Sunshine Blogger Tag 8: Let’s Get Critical

All good things must come to an end. With the completion of this post I have finally cleared out all my backlogged tag posts.

This time we’ve been tagged by Red Metal of Extra Life. If you’re not familiar with their work, Red Metal writes film and game reviews over on their site. The game reviews, as of late, have covered a number of classic games with the Donkey Kong Land Gameboy titles being the latest to be covered. If extremely detailed reviews are your jam then I highly recommend checking out their work. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m sure by now everyone knows the deal with the Sunshine tags, but due to a lack of responses from the last couple of tags I put out I’ll just be answering the questions this time and moving on. Without any further delay, here’s Red Metal’s questions and my answers to said questions.

Between music, film/television, and game critics, which do you find the least consistently reliable?

Going to start this one off by saying that I don’t really have a great opinion on this matter. Feature length films are so short that I don’t actually mind going in blind to watch them and as such I can’t even think of the last time that I actually sought out the opinion of a critic on a film I was interested in seeing.

As far as music goes I don’t actually care what anyone thinks and rely exclusively on my own senses. I can’t say that I’ve ever actually read a critic’s take on music, nor have I cared to, so I wouldn’t have any basis from which to compare them against other types of critics.

That leaves us with game critics which is the group I am most familiar with and honestly the consistency of them varies wildly depending on who we’re talking about and where they produce content. Generally speaking, if a critic is independent I find their opinions a lot more consistent and can generally see how they’ve come to a given conclusion about a piece of work. If a critic works for a larger outlet (ex. IGN) it becomes a lot harder to find consistency because it feels like a lot of the reviews go through a peer review committee and thus you end up with a body of work that can lack consistency both within itself and when compared to other pieces across the website, which generally leads to these reviews being kind of unhelpful.

So…uh…I guess game critics by default as I can’t really speak for the other two groups.

Between music, film/television, and game critics, which do you find the most consistently reliable?

Going to be perfectly honest – I hadn’t read ahead before writing the answer to the previous question. As I said above, don’t really have any familiarity with the first two groups so I guess game critics win by default even if that does clash with my previous answer.

What was your single worst theatergoing experience?

Easy.

A buddy and I went to see Jurassic…uh…the one where Chris Pratt domesticated a bunch of Raptors. I wasn’t all too interested in the film, but my buddy was really excited so we popped into the local theatre and grabbed what ended up being some of the last tickets for the show. We were late enough getting to the theatre that only some of those terrible seats at the front where you have to crane your neck were available, so we were already off to a crap start but it gets worse.

What really cemented this as being the single worst theatre going experience I had was the person sat next to me. Throughout the film there were several light jump-scare moments: the kind that cause you to lean back in your seat a little while sharply inhaling. Nothing crazy, but appropriate to accent the peaks and valleys of tension throughout the film. While a normal individual would respond in the way I already described the person next to me proceeded to flail like a freshly caught fish every SINGLE time one of these moments happened. It was so bad that my buddy apologized afterward (like any good Canadian would) because he could see me getting smacked throughout the film.

So yeah…I think that was the single worst theatre experience I had.

Oh, also the dick weasel took both arm rests so not only was this chuckle fuck slapping me throughout the film, but his elbow was frequently jabbed into my personal space. I hope a bird shit in his eyes. He was a total douche canoe.

What was your single best theatergoing experience?

Have you ever been to a late night showing of a fairly unremarkable film? I have.

My single best theatre experience was one where a buddy (different from the last story) and I hit up one of the least popular theatres in the city for an 11pm showing of Skyfall. The movie was alright, but we had the entire theatre to ourselves because of the timing so we spent most of the movie being complete assholes making jokes about what we were watching as if we were at home watching it in our home theatre.

Granted, if anyone else had been in the theatre what we were doing would have been considerably rude, but given we had the whole place to ourselves we took advantage of it and proceeded to meme on Skyfall for its entire duration.

Do you think a lousy ending can completely ruin an otherwise great work?

No.

I think I’ve talked about this before in another one of these tag posts, but I don’t think fumbling the end ruins an otherwise great journey. If the overwhelming majority of something was positive I still end up viewing the whole positively despite the ending being underwhelming.

Granted, I will say that my opinion is born mostly out of my experience with video games and I think their interactive nature is why I think the way I do.

Do you think an incredible payoff can redeem an otherwise middling (or even bad) work?

Sometimes, but usually no.

One day I’m going to die and as such I don’t like wasting my time on media that is decidedly unenjoyable. As a result I’ve found myself increasingly turning off movies, or stopping games if they’re thoroughly unpleasant. Due to this, I wouldn’t even make it to the payoff and I don’t think any audience should be expected to slog through hours of bullshit for a great climax.

Do you feel the price increase of AAA games was justifiable or not?

Ha. No.

As someone who has been playing games on PC for years I was already experiencing all of the benefits that the price increase is being justified with. Though I still believe this is a problem mostly created by the AAA side of the game industry in the first place. Sticking to a single pricing model for years while it was, apparently, unsustainable while constantly pushing graphical fidelity as the main selling point for games was going to eventually cause the industry to implode in on itself. I’m surprised things lasted for as long as they did, but I suppose using season passes, expansions, and micro-payments in premium titles in ways that otherwise made little to no sense helped to mitigate the need to raise the initial price for the past decade.

What work did you like as a kid only for you to realize it doesn’t hold up at all?

The easy choice here is Sonic Adventure 2, so that’s what I’m going with.

I didn’t even play this game when it first released: I played the Gamecube port. Granted, the Gamecube port appears to be the most rock solid version of this game as far as technical problems, or the lack thereof, go.

Even if you look at Adventure 2 from the lens of when it came out, it is objectively terrible. The different gameplay modes aren’t super well fleshed out, the level design is fairly repetitive, the camera is crime against God, and the audio mixing is remarkably terrible (which is also true for most Sonic games unfortunately). All of that combines to make an experience that is admittedly one of the lower parts in Sonic’s history.

That’s all without mentioning what other games came out in the same year as Adventure 2. In a vacuum sealed environment it already smells like bad fish, but it gets even worse when you look at what else came out in 2001. Pikmin, Luigi’s Mansion, Jak & Daxter, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Grand Theft Auto 3 all released in the same year as Adventure 2 and demonstrate a much more refined understanding of what makes a game work in 3D. Unlike the first Adventure title, 2 had the benefit of learning from other 3D games but still manages to feel woefully behind when compared to other games released both in the year it came out and years prior.

Now, having said that, I still enjoyed the hell out of it and knowing how terrible it was can’t change the enjoyment I had playing the game as a kid.

What work did you not like as a kid only for you to later realize it’s amazingly good?

Rush. All of their stuff, not any one song or CD in particular.

When I was in my early teens and heard Rush for the first time I thought they were awful. I don’t know when my taste in music changed, but sometime in my late teens to early twenties I got into listening to more progressive rock and metal works which naturally led me back to Rush. Upon giving them a second chance I couldn’t understand how I’d ever disliked them, but I guess that’s just how tastes evolve over time. Now I’d count them among my favourite Canadian musicians.

Before you ask: Limelight. I know that’s a super normie pick for a favourite song, but I really like both the overall sound of it and the extremely relatable meaning to the lyrics.

Are there any podcasts you listen to regularly?

The only podcast I’ve been listening to regularly as of late is the one I co-host. Before you flay me, I’m only involved in as far as the recording part of the process. Every other week Jason has to edit down almost three hours of audio into around ninety minutes and I’m always impressed with the job he does. I consider listening to the final product an appreciation of the effort and work he puts in especially as I still don’t understand what wizardry Jason uses to put together the final audio.

Taking cues from AK’s last question, what is the most bizarre combination of ingredients you enjoy?

Together in a dish, or enjoyed simultaneously from different sources?

If it is the former: soy sauce and ketchup. I’ve mixed the two together in an egg dish I’ll serve myself for breakfast on a bed of rice. The salt and umami of the soy sauce blends really well with the tang and sweetness of the ketchup to give the whole thing a pretty alright flavor that ends up being fairly tasty when the scrambled egg is mixed in with the rice.

For the latter: beer with dessert. Having an extremely bitter beer (something from the Ontario craft scene instead of the swill that the major brewers churn out) alongside a painfully sweet North American dessert doesn’t sound like a great combo because it isn’t. I don’t know why I enjoy this combo so much, but I do.


As I said at the top I won’t be nominating anyone due to a perceived lack of interest across the community, but I would like to thank anyone who read this far. I hope you’ve had a wonderful day and I’ll see you in the next post.

11 thoughts on “Sunshine Blogger Tag 8: Let’s Get Critical

  1. That kinda reminds me of the time I went to see Batman Begins at a theater. We were in the back of the theater so we didn’t have a bunch of obnoxious jerks behind us, but for whatever reason, I got pelted in the chest a few times with Sour Patch Kids over the course of two hours. I dunno who or why, but…

    And hell yes to Rush!! It took me a little while to develop a taste for it, but they’ve become one of my favorite bands. No shame in picking Limelight either, Moving Pictures is one of those albums I listen to endlessly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It will be fun to get used to dealing with obnoxious assholes in public again when things go back to “normal.” That sounds miserable anyway. I’m sure that guy will have to face some kind of justice for his lack of basic etiquette and common sense, whether it’s bird shit or something else.

    Sonic Adventure 2 absolutely had problems, but I also have fond memories of it. I think later far more major screwups like Sonic ’06 took the heat off of it. It’s too bad the general quality of 3D Sonic is so poor — I totally gave up on it after a while, and now I just hope for more good 2D games that Sega seems determined not to give us.

    I still have to try Rush again. I’m kind of familiar with some of their music, but for someone who’s into 70s prog I think I should probably like them too.

    And happy to see my stupid hacky pineapple pizza meme question inspired a better question. I’m not a big fan of ketchup, but I do like soy sauce. Maybe I should try this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sure hope so.

      Yeah that’s pretty well where we’re at now. Though I still have a big soft spot for Sonic Adventure 2 so I’ll play it for a sweet sting of nostalgia every few years. It’s a lot easier to recognize the problems that game has now, but having played it so many times gives one muscle memory for working around the jank.

      I’m pretty sure you will enjoy them once you revisit them. I’m sure I’ll read about it in a monthly review post of yours at some point in the future.

      The full recipe involves cooking some scrambled eggs like you normally would, but throw in a little bit of sesame seed oil for flavor (like a couple drops – that shit is strong as fuck). In another pan you sweat a little onion/shallot and some garlic, once that’s simmering a little throw in the ketchup and soy sauce along with some diced tomato and just before you’re ready to take it off you throw in the cooked eggs and give it one final mix. Then you throw that on top of a bowl of rice and eat your delicious appropriated breakfast like any good weeb would. XD

      Edit: add salt and pepper at your discretion. I don’t know how salty or spicy you like your food. I like mine scolding.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Strange thing to miss but after going to the pictures a couple of times when visiting the US and Canada I do find the general lack of ‘reaction’ in the UK a little stifling. Only time I ever remember a spontaneous visible reaction was the first LOTR film when the Aragorn gets choppy at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do folks in the UK sit like a bunch of stone statues while watching films at the theatre? I’ve never been to a movie showing outside of Canada, so I’m not familiar with the customs/mannerisms in other countries.

      Like

      1. Honestly, for the most part pretty much yep. Which is ok when it’s all you know but I remember the first film I saw in the states, I think it was batman begins? Or possibly something else I’m Washington and the people inside going nuts when Bale said ‘I’m Batman’

        Liked by 1 person

  4. To be completely honest, when it comes to the question of which group is the least reliable, I tend to go back and forth between game and film critics. Film critics have a bad habit of promoting works of art solely on the basis of whether or not they validate their viewpoints. Too many of them don’t realize that sometimes, you can just make art for the sake of making art. They also have a bad habit of being in love with their opinions, which means they act rather infantile whenever they’re directly challenged.

    On the other hand, mainstream game critics are the single worst thing you can be if you’re getting paid to pen your opinion: sellouts. It’s not actually the worst thing you can be if you’re an artist because you can potentially use that money to get experimental somewhere down the line, but it is the worst thing for a critic to be because at that point, it’s glorified PR. Indeed, mainstream game critics are uncomfortably close to publishers, so their writings tend to be about as substantive as an advertising brochure (sometimes, less so). Granted, in gaming, that’s not too much of an issue because any company well-known enough to be working with a major publisher is also usually going to have a team of competent coders to hand, so the work will usually be of at least average quality (unlike film critics who can and will praise bad art). Then again, that conflict of interest can be really detrimental whenever we have a Kane & Lynch situation on our hands.

    Even ignoring that, what really sinks them is that they simply don’t have much in the way of passion of their medium. When reading what they have to say, I just don’t get the sense they like games all that much. Just the fact that the game awards tend to separate indie efforts from AAA games is a pretty big tell; the fact that they barely cover indie games at all is an even bigger one. And yeah, I know the indie scene is huge to the point where they probably wouldn’t know where to start and playing a game is much more of an investment than watching a film, but their lack of effort speaks volumes.

    For whatever else you can say about film critics, at least they’re not sellouts, and I never question that they actually like films (if anything, their worst takes tend to result from them taking the craft way too seriously). Their detractors from the so-called Fandom Menace and other groups like them claim they’re shills to Disney, but their mixed-to-negative consensuses of the ninth Star Wars episode and, more recently, Eternals pretty safely disproves such a theory. Plus, their staunch promotion of indie talent is admirable – even if, as of the late 2010s/early 2020s, it is rather misguided (although it’s not really their fault that contemporary indie talent lacks vision).

    So yeah, that basically leaves music critics as the default answer as to which one is the best (for me, anyway). They strike a good balance between promoting art with positive social messages, but not to the detriment of the craft. It doesn’t really matter how good your messages are; if you can’t play your instruments, you won’t get the time of day from them. Plus, they too are stalwart supporters of their indie scene, meaning they avoid the sellout label. Their only weakness is that, on occasion, they’ll completely dismiss a significant movement, but it’s difficult to blame them for that because new sounds tend to take a while to properly cement themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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