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!

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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!