The joys of being tagged.

Recently Red Metal was tagged for a Sunshine Blogger Award article, in which they answered several questions. Give it a read, it’s rather intriguing!

Anyway, he tagged several bloggers including yours truly to answer some questions he’s posed in turn. So I’m taking some time to try to take a crack at them. Some of these are pretty tough questions to answer as they can have so many different answers or opinions. Others are things I haven’t really thought much about. So hopefully he’ll find whatever answers I come up with compelling.

Here we go!

Question 1.) What do you feel is the ideal length for a studio album (or LP)?

It’s hard to say. It really depends first and foremost on the artist. Whatever they want to do is what ought to be done. As a listener and fan of music, it’s also hard to say. Would anybody say Rock Operas by Queen are far too long? I don’t know that they would. Nearly everything they did was beloved. Conversely, The Ramones were known for breaking out simple three-chord rock n’ roll that combined the melodic nature of early rock n’ roll with the pop-punk edge of the ’70s. But over time even they grew melodically and even added various themes to their material. Really, I have no problem with whatever length the artist decides they need to roll with. Unless its something I don’t personally care for in which case the length is moot.

Question 2.) Have you ever accidentally rendered a physical copy of a game/film/album unplayable?

Actually yes. Back in the 1980’s many of us had games on computers. And back then games came on disks for said computers. If said disk came too close to a magnet? It became corrupted, and bye bye game.

Question 3.) What series do you feel has a confusing naming convention?

Star Wars Dark Forces/Jedi Knight. First came Dark Forces. Then Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight. Then Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast which should have been called Dark Forces III: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, and finally Jedi Academy which should have been Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Academy.

Question 4.) What critical darling do you feel completely failed to live up to the hype?

Halo: Combat Evolved is probably the one that stands out most to me. Now before someone tries to beat me to death whilst dressed as Master Chief let me explain. When this game hit the Xbox I had been playing shooters for over a decade. I’d played the classic iD stuff. Catacombs Abyss, Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, Quake. I’d played the classic Apogee stuff. Rise Of The Triad, Duke Nukem 3D, Blake Stone. I’d played Epic’s hits like Unreal, and Unreal Tournament to death. I’d played Half-Life, SIN, and even lesser known stuff like Eradicator. Plus Serious Sam was out by Halo’s release. On consoles, I’d played a myriad of hit games on the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, and PlayStation. So by the time Halo rolled around I’d seen it all. When I played Halo for the first time on a friend’s Xbox make no mistake I had fun. It had a cool Sci-Fi storyline. It had a terrific Deathmatch, and it introduced online multiplayer to consoles in a significant way. It was a well-made game that deserved a lot of the praise it received. But at the same time, I kind of had to ask myself “That’s it?” When compared to everything that had happened in the genre before it came around most of it had been done already. The cinematic linear storyline with endearing characters? Half-Life had nailed that already. Online multiplayer? Done on the PC 1,000 times over. Really it’s big achievement was bringing what the PC nailed to the video game system, but for an added annual fee. Of course, when the game finally came to the PC mouselook made it a breeze and other games had outdone the vehicular combat it had brought in. Still, I don’t think Halo is a terrible game by any means. But if you were already knee deep in the dead of FPS games back then (See what I did there?) It really didn’t do that much more to impress you.

Question 5.) Which work do you feel should have deserved more attention?

There are so many. In this day and age, pretty much anything on the Commodore 64. In its time it was the best selling platform of all time. Before the NES dominated the gaming landscape most of the North American developers had moved to it, and other computers. In fact, I wish more in the retro community realized there were video games, GOOD video games, GREAT video games on platforms that existed before the NES/SMS/7800 trifecta. That isn’t to say the majority don’t, they do. But we all love what we grew up with. I just think we should venture out to see what came before. In pretty much anything. Because it shows us the steps that lead us to what we loved. It also shows us what not to do. This can kind of be a tangent to talking about any history. But the old sayings about history often ring true.

Back on topic though, I also think there is a slew of games that don’t get the attention they deserve. For me these days they’re often in the indie space. New Blood Interactive’s DUSK is a fantastic send-up of early Quake and Resident Evil games. In some cases, it might be a game that is doing gangbusters in one part of the world but is barely recognized in another. With more, and more titles going digital, and worldwide you wouldn’t think so. But it’s true. For every, The Messenger or Shovel Knight is a Halloween Forever. So when you stumble upon one such great game, you should talk about it. It’s like the bands you love that the rest of the world has never heard of. Let the world know about them! Just try not to be a snob about it. That’s just an accident waiting to happen.

Question 6.) Do you prefer foreign work to be subtitled or dubbed in your language?

I really don’t have a preference. At least when the translation is nearly 1:1 as confirmed by most of the viewers who speak the language. Cowboy Bebop is one of the greatest animes of all time because of a compelling story, and relatable characters. And in both Japanese or English versions the cast of actors do a phenomenal job. I don’t know a lick of Japanese but I can tell when one of the characters is happy, angry, or somber. Conversely, the English cast performed the voices so well there were moments that nearly brought me to tears.

That said, I can appreciate why someone would rather have subtitles. They want to experience the work with the purest experience possible. I can also appreciate why someone would prefer a dubbed voice track. They just simply want to experience the story in a way they can understand.

Question 7.) 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)?

Mega Man 10. (Normal Setting) One of the most difficult Dr. Wily encounters in the entire Classic series. Yes, the doppelganger is an obvious ploy. But the number of death orbs the real Wily shoots about the screen are enough to even frustrate the most seasoned veteran of bullet hell shooters. With this in mind, it’s no wonder I barely got out of this fight alive when I made it there on my Wii back in 2010.

Question 8.) Can you remember an instance in which you got completely robbed playing a game?

Action Girlz Racing. It was gag gifted to me, and I still felt robbed.

Question 9.) What is your favorite arcade game?

This is one of those questions where I seem to answer it differently every time. There are just so many great arcade machines out there. But I’m going to roll with Berzerk. It’s a fantastic game on a fantastic machine. The voice sampling is still great today, and it beckons you by having the robots exclaim “COIN DETECTED IN POCKET!” For the five of you who have never played Berzerk, it’s a procedurally generated action game where you’re thrown into mazes. In each, you have to survive an onslaught of evil robots that will remind any geezers like me of the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. In any case, you want to destroy them all, and escape before Evil Otto shows up to corpse hump you immediately after killing you. Also, all of the walls are electrified. Good luck!

It’s a simple, yet challenging game that everyone ought to check out if given the opportunity.

Question 10.) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Three places. I’ll likely never get to any of them as travel is expensive, and time away from my pedestrian employment has always been razor thin. But I have them on my bucket list anyway. First up: Ireland. A big chunk of my family history comes out of Ireland (along with a smattering of Scotland, and the wider UK.), and it would be nice to see where my ancestors on my Mother’s side came from. It seems like a beautiful part of the world from what I’ve seen on the internet, and it’s home to a great beer scene.

The second country I’d visit? Germany. My Father’s side of the family lineage can be traced there. But again, it would be nice to see just how different things would have been for them between living there and immigrating here to the United States. And the fact a lot of my favorite C64 games were made in Germany doesn’t hurt. Of course, before I could ever visit I’d need to learn a rudimentary amount of German to get by. My late Great Grandfather was the last family member who spoke any German so all I know of the language are a handful of phrases. Not nearly enough to make it through a week or two away. Still, the food and the beer imports I’ve had have all been wonderful. Some Currywurst, Hofbrau, European C64 exclusives, and family history sounds like a nice time away.

And you can’t be a video game fan without being remotely intrigued by a potential visit to Japan. So many of the most beloved titles came out of Japan. Plus there are a lot of cultural, and historical sites to go experience. Metal Jesus Rocks recently posted some footage of his visit there, and it just looked like a great vacation. Much like Germany however, I’d have to learn Japanese which seems like it would be quite daunting to learn from scratch. Still, it seems like a fascinating place to visit.

Question 11.) What critics (in any medium) do you find to actually be reputable?

Back in the day, I relied a lot on the world of gaming magazines. These days though? I find I get most of my info from small, and large YouTube personalities as well as blogs. There seems less of a possibility of them being advertorials. I suppose it’s still possible now and again. But ever since Gamespot let go of Jeff Gerstmann over thinking Kane and Lynch was “Okay, not great” it’s been the average video game fans picking up the webcam with the slack for many people. That isn’t to say site based critics are all bad or don’t do hard work. A lot of video commentary is based on what articles reveal. But I think the rise of great bloggers, vloggers, and content producers is something that should give these places pause. They come off as more genuine. That said, the recent rash of internet personalities being embroiled in scandals should tell everyone that nobody is flawless. Even the platforms themselves have issues that need to be hashed out.

3 thoughts on “The joys of being tagged.

  1. Yeah, I say “as long as it needs to be” is the best answer. Many old-school critics lament the CD age because it made every album exceed one hour, but that’s really only an issue if the artist doesn’t have enough material to work with. A lot of pioneering hip-hop artists had an annoying propensity to add skits to their work, which added nothing practical to the listening experience.

    Oh, do you remember which games specifically you rendered unplayable? I remember that my Majora’s Mask cartridge glitched out. If you played for a long enough time (about 30 minutes), Link would become uncontrollable, always running to the left – it was the weirdest thing.

    Jeez, that is way too many numbers making repeat appearances. I thought the Wonder Boy franchise had it bad.

    Halo honestly does seem to be a pretty common pick. There are a few critically acclaimed works that become less impressive the more familiar you are with the medium. It’s like how Uncharted 2 is considered one of the greatest story-driven games of all time, but it just comes across as style-over-substance when stacked next to harder hitters such as Planescape: Torment or Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Also, I saw what you did; you made a Doom reference.

    I really don’t like how critics have been handling the indie scene as of late (it is, ironically enough, the exact opposite problem plaguing the film critical circle). The minute indie developers dropped the ego and began working on stuff the average person would actually want to play, the critics pulled the plug on them immediately – it’s as though they were only interested in being tabloids than actually promoting the art of gaming. Failing to give works such as OneShot or Undertale any recognition was inexcusable.

    I prefer live-action films to be subbed, but for animated films, I could go either way. That’s on a case-by-case basis; sometimes both are good while other times, subtitles are the only sane option. I’ve always found it interesting whenever you’re watching a foreign film and the foreign language used is English; you recognize what would probably have been subtitled in its original release.

    Oh, I can do you one better; I managed to beat the Wily Capsule in Mega Man 7; popularly considered the single most difficult boss in the entire series. I can’t remember if I was one hit away from defeat, but I definitely was when I beat the Aztec level in Goldeneye on 00 Agent Mode. I equipped the laser (which has infinite ammo) and never let go of the “Z” button when I reached the final portion. It turned out to be a smart move because one straggler appeared only to intercept the laser before he could get a shot off.

    I think you’d have to be paid to accept a game like that. I didn’t feel too ripped off playing Anubis II because my money went to charity (for good measure, I ended up sending the disc through the shredder afterwards).

    I went to a gaming convention recently and I ended up gravitating towards Ms. Pac Man and Galaga (which were on the same machine, no less). They bore the two greatest words an arcade game can have “FREE PLAY”. I really like Ms. Pac Man when it’s sped up because I find it easier to play (surprisingly enough). Meanwhile, Galaga remains a fun fixed shoot ’em up. I notice I tended to be better playing those games on arcade cabinets than on consoles. The opposite held true as well; when I tried playing Vs. Super Mario Bros. on an arcade cabinet, I did horribly because I’m used to using a controller to play those kinds of games.

    Ireland and Germany would definitely be high priorities for me. I’ve been to Japan (the Kanto region – Yokohama and Tokyo, specifically), and I can say you’re in for a treat if you decide to go there.

    Yeah, I’ve been getting a lot of recommendations from other bloggers myself considering that critics don’t seem interested in acknowledging anything other than the big-name, AAA releases (see above).

  2. If I remember correctly it was one of our copies of Forbidden Forest. We’d gotten it a few times back in the day. When it was new we had the Datassette (Cassette tape) version, then the Disk version because Disks loaded faster than tapes, and then there was a Cosmi collection that included it yet again.

    I’d absolutely love to see Ireland, Germany, and Japan. I don’t see it happening due to the retail scheduling I have. Maybe if I ever find myself getting married one of the three could be a honeymoon vacation, or if I’m ever able to get a gig doing something I love like writing, where I could make my own schedule. But even then two of the three would still require me learning a language. 🙂

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