I swore to myself I was going to finish with these posts before the end of the year. Of course, time being what it is, I’m still not sure, even as I’m writing this, that that’s necessarily going to work out, but hey, I’m giving it a good, honest effort here.
We hit AK’s questions out of the park a while back, nailed Red Metal’s questions perfectly, and now, it’s time for the final part of this three-ening of blog awards, taking the questions posed by Alex (I think it’s a fair assumption that that’s their name) of Alex’s Review Corner. Alex’s Review Corner is one I’ve only started following relatively recently, but I’ve rather enjoyed the movie and game reviews you can find there. They’ve also gone through all the Showa-era Godzilla films, so if you’ve been enjoying my work on the subject in my Project G posts, it might be worthwhile for you to check out their blog and get some alternative takes on the subject.
Let’s get on to Alex’s questions!
1: Is there a game and/or movie you particularly love from a genre you typically dislike?
I’d say Mario Kart. Pick a game from that series, although Mario Kart Double Dash and Mario Kart 8 are probably the ones I’ve given the most love to in recent years. I don’t really like racing games. I can’t necessarily say why, I remember playing a lot of them growing up, but they’re just not where I like to spend most of my gaming time. Mario Kart though, I’ll get down with any day. And it’s not just being a kart racer that does it. I’ve played plenty of other kart racers I don’t enjoy, either. I do Mario Kart, though. Quite dearly.
2: Reversely, is there a game and/or movie you particularly dislike from a genre you otherwise enjoy?
Alex already pointed to GTA V in their answer, but I have to go with a pretty similar tack here. I love open world games, and I also really enjoy those open world crime simulators, as evidenced by my love for the Saints Row series. I really enjoyed Grand Theft Auto III, and Bully was pretty good, but ever since, Rockstar Games output in that model just hasn’t been doing it for me. I tried to get into GTA IV and just wasn’t able to make it stick, Red Dead Redemption had some interesting ideas but I didn’t find it very fun, and I just started Grand Theft Auto V recently and want to give it a good chance to grab me, but I fear it’s heading in the same direction as the others. I think the main issue is that, for all that Rockstar is good at making large, expansive, and involved violence playgrounds that offer a lot of opportunity for fun, the actual gameplay you’ve got, your ability to interact and get involved with said playground, is outright clunky. Walking and driving in their games are kind of loose and slippery, and the running and gunning just doesn’t feel as good as most other games. GTA III and Bully still had those problems, but I think I give them a bit of a bye, as GTA III innovated the whole genre and so everything felt new and fresh with it, and Bully had such a unique setting and ways of interacting with it. Otherwise, I find Rockstar’s games get overshadowed in the same genre they put on the map, just by dint of other games having basic gameplay that feels a lot tighter and less clunky.
Also, when it was time to end my last GTA V session, I found that mission triggers were overlaid on top of all the save points available to me. So I’d be locked into a new mission and unable to actually go to the save point whenever I tried to record my progress so I could, you know, save the game. Seems a really basic oversight, but one that’s been representative of my whole experiences with these games. They get a lot right, but they do things wrong on the basic level. Here’s hoping the autosave has my back.
3: Do you have a movie, game or TV show that is a guilty pleasure? If so, what is it?
Rumble Roses. So listen. I’m a wrestling fan. And I enjoy video games. And there are tons of wrestling video games out there. And almost all of them are bad. Really bad. Like, it seems like a concept that would transfer over to video games really well, and lots of people try to make it so, but for whatever reason, most of the time it just doesn’t work.
Rumble Roses is one of the few that managed to pull it off. The game is a very simple wrestling game. You have very little arenas, only one match type, a limited roster, and it was obviously made on a budget and primarily focused on the titillation factor of the sexy lady wrestling. But they didn’t neglect the gameplay. The wrestling here is smooth, fun and exciting, and that’s really rare in video games.
Also, in addition to wrestling and video games, I do like ladies. So I do enjoy the cheesecake factor here.
So you know what, this isn’t a guilty pleasure game. I don’t even feel guilty about this.
4: Sometimes we’re all too cool for something; What is a piece of media that the masses have loved but you never understood the hype for?
The Baldur’s Gate games. I love D&D and I’m really intrigued by what a lot of people say about the games, but I absolutely cannot stand the “real time with pause” battle systems these things use. Whatever else the games may do in terms of world building and story telling, I just cannot get into it, because I hate the gameplay and am totally unwilling to put up with it. Hell, that same system almost broke Planescape: Torment for me, and that game has one of the best stories in the medium.
5: We all have misunderstandings; What is a piece of media that you love but the masses didn’t?
I’m going to use a wrestler as a piece of media here. New Japan Pro Wrestling is known for their high-impact and very technically skilled performers. Tama Tonga, for most of his career, hasn’t been either of those things. He’s a highly decorated tag team performer, but his performance in singles matches hasn’t been up there, and between his short list of impactful moves, a bit of need for further polish, and the habit of there being really bad finishes to his matches, the reviews of his performances have been a bit mixed. He’s still one of my favorite wrestlers, though, because more than anyone else, this guy seems to really enjoy what he’s doing and looks like he has a lot of fun in the ring. That, in turn, makes him fun to watch, and I really enjoy his matches.
And for what it’s worth, his recent run in the G1 had him show up with a lot more polish, some new moves and better executed old ones, and he ended up getting both the crowd on his side and a small push behind him that was certainly well deserved. Seems like dude’s been getting some good practice in over the pandemic.
6: What (if you know) is the game you’ve spent the most time playing?
That’s a good question. I don’t actually know. Steam says my most highly played game is Stardew Valley, at over a hundred hours in, but I’ve probably gotten a lot more playtime in on consoles. I know I’ve gotten over a hundred twenty hours in on Skyrim, and probably similar for Oblivion and Morrowind, it’s Elder Scrolls siblings. I’ve played through Final Fantasy VI dozens of times, so I’d probably put that in the 200s range. But otherwise, I’m just left to guess, really.
7: What film never fails to entertain you, no matter how many times you watch it?
Appleseed. Just the 2004 movie, mind. I’m not as into the sequels, or the manga it’s based on, or the series, but the 2004 film, for some reason, just really gets to me. Part of it’s nostalgia, I first picked up the movie at a very interesting time in my life, and was just at the right level for it to hit well. But otherwise, I love the action here, the idealistic military cyberpunkesque world, even the simple base-emotion driven plot. It’s not high art by any means, but it hits me in just the right spots, and I really enjoy it.
8: What TV shows are you watching at the moment?
My tastes in television tend to be rather pedestrian. I haven’t historically watched a whole lot, given the lingering stress from my brief time working in the film industry, and I’ve just now been getting back into it, so I don’t think my picks here will lead to any recommendations you wouldn’t get elsewhere. Aside from the aforementioned New Japan Pro Wrestling, I’ve been watching the Sopranos. Everyone’s choice for “Best TV Show Ever”. It does have a solid claim for that, in my opinion. It’s quite good. I’ve also been watching Food Wars. I do a lot of cooking myself, so just got into the anime themed on cooking on a lark, and found it to be, not exactly excellent but really fun and quick moving, so I’ve been sticking with it more than I thought I would. And I’m also anticipating getting back into the Witcher now that the second season is out, although again, time’s an issue and will need to be lighter on me for that to happen. And I’ve also been watching Madre Solo Hay Dos to practice my Spanish, although I don’t find it all to entertaining a show otherwise, so wouldn’t recommend it.
9: Have you ever achieved 100% completion of a game?
A couple. I have with Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy X (that monster arena takes forever, believe me), Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, all the Persona dancing games, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and Batman: Arkham Asylum, just to name the ones off the top of my head. Came very close with Skyrim, although my girlfriend at the time asked me not to go through the mages guild questline because she wanted to pop all the achievements there, but I did everything else. I’ve also 100%ed Yakuza 0 as close as I cared to. Didn’t get all the achievements or completion list, but did do all the substories, minigames, and secret bosses.
For the most part though, these days, I don’t really care to 100% complete a game any more. Given the premium I place on my leisure time now, it doesn’t really fit with how I play.
10: What is the most quotable piece of media you have ever seen?
This is a good question, and not one that immediately comes to mind. I think Star Wars is the boring answer but it’s the one I spent a big chunk of middle and high school quoting incessantly, so let’s go with that.
And there! I’ve made it! Before the end of the year with time to spare! Thanks, Alex, for providing the opportunity here for me to do my favorite thing and talk about myself. And thanks to all of you who’ve been reading this year for what’s ended up being a fun year for the blog. When I write, I really do it for myself, for my own enjoyment and value, but there wouldn’t be enjoyment and value to it without all of you. Fellow bloggers, commenters, lurkers, random people stumbling onto this space, reading one thing and never coming back to it, all of you are taking time out of your lives and space out of your brains to give me a little soapbox here to enjoy, and I truly appreciate it.