We’re back, baby! Went on a bit of an unintentional hiatus there, but yet again, Lost to the Aether rises like the phoenix. You all now have my permission to rejoice.
We’re going to ease our way back in here by addressing the not one, but two Sunshine Blogger awards/nominations/whatever we received while I was out in that horrible, fearsome place we call real life. Yes, both AK from Everything’s Bad For You and Red Metal from Extra Life Reviews have put us forward for this incredibly illustrious award. Having received this already twice before, that obviously makes Lost to the Aether a shoe-in for this, whenever the people administering this bother to make my trophy.
Anyways, as always, in making these nominations, each of our fellow bloggers have posed a number of questions to us. And your main man is always up to fill people in when they get curious about him. So let’s get started.
Since AK got his nomination in first, will handle his questions up front. Red Metal’s turn will come later.
But first, in keeping with the rules of the award, thank you, AK, for this opportunity to engage in my favorite activity and talk about myself. If you don’t already, you should go check out his blog, Everything is Bad For You. In spite of the name of his blog, he mostly posts about the good things, usually Japanese games and music, he enjoys. Dude knows and loves his SMT. And he’s a lawyer (poor guy), so you’ll sometimes see him working his law knowledge into his posts the way I do with business stuff sometimes here. You like my stuff, you might well enjoy his.
Next step, on to the questions posed.
- Do you have a favorite game composer? If so, who is it?
Motoi Sakuraba is my favorite video game composer. I really admire him for the fantastic range and diversity of his works. I know him best from his work with the Tales Of series, where you get mostly JRPG big bombastic emotion projecting pieces with a bit of rock instrumentation thrown in at times. His work with the subtle, moody intensity of Dark Souls’ soundtrack was so different I never realized it had the same composer until I looked it up. Going from there to the Valkyrie Profile series, to the Star Ocean series, to his Smash Bros. work, to so much more, every series of which seems to have a completely different type of soundtrack that is still of a really high quality, Sakuraba is a marvel even among all the talent in the industry.
Beyond that, Yasunori Mitsuda’s work in games is really limited, but Xenoblade Chronicles has probably my favorite soundtrack of any game. Koji Kondo is a bit hit or miss for me, but when he hits, I think he has more impact than anyone else. His theme from the trailer to Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess gives me chills every time I listen to it. And Nobuo Uematsu’s soundtracks basically define my childhood, and still get my feels going.
You know, as I type this out, I realize this is really, really close to Red Metal’s post on the subject. Guess I’m not that original.
2. Same question as above, but for game artists/art directors.
You know, I’m having a lot harder time with this one than I am with music. There’s a lot of games I can point at having particularly good art direction, but I can’t bring any of the individuals behind them to mind. I guess I haven’t connected with the individual creators on this front the same way I had with the music.
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?
Almost any child character in a game. It always seems like the kids are just cancer to the story. Nobody knows how to write them well, and they always seem to cause the characters I do like such huge problems and haven’t built up the sympathy required for me to tolerate that. Walking Dead’s Clementine, Final Fantasy VI’s Relm, and Persona 4’s Nanako are about the only exceptions to this I can think of, where I actually enjoyed their presence from the start. The rest of the kids just make me groan internally when I realize they’re going to be sticking around.
Sometimes they grow on me, and sometimes they don’t. It really depends on how they progress from the initial brattiness. Persona 3’s Ken never did. In fact, I spent much of his arc moving from initial mild frustration over how “precocious” he is even though he doesn’t really do anything to great anger at the plot over how he does horrible things that have huge consequences yet his development through that is crazy rushed and everyone forgets about what he did almost immediately. Anise from Tales of the Abyss, however, you start unraveling her character and finding out that, although she’s annoying, she’s got her reasons and traumas that make her that way. Then there’s characters like Fallout 3/4’s Mayor MacCready, whom I had a burning firey rage for because they’re such a stupid little ratbag, then I have a lot more sympathy for them after they’ve gone through a bit of hell for being a stupid little ratbag, and I like them more once they’ve paid for the suffering they’ve imposed on me with their stupid existence.
Moral of the story is never have kids.
4. If you could own any vehicle from a game, which one would you own, and would it be a practical form of transportation?
I’ll take the Jehuty from Zone of the Enders 2. It’s good transportation, and you can park it anywhere. Combat ready, for when I spy one of my many enemies. And I have it on good authority that women love a man with a mecha.
5. How do you feel about contributing to crowdfunding campaigns for games and other works?
I actually have pretty strong feelings about that. That drives me to never do it, really.
I really don’t like how crowdfunding campaigns are driven to treat those contributing to them like investors and selling them on that concept, yet really, all they’re doing it pre-ordering the material all in advance with potentially some special perks, and once the campaign is closed, treating them that way. It’s telling the consumer they’re buying one thing, but selling them another. And the fact that there’s no accountability in place and so many of these projects launch and fail because they’re sold on the strength of the creative aspects but they don’t have a producer or manager in place capable of keeping them moving forward, I just really have a hard time trusting crowdfunding. I think one of my earliest awarenesses of crowdfunding was for the Homestuck game, yet once that campaign was funded, mismanagement led to it negatively impacting the webcomic it was to be based on, and the game itself was floating in the dead zone for a while and still has yet to fully come out. Not a good first impression of it.
Yet, I can’t deny we’ve gotten some marvelous games out of it. Your Undertales, your Shovel Knights, your FTLs, your Kingdom Death: Monsters, your Divekicks, the list of smashing successes goes on and on. I can’t deny that it’s made for some great things, some of which probably wouldn’t exist without it. I just wait until they’re all available commercially before I pick them up, however.
Fun fact, once upon a time I was going to do one of my business counselor posts about how I’d do a crowdfunding campaign, but then my last job proved that I’m really not good at those.
6. Reversing a question I was asked – what movie would you want to see adapted into game form?
Eh, I’m not really one to ask about movies. I used to work in the industry, sucked at it, and got burnt out to the point that even now, years later, I get stressed out when I watch anything but just the right type of film. So, sorry, but I rarely watch movies now, and I don’t have a good answer to this question.
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?
Oh yeah. I get physical copies all the time. That’s my preferred way of getting all this going. I live in a rural area, and internet’s not the greatest here. It’s just fine for streaming movies, usually, but downloading games takes quite a while, and it’s usually a lot easier for me to swap out a card or disc when I want to play something than it would be waiting a day or two before I get to play that current gen piece of hotness I’ve got my eye on.
That said, I do have an extensive digital collection. Mostly on PC, however. The closing of the Nintendo Wii Store and the fact that my XBox 360 doesn’t work with my current internet has given me trust issues over games being taken away from me, and although Sony seems more reliable, it’s still a pain in the exquisitely formed butt to need to constantly manage system memory. On PC, though, the various launchers I have make it easy, and the games get to be so cheap, it works wonders with my thrifty nature. I’ll usually get a game digitally if it’s significantly cheaper than physical, but otherwise, give me my disc any day.
8. If you could have dinner with/hang out with any one main cast of characters from a game, which one would it be?
The crew from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. I don’t know why, really. It just seems like they’d be the best time for just a big giant barbecue.
9. How important are a game’s story, characters, and overall message to you when weighed against the quality of its gameplay?
I want something to be good in a game. I can take a bad story if the gameplay is good. I can take bad gameplay if the story is great. Best case scenario has both of them coming in line. I’m willing to work with most any mix there, as long as at least one of the elements has something to offer.
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?
Well, I’ve got a couple hundred games in my PC library, so are you sure you’re going to let me have that?
Probably my Wii. Largely because it’s backwards compatable with my Gamecube library, which has a little bit of everything in there, as well as it’s own. So I think that could keep me occupied for quite a while.
11. How much money do you think you’d get for your entire game collection in Gamestop in-store credit?
I have a pretty massive game collection. Most of it’s digital or from a generation or more ago, so that’d be pretty minimal. I could probably get a good steak dinner from what’s left, if I could find a restaurant that takes Gamestop in-store credit, but not much more than that. Their going rate’s not that considerable.
Alrighty, now it’s on to the end times, the further nominations! Normally, I would skip this part, but not today. Today, I nominate LightningEllen for all eleven nomination slots here. That’s right, LightningEllen, pick 121 questions, and answer them in your blog. You have to thank me for it, too. The rules say so.
And tune in next time, when we slam down the eleven questions Red Metal posed as well!
She has to answer 121 questions now? She better get writing!
Anyway, I’m glad you picked Motoi Sakuraba as well. As I said, I was stunned when I saw his name pop up in the credits of Dark Souls. For that matter, I was also surprised to see him as one of the composers of Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom; I never would’ve called that.
If I found out someday that Motoi Sakuraba was really like 5 or 6 different people all operating under the same pen name, I would note be surprised. He gets all over, does a bit of everything, and it sounds so distinct from each other.
121 questions?? Well that’s just mean 😅 It’s strange… with most games I prefer everything digital so I can just load them up at will. But for my favourite game (Final Fantasy XIV) I insist on having the physical box just so I can look back on it with fond memories in the future. What a even stranger is that – unlike most physical PS4 games – you use the disc once and then it just runs off the hard drive. So there’s really no need to keep them, but I do for sentimental reasons 😛
Hey, sentimental reasons has value as well. There really is worth in having something you can feel for the things that really mean something to you. I do the same thing with a few older cartridges that don’t work anymore and I have the game in another digital format, but I still hold on to the physical things because they’ve meant something to me.
Well said! 🙂
Rejoice! It’s good to see you back.
Motoi Sakuraba’s work is really good, as well as Uematsu’s of course – I’m convinced that hearing his FF themes helped get me into stuff like 70s prog and old Romantic period classical. Shoji Meguro is at the top of my list of game composers, but all these guys have their own styles that I enjoy.
You make a good point about how hard it is to write a child character that’s endearing and not annoying. Absolutely agreed on Nanako, as well as Clementine; I only played a part of one of those Walking Dead games, but she seemed like a very capable character. One of the reasons I liked OneShot so much was its main character Niko, who’s also a kid, but a well-written one that the player can form a sort of fourth-wall-breaking bond with. I don’t hate Ken as much as some fans of Persona 3, but I get why a lot of people can’t stand him. He was definitely irritating in parts of the story. Sure, he suffered a great loss, but so did most every member of the team. I got the same feeling about Hope from FF13.
I’ve heard stories about that crowdfunded Homestuck game. I was never into Homestuck myself, but to hear the fans tell it, the whole thing has been a real pain. I agree that there shouldn’t be a sense of “investing” in something when you support one of these projects but rather that you’re donating to it. Seems to me that Patreon is a better platform in the sense that fans can hold the creators accountable by withdrawing their support if the project goes dead, though in the end it’s still not really an investment, just a different method of donation.
Sorry to hear about the rough time in the film industry. It looks like a real grind. I’m not into movies in the same way I’m into games, though I can appreciate good ones, but I can imagine you’re recognizing a lot more of the behind-the-scenes work when you see one.
The Path of Radiance cast is a great choice. I’d be up for having a feast with the team from Awakening as well. Though that would probably end up with me getting too drunk, trying to hit on Tharja, and then Tharja placing a horrible curse on me. So maybe I’d go with Path of Radiance too.
The Wii’s up there for me as far as consoles go. I guess I thought of including the PC as kind of cheating, though I honestly probably wouldn’t need anything else. But I guess my choice would be the PS2, also for its backwards-compatibility with the PSX. Same for the 3DS, if we allow for a handheld in there.
Thanks for the interesting answers, and also for the kind words and for your sympathy about my being a lawyer, even if that’s something I can’t blame anyone but myself for. And welcome back again!
I was really, really close to having Shoji Meguro on that list there. I don’t think he’s made as much of an impact on me as the others have, but he’s still really consistently high quality on his works, and he makes for a really distinctive atmosphere with his games. Given how heavily the MegaTen games focus on atmosphere, he’s really serving them well.
Man, I forgot about Niko! Yeah, they’re very well-written as well. They’re endearing from the get go, which is a really rare quality in fictional children. I have to credit OneShot’s creator quite a bit, Niko was one of the best and most realistically written children I’ve seen in a game.
Yeah, the Homestuck game deal was a pain. Webcomic author hired a company with the crowdfunding money to make the game, but the company bailed on it, so the author had to start up his own company. Which led to the game being exponentially delayed beyond the original target date, as well as the webcomic itself being on pause more often than it was actually releasing. The first episode of the game is out, and is apparently pretty good, but I’ve kind of lost interest at this point. Patreon feels more honest to me, and a little more direct at getting at what most people seem to get into crowdfunding for anyways. I don’t do Patreon either, of course, but it feels cleaner, at least.
If you’re the right type of person, the film industry could be a good place. I talked to a lot of people that absolutely loved what they do. I wasn’t the type of person for it, though, and there was a lot I was expected to do with very little support, and… yeah, just didn’t work for me, and I should have gotten out of it a lot earlier than I did.
Absolutely, thanks for giving me the chance! And yeah, lawyering is rough, rough work, I know, and I’ve been told that everyone involved in the process is only there to make your job harder. Nobody really becomes a lawyer by accident, and there would be a reason you chose to get into it. I hope it’s filling that reason for you, at least.
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Nanako is one of the few child characters, from fiction, that I like. Aside from being cute she is responsible and polite, which is unlike most kids.
You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to write a child character that’s endearing, but apparently it is. For whatever reason, it’s like all fictional kids are really cast from the same mode.
HA! Like that’s really going to happen… 🙂
Well, time will have to tell, won’t it.
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