Anime Time! 3 Anime Shows I Watched Recently (Mini Reviews)

Something a bit different to my usual today. Lately I’ve been looking into new jobs and education prospects. I’m doing a lot of it, trying to figure out what work I want to do in life and just trying to better myself in general. It’s taking a lot of my time and between that, work and average daily tasks, I’m not in the mood to game. Nothing intensive anyway. Bit of Smash Bros here and there but lately in my down time I just want to watch rather than play. Anime has been my big filler there and so today I want to talk about 3 anime shows I’ve watched over the past few months. Rather than talking about gaming, something that I’ve been neglecting. I won’t be getting into major spoilers but basic story beats and plot elements will be spoken about.

Mob Psycho 100 Seasons 1+2

Mob Psycho 100

I decided to try this after starting One Punch Man season 2 and finding it’s animation very lacking compared to the past season. I knew Mob Psycho 100 was by the same writer and captured the similar feel of One Punch Man, a blend of comedy, action and a story. What I wasn’t expecting, was for Mob Psycho 100 to not only surpass One Punch Man, in my view, but for it to earn a spot in my top 5 anime shows. I was floored by how good this show is. Not just in terms of animation, which at times is stunning, but in the characters themselves. I’m not ashamed to say that there were times where I was getting glassy eyed when certain characters interacted with or supported the main character. This show had the capacity to have me laughing my bum off one minute and then feeling an immense sense of union and comradery the next. Before I continue to swoon over this show in more depth, I should explain the plot.

Shigeo or Mob as he is known to some friends, is a human with psychic abilities. He seems unique in this world at first but as time progresses in the show, the more and more esper’s start revealing themselves and ghosts start cropping up. In his day to day life he’s been told by family that he needs to limit his psychic usage so that he can be like everyone else. From a young age he seeks the help of a local esper named Reigen who runs his own psychic consultation business. Reigen actually has no psychic abilities whatsoever but is a confident conman, skilled at taking desperate people’s money in exchange for ridding them of their spectral problems as a self proclaimed psychic master. This is where Mob comes in handy and a place for him to use his psychic talents, who believes in Reigen’s abilities and dutifully follows his orders as his business apprentice. That is the core concept of this show. Most episodes are the duo’s business call outs but there are big overarching story line’s that take the show in a more serious and intense direction. The big appeal of this show, for me anyway, is Mob himself. Due to subduing his psychic abilities, it has allowed Shigeo to blend in with regular school life but has also helped to dull his emotions in the process, as he is unable to use his natural talents. This process has turned him into a bit of a loner and one that is unable to feel like a regular student. Because of this, Mob has difficulty with making friends and living a regular day to life.

Over the 2 seasons Mob’s life changes as new people enter his life, some friends and some enemies. What I love about this show is how Mob develops as a character when surrounded by these people in his life. It really is something amazing and his development is one of the most natural that I’ve seen in any media source. For a character that initially lacks a plethora of emotions, the show has huge emotional weight at times. This is aided by the supporting cast of characters who I honestly can’t find a weak link with. Each character adds something new to the show and the plot elements they bring never failed to amuse or enrapture me. Reigen especially deserves a mention. My favourite character of the show and the one who gave me the most belly laughs. I’m a sucker for scam artists in funny shows or films and Reigen is one of the absolute scammiest of scam artists. Grunkle Stan from Gravity Falls is one of my favourite animated characters of all time and if you like Grunkle Stan, you’ll love Reigen. He’s the embodiment of a man in a world he doesn’t understand but his sheer attitude towards it is all he requires. His assortment of ‘special’ moves will always get a laugh out of me too. Also, the show has 2 of the best OP’s I’ve ever seen. Not important to this review but I highly recommend checking out the first one on Youtube.

Reigen

I fully recommend this show especially if you enjoy humour in your anime. I fully recommend it even if you don’t! The way it looks and the action deserve huge praise. I’ve never seen anything that made telekinetic battles look this good and intense. As mentioned, this is very similar to season one of One Punch Man and deserves more attention than what Mob Psycho 100 currently gets, more so than One Punch Man in my view. Super Recommend!

My Love Story!!

My Love Story

After Mob Psycho 100 I wanted to continue the comedy element into another show and My Love Story!! has been on my radar for a while now. I’m not a big romance anime/series person but My Love Story!! nicely balances the cutesy aspect with the tonal shifts and sharp edits that bring the chuckles to My Love Story!! I also felt a strong connection to the main character within the first episode and so maybe the emotional aspects hit harder for me than an average person but this series made me feel a wide spectrum of feelings whilst watching it.

Funny and endearing, My Love Story!! tells the story of Takeo a hulking beast of a student. A man of big stature, big features and an even bigger heart. Takeo wouldn’t be described as handsome but his stoic-ness and kind demeanour shine for those that are willing to give this, at first, scary looking mountain a chance. Takeo is a gentle giant and even though his close friends love and respect him, he’s never had a girlfriend, though he has fallen hard many times. Suna, is Takeo’s best friend and in an average anime, he would be the main protaganist. Smart, handsome and somewhat mysterious, Suna was always the attention of girls around Takeo and usually those that Takeo had developed feelings for. One day, Takeo spots a girl on his train being groped by a creep. As chivalrous as always, Takeo rushes to her rescue and upon seeing the girl’s face, instantly falls in love with her. Rinko, the girl he saved, also develops feelings for her saviour but as this is an anime love story, it’s not a simple affair. Rinko is incredibly shy and Takeo has complex’s due to his previous unrequited feelings. Thankfully this whole charade doesn’t outstay its welcome and even though there are more miscommunication mishaps throughout the season, I never found them to be infuriating. Takeo has every right to doubt that someone as amazing as Rinko would have feelings for him. Not because he’s a bad person, but because of the damage and insecurities his past feelings have wrought him. I resonated with that characteristic and perhaps that’s why this show got me as much as it did. I had self esteem issues in the past and when obvious signals or even flat out propositions were thrown my way I would have a hard time believing them or would just flat out dismiss them. I didn’t regard myself highly and so I couldn’t see how others could either. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve come to appreciate the qualities that I have to offer but Takeo really reminded me of how I was. Not in terms of sheer strength or courageousness but in his internal struggle and his ability to over analyse situations or to be oblivious to what’s practically spelled out. His naivety is his charm but a detriment to his happiness. But that’s what makes him a likeable character to watch.

Not only that but the supporting cast are great too, though the show mainly focuses on the 3 main characters. Which is a great thing as it gives Takeo and Rinko’s relationship substance. We see how they develop and how they each imbue one another with aspects of themselves. Rinko is lovely, shy and a kind person; Takeo is a lovable brute with a heart of gold and Suna is the perfect straight man for Takeo to bounce off of. There is great story elements to this trio’s interactions but what I really love is the humour between them. Takeo and Rinko’s internal thoughts and freak outs in their new relationship really put a smile on my face. If you’re someone who second guesses a lot or are just socially awkward in general, you’ll relate to these two. And then there is Suna who works best being Takeo’s support. Takeo is unrefined and clumsy when it comes to feelings and relationships. His constant harassing of Suna for advice is both comical and touching to see. Two very different people but it’s easy to see why they’re best friends and why there friendship has lasted so long. The show does a good job of switching up story beats or changing the focus of the episodes to one of the three main characters. Romantic tropes don’t play for too long and the series has a good balance of serious episodes with humour to flat out comedy episodes or character development arcs.

Takeo

At only 24 episodes, My Love Story!! tells the beginning of a relationship, a sweet tale between two individuals who deserve someone who thinks the world of them. This is a pleasant show to watch and it does a great job of making you feel happy inside. It’s a charming watch and one that has some of the best quick cut gags and intensely comical face shots that I’ve seen for a long time. As this came out in 2015 and only one season was produced, there isn’t much finality to the show. The last episode could be seen as a regular arc ending and so I was a bit disappointed that a second season wasn’t made but that can’t be helped really. An enjoyable watch but just be aware that you see the start of a blossoming relationship but you won’t see the end. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the journey is very enjoyable but be prepared to feel a small void in your heart when the last episode ends. Highly Recommend.

The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland

This anime got a lot of attention at the start of the year and I always thought about checking it out. I knew it involved kids in an orphanage and that there was a mystery element to it but that’s all I knew really. The term, psychological thriller/horror was also chucked around and this seemed right up my alley. I love when a basic concept or real life situation is twisted in a unique way. The Promised Neverland definitely has that going for it and isn’t shy about the horror element.

For those that haven’t heard of the premise, I’m torn on describing this series. I think a big part of the impact I felt when watching the first episode was the reveal of the main plot. It’s something that I feel should be seen rather than read or heard. BUT! What’s the point of this paragraph if I don’t explain it? The basic version: the story centres on 3 orphans in an orphanage as they uncover the mystery surrounding their orphanage and their lives. If you are intrigued by this synopsis then I recommend reading no further on in this mini review of The Promised Neverland. The main mystery is revealed in the first episode and so I’m going to talk a bit more in depth about basic plot points of the first few episodes as it’s hard to explain this show without more detail. Last chance to avoid basic spoilers, skip ahead to next paragraph if you want to remain in the dark about this show. SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST FEW EPISODES NOW: As I mentioned, the plot revolves around 3 orphans. These orphans find out that their orphanage is a produce farm essentially, for weird monsters. Their caretaker who they refer to as Mother is in contact with the monsters and essentially rears the children for slaughter. There is mention of other farms and it is revealed that the smarter a child is, the better their quality is. What follows is the children trying to escape their fate and their effort to uncover the secrets of the world outside their knowledge. Before we get into non-spoiler territory, Sister Krone scares the hell out of me! That smile of hers *shudders*.

neverland1

The series is a really cool concept and for the most part I enjoyed it. My main gripe I had was not with the mystery or the revelations, but with the 3 main characters themselves. They are said to be 11 years old and the smartest children at the orphanage. Maybe because I was dumb as an 11 year old and so I find it hard to believe but their deductions and observations seem too unrealistic for three 11 year olds. That being said, I was never an A* pupil and I’ve never been in their situation. That kind of scenario would have the brain firing on all cylinders but I still have trouble with their intelligence. It’s weird given the surrounding story that that is the aspect I find hard to believe but they are three mini Sherlock Holmes apparently. But, they were raised in a different situation to me and so I can’t be correlating their mindset to mine but that is a minor gripe of mine. That being said, I do think this is a promising start. What I do love about this series is the way it builds dread. With intense camera angles, close up’s of characters in crisis and the occasional first person view, The Promised Neverland does a great job of building terror in this seemingly normal orphanage. It’s one of the best anime series I’ve seen, to really make me feel uneasy or concerned for characters. Not a series for the weak of heart. If you don’t mind a bit of unease in your life then I recommend trying The Promised Neverland! At only 12 episodes it’s worth a watch if you’re interested in the concept. Solid Recommend.

And that’s that! I haven’t been writing much as I mentioned due to lack of gaming and time but hopefully I’ll get back on track soon. In the meantime let me know your opinions on these anime series and if you know of any anime similar to them then please let me know. I’m in the mood for more great anime series/films as I’m currently re-watching all of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and I’m getting close to the current airing part so I’m in need of new things to watch! Recommendations are always welcome. Thanks for reading and take it easy.

Sunshine Blogger Award From Kelly Of Why We Play Games + Red Metal Of Extra Life

Hello everyone! A bit over a month ago I got nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award by Kelly and Red Metal. I was thrilled to be nominated the first time but the second time threw me off a bit. Perhaps I’m too insecure about my writing but whenever a get tagged in peoples posts or mentioned it does mean a big deal for me and so for 2 Sunshine Blogger mentions in quick succession, well it was a very big deal for me. Double the love but double the questions. Hence the big delay in writing this and so I would just like to say apologies to the two of you who nominated me. Didn’t mean to respond this late but life happened and I was also experiencing a bit of a writers lull. With all that said, I’m ready to answer your questions!

sunshine-blogger-award

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out both Why We Play Games and Extra Life. They’re both great and offer fantastic reads. Recently Red Metal did a Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review which was a really interesting read for me. I personally rank Galaxy 2 as one of my favourite Mario Games and maybe higher than Galaxy 1. Red Metal gives a great analysis to the game, opinions of its features but also facts that I wasn’t even aware of. It’s a brilliant read and one I suggest checking out. Kelly uploaded The Simpsons: Hit & Run Review 2 days ago which brought back a flood of memories for me. I loved this game and what I really enjoyed about Kelly’s writing is the injection of her personality through her words. ‘I was a ruthless child’ demonstrates that but I also find it hard to believe, Kelly :). That post was a nostalgia trip for me and if you’ve played that game or love The Simpsons I recommend checking it out.

Now onto the Sunshine Blogger questions and rules:

Rules

The rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award are:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions they ask you
  • Nominate 11 blogs and write them 11 question
  • List the rules and display the logo in your post and/or on your blog

I’m going to be answering Kelly’s questions first as she nominated me first.

Questions

1. What is your favourite video game series?

The Legend of Zelda. I tend to not watch game trailers or follow every news about upcoming games as I like to be surprised and it’s always more enjoyable to get hyped for a game a few weeks before release than months or years ahead. The passage of time just slows to a crawl with anticipation then. The Legend Of Zelda series, specifically the main 3D ones, are games that I can’t ignore. Even just rumours of the next game make every Nintendo Direct a tense affair for me. That and Mario games just revert me to a child like state, in waiting for the game and playing it.

2. What video game or video game series have you always wanted to try?

Kingdom Hearts. The combination of Final Fantasy and Disney got my attention but this was years after 1 and 2 came out. Whenever I looked Kingdom Hearts I always liked the premise but I had issues with what I saw. As I had missed played 1 and 2 when they came out, I think I missed the window for me. The dialogue in cutscenes I find quite difficult to listen too. In JRPG’s it’s the world and characters that need to hook me. I love the evil villains in Kingdom Hearts as it’s hilarious to me to see Maleficent talking to Pete from Goofy but the Sora dialogue and darkness chatter just puts me off. I’m also quite fussy with JRPG’s. I like turn based combat and find real time battles to be not very fun for the most part. I loved FFX but couldn’t finish FFXII for this reason. It felt like I was running around the battlefield and tapping a button now and then but having very little control of the battle. It’s why the Persona series will be my JRPG champion unless they go real time combat too. I wish I played Kingdom Hearts when it came out. It was my age range, great mix of two franchises but I missed the window of opportunity for me. Maybe one day I’ll give it a try.

3. What was your favourite childhood video game?

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This is my number 1 game and it’s going to take a lot to top it. The world, characters, the scope, music, combat, just all of it is either perfection or close enough. It’s the first game that I can recall playing that had depth to it and was telling a complex story. I know there were games before it like Final Fantasy that told a broader more in depth story but this was the first one that I personally played. The twists, the turns, the gravity of the situation, this was a changing point in gaming for me. A tone had been set, games could tell bold tales and create worlds to be engrossed in. That is in no way a dis to the games I played before it just merely that Ocarina set a standard in storytelling for me.

4.What is your favourite part about playing video games?

Good question! That honestly depends on my mood. I’m playing Sekiro currently and it’s itching that challenge itch but when I get in from work and I’m tired, I don’t dare put it on. Games are my unwind time and so I suppose that is my favourite aspect of them. And depending on how wound I am, changes which game or genre I play. When I play games that is to zone out and enjoy my time before work/chores/responsibilities etc. I get to jump into worlds for a brief time and be a samurai, a cowboy, mage, a turtle stomping plumber and many other characters. I don’t know what word best describes it but my favourite part about playing video games is that. Immersion is probably the best word. Let me know if you think of a better one for what I’m describing.

5. What is your favourite video game console?

Ahhh this is tough but I’m going with the Super Nintendo or SNES. This console is my childhood. Yes I probably spent more time with the N64 I later got but the Super Nintendo has one of the best catalogue of games hands down. And a large portion of my earliest memories are sat on the floor in front of the TV screen playing Donkey Kong Country or any of the SNES game I had. I played and played these games over and over again as I didn’t grow up in a well off household. And so a game would have to last me till my birthday or Christmas. I would also get £1 a week in spending money and I would save up for a video game. £1 a week for a £40-£50 game is a long, long, so very long time for a 6 year old. And so that would mean that the games I had, I replayed over and over again. Due to that, a large chunk of my gaming knowledge and memories are SNES games, levels, sound effects and soundtracks. The SNES gives me a lot of comforting memories and I just think in general it had some fantastic games.

6. Do you prefer single-player or multiplayer games?

Single-player without question. I honestly barely play multiplayer games any more. I want a game with a story and a fleshed out world. The main thing you get out of multiplayer games is the satisfaction of beating another player or laughter with friends. And while I don’t mind that and I will jump on Apex or Overwatch every few days, now that I’m older and have less time, I want to experience the best that gaming has to offer and for me single-player games is more focused on the experiences that I want.

7. What is one of your favourite video game sidequests?

Tricky one. I’m sure you’re sick of reading about Zelda but Majora’s Mask has a side quest where you have to protect a barn full of cows from aliens creeping across a farm. In a weird and surreal game this quest stands out as being surreal. And that says something. You have to go to the farm at 2:30am and wait until the aliens show up. They are these ball like creatures with beams of light coming out of their eyes. You have to run around the farm and shoot any alien with an arrow. You can’t let them get to close to the barn otherwise you fail. At dawn I believe, the aliens disappear and the cows are safe. It’s a fun mission but it’s the idea of an alien abduction taking place in a Zelda world, that thought just makes me smile.

8.What is your favourite video game boss?

Gaius the 3rd colossus in Shadow of the Colossus. The first two bosses are great introductions to the colossi and how to beat them but Gaius is for me, the first real fight. You can’t just jump on him like the first colossi and the 2nd one is a bit too easy to take down. This one has a puzzle element to it as you have to make Gaius hit the right spot before you can attack him. Not only that but you can’t just climb up his legs, you need to use his body against him. When you realise that you have to run up his rock-lance arm, you realise that you’re about to do some action film nonsense! You dodge his arm smash, he gets his arm stuck in the ground and then you run up the lance and as he’s pulling his arm out of the ground you make a desperate leap to the body. The figuring out of the puzzle, the act of scaling this beast and the beautiful music makes this boss for me.

9.What was the hardest video game boss you have fought?

Zelda time again! Anyone who’s played Zelda games is probably thinking ‘A Zelda boss that’s hard?’, well hard for my own stupid reasons. I told this story on a previous post here (shill shill), but Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time is my hardest boss. To cut a long story short, I was 9/10 when playing Ocarina and when I got to the Forest Temple, I got scared of the ambience but most importantly, the Wallmasters. The hand monsters that fall from the shadows on the ceiling. After lots of failed attempts to grow a pair I asked my older brother to finish the dungeon for me. Which he did, no problem at all. The problem is, is that in that temple, the final boss is a Phantom version of Ganondorf and is a precursor to the final showdown with him. In the Forest Temple battle, Navi, Link’s helper, tells Link to hit Ganondorf’s electric balls back at him. But in the final battle, she gives no clues. You were meant to take what you learnt from that fight and use it to defeat Ganondorf at the end. Well, I tried everything didn’t I except slashing back his energy balls. I banged my head against if for days and then kept coming back to it every week to see if I’d figure it out. Months went by and no joy until my brother walked in on the fight, asked me if he could have a go and because he did it in the previous boss, he effortlessly swiped the ball back at Ganondorf. And so that embarrassment is my hardest boss fight.

10. What is your favourite video game character?

Hmm, a lot to choose from but today I’m feeling in a Travis Touchdown mood. I have a thing for questionable heroes or relatable villains and Travis is by no accounts a good person. He has moments of kindness but he is generally an ego powered, reckless, dweeb with a light beam sword that he bought on eBay, who enters dozens of fights to the death just so he can be proclaimed the number 1 assassin. He’s not a good guy but he is the protagonist. Sometimes it’s nice to play a game where your character isn’t a virtuous saint or a depressed individual in a bleak world. Maybe sometimes I want to play a character similar to The Joker rather than Batman. Travis is there for when I want to do that.

11. What video game animal would you like to have as a pet? (Ex: moogle)

Oooh this is a hard choice. I’m going to go with the cats known as Felyne’s in Monster Hunter World, specifically the head chef cat. Have you seen some of the food it makes?! Imagine coming home to that every day after work. Yes please! You’d have to roll me out the front door after a few months. Not only that but I’m more of a cat person than dog and so Felyne’s are just higher intelligence cats. They’re capable of understanding me, have opposable thumbs which is very handy (ba dum tss) and have all the benefits of being a cat.

Round 1 done!

Go get yourself a cup of tea or something and let’s begin Red Metals question time:

1. In which cases would you deem the manga superior to the anime on which it’s based?

To be honest, I don’t read a lot of manga. I’ve done a few one off Junji Ito stories but I don’t think the ones I’ve read have been turned into manga form. So my answer is Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, simply because I love Jojo and the manga is great to read while I’m waiting for new episodes.

2.Which game do you feel has the best soundtrack?

Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo is my answer. I played this game so much and I genuinely think it has one of the best soundtracks around. Especially considering it was on the SNES and those things are limited with how much they can do with the sound chip. But if you were to sit me in front of DKC and put me on a random level, within a few seconds of hearing that level’s music it would all come flooding back and I’d be merrily humming along. Gangplank Galleon and Aquatic Ambiance are two standouts if anyone wants to see what I mean.

3. If you could revive a dead video games series, which one would you choose?

Ironic I’m choosing this for a dead franchise but Dead Space. I loved 1 and 2 and I didn’t really care for 3. It’s only 6 years since the last game so I don’t know if this is classed as dead or not but since EA said it under-performed and the shutdown of Visceral Games, it looks bleak for a future return of Isaac Clarke. Especially with EA doing more multiplayer focused endeavours. Dead Space the series died because EA forgot what made Dead Space in the first place. You don’t have many games with sheer horror and isolation, especially ones in space. For 3 EA added cover shooting making it more generic but also more devastating was the addition of co-op. I love co-op in games especially couch co-op but I’m never going to feel isolated when I’m playing with someone else. You can chuck as many Necromorph’s at me as you want but if I see my teammate deck a Necromorph in the face then proceed to tea bag it, I’m not going to need a change of underwear, I’m just going to be un-scared in a ‘scary’ game. Dead Space needs a return to form. Hopefully EA see RE2’s success and understands that they essentially can do the same thing quite easily with the Dead Space brand.

4. What game/film/album/book did you have a particularly difficult time adding to your collection?

I don’t have a good answer for this if I’m honest. The best I can say is the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s my favourite book and I found it hard to add to my collection because I kept giving away my copies! I was infatuated with the book and so for a few weeks after reading it I kept asking people I knew if they had read the book before. They would say no and I couldn’t handle that and so I’d give them my copy. Then I’d buy a new copy and rinse and repeat. And so it took me a while to make it a definitive addition to my bookcase.

5. Do you prefer to see a film at home or in the theatres?

Definitely at home. I barely go to the pictures unless it’s a film I’m really excited about, or a film that I don’t want to be spoiled on. I’ve had great experiences with cinemas (seeing Guardians of the Galaxy in a full screening with everyone way into it or an empty screening except me and my partner for Kubo) and awful ones (It with some teenagers in the corner of my eye going on their phones with little screen dim). For the majority though and maybe I’m unlucky but I tend to get bad experiences with loud or rude people and so I prefer home.

6. In what cases did you find yourself siding with critics over fans about a work’s quality?

When Batman V Superman came out there was a mix response from fans but most reviews said the film was sub par. I chose to listen to reviews and wait until the film came out. I wanted to believe the fans praising it but I couldn’t even finish the film. I fell asleep about an hour in which is unusual for me and since then I haven’t gone back to it.

7. In what cases did you find yourself siding with fans over critics about a work’s quality?

Avengers: Age of Ultron got generally favourable reviews when it first released. Not as high as the first Avengers but lots of praise. I didn’t go and see it in the cinema but I did try to avoid any discussions about it online. When I got around to watching it, I was really let down. The film was quip-city and any weight that any scene had was immediately ruined by a bad one liner. I know these films aren’t meant to be super serious but when the Ultron trailer was first released with the ‘No strings on me’ rendition I was super excited to have a sinister, haunting villain. That and with the phrase ‘It’s like The Empire Strikes Back for Marvel films’ had my interest piqued. But I now know to ignore that phrase whenever I see it and when I checked online after watching the film, I saw that a lot of viewers felt the same way about Age of Ultron. That was a 1 and done film for me.

8. What is the most difficult game you’ve completed?

That’s a tough one and I’m going to say two games as they both immediately came to mind. Super Meat Boy and Dark Souls. Super Meat Boy is a fantastic game but some of those later levels with the homing swathes of bones were run killers for me. With its precise platforming it took me dozens of tries on certain levels. Dark Souls because of the gameplay style change you need to implement to do well in that series. I had played Demon’s Souls and found that challenging but not in the same way that Dark Souls was for me. Dark Souls has isolated moments that set me back a good hour or two. The Capra Demon boss fight was a big brick wall for me and the infamous Anor Londo archers were a big ‘Oh we’re playing unfair now, are we?! Fine by me’ section that I still look back on with fondness and a chest full of heart palpitations.

9. Which game series have you been following for the longest amount of time?

Probably the same for a lot of people but Mario. Super Mario Bros is the first game I remember playing and since then I’ve played each main 3D Mario and most of the 2D games. Not only that but if you want to count all the tennis, kart racing, football and parties that I’ve attended then that’s a lot of Mario.

10. In what ways do you feel video game critics to be ahead of their film-loving counterparts?

Hmm, some of these questions are really making me think. I suppose the evolution of iterations. Sure films have progressed through silent films, black and white with sound, colour and so on but there are substantial gaps of time between each cinematic breakthrough and it being the norm. Every 5-8 years we have a new console generation with updated graphics, system potential and with each of these comes the potential for series to rise to the occasion or miss the mark. The transition from Super Mario World, a fully 2D game to Super Mario 64 on the next generation of consoles is a huge deal to me. That was only 6 years apart! Super Mario World is a 2D high mark for me but Super Mario 64 was a basis for how a lot of 2D games became 3D games. Then you have series like Sonic who couldn’t make that transition well. In just little over a decade (less than if you count SMB Japan release date) Super Mario Bros was released, Super Mario World came a few years after and then at the end came Super Mario 3D. There are games in between that but these 3 are the major players in that time frame. There is huge difference between each of them and to be a reviewer and to see these changes in such a short span of time, to me, is different to seeing films by the same director over time. Maybe I’m chatting nonsense but that’s how I feel. I get immersed in films but not to the same extent as games and so this plays a big factor in my perspective and my views I just stated.

11. How does hype factor into how you ultimately feel about a work?

I mentioned in Kelly’s answers but I tend to not watch trailers for games or films. For a film I’m interested in I usually check out the first trailer but I will always look at the comments, usually on Reddit, to see if it has major spoilers or just flat out gives away the whole film in condensed form. If people complain that it’s spoils a lot then I don’t watch it and I’ll start checking out magazine covers or interviews closer to the time of release. The same goes for games really and game trailers. I’ll skip most of video footage besides the initial announcement and will check in on info online and GIF’s closer to the time. I like to be in the dark about projects until closer to the time. Then if I get hyped, it makes the waiting period a lot quicker and more impactful when I do play the game or see the film.

That’s a lot of writing. Right, onto my questions:

Questions

  1. You can learn one skill from a video game character, it can be any action/talent they can perform in a game. What skill and from which character do you learn?
  2. You’ve learnt the skill but uh oh your capacity for skills is now maxed ala Pokemon moves. You have to delete a skill/talent that you have to make room for the new one. What skill/talent of yours do you discard?
  3. If you could fight one video game enemy/boss, which one would it be? You won’t feel pain or discomfort but if the enemy kills you, you just awaken as if none of it happened. If you kill the enemy, you return back to normal life too. It’s a one go fight just to experience the thrill of it.
  4. In this battle you can have one teammate from video games. These can be there for fighting support or just to hear them shouting your name from the sidelines. Who would it be?
  5. Hypothetically, let’s say you defeat this enemy. As is tradition, the enemy disappears and left there is a food item for recovery. What food from a video game/comic/cartoon has looked the most appealing to you and that you’d want to appear?
  6. You’re about to be transported into the last video game you played. You hear a voice declaring this and that you only have 1 minute to gather resources. Look around the room you’re in, what items do you grab and what game world are you visiting?
  7. If you could spend 1 evening with a video game character player a couch co-op game, which character would it be and which game?
  8. Batman appears in your room late one night and says that he needs the night off and you’re the only person he trusts. He gives you a snugly fitting batsuit and a utility belt. Then passes out on your bed. He hasn’t provided any gadgets but the utility belt has 6 pouches. What 6 things do you stuff into these pouches for Batman/Home Alone style take-downs? These have to be things you have access to and that fit in the pouches, so pocket fitting gear. It can be several of each item as long as they fit.
  9. As you’re being Batman on a rooftop, you hear screaming from below as a classic robbery takes place. A man in a striped prison outfit carrying a giant bag with a dollar sign on it is running down the street in your direction. Using your utility belt, how do you stop the criminal?
  10. You save the day! Nobody is looking, do you take a cheeky $10 and treat yourself to some ice cream? Nobody will know and Batman isn’t paying you for risking your life.
  11. You return home and Batman thanks for your work and says that he’ll have the suit back. But before he goes he asks if you want to prank phone call a hero/villain with him. He’s got a Batman mobile and so it connects to any DC or MCU hero or villain. Who do you prank and why?

I’m very excited to read the responses to these questions! As I got double nominated, I’m going combine the nomination amount. More fun that way and it lets me feel like Oprah with ‘You get a nomination! And you get a nomination!’. And so here are the chosen:

And that’s all from me so I hope you enjoyed reading my answers. Thanks again for the nominations Why We Play Games and Extra Life. I’m already looking forward to seeing everyone’s answers. Have fun!

November 2018 Free Time: Games/Series/Anime

With October out of the way you would think the scary month would be gone. But no! I’m getting married in January and so even though with each passing month my excitement grows, so does my anxiety and stress levels. Most of this month was spent with wedding details but I still managed to cram in hours of games and a few films. So, let’s begin with the games!

Games

Divinity

After months and months, possibly even a year of on and off sessions, I’ve completed Divinity: Original Sin on PS4. I’ll probably do a review at some point so I won’t get too much in depth here. I’ve just started the sequel too so I’m excited to see how it compares. One thing I will say though. I don’t recall playing a game that actually implemented different skill and class aspects as well as this. What I mean by that is, you get quests and you get class specific skills and spells. A lot of the time, the quests are designed so openly that there is a wide range of ways to complete your task. To a fault possibly! A lot of the time I would be doing a quest and I’ll teleport a thing to a place which would then let me progress in the quest. But I would later find a lever or get a key of a dying character that would have opened up the same progression as my teleport trick. Occasionally I would straight up think I broke the game or that I’ve completely gone off the quest path but sure enough I would end up completing the quest by sheer bumbling. The game is a parent on their phone at the park! It gives you the tools such as a bucket and spade and tells you to go and play. Now and again it’ll look up and say you should try doing this or that but for the most part what you achieve with what you’ve got is all depending on your imagination. It’s an interesting game and I’ll do a review in the future if you’re after more details.

Enter The Gungeon

Another game that I’ve had for ages and been on and off with is Enter The Gungeon. The past few days I’ve given it a proper go. I’ve been craving a rogue-lite game lately similar to The Binding Of Isaac and this fits the bill. For those that don’t know what the gameplay is like, it’s essentially a dungeon crawler with bullet hell mechanics. You kill enemies, get currency, find upgrades, kill the floor boss and progress to the next level. It’s randomised each time and certain progression carries over to the following runs. What I love about the game is it fully embraces the gun aesthetic! There are tons of guns to use each with wacky functions or homages to guns of different medias. The enemies are all gun themed, these include walking bullets with guns that fire bullets, bosses like the Gorgun which is essentially Medusa with Uzi’s. Even the loading screen is a revolver loading animation. The game is pretty challenging too! You really need to explore and gather new weapons otherwise the later floors are going to be a real challenge. There’s a huge game here but I love the fact that the game is simple to play though. It doesn’t tell you much about the Gungeon itself, you have to wade through that and find its secrets on your own but the controls are very basic. It’s a simple to pick up but hard to master game and it’s perfect for those quick play sessions that we all need sometimes.

Shadow-of-the-Colossus

I have to stop buying this game. We all have one. The games we keep buying on different systems. And Shadow Of The Colossus is one of those games for me. So far I’ve bought this on PS2, PS3 and PS4. And each time I fall in love with it again. This is one of my all time favourite games. The whole thing is a giant experience. The scale, the awe, the amazing and perfect soundtrack. Shadow of the Colossus is essentially a bunch of boss battles but each one is distinctive and memorable. Even the weakest colossi I remember more than most final boss fights in other games. I can’t praise the game enough. I think it’s unique, I love the near barren world and the little details you’re left to figure out yourself. The fact that each boss is basically a puzzle you have to solve and as you progress through the puzzle the music changes along with you. Just a masterclass in gaming in my opinion. I can’t wait to buy it again! And again! And again!

Series

The_Office_US

I haven’t finished any series in November but I’m still going to mention a few of them. Especially this one since it has 9 seasons and I’m just flitting in and out of it so I’ve no idea when I’ll finish it but The Office (US). My partner loves this show and I’ve not really been that bothered to watch it. I think because I found the UK version really cringey. I know that was the point but I wanted to gouge my eyes out while watching it. So I was pleasantly surprised to see the US version is more comedy than awkwardness. It’s a great show to watch if you want something light while having your tea or in the background. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

barry-ka-1920

A strange one I’m currently watching is Barry starring Bill Hader. I’m only 3 episodes in but so far I’m really enjoying it. It has that Dexter show dark humour about it which I’m a sucker for. Barry follows Barry who is a hit man that gets wrapped up in a job in Los Angeles. Circumstances happen which means Barry has to hang around the area which may not be a bad thing for him. During his hit he has to blend in with a local acting group and suddenly Barry feels something he wasn’t expecting. Has Barry found his true meaning in life on the stage? Again, if you liked Dexter I think you’ll like this. It has similar beats.  Barry lacks a lot of emotions but is an expert at killing. He has a code and believes in killing people who deserve it. And he has to have a fake face which he finds very difficult to achieve. The show has a good grasp on when to be dark and when to be funny. Make no mistake, there is quite a lot of grim violence but it all adds layers to Barry and why he is the way he is. So far, it’s a very interesting show and I’m definitely going to finish it. It also features Henry Winkler AKA one of the best character from Arrested Development so that might twist your arm.

Anime

attack_on_titan_season_2

I’m way behind but I’m closing the gap fast on Attack On Titan. I watched the first season when it came out years ago and I’ve just finished season 2 this week. It’s still a great anime. Got a bit slow at parts and a few characters got a bit too much screen time for my liking as I didn’t really care for their characters but I understand that it was building to something and I completely get it now. The Titans will never not disturb me and even though I got fewer answers than I would have liked, especially how the first season ended, I still appreciate that the plot has progressed and new revelations have come about. There are so many questions raised in this season alone though but I’m eager to watch season 3 and eventually find out some answers. Season 2: Highly Recommend

Jojo Part 5

One of my favourite animes is back, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Part 5: Golden Wind! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this since I finished part 4. I needed my Jojo fix and actually read all the parts in their coloured manga form. So even though I’ve read this entire part, I’m still super excited to watch each episode and to see some of my favourite bits come to life on the screen. And come to life it does, it looks fantastic! So bright and colourful! You’ve got to love the Gang Stars too. All the crew are great and their voices perfectly match what they sounded like in my head. Some people put Golden Wind down and I can understand a lot of their complaints. I’m excited for Golden Wind mainly because it gets me closer to the later parts being released in anime form but that’s not to say part 5 is bad. I personally find the main character and his Stand power to be pretty bland in comparison to the other main characters and powers of other parts. Still, part 5 has some of the best Stand battles, the wackiest Stand abilities and I honestly do love the team. Narancia is a highlight for me and I can’t wait to see some of the future fights. Golden Wind: I’ll always recommend Jojo!

Random Recommendation

Super Best Friends

I’ve been following these guys on Youtube for…..I don’t even want to know how long I’ve wasted my time on these scrubs but the Super Best Friends Play are my favourite Youtuber’s and streamers. Matt, Pat, Woolie and the previous member Liam have some of the best gaming content out there. They love their games and if you ever check out their videos where they play series they love or anything with mechas fighting, you can tell how hype they get. They also host a podcast each week which I really recommend checking out. One thing I will say if you try them out, is if you don’t like them straightaway, try to stick them out a bit. The Super Best Friends don’t make it easy on their channel and I love and hate that aspect. There is a lot of inside jokes and references, stuff that I’d get after years of watching them but to newcomers it is just ramblings. Nevertheless though, if you just want a channel that will play through a game and will give their honest opinion of it, they’re perfect. They don’t ham fist it, they don’t scream at the top of their lungs, they don’t shill their content and they very rarely use cameras. It’s just a pure gaming channel. If you interested in trying one of their playthrough’s I highly recommend Beyond: Two Souls or Omikron. They have a massive hate for David Cage games, besides Detroit Being Human. Mostly because they see the potential in his games but they love when the story goes down the toilet or when his twists don’t make sense. It’s a great laugh.  If you’re a lover of fighting games, I also highly recommend their channel. Each Friday night they play a fighting game, both great or terrible games. I also recommend their Subreddit if you  are willing to try them. You will hardly find a better community and fanbase than the TwoBestFriendsPlay Subreddit.

Thank you for reading this post and feel free to comment your views or suggestions for me to try.