Three Great In-Universe Sing-Songs (Films/Anime)

Songs are a very powerful medium. Depending on the composition, a state of mind or emotion can be bestowed upon the listener within the first few seconds of an intro. Lyric-less music used in games, films and TV shows can imbue a scene with the right emotional oomph and elevate a good scene to a captivating experience. Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman are names that carry weight to them. At times these names have been in the opening credits of a film and for good reason! Their work has enchanted audiences for decades now and their involvement in a project is met with excitement among the film scene, similar to that of a main actor being cast. But today I don’t want to talk about the score of a film or show but an in-universe piece. This is different to songs in films such as Disney, which are usually characters thoughts and emotions expressed through rhyme or a musical which again is usually the same thing. An in-universe song is a component of the world established in its fictional setting. If I were to belt out YMCA, that is an in-universe song as opposed to me delighting the world with a tale of how I stubbed my toe and how the pain is currently killing me. And so here are a few ditties that have delighted me over the years and my thoughts on them.

For the Dancing and the Dreaming – How to Train Your Dragon 2

This one is a very guilty pleasure of mine and quite personal to me. I’m half Scottish and my Dad’s side are very Scottish sounding. Growing up in England and currently living in Wales, a good couple of hours away from any of my family, hearing a Scottish melody or voice just gives me a comforting feeling. I don’t have a Scottish accent and so in England whenever I heard a Scottish accent it was generally around my family. Now I live a fair distance away, I hear it less, as I see them less. I’ve been finding myself coming back to this song a lot over the past few months but that doesn’t detract from this song. This short performance not only mends a fractured relationship, but gives a whole new dimension of Stoic, the…..well stoic viking. A strong, sturdy man who is more in tune with his strength than he is with his feelings. These next few minutes reveal a lot about the man whilst also establishing a bond that we never saw in the previous film. To give some context, mild spoilers following: Stoic and his son have recently discovered that their wife/mum is alive after being previously thought to have been eaten by a dragon.  Valka was taken away but gained the role of protector of a colony of dragons. She didn’t return to her husband as he believed that all dragons should be killed. This is Stoic trying to mend a damaged past. 

First of…. Stoic sings! Can you believe that?! A boulder of a man in his build and his fortitude. But he had a son, I suppose whenever I pictured Hiccup’s mum I always thought of Stoic but with less beard. Not someone as compassionate as Valka and more Hiccup-like. The song itself though is a beautiful Gaelic-esque rendition of a love song. Whistling at the beginning or end of a song is like number one on a cheat sheet into my heart. I’m a sucker for the pursing of lips followed by a good exhale, I must admit.  And I have to give major credit to Gerard Butler for his performance as Stoic here. Amazing job! You can tell how tentative and unsure Stoic is at the start of the song. He wants to mend the damage and bridge the gap between them but he’s an emotionally clumsy man. But he remembers a part of him that won her over decades ago. His sigh he gives is such a monumental moment in this song. That sigh is as close to his heart breaking as it could possibly get. But then Valka swoops in and raises him back to the strong willed man that he is. And then the song just takes off! As Stoic and Valka jump in to sing their role, the music is accompanied by more instruments and an increased tempo until both singers combine in unison to finish this delightfully romantic confession.  They start as fractured partners, move onto being duelling lyricists and then finish as a reunited tour de force. Those three minutes, I feel, do a better job at mending their relationship, than any dialogue could do that same time frame and makes it fun to watch and listen to in the process. My favourite scene of How to Train your Dragon 2 and probably the entire series (I haven’t seen 3 yet).

Blunt the Knives – The Hobbit

I’d be hard pressed not to include this on the list. I’ll admit that I’m not a big Hobbit trilogy fan. I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy but The Hobbit films just didn’t do it for me, as I’m sure a lot will agree on that. I didn’t care for the 3rd film much, I thought Smaug was excellent and the only real part of 2 that I enjoyed. And I enjoyed the first half of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This scene exemplifies what I would have wanted out of the trilogy. When Legolas among other characters started taking more screen time, the hobbit’s themselves just took a back seat in their own films. Lindsey Ellis does a great three part look at why The Hobbit trilogy stumbled in its execution, which I highly recommend checking out on Youtube. This scene never fails to make me smile but it also irks me that the potential was there for a great trilogy and we get a fantastic glimpse of it in this scene.

Although we only get a minor look at each individual characters traits here, with Balin’s calm smirk as he watches his younger dwarves enjoying themselves and Bombur’s ‘cleaning’ of the plates, being my favourites. But what this does give us a great look at, is the camaraderie among the dwarves. As individual’s, that they not be the most talented but when they combine their skills, strengths and trust, they excel as a unit. It also gives us a great look into their lifestyle. Similar to how in Snow White, the dwarves sing Heigh Ho during their work to boost moral but also to form a working rhythm among the team, The Hobbit’s dwarves do the same. In fact, their talent at clearing the table and doing the dishes, shows that they have had many a meal around the table together and performed this very same routine probably daily in their previous situations. Their bond as a unit, is unrivalled in the Hobbit/LOTR established film universe and should have been at the forefront of the trilogy. Granted I haven’t read the books, but I imagine this behaviour was a key component of the book and ne’er a sight of Legolas CGI-ing on falling debris. Great song, great scene but a wasted potential unfortunately.

Bink’s Sake – One Piece

Oh, One Piece! How I binged you so, back when I had lots of free time. I stopped watching One Piece many years ago around the episode 450 mark. It currently is at *Googles the latest episode* 899?! OK, well that works out well then. Basically I was half way through One Piece. And while I remember a lot of the arcs and big moments, Brook’s introduction and past will forever remain one of my main memories of the anime. A musically talented skeleton with an afro. In most things that wouldn’t work but One Piece’s world is one where that kind of bonkers can exist. I have to give some context for this song as I do think the song benefits from knowing the driving force and character of Brook.

So Brook was one of the Rumbar Pirates. I group of musician’s who would sail the seas playing music as they went and would play for anyone who wanted to listen. They were pirates but that was more of a vehicle for which to spread their music with people across the world. Now, in One Piece, there are things called Devil Fruit which is fruit that grant you an ability when you eat it but also make it so that you can’t swim, you just sink. In most universes, that wouldn’t be a huge deal but this is One Piece we’re talking about. It’s 90% pirate shenanigans. Brook ate a fruit that with return his spirit to his body upon death. A kind of, second chance. Brook’s ship was attacked by pirates who used poisoned blades. The enemies boarded the ship, cut everyone and then sailed away. I think their intention was to return when every one was dead. Again, not watched in years and this is from memory. As the Rumbar crew were dying they decided to play their favourite song, one last time. Brook is playing on piano, he didn’t know the fruit would revive him. As they play, they all start falling, one by one. It’s a very emotional scene. Unfortunately for Brook, when they were attacked, they were in a thick fog that covered a huge area. When Brook’s spirit tried to return to his body, he couldn’t find the ship. His spirit searched for years until he happened to find it. By that point, his body had decayed away to just bones. Brook entered his bony remains and was revived as a skeleton.  Don’t question it too much. This following version of the song is the English dub which I didn’t originally watch but I think it does a good job of translating the song. At this point in the story, Brook has been welcomed in to the main cast of characters as a part of their family. He starts playing this tune and we are treated to a sing song with his new friends, as well as flashbacks to his old adventures, the Rumbar pirates befriending a baby whale and the demise of the Rumbar Pirates. You will hear thudding sounds towards the end of the song, around the 3 minute mark, which is his old crew falling over as the poison takes hold of them. A truly heart wrenching scene but also heart warming as we know Brook has finally found a new family.

I think that’ll do it for today. If you have any suggestions of in-universe songs I should listen to then please leave a comment and I’ll give them a go. Thanks for reading and as some of you may notice, it’s been about 3 months since my last post. Had a lot going on and my time is more limited these days but I will make more of an effort and will actually start talking about games at some point. Until then though, 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!

December 2018 Free Time

Wow, I’m late with this! I’m getting married tomorrow and writing has taken a backseat. To be more accurate, it’s several rows of seats back. When I started writing this post the sentence was originally: ‘I’m getting married next week’.  But, I’m here now to let you know how my lazy bum whittled away my spare time besides Christmas, work and seemingly endless wedding discussions and meetups. I’m sure you’re all dying to know. Expect this to be a shorter post as like I said, pre-wedding shenanigans have taken most of my time this month and I can’t spend too long on this otherwise my partner will kill me.

Games

super-smash-1153641I promised myself I wouldn’t buy Super Smash Bros Ultimate and a week after its release I crumbled. See, this is why I don’t do drugs or try anything with major addictive qualities, I have no will power. Except for video games. Games are my vice and I was handed a controller when I was 2 years old so I can’t be held accountable for that. I crave games and I craved Smash Bros so I bent the knee to my desires. And, I’m glad I did. Ultimate is a return to form in my opinion, after the disappointing Wii U game. If you’ve played Smash Bros, then you know what Ultimate is. It’s Smash Bros but overflowing with content, characters and modes. I recently completed the World of Light mode which I found very engrossing and fun. I even 100% that and fully enjoyed doing so. It plays well, it sounds amazing and it’s just good old Smash fun. I will say it is the perfect Switch game too. I’m a person who plays docked mode most of the time but the majority of my time with Ultimate has been lying on the couch, Youtube on in the background and the Switch in my greasy mitts. It’s perfect if you want to multitask with your limited time as you don’t need to fully commit your concentration to enjoy it. Gangplank Galleon Remix is awesome as well. I keep listening to this song over and over again. The best song in the game!

tetris effect

Tetris Effect has recently tantalised my mind in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I had heard great things praising its visuals and sound design but I didn’t quite understand it until I bought it. Accompany this game with some headphones and a dimly lit room and you’re in for an experience. The game is essentially Tetris and so if you’ve played Tetris before you know what you’re in for. What makes it stand out though is the surrounding aspects. Tetris Effect has a bunch of levels and each one has a theme or idea it is aiming to achieve. The more lines you clear the more the level evolves and changes before your eyes. When you flip Tetris blocks lights and sounds will happen and the controller will vibrate. It creates this cohesive feeling that I’m really struggling to explain. Great writing, I know but it really is something that plays so much better than what you watch of it. I’m having a blast with it and I’ve never really been a huge lover of Tetris. It’s a classic game, don’t get me wrong but I would always drift away from it after a couple of hours. Tetris Effect keeps drawing me back in even when I’ve seen all the levels it has to offer. The levels pull me back in, I want to experience what I first felt when I played each one. A unique experience meshed with a classic game that I fully recommend trying.

ac odyssey

The Assassin’s Creed series had worn out its welcome for me. I had played 2 and Brotherhood and thoroughly enjoyed Ezio’s journey but when it came to Revelations I couldn’t finish it. It felt so samey. 3 came along and I gave it a go for about 20 minutes and then never returned to the series. Even Black Flag I skipped which is heresy according to some people. When Origins came out people praised its change in design and so I thought I’d give the series another go at some point. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was my re-entry point to the series and so far, I’m eh about it. It’s a fine game but I don’t see much to it. Currently I’ve put in about 15 hours so I feel I’ve experienced most of what is on offer. I’m not going to write it off just yet as it’s still keeping me entertained for the most part. But it’s that reliable entertained. It’s a game that I put on when I’m tired from work and don’t want anything too taxing or a game that I’m heavily invested in. It’s like a McDonald’s meal. Does the job and it satisfies that itch when we crave something like that. Side note, the voice acting is awful in this game. Characters feel like they don’t know the scene they’re in and so either read their lines monotone or in the completely wrong tone. It’s laughably bad and irritating all in one.

red-dead-redemption-2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a difficult game for me. Aspects of the game I really enjoy and others infuriate me. Recently, I’ve come back to it after taking a month away from it because of my frustrations. I hoped I could come back to it with a new mindset and so far I am enjoying more than I was at the tail end of my playthrough a month ago but some feelings still remain unchanged. I’m going to keep playing it and I’ll either do a review or a write up on why I feel the way I do about RDR2. There’s a lot I want to discuss about it right now and only time will tell if I feel the same way when I complete it.

Films

halloween 2018

Halloween is an interesting concept, as the events of the film completely erase the original films sequels. It’s a neat idea to return the story back to a basic form as the Halloween franchise has had many sequels with varying peaks and lows in its lore. That brings me to Halloween (2018). Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for it. I found it very forgettable and not scary. Which, for a horror doesn’t bode well. The dialogue was very spotty at times for me with some cringe inducing lines and overall just weak characters. I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t care for it at all. Not Recommended

kubo-and-the-two-strings-

3rd time watching Kubo And The Two Strings. Still love this film. If you’re a fan of the visual style of Coraline, then I highly suggest this. It looks amazing and tells a mature tale that is ideal for both, adults and children. Can’t praise the animation and the work Laika put into this project enough. Absolutely Recommend

Random Recommendation

reynolds-always-sunny

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is still one of the ongoing greatest shows. The series follows the exploits of the gang as they try to cheat, lie and steal their way through life, and trust me, there is no truce within the gang regarding that lifestyle. A large portion of why I love this show is because this group of friends are as quick to work on a crazy scheme together, as they are quick to stab each other in the back for minor gain. What I really love about the show is how the characters evolve over the seasons. And with 13 seasons, there is a lot of progression to be seen. From Charlie’s illiteracy to Dennis’s God complex. And sure, like similar shows the characters at times become caricatures of themselves similar to how Homer Simpson became insanely stupid in comparison to his earlier seasons. But, Sunny acknowledges this and its episode repetition as a character trait of the gang and so when doing that, there is some humour to be had. I can’t imagine going 13 seasons without some repetition and so it’s good to see a show adapt that fault into its episodes. All said though, if you want a funny and crass show about a bunch of selfish losers then you can’t do much better than It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post and I’ll be posting more regular content soon. Take it easy.