The Sunshine Blogger Award Challenge Part 3: Revenge of the Sunshine Blogger

Thanks to Pete Davison of MoeGamer for my third nomination for this prestigious award!  If you don’t follow MoeGamer, you’re missing out: Pete posts a lot more than I do (well, that’s true of most bloggers around here, but never mind) and he’s not afraid to write about all kinds of games, including lewd ones the big sites won’t even mention except to pump out ill-informed hit pieces.

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.

And now Pete’s questions:

  • What’s your favourite piece of media (game, book, anime etc) that you think goes underappreciated, and why do you like it so much?

Gregory Peck as Ahab in the best-known film adaptation. I don’t think it’s really possible to adapt Moby-Dick into movie form that well, but Peck killed as Ahab.

Moby-Dick.  I don’t know about using that as an example because it’s one of the biggest, best-known classic English-language novels.  However, it was famously a flop when it was released.  And even though it achieved wild success after Herman Melville’s death, Moby-Dick is now used as one of the go-to examples of a classic novel that’s actually a big ponderous boring piece of shit, which I think could not be further from the truth.  Sure, Melville goes on a bunch of tangents about the shapes of different whales and how much butter Dutch whaling ships packed into their holds in the 1600s, but the novel’s plot and characters are amazing.  There’s a good reason Captain Ahab and the White Whale are so well known and so commonly used as metaphors now, even by people who have never read the novel.

For all the talk about whether Moby-Dick is an allegory, it’s at the very least a story about a man driven so insane by his personal cause of revenge that he ends up dragging a crew full of men along with him who originally joined only to kill some whales for their oil and get their cut of the profits at the end of the journey.  And Ahab’s revenge is not against another human, but against a monster whale who destroys entire giant whaling ships by ramming them into splinters.  It features action, suspense, conspiracy, philosophy, and what some people argue is a gay marriage 150 years before it was legal in Massachusetts (see Chapter X, though you could also interpret it as a sort of “sworn brother” situation that 21st century readers are seeing too much in a modern light.)  I really recommend checking the novel out, even if you have some preconceived notions about it being too difficult or boring.

  • How long have you been creating things online, and how did you start?

If any kind of writing counts, I’ve been creating for almost ten years now, when I took work as a freelance writer through a site creating website copy for small business clients.  This blog is my longest-running project by far.  I started it as something non-law-related to do while I attended law school, and I’ve kept it going far longer than I ever thought I would.

  • Do you share your creative work with your “real life” friends and family? If so, how do they respond? If not, why not?

I’ve written on this blog and in a couple of other places under pseudonyms for the last six years now, and I’ve never shared any of it with any real-life friends or family.  The biggest reason is that I want the freedom to write whatever I like, and if certain of my friends or relatives knew I kept this blog, I’d feel the need not only to censor myself but to delete some of the old stuff I’ve written.  Honestly, with my close friends it wouldn’t be such a problem if they knew.  With almost my entire family, though, I have to maintain a persona, and one that I wouldn’t be able to keep up if they read some of the stuff I’ve written here (like say my recent review of Nekopara — I don’t need to deal with the questions that might raise among the relatives.)  And once you’ve told even a single person, even one you trust, that you write a blog, that information can easily leak out in all kinds of ways.  It’s not worth the risk.

I don’t need them thinking I’m a horny pastry puffer, even if it’s the truth

To put it in a more positive way, I want to be completely open and honest with my readers, and I wouldn’t be able to do that if my real life family/friends knew about it.  I’m not really happy about that, but it’s just part of life.

  • Social media: helpful or harmful? Why do you feel that way?

I’m a bitter misanthropic weirdo, so probably not the best person to ask about social media.  My own highly skewed opinion is that it’s generally harmful, at least if we’re talking about Facebook. It creates an expectation that everyone should share every aspect of their lives, even the private ones, if they want to be part of society.  As much as Mr. Zuckerberg and his underlings might insist that they value user privacy before House and Senate panels and in press releases, they don’t.  Of course they don’t — destroying the concept of privacy is their greatest purpose.  How else can they sell user data to third parties?

Sorry, I’m getting all conspiratorial here.  I promise I’m not one of those guys who thinks lizard-people run the New World Order or any of that nonsense.  I’m just happy that I’m a loner who doesn’t have a Facebook account.  I do like Twitter, though, since it doesn’t demand you use your real name and encourages drunk people at the bar/club to make stupid comments on their phones they regret in the morning.  Twitter still has some negative effects on society, I think, but those are balanced by the entertainment value it provides.  Facebook, by contrast, is just a pile of shit.  The newer platforms I have no idea about because they came around when I got old (“old” here being past my early 20s, so apologies to my elders.)  Maybe they’re shit too, maybe not.

  • You’re presenting an important meeting, and you feel a horrific, probably unavoidable fart brewing. What do you do?

Excuse myself.  If I’m asked why, tell them the truth.  If they would prefer to have some kind of android who doesn’t fart, let them build one.  And if I get into trouble with my boss for it, well, so be it.  I’d rather lose a job like that than keep it.  Hopefully everyone there is understanding.

  • Have you done anything that has taken you out of your “comfort zone” recently? How did you handle it?

I recently went to a friend’s party full of people I didn’t know and most of whom I couldn’t talk to much because they 1) weren’t lawyers I could talk shop with and 2) weren’t weird nerds I could talk weird nerd stuff with.  Or if one of them was the latter, I wouldn’t know how to broach that kind of subject on a first meeting.  Basically, I’m socially inept — a lot less inept than I used to be, but still inept.  I was happy to be there for my friend, of course, but I hated it otherwise.  If I could, I’d never leave my comfort zone again; fuck everything outside of it.  Sadly, that’s not an option for me.

I’ll never get my social link ranks up with this attitude.

  • How have your tastes in media changed from how they were as a child and/or teen… if they’ve changed at all?

They haven’t really changed that much.  I still like fiction with sci-fi and fantasy elements, I still like anime stylings, I still like the same kinds of video games (even if I no longer have time to play all the 50+ hour RPGs I’d like to), and I still don’t care for most of what’s available on TV aside from sitcoms that are both funny and break the usual sitcom model (like Seinfeld, The Office, and I’d also argue The Simpsons, Futurama, and South Park even though they’re cartoons.)  And my favorite novel is still Moby-Dick.  I guess I haven’t grown much at all in the last two decades.

  • Surprise! You have a single “save game” slot, and you somehow managed to trigger it to save right before something from your life that you want to try again. What is the thing you want to try again, what would you do differently and how do you think that might change your current life, if at all?

Can I cheat and say “my whole life?”

Okay, fine.  A real answer.  I guess I would go back to high school and try harder at math.  I have a lot of interest in astronomy, biology, and other sciences, but I can’t understand them on anything higher than the layman’s level.  Sure, I know law well enough, though at this point my knowledge is still much more theory than practice.  But if I could get on that STEM track, maybe I’d be happier now.  I don’t know.  It could also be a case of the grass being greener and all that.

  • What are some things you feel comfortable talking about now that you wouldn’t have been able to discuss when you were younger?

The only thing I can think of that I can talk about more openly now is my depression, and then not even with certain people (some of my relatives who don’t believe depression is a real thing come to mind.)  I used to just hate myself and think that was normal, but when I realized that it wasn’t, I understood that I had a problem.  Even then, for a long time I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone about it, but now I see it as more of a mechanical issue than something that’s “my fault” if that makes sense.  There’s no shame in a machine having a broken part, even if that part can’t be replaced.  You just have to keep working as best you can.

  • Someone online writes something that you think is irredeemably stupid, and you’re pretty sure you have the specialist knowledge required to dismantle their argument comprehensively and grind it into dust. What do you do? Be honest!

Years ago, I’d have to admit that I would have taken that fucker apart completely.  Today, though, I wouldn’t do it.  I can’t even remember the last internet fight I got into, it was so long ago.  However, that shouldn’t be taken as a sign of maturity so much as a sign of apathy.

  • Regrettably, the fart escaped before you were able to leave the meeting room, regardless of your intentions. It was a right old noisy ripper and it stinks. How do you handle the situation?

Own up to it.  I don’t think there’s anything else you can do in that situation.  Blaming it on someone else will only make things worse for you.  If you’re honest, people will appreciate your honesty at best.  At worst, they’ll think you’re an asshole, but at least an honest one.  And it’s better to be thought an honest asshole than a deceptive nice guy.  Again, years ago I might have given a different answer, but I no longer have the energy to pretend any more than I absolutely have to.

These were some very insightful questions.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer them!  Here are my own questions, as the rules require.  However, I couldn’t think of eleven good questions this time.  I’ve already done this twice, after all.  So I cut the number of questions down to seven, but the last question is an extra-long hypothetical to make up for it.

1) Have you played a game that was so immersive and compelling that you ended up feeling disconnected from the real world while playing it?  If so, what was it and what do you think drew you into its world?

2) Is there a game that’s had a profound impact on you, either as a kid or as an adult?  What was that game and what influence do you think it’s had on you?

3) Is there a game that you loved as a kid but that disappointed badly when you revisited it as an adult?  What do you think appealed to you about it then, and why do you think that appeal’s been lost?

4) How do you feel about the use of subtitles in games?  Would you want every game made in a foreign language to be dubbed into your native language if possible, or do you prefer subs?

5) Have you ever sold a game, game console or handheld, accessory, or similar object that you later regretted selling?

6) With the dominance of Amazon and digital game markets, do you think brick-and-mortar game stores will be able to hang on for much longer?  If they can’t, will we lose anything meaningful as a result?

7) Your government approaches you with an offer: join its upcoming first manned mission to Mars.  You’ll receive a large salary, and if you have a family, they’ll be very well compensated.  If the mission is successful, you’ll be away from them for at least three or four years.  However, the mission is so dangerous that there’s a high chance (let’s say for the sake of the hypothetical 70%) that you will never return to Earth.  No matter what happens, you’ll be immortalized in history if you join this mission, and if you end up dead or stranded, your family would continue to receive a large pension.  Would you take them up on the offer?  (Assume also that you have skills that would be essential to such a mission, but that other experts would be equally able to perform the same functions, so the mission would still proceed if you decline to join.)

And the nominees this time are:

Angie of Backlog Crusader

Strange Girl Gaming

The Otaku Judge

Honest Gamer

A Geeky Gal

Best Nerd Life

One More Level

The Dragon’s Tea Party

gamergal.exe

Geek. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat

Sega Does

And also Red Metal and Lost to the Aether — apologies for throwing this tag at you again after answering my last set of questions so thoroughly.

18 thoughts on “The Sunshine Blogger Award Challenge Part 3: Revenge of the Sunshine Blogger

  1. You sure you wouldn’t want to tear down someone’s irredeemably stupid argument? That’s at least half the fun of reading Owen Gleiberman’s “think” pieces.

    Anyway, thanks for the tag again! I’m perfectly fine with doing them because they make for a nice change of pace.

    • Okay, for someone like Owen Gleiberman I definitely would. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve torn down a few stupid arguments on my own site, so who am I to pretend I wouldn’t?

      Happy to hear! I look forward to your take on my questions.

  2. Great post, thanks for responding 🙂 I will answer your questions here in the comments, because I like answering questions. Doesn’t get me any action on CuriousCat, mind, but I still like answering questions.

    1) Have you played a game that was so immersive and compelling that you ended up feeling disconnected from the real world while playing it? If so, what was it and what do you think drew you into its world?

    Yes! Lots. Final Fantasy XI springs immediately to mind, even though I’m yet to “beat” it. The world of Vana’Diel is so lovingly rendered (in the limited graphics of the PS2 era) that it’s hard not to feel yourself immersed… particularly when you take all the NPCs you can chat to into account. It’s a wonderful world that I love spending time in.

    I think the reason it’s so compelling is that it’s believable and it doesn’t revolve around you, even when you’re doing higher-level heroic stuff. Things happen in that world independently of you; people have relationships with one another that are nothing to do with you, and you might just catch a glimpse of how various NPCs deal with one another during a questline or a random visit. I love it.

    2) Is there a game that’s had a profound impact on you, either as a kid or as an adult? What was that game and what influence do you think it’s had on you?

    Hard to pick one, really, as there have been quite a lot over the years. Final Fantasy VII would be the obvious answer from childhood, as that was the first game that taught me what an RPG was and the joys inherent in that genre… but thinking a little more recently I think I’d probably go with Hyperdimension Neptunia.

    When I came across Hyperdimension Neptunia for the first time, I was in a bit of a weird place. Games like Gears of War had made me start thinking that I really didn’t like triple-A stuff any more, and a podcast some friends and I had done on Katawa Shoujo had been both a lot of thoughtful fun and the end of what had been, up until that point, some close relationships, so there were some bittersweet memories there.

    Katawa Shoujo had made me think that yes, there was a type of game out there that I wanted to focus my attention on… but Hyperdimension Neptunia really cemented that. It was recommended to me by a friend, so I picked it up, with no idea what to expect. I saw that the Metacritic rating was atrocious, but I didn’t care; I already knew that there were games with 90+ scores that I hated (hell, Gears) and so I suspected that Metacritic was becoming a useless metric for me.

    I was right. I haven’t looked back since.

    3) Is there a game that you loved as a kid but that disappointed badly when you revisited it as an adult? What do you think appealed to you about it then, and why do you think that appeal’s been lost?

    I actually tend to find it’s more the opposite — games that I wanted to enjoy as a kid but didn’t understand are now things that I can get my head around as an adult. RPGs in general fall into this category, as well as certain text adventures and strategy games (though I still suck at the latter) — and if you want a specific example, the fact I understand what gear changes are now mean that I can play The Great American Cross-Country Road Race a lot better than I did as a child! 🙂

    4) How do you feel about the use of subtitles in games? Would you want every game made in a foreign language to be dubbed into your native language if possible, or do you prefer subs?

    Nah. I have nothing against dubs if people like them, but I generally prefer to keep things in the original language. In the case of Japanese titles, my experience has told me that Japanese voice actors are often a lot more expressive and willing to let rip than a lot of Western voice actors, so over time I’ve just kind of built that up to be the “default” for me. I won’t get mad or anything if a game only has a dub available, but if the option is there I’ll always go subbed.

    I actually ended up playing what little of Horizon Zero Dawn I could put up with in Polish because I frigging hate Ashly Burch’s whining delivery of Aloy.

    5) Have you ever sold a game, game console or handheld, accessory, or similar object that you later regretted selling?

    Oh, fuck me, have I ever. While attempting to rescue my doomed first marriage, I sold off a bunch of stuff as a sign of good faith that I was taking the relationship seriously or something, when in reality she’d already made her mind up not to tolerate the things I was into, and she just wanted to make me into someone that I’m not. During that time, I lost (well, sold) a bunch of stuff I really wish I still had: both Lunar games on PS1, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, Brave Fencer Musashi and, probably the most painful of all, the lovely European release of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I’ve since managed to re-acquire a lot of these, but Lunar 2 and Symphony of the Night remain painful exceptions.

    6) With the dominance of Amazon and digital game markets, do you think brick-and-mortar game stores will be able to hang on for much longer? If they can’t, will we lose anything meaningful as a result?

    I still like buying games from brick-and-mortar stores, and I think there’s still a place for second-hand places like CEX. Big chains like GAME, though? I think their days might be numbered, particularly given how much of their floor space is taken up by merchandise and Funko fuckin’ Pops these days. That and how much corporate pressure the staff has to sell “pure profit” services such as extended warranties and the like. That’s not sustainable.

    7) Your government approaches you with an offer: join its upcoming first manned mission to Mars. You’ll receive a large salary, and if you have a family, they’ll be very well compensated. If the mission is successful, you’ll be away from them for at least three or four years. However, the mission is so dangerous that there’s a high chance (let’s say for the sake of the hypothetical 70%) that you will never return to Earth. No matter what happens, you’ll be immortalized in history if you join this mission, and if you end up dead or stranded, your family would continue to receive a large pension. Would you take them up on the offer? (Assume also that you have skills that would be essential to such a mission, but that other experts would be equally able to perform the same functions, so the mission would still proceed if you decline to join.)

    Nope. I don’t even have to think about it. I’m a lazy bastard and I like my life here sufficiently that I don’t want to leave it behind. Receiving a large salary is no good if I can’t spend it on video games, and if I’m colonising Mars or whatever, I doubt I’ll have time to play video games! I’ll leave that to people who are younger, fitter, more technically minded, braver and less fat than me, and I’ll just stay here writing about tits.

    • Katawa Shoujo is a game I never got around to playing somehow, even though it’s the kind of thing I’m sure I’d like. I’ve learned to be very selective as far as review scores for games go — I’ve seen some real garbage praised to high heaven and some good games trashed, so I understand your approach. Especially when it comes to niche games, a 40 or 50 on Metacritic means absolutely nothing. It might even be a mark of quality depending on who the reviewers are and why they scored the game as they did.

      Funny you mention Horizon Zero Dawn — I just started playing it today. I know I’m pretty late to the party, but sounds like you didn’t have a great time with it. Maybe I should also switch Aloy’s voice over to Polish and see how that goes.

      Yeah, giving up parts of your hobbies to try to make your spouse happy never ends well. Control, emotional manipulation, all that stuff is rotten when it comes to relationships.

      Sounds like GAME is similar to Gamestop here in the US, because it’s also being converted into a chain of Funko Pop shops. I hate those things. Now if they carried some Nendoroids, maybe I’d drop in occasionally to see what they had in stock, but no chance in hell of that.

      Writing about tits is a noble profession, so I have to commend your decision. I’d have to really consider the offer myself, but if I took it, I’d certainly be going through game withdrawals for a long time.

      Thanks again for the tag!

      • Horizon Zero Dawn is one of those games that I can appreciate the quality of and respect to a certain extent, but personally speaking I just didn’t find it enjoyable. Your mileage may, as ever, vary!

        Aloy was, unfortunately, a big part of the reason I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t find her a likeable character at all (at least partly down to Burch’s delivery) and thus I didn’t really feel the motivation to see her quest through.

        I wasn’t really surprised though; when everyone was getting hyped for OMG ROBOT DINOSAURS when it was first released, I didn’t feel a lot of excitement for it either. I only played it because I happened to win a copy of it and thought I might as well give it a go!

        I know what I like 🙂

  3. Keeping a geeky blog secret from one’s family is probably a good idea. All that said I did used to link my reviews on Facebook. My posts contain embarrassing content, but I am not too concerned as my friends/family are too lazy to read anything I write.

  4. There’s no need for apologies. These things are fun to do.

    It’s kind of an odd one, thinking about where your tastes and habits were as a kid and where they are now. I’ve changed monumentally since then. I feel like that must have been some other kid. Then again, I still have a lot of the same tastes in media.

    • I feel the same way. Sometimes I look back at old games or other works that I liked as a kid and find new things to like about it thanks to my different perspective.

  5. Pingback: Another Sunshine Blogger Award from AK of Everything is Bad for You | Extra Life
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  7. Right there with you on the apathy. It is far easier to not even dignify stupidity with a response than it is to get into an argument. Especially with how some people start to spin in circles even after you’ve torn them down.

    • Yeah, that’s the main reason. When people are making stupid arguments, I think they usually won’t be convinced with logic. And even if they are, they certainly won’t admit to it in a public forum and lose face.

  8. Pingback: The Sunshine Blogger Award – Honest Gamer
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