeth as there are of me dying horribly while being within arm’s reach of victory. Again I don’t have a specific instance for this one, partly because of the frequency and partly because I get so salty that my brain turns off.
What is your favorite arcade game?
I have a lot of fond memories playing this as a kid on my home computer. Dad had it setup (among other Namco games) because he enjoyed playing those games in the arcade before marrying Mom. I never could get very far in it before dying, but I do remember him yelling at me once for taking too long to play a round because I managed to do well enough for an additional continue. Now that I say that I think that might have been the last time I ever played the game.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
The rainy part of the United Kingdom, or Vancouver. As someone with seasonal allergies who also doesn’t like heat, the mild temperatures and rainy weather of both places would make them ideal travel locations. Though for the United Kingdom I’ve heard that I’d want to stay clear during the summer and winter. I’m sure some of my readers could confirm or deny that.
What critics (in any medium) do you find to actually be reputable?
Yahtzee Croshaw is still my favourite critic to listen to and has been for many years. His Zero Punctuation series is a bit on the satirical side, but I’m amazed by how he is able to describe something in eloquent terms when I have struggled to. Plus when he’s not trying to crack a joke he can offer some genuinely insightful criticism.
Joseph Anderson and Shammy both do long form game criticism over on Youtube, which I generally enjoy when I make the time for it. They sometimes take a bit too long to get their points across, but are insightful.
Lindsay Ellis is the other big one, though she does film criticism which isn’t really my wheelhouse. I like her content so much because I come away from it feeling as though I’ve learned something whenever I take the plunge on one of her videos.
There you have it. Another sunshine blogger award under my belt.
This is normally where I’d nominate eleven other bloggers to receive the award and answers some questions, but I was nominated another time before getting this post up. I don’t want to spam people with nominations, so I’ll be saving my eleven questions and nominations for my next post.