I am honored to have received another nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award, this time from Angie of Backlog Crusader. Even if, once again, I have to stress that the term “sunshine” really can’t apply to me in any sense other than the sarcastic.
Here are the rules of the game, as usual:
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
Also, there’s a Final Fantasy VII spoiler in this post. The game is 22 years old and everyone already knows exactly what “spoiler” I’m talking about, but I’ll put up the standard disclaimer just in case. There’s also an SMT3: Nocturne spoiler. No surprises there.
And here are Angie’s questions:
1. If you could have a pet from any game you’ve played, what would it be?
I have two answers. The first is Skye from Grandia II, the talking falcon who accompanies the world-weary mercenary protagonist Ryudo. But he’s not just a talking bird – he’s an intelligent talking bird. Skye is basically a human in terms of personality, and he has a comedic dynamic with Ryudo that lightens the mood nicely. He even helps out Ryudo with a move where he picks up an enemy in his talons and drops it at Ryudo, who swings his sword at it like he’s hitting a baseball. If I had a pet like that, I’d be unstoppable. Well, Skye isn’t exactly a pet but more of an equal companion. Okay, I want to be friends with a talking falcon, how about that?
My second choice would be Eevee. Because it’s cute. I know I put up this bitter, depressive persona on this site sometimes, and that’s completely genuine (I wish to God it weren’t, but what can you do) but I do like cats and fluffy things to some extent. I’m not completely dead inside, or at least not yet.
2. What game unexpectedly surprised you or surpassed your expectations?
Doki Doki Literature Club!! The fact that this very standard-looking visual novel was so hyped up on Youtube and among all kinds of gaming boards made me a little skeptical, and I really didn’t like those two exclamation points in the title of the game (edit: there’s only one, my brain is scrambled today. Still please don’t put punctuation in your game title. More on that subject soon.) But this game really surprised me, both in terms of its quality and the twists that waited in ambush for me. I wrote an in-depth review of the game at the link above, though it does have spoilers past the first couple of paragraphs, so be careful if you want to go into the game raw, which I highly recommend doing.
3. What game would you like to see be made into a film?
The prospect of seeing a game I like made into a film is too scary for me to even consider. I like the Sonic series, after all (well, some of it at least) and look at the abomination Paramount came up with. Apparently the movie’s development is being delayed to change Sonic’s design, though, so maybe it will end up being more bearable than we think. And even if it ends up almost completely sucking, which seems likely, at least we’ll get Jim Carrey hamming it up as Dr. Robotnik. He was the only good thing in that trailer.
If an anime series counts, I guess I’d like to see another adaptation of the Disgaea series. I’m surprised NIS hasn’t gone this route. Maybe their games are just too weird and niche to make it work commercially.
4. What was your most meaningful relationship forged through video games?
My experience with video games has been a mostly solitary one. I don’t play multiplayer games at all anymore, and I haven’t for a long time. I do have a few friends who I met thanks in part to our shared interest in certain kinds of games (i.e. the weeb ones) so I guess those are the relationships I’d have to go with. My gaming certainly hasn’t been a factor in my relationships with any of my family. That’s an aspect of my life that I never bring up because most of them would look down on it and think of me as immature. No sense in even opening that door.
5. What do you think will be the next fad in video games? (Ex: Battle Royales right now, season passes, zombie games in the past, etc.)
I’m tempted to say that virtual reality is going to be the next fad, but people have been saying that since I was a kid myself back in the 90s and it hasn’t happened yet. The technology is getting there, though. Once we get to a point where the tech is good enough and affordable enough to become popular, I can see it becoming the new standard in gaming, at which point it won’t really be a fad but rather an established thing.
But I have to admit that I just don’t know. I’m not nearly as connected to video game trends as I used to be. These days, I only have time to play what I’m fairly sure I’ll like, so I pretty much ignore whatever’s hot at the moment. I’d love to see tactical RPGs or visual novels get popular, but since that’s not going to happen, there’s really no point in hoping for it.
6. Of all the games you have played, what scene was the most memorable?
I have to go ultra-obvious and boring here and say Aeris’ death scene in Final Fantasy VII. Probably for the fact that it’s so talked about, but also because I was about the right age when I played that game for it to stick in my head. Looking back 22 years later, it’s easy to forget how damn impressive FF7 was when it came out, during the dawn of the 3D age of games. Also, I put actual work into leveling up Aeris because I like having a good healer in my party in an RPG, and the game just straight up kills her off. Come on!
Now that the remake is confirmed and has a release date, I guess we’ll get to experience that scene again, but somehow I feel it just won’t be the same. I guess we’ll see when Square-Enix puts out the first episode of the remake next year. It would be more of a twist if they kept her alive this time, wouldn’t it?
7. What older or retro game most deserves a remaster or sequel?
I already mentioned Skies of Arcadia in my first Sunshine Blogger post as a game I’d like to see a sequel to, so I should pick something else this time. I’d love to see Shin Megami Tensei I and II get remakes. These games were originally released on the Super Famicom, then upgraded for the Playstation in the mid-90s, but even the PSX remasters retain a lot of the annoyances of the originals that are typical of old JRPGs. Not that I don’t like a real challenge – after all, SMT3 is one of my favorite games, and I enjoyed Strange Journey despite the beating it gave me. But SMT1 and SMT2 would both benefit from graphical and quality-of-life upgrades. I’ve seen a lot of people calling for remakes of Persona 3 and 4, but as much as I loved those games, I don’t see the point; they’re both still pretty modern games, whereas the first two SMT games most definitely are not.
That said, if it’s a choice between remakes of the first two SMTs and Shin Megami Tensei V, I’d go for V. Come on, Atlus. Give us something. Anything. I’m happy about Persona 5 Royal coming out next year and all, but please.
8. What game meant the most to you on a personal level and why?
If you’ve been reading this site for a while, this answer will be no surprise to you given the fact that I never shut up about it (including in the answer to question #7 above.) It’s Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. People say the plot and characterization in Nocturne are thin, and when compared to, say, a Persona game, they’re right. But what this game lacks in those areas it makes up for in the strength of its themes. A while back, I wrote a piece about some of the themes of Nocturne, focusing on Isamu’s concept of his ideal world in which each person lives in their own separate universe constructed as they see fit. If you don’t feel like digging through that essay, the gist of Nocturne is that the old world has ended and a new world is ready to be created. Three remaining humans consisting of two of the human-turned-demon protagonist’s schoolmates and the one asshole cult leader who started the whole mess get the chance to shape the new world according to their beliefs and desires, and they have to fight it out inside an inside-out spherical demon-filled Tokyo world for the right to create their ideal world.
Isamu’s world of isolation seems to be based on solipsism, the idea that you can only be sure of your own existence. The game’s thin characterization means that we don’t really know why Isamu wants to build this kind of world, but it seems like he holds some bitterness towards society and just wants to be left alone. And holy YHVH can I relate to that. I’ve gotten better socially since getting out into the professional working world, but purely out of necessity. I can still totally understand Isamu’s desire for a world of isolation.
9. Who is your favorite voice actor/actress?
I can’t say I have one favorite, but I’m a fan of Mamiko Noto, Rie Tanaka, Eri Kitamura – the list could go on a while, but they’re among my favorites. I also like Masane Tsukayama, the guy who apparently plays every gravely-voiced old man in an anime or game, including Washizu in Akagi, Hyodo in Kaiji, Zouken Matou in Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night, and Igor in Persona 5. Here’s a sample of Tsukayama’s brilliant work as Washizu (sorry that the subs are in French – the gist of the clip is that Washizu wants the protagonist to make a mahjong deal that he thinks will lead to his own victory. Also, spoilers for Akagi.)
As far as English-language VAs go, I don’t have any particular preferences. Most of the regulars seem to be highly professional and good at their jobs, though. Much respect to them. I’m sure they don’t get paid enough. The gig economy is god damn rough.
10. If your favorite video game protagonist suddenly became a kitchen or cooking utensil, what would they be?
I admit, I would have never thought of this one myself. I think my favorite game protagonist might be Garrett, the main character of the Thief series. Garrett is an anti-hero who usually looks out for himself alone but who always ends up on the right side of the fight when the chips are down. And true to his nature, he returns to the shadows to keep stealing from the rich and giving to himself after the fight is done. Since Garrett is such a stealthy guy, he’d have to be a very sharp knife, something that can be wielded silently and quickly. Wielded against tomatoes, I mean. Then again, Garrett is a pro who doesn’t kill people, so maybe he’d be a pestle, since that somewhat resembles the blackjack Garrett uses to knock his enemies out.
11. How many more Final Fantasies do you think will be made before they finally reach the Final, FINAL Fantasy?
Ten thousand years in the future, the ruins of human civilization are crumbling. Nature has reclaimed the land and oceans, erasing the marks of our very existence. Yet somehow, Square-Enix headquarters is still standing, and they’ve just announced the release date of Final Fantasy MMMCCLXXVIII. That’s the true irony: no matter how many Final Fantasies are made, there will never be a Final Fantasy.
Right, so that took a dark turn at the end. Sorry. Now to get to my questions. This time I’ve geared them more towards game-related subjects.
1. Do you have a favorite game composer? If so, who is it?
2. Same question as above, but for game artists/art directors.
3. Is there a character you’ve encountered in a game that annoyed you immediately? If so, did that character grow on you over time, or do you still dislike them?
4. If you could own any vehicle from a game, which one would you own, and would it be a practical form of transportation?
5. How do you feel about contributing to crowdfunding campaigns for games and other works?
6. Reversing a question I was asked – what movie would you want to see adapted into game form?
7. Do you buy physical copies of games? How important is it to you that the publisher releases a physical copy of a game, or does it matter at all?
8. If you could have dinner with/hang out with any one main cast of characters from a game, which one would it be?
9. How important are a game’s story, characters, and overall message to you when weighed against the quality of its gameplay?
10. If you were exiled to a desert island and could only bring one game console with you, which one would it be? Not counting the PC – you’re allowed to have a PC on the desert island. You also have access to power sources. This is a really convenient desert island, isn’t it?
11. How much money do you think you’d get for your entire game collection in Gamestop in-store credit? (This one might not be comprehensible to people outside the US. If you’re not familiar with Gamestop, look up “gamestop in-store credit” on Google and you’ll see why I’m asking this question.)
And here are my nominees this time around. 12 again instead of 11 despite what the rules say. Look, it’s my OCD, okay? Just as before, if I haven’t included you on this list but you want to answer these questions anyway, please feel free. And if I have included you, but answering these kinds of award challenge things isn’t your style or you’re having them thrown at you left and right, feel free to ignore it.