Let’s Blog Award from Frostilyte

Since it’s a slow period right now, still in the middle of airing anime and a few games I’m digging through, I think it’s time once again to go back to the archives and find some old post nominations I’ve gotten from fellow writers around WordPress. This one comes from friend of the site Frostilyte, who writes about video games in a lot of depth — if you’re not following his site already, be sure to follow him now. Do it!

The rules are as follows:

1. Answer the 10 questions sent by the nominator.
2. Write your 10 questions for the nominees.
3. Answer your own questions.
4. Nominate as many bloggers you want for this award and notify them that they got nominated.
5. Tag the post #Let’s Blog Award.

Shit, that is a lot of work, but I’ll get to it. First, Frostilyte’s questions:

1) Is there a game that you were originally opposed to playing because of the advertised difficulty, but really enjoyed when you gave it a shot?

The most famously difficult game I remember picking up and really liking was probably Strange Journey. I’ve written about it a bit here before, but even for an SMT game, it gives you a good whipping. The difficulty level suits the story it tells — you play as a member of an international military task force sent to infiltrate a massive tornado-esque demon-filled anomaly engulfing Antarctica. Strange Journey combines the dungeon-crawling gameplay style of Etrian Odyssey with the difficulty of a typical SMT game. And of an Etrian Odyssey game, come to think of it.

It is a fun game, though. It offers a lot of challenge in its increasingly complex mazes full of random encounters and boss fights, but there’s not so much challenge that I was put off of it.

2) Have you ever played a game because you thought it had a really good soundtrack?

Absolutely: NieR:Automata. Or however it’s punctuated. I’d already heard a lot of the soundtrack from the previous game NieR and loved it, and I knew the same people were making the music for Automata. The soundtrack was at least half of the reason I ended up buying the game. No regrets at all, either, because it was great (like it needs more praise piled onto it, but I’ll pile on anyway.)

Of course, I can’t pretend that 2B’s famously generous backside wasn’t part of the reason as well. Ultimately I stayed for the fun gameplay and excellent, horribly depressing story, but hooks like these are important to get people in the door, I guess.

I came for the music and the ass, and I stayed for the music and the depression.

3) What difficulty do you tend to play games on?

I always default to Normal mode, and if I go for a second round I generally shift up to Hard or whatever the equivalent is. I don’t tend to go for Lunatic/Nightmare/etc. modes; I can’t take that much punishment. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I’m not a true masochist — I just have some M tendencies.

4) What have you been watching lately via streaming service of your choice?

An assload of anime on VRV. It’s not a bad service, though I absolutely have issues with its playback features. It does have an excellent library, however. Almost all of the recent anime I’ve looked at I’ve streamed through VRV, and I’ll be writing about some VRV-hosted anime series in the near future as well. I recommend it if you’re into anime at all; getting both Crunchyroll and Hi-Dive’s catalogs is a good deal (and unlike those people on YouTube, this isn’t a paid endorsement, sadly.) It’s almost enough to cope with the lousy playback and the fucked subtitles on some of the Hi-Dive-hosted series. How has that not been fixed yet, anyway?

5) What is your favourite game played thus far this year?

I haven’t played too many games this year; most of them have been long epics a few of which I’ve finished and others I’m still working through. Out of those I’ve finished, I’ll say it’s Atelier Escha & Logy. All the Atelier Dusk DX games are good, but Escha & Logy is the best of the three, and it works as a standalone story very well despite being the middle game in the trilogy. It’s certainly not for everyone — after all, it’s a turn-based JRPG with time limits, bureaucratic elements, and a heavy emphasis on crafting high-grade items, and one of those alone would be enough to put off a lot of people. But it was just about made for me.

6) What is something you’ve accomplished this year that you’re proud of?

Aside from my work, which is far too boring to bring up here (and side note: if you think being a lawyer is very exciting from watching a TV drama or playing Ace Attorney, it’s really not, at least not what I do) my big accomplishment has to be just how much of the Atelier series I’ve made it through this year, playing through all of the Dusk trilogy, Atelier Ryza, and as of this writing almost to the end of Atelier Sophie and possibly through the followup Atelier Firis by the end of the year — so at least five and maybe six.

Atelier Escha & Logy; let’s see if it keeps my favorite game played this year spot.

Once I complete the Mysterious trilogy I might just write a deep reads post on the series in general, considering the fact that I’ll have played most of what’s available in English (though maybe I should wait until I finally get around to Atelier Totori? She’s still in the back of my mind.)

7) What is the pettiest reason you’ve chosen to not play a game?

I would say “a weirdly obsessive fanbase”, but I honestly can’t think of a game I’ve avoided for that reason. I might have ended up avoiding Undertale if I hadn’t played it shortly after it came out and shortly before it attracted that, let’s say interesting fan community. Then again, I tout the good Sonic games and encourage people to ignore the weirdo fanatics around it, so I should be more forgiving. (I have actually avoided reading the webcomic/multimedia series Homestuck for those kinds of reasons, despite getting it recommended a whole lot. So the hypocrite label still attaches to me in this case.)

So the pettiest reason might actually have been bad box art. Just shows how important those covers are, despite western publishers for the longest time not seeming to understand that basic concept that bands knew since the mid-60s.

8) When you replay a game with a heavy emphasis on choice do you tend to choose the same decisions or do you make new decisions?

I always make new decisions. I don’t generally bother replaying a game unless I either have different options to make that change the story path or unless there’s a lot of new game plus material in there. For one example, take Persona 5 Royal, which I’ve treated until now as basically a replay of the original (though there is a lot added in, but the core game is the same up to the point I’ve played, and thanks to my Persona fatigue I haven’t gotten back to it yet.) The supporting character you decide to cement a relationship with is a massively important choice to a lot of players. Instead of going for the somewhat controversial pick of Futaba like last time, I went onto the far more controversial “Hot for Teacher” route by dating Sadayo Kawakami.

I honestly don’t know why Atlus included Kawakami and the other mid-20s professional women around town as romantic options for your high school-aged main character, because it’s weird as hell. Why bring back this bizarre double standard set by Persona 3 Portable (though there in an admittedly perhaps even weirder form?) I won’t get into it here, because I can go on for a while about it. Then again, I did take that bait, so whatever; I guess I can’t complain about it too much.

I think there’s a weird disconnect going on in my case between the player and the protagonist. That’s to say, I’m the one who wants to date Kawakami, but I don’t think she’s a good choice for the protagonist for hopefully extremely obvious reasons. But then there are also people who got pissed that Futaba was a dateable option when she’s far closer in age to and far more appropriate for Joker here. So you clearly can’t please anyone at all.

To answer the question more generally and in a less off-track way, I just get bored if I’m replaying a game and doing the same things over again.

9) Have you ever replayed a game you used to like but found it substantially less fun because your gaming preferences changed?

I remember playing Rampage on the NES when I was very very young and liking it, then playing it a few years later and realizing it’s boring. Way too repetitive. Excitebike held up better.

In general, I’m also a lot less tolerant of mindless grinding than I used to be, probably because I just don’t have time for it anymore. If I’m leveling my party in an RPG while also fighting towards a clear goal, that’s fine, but if the developer didn’t bother to incorporate any plot or character progression into the process or just decided to throw a wall up in the form of a boss that I have to scale by gaining five levels fighting grunts in a shitty field somewhere, I’m probably going to drop the game unless I have some extra-compelling reason to keep going.

10) Toilet paper over, under, or pinecone?

If you’re referring to how I hang it, then over. Under is criminal. Not sure what pinecone involves, unless we’re talking about a different aspect of TP use in which case no comment.

And now for my questions. Sorry if any of these are repeated from older posts; my mind has been broken over the years to the point that it’s about half-functioning at this point. Also, I broke the rule and reduced the number of questions to seven because I couldn’t think of ten good questions (if the following even qualify as “good.”)

1) Have you played/watched a series that you first liked but felt went off the rails at some point?

As far as games go, Sonic is the answer some people might give, but I wouldn’t myself despite its many misses, just because it still has potential. Even if that potential lies in a Sonic Mania 2 that might never get made.

Or Sonic CD 2? Why not?

So I’ll go with the ultra-casual answer: Game of Thrones. I’ve already mentioned it a few times here, but I was one of the multitudes of people watching the HBO adaptation, and I also watched it collapse in on itself. I’d say that collapse started as far back as season 6, when most people were still enjoying the show despite its turn into some incredibly boneheaded writing decisions (just look up “season 6 Arya chase scene” — you will never convince me that everything about it and surrounding it is not completely stupid.) But of course, the last season was the real betrayal.

Maybe I’ll get into it in more detail sometime. Maybe when The Winds of Winter comes out? Which also might never get made, so don’t hold your breath for either. But at the very least, we can still have hope for the story and characters in the novels, since they’re completely separate from the show as far as I can tell now. And that spinoff series House of the Dragon might be good, especially since the story material has already been written by Mr. Martin himself.

2) What about the reverse — a series that you first disliked or had no feelings about but came to enjoy?

I honestly can’t think of any answers to this question myself. When I dislike something (or someone, in fact) I tend to keep disliking it/them. But that might say more about me.

3) How forgiving are you of glitches in a game?

Pretty forgiving, as long as they’re not game-breaking. The fact that I’ve ever spoken at all positively about Sonic Adventure should say a lot (though the Dreamcast original was also a lot less glitchy than future ports, to be fair to it.) If the glitches are just minor, I can deal with that and even find some amusement in it. Game-breaking glitches are another matter — take a game like the infamous Ride to Hell: Retribution, which had no redeeming qualities even if it could have been played without the earth opening up and swallowing your biker protagonist whole.

4) What about a poor localization?

I have a harder time with this, though it’s certainly more of an issue for players who are mainly into Japanese games like me. The general quality of game localization has risen a lot in the last two decades, along with players’ expectations, but there are still actual fucking machine-translated visual novels being sold on Steam. Which is a double crime, firstly against the buyer who was expecting some level of quality control in their game, and secondly against every translator out there hunting for work.

So a message to publishers: don’t be cheap. Hire proper translators and editors. If you don’t, honestly and completely without any sense of irony, fuck you. I’ve heard the excuse that hiring these staff would increase costs — fine, then to reduce costs a restaurant might also justify using the lowest-grade meat possible and buying nearly rotten produce at extreme discounts from markets about to throw it out. To those making the above argument: would you happily eat at that restaurant?

5) How do you feel about cursing/general vulgarity in art and media?

This question just suddenly came to me, and my answer probably won’t surprise you too much: I don’t mind it as long as it’s warranted. Above, for example, I didn’t think I could properly express my pure hatred for penny-pinching asshole publishers other than with a “fuck you.” I’ve heard people claim that “cursing is the sign of someone who lacks imagination/can’t use language properly” and so on, which is priggish bullshit. Sometimes foul language is absolutely called for, as I think it is here.

That said, cursing and vulgar language can be both overused and inappropriately used. When applied at the wrong time or in the wrong situation, it’s like hitting a sour note, standing out in a bad way. Overuse also lessens its effect. I may well overuse certain vulgar words here on the site, but I do try to limit them to maintain their effect. Hearing someone just throw out fucks and shits constantly for no reason can be offputting as well.

And of course, I’m not advocating for these words and others like them to be used on Sesame Street. Kids should learn cursing properly: by reading said words written on bathroom stalls and then whispering them behind teachers’ backs like we did.

6) What three countries would you most like to visit, assuming you could do so without worries about time/cost?

My three choices are Spain (again, because I liked it a lot the one time I was there and want to see it a second time), Italy (art, music, history, etc. etc.), and Japan for reasons that are so obvious if you read this site that I don’t need to explain them.

7) What’s your favorite drink(s)?

Not necessarily the alcoholic kind. In my drinking days I used to like stout in the winter and lager in the summer, but now I stick to seltzer and coffee. And occasionally tea, but coffee is the true gift from God. I just hope I don’t end up like Balzac.

Though I no longer drink, I’d still hang out in the bar in VA-11 Hall-A. Just don’t put any karmotrine in there, Jill. Still waiting patiently for that sequel too…

And now, who are my marks?

Red Metal

Aether

Iniksbane

The Gamer with Glasses

Moyatori

pix1001

and finally Irina if she can fit it into her amazing posting schedule.

And taking the idea from Frostilyte, here are those questions set out in an easy-to-copy format:

1) Have you played/watched a series that you first liked but felt went off the rails at some point?

2) What about the reverse — a series that you first disliked or had no feelings about but came to enjoy?

3) How forgiving are you of glitches in a game?

4) What about a poor localization?

5) How do you feel about cursing/general vulgarity in art and media?

6) What three countries would you most like to visit, assuming you could do so without worries about time/cost?

7) What’s your favorite drink(s)?

11 thoughts on “Let’s Blog Award from Frostilyte

  1. The only people who think that vulgar language is devoid of creativity haven’t ever spoken to me.

    I know I answered Undertale for myself, but honestly NieR: AutoTomato was a close second. Unfortunately I didn’t get as hooked into the story, so I walked away from it mostly only enjoying the soundtrack. That’s neither here nor there though.

    Honestly I feel like being off-put by a weird fanbase is pretty common. I don’t know why exactly that is, but it seems that people are more..uh…passionate(?) then they used to be about some things and that’s created numerous annoying fanbases. As much as I enjoyed Hollow Knight seeing people losing their collective shit every time a Nintendo Direct doesn’t tell them Silksong is coming out has gotten extremely old. I understand why they’re upset, but you don’t need to piss and moan about it every single time. And that’s just the behavior of a group I’m familiar with. I don’t even know how much weirder shit gets with stuff like Persona, or even Sonic.

    Glad to know I’m not the only person who deliberately makes different choices for the sake of keeping things fresh. I feel like I see memes about making the same choices over and over again a lot, so it has been my assumption that most people are like that. Not really sure how true that assumption is though.

    Honestly kinda feel like you when it comes to dislike -> like, but I do give some games/franchises the opportunity to redeem themselves. Since I already mentioned it: NieR is one I plan to try again in a couple more years to see if my opinion on it will change. I don’t expect it will, but no real harm in giving it another shot.

    And finally, I’m glad I could inspire a positive change by putting all the question in an easy to grab format.

    With that I shall take my leave.

    • It’s good to know another practitioner of the art of swearing.

      Thinking about it now, I could have put Undertale in that category too, but I played the game more on the strength of people I trusted saying it was really good and only then found it had an amazing soundtrack. The game itself wasn’t as life-changing for me as it was for some others, but its music still stands out.

      Fanbases, fandom, all that is great, but it really can go too far sometimes. Since you bring up Persona, I could have easily brought that up here as well, because the Persona fandom is god damn nuts. I just barely scraped the surface of that shit in this post. I’m a fan of those games, but I’m not a hardcore fan — I think that’s the real difference; whether you get into actual genuine non-ironic Twitter fights over which girl is best girl or whatever. As for the Sonic fandom, I think that crosses over into the whole furry thing, and I’m not qualified to even speculate about that.

      I’m surprised when people make the same choices in games. It’s hard enough for me to even get up the motivation to play a second round — having to play the same way would be extremely dull to me. Well, I know I can never be a speedrunner anyway.

      I hope you do give NieR a second chance. Either of the games would do, though I still haven’t gotten back to Replicant though I’m about 2/3rds through it (god damn Atelier has me captive.) Yoko Taro’s worldview is too depressing even for me to think about, though, and coming from me that might mean something.

      Thanks again for the questions, and sorry it took four months to get to them — but I always try to get to these eventually.

  2. Answering your own posted questions. That’s bold. I like it.

    Wait, so you mean lawyering really isn’t like in Ace Attorney? No fingers of justice? No navigating dialogue puzzles with perfect logic? No “Objection!”s or “Take That!”s set over pumping music? Man, why do people even become lawyers?

    You know, I didn’t realize you could actually date Kadokawa in Persona 5. It’s admittedly less squicky than Persona 3 Portable’s version of that was, but still really weird. I mean, different cultural standards about sexuality and appropriate ages aside, it’s still pretty galling for a teacher to go in for a student like that.

    And aside from that, the rest of the questions, I’ll need to hold off for my own post. Thanks for the opportunity!

    • I’d like to take credit for that boldness, but sadly I can’t since answering your own questions is in the rules. Just a chance for me to ramble more though, which is fine!

      I haven’t spent much time in court aside from my first few years of lawyering — I’m a lot happier working with evidence and documents exclusively despite my complaining. But I don’t remember anyone doing the Phoenix Wright pointing and yelling over dramatic music, unfortunately. Would have made proceedings more interesting, though I don’t think the judges would have appreciated it. Ace Attorney courtrooms are just insane, so maybe it’s for the best.

      Yeah, the whole Ken thing in P3P is still the most bizarre decision I think they’ve made with Persona, but the teacher-student relationship here takes second place. To her slight credit, Kawakami does recognize the problem and needs some convincing to get past it, but not nearly enough, and she’s clearly into the protagonist if you go the romance route. And if that’s not enough for you, you can also date the doctor who treats you at the back alley clinic, the shady fortune teller, and the alcoholic journalist in the red light district. What the fuck Atlus, really. I don’t think they gave a shit this time.

      And sure thing! I look forward to reading your responses and questions as well.

  3. Pingback: Let's Blog Award from AK - The Gamer With Glasses
  4. Pingback: Let’s Blog Award from AK | Extra Life

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