The Mystery Blogger Award

This post could have been a couple things. A bit about how I tried and utterly failed to every one of our Fallout decision makers. Something reflecting on Planescape Torment’s unfortunate case of bipolar disorder. I could have finally publicly published one of the hundreds of posts sitting in my blog folder extolling the virtues of my hair. But, well, I’m a pleaser. I can’t help it. Just ask your girlfriend. I like leaving the people around me better off. And when those people around me combine that impulse with my natural enjoyment of talking about myself, well, I just can’t help it.

We’ve been touched by those viral get-to-know-you blogging awards again. You may remember our adventures with these in the past, when we were given the Double Lovely Versatile Liebster award. Well, that’s been expanded by not just one, but two steps. First, Red Metal was kind enough to send us over a Mystery Blogger award, thus guaranteeing we’d have easy content ready to go the next time a week got ahead of us. I was holding on to that in my back pocket, waiting for the most opportune time to slip that into my draw, but then Athena raises the stakes with by calling us for the Sunshine Blogger award, and, well, now it’s time for those cards to be on the table. I am nothing if not efficient, so let’s take care of both of those at once here.

Thank you both Red Metal and Athena. I appreciate your interest in opening up humble old me, the kindness you showed in your nominations and giving me the opportunity to talk about my favorite subject, myself.

Let’s start with Red Metal’s Mystery Blogger Award. Step by step, the rules are

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.

You know what, let’s do that, but with a twist.

  • List the rules.

Check, got it. Man, I’m the best at this.

  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

Done already. But again, thank you Red Metal. If you’ve been around for most any length of time, you’ve seen him around in the comments at the very least. Dude’s one of my favorite game reviewers, and takes a pretty in-depth look at whatever catches his fancy on the regular. Check him out.

  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

Methinks that one Okoto Enigma maybe started up this award as a means to Google Bomb themselves. But oh well. I won’t hold it against them. With a quick glance at their blog, they’ve got absolutely no crossover with what we talk about here, so, don’t know that you’d be interested, but just for the webcrawlers, here’s their site.  I chose a random post there, just to make the stats the get a little more random.

  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  1. Like many people, video gaming is just one of my too many interests. It’s the one I’ve kept up with the longest, and devote the most mental space to, but I’ve got a too long list of things I keep up with, such as comic books, physical fitness, men’s style, art, New Japan Pro Wrestling, wine, my hair, and so on. Makes my days a little too full. I’ve kept most of them from here, because, although I consider this more an Aether’s Interest blog than a video games blog, I want to have at least a little consistency, but I’ve noticed some of that popping into a few of the examples or analogies I may use.
  2. I fantasize about leading a band, but I haven’t actually picked up an instrument in years.
  3. I think of myself as pretty socially adept. I can hold my own in a conversation, use my network well, get people talking with ease, etc. Put me in front of a room of people, even, and I’ll thrive. I’ve got this huge block when it comes to approaching people, though. I don’t understand it myself. When I’ve got an in to a conversation, it’s easy. When I’m introduced by someone else, fine. But I just can’t figure out how to put myself out there like that. Social stuff is weird.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

Nah. That involves approaching people, and see number 3 above. Also, I have a pretty small blogging circle, and most of those whom I would nominate either received a similar viral award recently or choose not to play along with these.

So here’s an inoculation against the viral spread, I guess.

  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

Okay, done.

  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny

Here’s Red Metal’s questions:

Which game proved to be the biggest disappointment for you?

Justice League Task Force. When I was a kid, had a lot of fun with fighting games, loved superheroes, this seemed really interesting from the magazines, a perfect fight. Then I rented it, and it played like garbage. Slow, clumsy, special moves were really unreliable, just not a good experience. I’m sure I’ve been more disappointed by games since, but I remember this one because it was my first learning experience that not all games will live up to my excitement.

Which game proved to be the most pleasant surprise for you?

Persona 4. But this one’s going to take a bit of a story.

Around the time I picked this game up, I was in a weird place in life. Part of that led to me just not enjoying things, including video games, as much. Part of that was just general malaise, but part of that was that it was a lot easier to see the worst in everything than it was the good. And my gaming habits were hitting that wall hard. I was starting to think the whole medium had peaked, and was on its way down in quality. I had been considering giving it up.

I don’t remember why I had picked up Persona 4. I didn’t know anything about it, other than that Persona 3 was reputed to be really good, and I had very fond memories of its Super Famicom predecessor Shin Megami Tensei from a time when I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do than to trial and error my way through a brutally hard JRPG that I couldn’t even read. But I gave it a try on a whim, and I was blown away. It was an incredibly tight story that was very well thought out, I built connections to the characters there in a way I was sorely lacking from the people I was with in real life, and the battle system had complexities at a level I wasn’t expecting from a JRPG of the time.

It didn’t exactly turn my life around, but it did single-handedly turn me back into a devoted hobbyist of video games. I had been a proponent for stories in video games beforehand, but that was the first one that really opened my eyes to the depths of just what unique feature the medium had for storytelling.  Not only that, it was fun.  I fell in love with it, and it showed me I still could enjoy video games at a time I really needed that.  I probably wouldn’t be playing today and having this blog here were it not for that game.

What is the most memorable scene from a film you’ve watched?

For me, it’s the climax to Beauty and the Beast. Where the Beast is fighting with Gaston, and the latter falls off the castle to his death. Between Gaston’s blind rage, and the first time I think I was exposed to a death as a kid, that really stuck with me.

What inspired you to begin blogging?

Blazes. Look at my sidebar there. This blog dates back to the start of 2013. For such a simple project like this one, that’s exceptionally long. Long enough that I don’t rightly remember.

I’ve been writing for a long time. Some of which has even seen the light of day. I used to admin for a roleplaying forum, and was a pretty active participant there. I’ve got a few articles scattered around other people’s sites, used to put together fun essays and games on various social media I was a part of, etc. I enjoyed it. I like creating. But everything I did was all scattered around, and it was all on other people’s sites. I had nothing of my own. I was also following quite a few gaming blogs at the time. I was frustrated with most of the forums and what not I had been dealing with, how much discussion went ignored there, but I was enticed by the idea of having my own little place that I could put my own thoughts up, keeping my own small corner of the internet, just having a place for me and whatever from my mind I felt I could share with the world. I figured I’d try it out, see how it goes, and five years later, I’m apparently still at it. I don’t have the time to post as much as I’d like to, and it doesn’t seem to have as much reach as the avenues I used to write through, but I’m very fulfilled with it.

If you could go back in time and see any band that has permanently broken up perform a concert, which one would you choose?

Nightwish is one of my favorite bands. They’re still around, but they’ve gone through a few lead singers, and each time, it changes their musical profile significantly. Would have been nice to have caught them with their original lead singer, with whom they put out a lot of their most notable work.

  • Share a link to your best post(s).

My best post? They’re all great, how can I choose? But I am particularly proud of having what I believe is the most comprehensive list of left-handed video game characters on the internet. It could probably do with an update, there’s two more I’ve come across in games since I put that list together, but it’s still a more thorough list than I believe you’d be able to find elsewhere. Occasionally, I track back the links leading people to the blog, and find that someone else has used that list for their own projects. That’s also fulfilling to me, that it’s started to take a life of it’s own.

Also, I’m really proud of our Dark Souls run here. If you have some time to fill, might I suggest that? The first post probably not so great, because I wasn’t expecting to do a LP out of it then, but from the second onward, should be hitting more our stride. That was the first LP I’ve completed, and I think it went really well. Especially one jumping in blind to a notoriously difficult game.

More recently, I think my post analyzing Nintendo’s business culture is pretty noteworthy. It was fun for me to step back into my business academic shoes, and although it’s mostly conjecture, I think it does come from a perspective and carries information you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

And, you know, because this is long enough already, and because it’s time for me to go play some games, how about we tackle the Sunshine Blogger award in another post.

6 responses to “The Mystery Blogger Award

  1. Thanks for the kind words! They really mean a lot. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my reviews that much.

    Funny you should mention comic books; I ended up acquiring a copy of Watchmen recently. I’ll probably get around to reading it in the next few months. I tend to focus on video games on my site, but I like using the other posts to talk about other stuff.
    What genre do you imagine your band being in, by the way?

    You gotta love how the Justice League Task Force box claimed it was such a big deal out of mirror matches – a feature that had been implemented in several fighting games by then. As for me, I would say Yoshi’s Story was the most disappointing game I played as a kid. It wasn’t as hyped as Metroid: Other M, but it still remains one of the most insipid things I’ve ever witnessed in the medium. The second I heard the title theme, I knew I was going to have a bad time.

    That story about you playing through Shin Megami Tensei is fascinating. I had a similar experience wherein I played through Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War despite not knowing any Japanese at the time, yet the game was so good that I didn’t care. Then when I got an English patch, it turned out the story was something else as well. Later, after taking some Japanese classes, I ended up playing through Treasure of the Rudras on a real console. I didn’t really understand all of it, and I looked up words every two seconds, but I made it to the end.

    Either way, I think Persona 4 was the first story-heavy games I really, really liked. There was one internet personality who was talking about the Shin Megami Tensei series as a whole, and he eventually gave Persona 4 a positive review, which got me interested, as I hadn’t played a good, new console JRPG in a really long time. It certainly delivered on all fronts, surpassing what was my favorite JRPG at the time, Chrono Trigger, as the best of its kind in my book.

    I have not seen Beauty and the Beast in a really long time, but I do remember that scene where Gaston got pushed off the castle. Otherwise, I would go with the oldie but goodie one involving Luke Skywalker’s father; even as a kid, I realized I just witnessed a bombshell revelation.

    Ah, now Nightwish is an interesting choice. With many personnel changes, we kind of run into the Ship of Theseus dilemma wherein it’s difficult to consider it the same band anymore. I heard there was quite a lot of turmoil surrounding Tarja’s departure.

    Looking back at your old posts, it’s interesting to see the readers who have come and gone over the years; it’s the same on my site. It’s kind of like playing one of those JRPGs like Lufia II or Final Fantasy IV where you have no control over your lineup. I was only around for the last leg of your Dark Souls journey, but I really did enjoy reading that Let’s Play. The Fallout one has been great so far as well. Whatever you decide to do next, keep up the good work!

    • Absolutely, you do really good work.

      My imaginary band would be a symphonic metal band, mostly. That’s probably like 75% of the music I listen to, bands like Kamelot or Within Temptation, so pretty natural there.

      Yoshi’s Story was such a huge disappointment! Yoshi’s Island was one of the best games of it’s era, and then to get followed up by such a soulless game was a real slap in the face. There was just so little real substance in Yoshi’s Story.

      Even needing some help, getting through a full JRPG in its native language really is a great accomplishment. Probably a great learning experience, too. I tried with Shin Megami Tensei, but I only had one semester of Japanese behind me at that point, and I was completely lost in all the kanji.

      I feel like Persona 4 is one of the first games I came across that told its story in such a down to earth fashion. Sure, there was all that magic and mythology and mysticism, but the characters, and through them the story, felt a lot more realistic and human than they had any right to be. That’s really the takeaway I had from that the first time. Man, I need to play that game again.

      Yeah, add that Nightwish seems to go for a different musical style every time they get a new lead singer, it seems like they’ve got a few people in common, but they’re essentially a different band each new time. I suppose it’s better than trying to fit a new singer into the old style, but still, does leave something behind.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it so much! I’ll be doing my best to continue the quality among what I have to come next.

    • They had plenty of comics in between, too. Not a good record there, Justice League. Even back then, the arcade version of Marvel’s War of the Gems easily had whatever DC was doing beat. Then X-Men vs. Street Fighter came out, and it wasn’t until Injustice that DC had an answer even worth thinking about.

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