A Requiem for the Fallen

I’ve been blogging for over six years.  Which, at this moment, is feeling like multiple lifetimes in the WordPress blogosphere.  In that time, I’ve seen many great and inspired blogs rise and set.  I’ve seen several generations of my part of the interblog community get connected, then one by one wink out as people set their blogs aside.  I’ve been making the blog thing work lately, such as it is, and I’m not planning on going anywhere, but still, with some recent blogs I’ve historically followed now sunsetting, I have grown rather wistful about this hobby.

I can’t say for sure what I was looking for with blogging, when I first started out.  I always used to be big on forums.  That was how I got my online socialization out.  I made some good friends that way.  But, frankly, back in early 2013 when I started this thing up, I didn’t really have the capacity to be keeping up with that.  But I needed to do something.  I was a new father then and I found fatherhood to be incredibly isolating.  I had written articles about video game stuff for a few websites by that point, and was really fulfilled by adding content to this interweb, rather than just being a consumer.  I had always lurked on quite a few blogs, never really joining in the discussions, but reading the posts and watching the videos.  I could do that.  I could have a place of my own, a place to put my thoughts, I place to add to the discussion and take part in this whole market place of ideas.

I wasn’t expecting this whole community thing to be a part of it, getting to engage with other bloggers the way that really drives this whole WordPress network, but that’s been one of the more engaging parts of this whole experience.  Sharing thoughts has kept this whole thing going in times when the engagement just wasn’t enough.  This has never been a well-read blog, but having anyone take the time to absorb these thoughts is a powerful thing, and building a network of people who are all doing that with each other has been wonderful.

But blogging is not a convenient hobby.  It takes time (a lot of it if you want the kind of outreach to build an audience much bigger than what we have here), and energy, and creativity, and frankly, luck to get in with the type of community that we have here.  And it can be at times one that doesn’t fill in what you’re needing on it.  Particularly as time wears on and life shifts around and all of a sudden your priorities aren’t where they once were.  People burn out on blogging.  Or they just decide there’s better uses for their time.  And frankly, if blogging isn’t fulfilling to them, they shouldn’t blog.  There’s little reward to blogging other than personal fulfillment, and the blog itself will get worse when the writer can’t engage with what they’re writing about.

Hell, I was just there last year.  After a while of trying to keep up with the blog while also juggling a full-time job, some extra-curricular community engagement/professional development stuff, going back to school, convalescing from medical issues, and becoming a new father again, like I’m some kind of damned ‘adult’, something had to give, and that ended up being the blog.  I got drawn back into it, largely by the connections built here.  Seriously, new fatherhood is so isolating.  All your old friends get tired of having a screaming demon around all the time, parent groups only really want the mothers around, and it’s really hard to attract women when all your conversation topics are either about video games or child rearing.  So yeah.

I came back, but even now, it’s not easy.  I’ve had to reevaluate what I want from this blog.  Whereas I used to be able to dedicate some time several days a week before wrapping up the five page essay on whatever I felt was a thoughtful observation to be making, now, I’ve been mostly doing one to two page reviews on the games I’ve been playing as a record of my journey through this dumb gaming quest I set myself on years ago.  Both are fulfilling, just in different ways.  And it’s amazing how much my skills have dropped after that six month break.

Whatever, that’s all an aside.  Point is, I connect with fellow bloggers here.  And then given time, they head off in other directions in life.  That’s happened again, and again, and again.  We’ve just lost a few great bloggers who used to be often seen around here.  More will come.  And then they’ll leave as well.  Unless we leave first.

But for now, let’s take some time to remember those with whom we’ve been sharing this experience, only for them to vanish into the aether.  Your Mental Gamings, your Wastelanders, your Writer’s Life for Mes, your Explore Animations, your Paul Michael Egans, your Retrodragons, your Particlebits, and most recently, your Ambigamings and your Otaku Judges.  For that matter, the let’s play channels Super Best Friends Play and retsupurae, which were both super meaningful to me but are now retired.  You guys have made this journey all the better.  I hope your pastures are ever greener.

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Sunshine Blogger!

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This is an award winning blog.  You know that.  And I suppose it’s purely natural.  I am the type of person that awards just seem to gravitate to.  And it’s happened again, recently.  Courtesy of Red Metal passing on his Sunshine Blogger Award to what seems like half the internet.  Including our not-so-humble private space on the internet right here.  Have we won the Sunshine Blogger Award before?  I don’t even remember.

You probably know the drill by now.  I’m not one to pass up easy content the chance to talk about myself curiousity, and Red Metal’s leveraged some questions at us.  Let’s run through them!

In which cases would you deem the manga superior to the anime on which it’s based?

I’m going to assume Red Metal’s really asking about when would I deem a manga superior to the anime based on it, because otherwise the only manga based on an anime I’ve read has been Samurai Champloo, and that wasn’t superior to the anime, so this would be a pretty awkward answer.

Having a story that actually finishes would be a big point in its favor.  A lot of anime, even good anime, even long running anime, has a tendency to end before it actually finishes the story.  I remember spending a lot of time with Tenjho Tenge, Eyeshield 21, Tokyo Ghoul, Inuyasha, etc, only for the anime to end long before the climax point they’ve all been building towards has been reached.  And I hate that.  I hate getting involved in a story, committing to a story, that just stops before it reaches its conclusion.  That’s the worst feeling for me.

Otherwise, it’s mostly an issue of pacing.  Which one delivers its energy and momentum better, and tells the story between major beats more effectively?  Sometimes it’s the anime.  The Naruto manga had a horrible sense of pacing, but the anime smoothed it out considerably.  Sometimes its the manga, when the anime creators weren’t able to properly transfer that over.

Which game do you feel has the best soundtrack?

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I’ve never even played Killer Instinct 2013, yet I still find myself digging the soundtrack like crazy.  At least the first season.  Mick Gordon made some absolutely beautiful music for that game that draws from a lot of very interesting cultural sources that still really fit for it.  I have to really admire it.  Later seasons of the game brought on Atlas and Celldweller instead of Mick, which… just didn’t grab me.  Which is odd, because I’ve loved Celldweller’s other music, and his style seems a perfect fit for Killer Instinct, but it just didn’t seem to synchronize.  But yeah, first season Killer Instinct 2013 is absolutely marvelous.  Check it out.

Otherwise Xenoblade Chronicles is probably the soundtrack I’ve gone back to more than anything else.  Some of the most honestly beautiful music I’ve heard in a game, on there.  And it’s incorporated beautifully into the game, matches the settings and events perfectly.

And for a bonus, the soundtrack to Bastion is pretty marvelous as well.

If you could revive a dead video games series, which one would you choose?

Saints Row.  Which is an odd one.  Developer would insist it’s not dead.  After all, Agents of Mayhem follows up on the ending of the final Saints Row game and uses a lot of the same characters, and they’re totally working on another Saints Row project otherwise!  Wikipedia says so!  But we haven’t seen a game in the series that wasn’t, in essence, just a stretched out piece of DLC since 2011, and the current franchise owners seem to mostly be sitting on it.

I’m not even sure what version of the series I’d want to see back.  The original Saints Row was a fun game with a lot of frustrating gameplay hooks and an irreverent but straight-laced plot with some surprisingly intelligent writing hidden beneath the surface.  The second was a pitch black comedy with a plot that went to some rather gritty places, but once again, had some surprisingly smart story beats if you dug into things.  Saints Row 3 dropped a lot of the hidden intelligence, took the idea that ‘haha, crazy funny game series’ up to eleven, and basically made an evil Saturday morning cartoon.  Saints Row IV and Gat Out of Hell took that change and went crazy with it.

So yeah, like I said, I don’t know what I would want from the series, but I want something.  I loved Saints Row 2.  Saints Row 3 dropped a lot of the things I loved about Saints Row 2 and replaced them with something else, but it was still a crazy fun game.  Following up on either of those would make me happy.

What game/film/album/book did you have a particularly difficult time adding to your collection?

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Persona 2: Eternal Punishment.  I’ve said it before, but my favorite game is Persona 4.  I fell in love with that game immediately upon playing it, and wanted to bury myself in the series leading up to it.  Thing is, before Persona 3 made it popular, the Persona series was a very niche JRPG series on the PS2 with a limited run, and it was hard to get copies of the game years after for a reasonable price.  Especially given that they weren’t available on the Playstation store at the time.  I was able to track down the original Persona easily enough, although I still had to pay more than I wanted to for it, but Persona 2: Eternal Punishment for a reasonable price was difficult to find.  Especially given that I wasn’t willing to pay more than original MSRP for a used copy, and I wanted one that came with its original case.  It took me a couple of months, and I ended up doing some minor negotiations with an Amazon seller to get a deal I was satisfied with, but I ended up picking it up for $50.

Of course, now it’s just like $10 digitally on the PSN store.  Progress is a wonderful thing.

Do you prefer to see a film at home or in the theaters?

At home.  Theaters are mostly a date thing for me.  I don’t usually just watch a movie or show on it’s own, I’ve usually got something else going on if I’m just going to sit down and watch something, so being at home lets me multitask.

In what cases did you find yourself siding with critics over fans about a work’s quality?

In general, when you’re dealing with an entry in a games franchise that throws in some deep changes to the established structure, critics seem to weather it better than the fans do.  And I would say I handle it more like the former camp, even for franchises I love.  I understand where it comes from, the new work isn’t meeting up to established expectations, but I feel my enjoyment of the game comes more from its own value rather than the expectations built up, so in general, I don’t get the ‘It’s different it sucks!’ feeling a lot of the fans seem to.

Silent Hill 4’s an example.  Critics thought it was ok, the fans hated it.  I was more in the former camp.  I felt it was a complete mediocre game, but one that wasn’t necessarily poorer than average for the time.  But it was missing a lot of the things that went so successfully in earlier Silent Hills, and for that, the game got blasted online.  Those didn’t really resonate with me.

In what cases did you find yourself siding with fans over critics about a work’s quality?

A lot more often than the above, really.  To be honest, I find the fan reception to be a bit of a better indicator of the chances I’ll have of enjoying a work than the critical reception, for a lot different reasons.  If a fan is excited for the game, and I resonate with the things that make them so excited about it when they describe or show it to me, that’s probably the thing that makes me most likely to get into the series.  Hell, I haven’t cared about Devil May Cry since I tried out the first game and found it too clunky for my tastes, but after watching an LP series by people who absolutely love the games, I’ve been convinced to give a second go to later games in the series lately.

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That works the opposite way, too.  I’ve been finding critics to be a little too impressed with polish over substance, and too hesitant to give outright negative reviews to games that come from large-scale publishers.  Dragon Age II is an example of that.  Outside of the setting, I find the game absolutely horrid.  Combat is unengaging, enemy spawning is blatantly stupid, and you have to go through the same levels so many freaking times that it makes me wonder why I’m even bothering putting time into it if I’m just going to have to circle back and do the same things later.  The plot hits some interesting beats, but it continually undermines its own themes, and ends up feeling like a lot of what you did doesn’t really mean anything shortly after you did it.  I hate that game.  The fans hate that game.  Metacritic ranking?  Well, just see above.

What is the most difficult game you’ve completed?

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Does DLC count?  I don’t think Dark Souls is the hardest game I’ve beaten, but I think the Artorias of the Abyss DLC might be the hardest gaming experience I’ve had.  Manus absolutely took me to the wall and back, and before him, I had to enter some sort of weird zen state and tap into my pure gaming instincts just to get past Artorias.

Otherwise, Zelda 2 comes to mind, but I had copious amounts of save-state help on that one.  And I’ve beaten Binding of Isaac, which adds harder levels and harder bosses on top of the previously ultimate challenges each time you beat it, but I haven’t exhausted its challenges as yet.

Which game series have you been following for the longest amount of time?

The original Super Mario Bros. Was one of the first games I owned.  And I’m still digging it.  So that one.

Vanilla answer, I know.

In what ways do you feel video game critics to be ahead of their film-loving counterparts?

You’re asking the wrong cowboy here.  I have an odd relationship with film.  Got burnt out on it a while back, after some stressful experiences working on the borders of the film industry.  Since then, I’ve had a hard time looking at films purely for enjoyment, and as such, don’t pay much attention to it now.  So I guess that’s the way game critics are ahead, I might actually read a review from them every once in a while.

How does hype factor into how you ultimately feel about a work?

If other people are excited for something, and the features that they’re excited about are things that seem interesting to me, that can be infectious.  See the Devil May Cry example above.  I love a lot of character action games, but I didn’t enjoy the first Devil May Cry, so I never gave the series another thought.  Until recently, in prep for DMC 5, the Let’s Play group I followed played through the series, which is one of their favorites, and I find myself wanting to get into the newer games and get that same excitement for myself.

Hype can ruin a work too, though.  Like, for example, with Planescape: Torment.  With the dialogue surrounding that game, I was expecting it to be transcendent, that it would completely blow my mind.  It didn’t.  It did one thing very, very well, but that was surrounded by a lot of flaws and a gameplay engine I abhorred.  I don’t know that I necessarily would have enjoyed the game more were it not for the hype, but I do recall having a very distinct moment of disappointment early on that soured me for a lot of the rest of it.

Still Alive

It’s been what, like six months now?

Yeah, I haven’t been around for a while.  I’m not really one for talking about meta stuff, so was kind of thinking I’d just fade away.  But Lightning Ellen was kind enough to check in, which got me thinking I might owe you guys a little more of an update than that.  So, if you’re still seeing this six months on, this one’s for you.

So what happened?  Life, my great, mortal nemesis, got the better of me.  Between working full time, classes in the evening, some really major ongoing life changes that are currently putting a lot of constraints on my time, the amount of space I’ve been having available for these personal pursuits had become a lot more limited.  So, this summer, I’ve had to shift around some priorities in order to make life work, and unfortunately, blogging didn’t make the keep-list.  I’ve got a ton of hobbies and a very limited amount of time in general, so I haven’t been the most prolific blogger even in the best of times, but with my freetime fleeing before me much like my enemies, even what I had been able to muster had to go.

And I’ve missed it.  I’ve missed you.  Yes, you specifically, reading this.  There’s a missing part of my heart that only you can fill.  I’ve missed making content for the internet, rather than just consuming it.  And I miss the connections I’ve made through blogging, the networks and friends I’ve been able to tap into.  But, so far at least, I haven’t been able to make things work.

That might change.  No promises, but I’d like to make an attempt at blogging again.  My courseload this semester is a bit lighter, and I’ve got some ideas to throw in.  I’m want to give it a try.  No guarantees, and if I am able to do it, content might be a bit different.  I’ve always enjoyed writing at length and detail a lot more than I’ve enjoyed brevity and efficiency, as you may have noticed, but my current schedule may not allow for that, if anything.  Moreover, I may not be able to connect with others the same way I used to.  Or maybe times will change and I’ll be able to get into all that once again.  Time will tell.

In any case, whether you’re a fellow blogger, a reader, a lurker, a fan, just someone who checks in occasionally, thanks for reading my work here.  That’s really a powerful thing, that we’ve been able to share ideas like this.  Hopefully, we’ll see each other some more down the road.  If not, well, this blog has five and a half years of content behind it.  It’s been a good run.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

So, as we mentioned last time around, in addition to the Mystery Blogger award from Red Metal, we were nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award by master of the mental science, bloggess extraordinaire, and dominator of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, Athena. Ran out of time to get my response together for that last week, so let’s address that now.

Rules for the Sunshine Blogger award are:

Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

Athena is a woman of impeccable taste and decision-making. And also she likes Dragon Age. Thank you very much, Athena, for this recognition. I appreciate your consideration.

Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

Questions are:

1. If you could change one thing about AAA gaming, what would it be?

This is one of those somewhat trendy business management things, but I would increase the focus on Human-Centered Design. For a quick 101-level summary, the philosophy there is that generally, there’s three directions most people start from when designing a new product. There’s the business side, which seeks to build things that are economically viable, the practical side, which builds things you’re capable of doing, and the human side, which builds things that people want to use. Any product you release has to satisfy elements of all three spheres to be successful, but when you’re just in the early stages, planning things out, you typically start in one of those spheres mentally and move into the others after you’ve started prototyping and actually testing those projects out. Whichever one you start with has the biggest influence on what shape the product tapes. I get the feeling that a lot of AAA gaming starts more in the sphere of seeking financial viability rather than something that’s going to have an impact on the end user, and I’d like to see that shift.

2. Do you think pineapple belongs on pizza?

Absolutely. Pineapple and onion pizza is one of my favorites.

3. Is there an article on your site that you would write differently, knowing what you know now? Which one?

Eh, don’t think so. I can’t think of anything I’ve written that I wouldn’t stand by. Some of them I’d have plenty to add to, my opinions might have changed on a few, but I can’t think of any that I’d re-write.

My post about being unable to identify as a player in my professional life, though, I feel that one I’d have the most to add to with the way time has shaped up.

4. What’s the weather like near you today?

Warm and sunny. Which has been the case most winter. And that’s a problem. I live in an area where the economy strongly relies on the ski industry. So while parts of the country has been absolutely dumped on, we’ve been pretty dry. Our slopes have spent a lot of the season green. Without snow, we haven’t been getting our usual tourists, which has slowed the economy, which has made my job in workforce development a bit more interesting than usual.

5. Do you like pancakes or waffles better?

Waffles, typically. Evenly cooked all over, crispy instead of floppy? Yes please. Pancakes are good too, though.

6. Is there anything about your gaming hobby/habits that you don’t like?

The time available, mostly. As I mentioned in my last post, I am a multi-faceted individual, with multiple interests and responsibilities, and it’s hard to fit them all into a given day. It’s usually not until 9:00 p.m. That I’m able to start playing something, and I’ve only got a few hours to spare for my favorite pasttime. Even then, I often find myself combining activities, such as playing and exercising or playing and listening to something at the same time, if the game is of a kind to allow for that, just to fit in everything I want to before the day’s over. It’d be nice to have a few more hours added to each day so I can deal with that.

7. Do you have a preference between JRPGs and western RPGs?

No. I don’t typically think in terms of genre much, but both can deliver absolutely fantastic experiences. I feel like there’s a lot more half-assed JRPGs than WRPGs out there, but if you reach the heights of both, both genres can be great, and they can be great in very different ways. What I’ll play really depends on my mood.

8. When does an open-world game begin to suffer from open-world bloat?

I think it’s really a factor of time and engagement. When you’re spending a noticeable amount of time doing things that you just check out from, such as travelling through an empty and uninteresting locale, grinding boars for your quest to collect 20 pig asses to craft your Sword of Pork Butt, *ahem combat in Planescape Torment cough cough*, and you’re not actually paying full attention to any of it, I would say that that’s when open-world bloat starts to kick in. Experiences should be engaging. They should cycle mental energy through you. When they stop doing that, when you’re just checking the boxes and checking out, that’s when they start losing you.

9. What is the most memorable line of dialogue in a game?

I’m not a big quotes guy, but I am rather fond of “Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?”

No? You want something meaningful? How about Tales of Phantasia’s “If there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of man.”

Still not satisfied? Fine, bonus round. “Only a jackass can change the world.” Probably my favorite moment from Final Fantasy X-2.

10. Quick! You have 3 seconds to grab one game from your collection. Which one to do you grab and why?

3 seconds?! Oh no, what am I… Persona 4. That’s also my desert island game, my game that describes me, my 8th degree of Kevin Bacon, etc. I think everybody has a work that truly means something to them. That’s special to them, no matter what the quality is. That there’s a connection there beyond just the work itself. Persona 4 is that for me, for reasons I went over in my last post. Persona 4 is my game of games.   It’s the one where context has transcended context, and it has touched me and my life in a way few others have.

11. Do you collect anything? What is it?
Can you collect memories? If so, that’s it for me. I enjoy novelty, building up new experiences, trying new things out. I am more apt to do something if it gives me something new to learn or an experience I hadn’t tried before. There’s a lot to life, and although I’m never going to experience even a fraction of it, I would like to build up as much experience as I can.

Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

Again, nah. I’m just not that social. I don’t think I even have eleven friends. And all the people I would nominate either don’t really jive with the social awards or they’ve gotten one recently because we’re all part of the same circle. Sorry.

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
I don’t know what the award logo is. A quick Google Search shows about a hundred different logos. So you know what? Here:

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And that’s me!  I hope you all enjoyed me talking about myself as much as I did.  And it was a lovely break over a week when I spend half of it away from my writing computer.  We’ll be back with our regularly scheduled content in the near future.

 

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.
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  • 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.

Pathways to Paradise

It’s that time of year again. Time where we take a look back at the year passed. Time where we review what we accomplished. Time where we honor all those people scouring the internet for their weird sex things who mistakenly ended up here, home of myself, the weirdest sex thing around.

I don’t know about you, but my 2017 blew chunks. Even this year’s search terms leading people to this blog are more mundane than they have been in years past. But still, it’s worth taking a look at what’s become a somewhat annual tradition for us here at Lost to the Aether, and seeing if we can discern just why exactly I am so crazy popular. Here are some of the more unusual search terms that have brought people here.

yandere simulator porn

Once again, this has taken the top slot of our search engine referrals. It used to be that people would mistakenly stumble onto our post about the visual novel Yandere-chan, which is neither porn nor is it Yandere Simulator. Midway through last year, I attempted to at least redirect people to something somewhat relevant to them by writing a post about Yandere Simulator, so that those getting lost on the dark side of the internet would find something halfway relevant to their search, at least. I like to think that I’ve left these randy wanderers at least a bit better off by connecting with their interests.

yandere chan porn

Except apparently I was already there for a bunch of people.

in legend of zelda is link an indian

The most popular post on this site by far is some random musings about the connection between the Japanese Rupee used in the occupation of Burma and the currency of Legend of Zelda. Rupees are a subject of much consideration on the internet. But to answer you question, no, Legend of Zelda has no direct connection to India, no shared themes, nothing. The rupee thing just seems to be a coincidence. Or is it? Read the internet’s hottest post to find out.

In any case, this is probably the biggest stretch I’ve seen so far, in regards to that subject.

viola dewynter boob inflation fanfic

Apparently, there’s a lot of weird searches that lead people here. I would normally let this one roll off me. But I got more than just a few hits coming from this fetish search. And it’s odd to me. Not only would multiple people be searching for this specific character in this specific fetish, but multiple people saw my site pop up in the search results, with nothing anywhere here about boob inflation I might add, and thought that they’d interrupt whatever it is people into boob inflation do and spend time here.

I’m not sure if I should be happy people are reading my stuff or if I should be hoping they were disappointed by what they found.

aether sex videos com

This search, or a variation on it, pops up every year. Give it a rest. You will never find them. I’ve hidden them too well.

stupid things said by cliff bleszinski

Hahahahahaha ha ha… ha…. aw man. I don’t mind the guy, particularly that he realizes this about himself, but yeah. There’s a well that’s never going to run dry.

saints row 2 red gang mullet

This one just makes me happy. I think I’m going to start calling the character that. Red Gang Mullet certainly fits him a lot better than whatever his name was.

yandere lost to the aether

For the record, no. I’ve written about yandere’s. I’m not one myself. Then again, would a yandere know that they were really yandere?

what is the exact falling action for the lost future story

Hey look! Somebody got distracted while doing their English II homework.

what month of the year does the aether fall from heaven

That’s probably the sweetest attempt to find out my birthday that I’ve ever come across. Still, no luck for you there. I’ve devoured my birthday a long time ago. The secret to my eternal youth.

The ladies choice guy

That’s right! I am the guy who is the ladies’ choice! You found the right place, coming here…

oh. wait. You were looking for something else.

jesus jedi

This one is notable mostly in that I have no idea how this lead you here. What could I have written that this search would possibly connect to. I’m honestly curious.

And that’s that for this year. See you all again in however long I feel like!

The Best of Intentions

I’m putting this in writing because if other people know I’m thinking of it, I’m going to be more inclined to follow through with it.  It would be like shaming myself into doing something, except I don’t really feel shame because I’m convinced I’m the best in the world no matter what I do.  This phrase is really getting away from me.  Let’s move on.

I don’t like leaving things unfinished.  Not personally, not professionally, not even with my games.  Yet I’ve done an awful lot of that around this blog.  Series half started, petered out let’s plays, retrospectives that draw a lot of views but still don’t carry through the entire franchise they’re covering.

I would like to correct that.  My reading, writing, and thinking capacities aren’t the best right now, but given time, I would like to go back and cap off all those series I tried to start.  At my pace of writing, we’ll be seeing this interspersed over the next few years, and it’s going to be calling back a lot of old, old posts that most people who check in now had no clue had been going on because I have been blogging for a long, long time in internet terms.  Maybe people will like them.  Maybe they won’t.  But I’m mostly doing this for me.  At some point in my life, younger and slightly less sexy Aether thought it would be a good idea to be running through those series, and if I can’t trust him, who can I trust?

Anyways, to my recollection, the series I’ve got going now are our Fallout Let’s Play, our series on women as leading protagonists in games, and that Higurashi in-depth analysis I’ve been kind of lagging on.  We’ll be continuing with those.

Then, in the months or years to come, we’ll also see me re-picking up our Saint’s Row Retrospect and the Persona Retrospective, and both our Let’s Plays on Recettear and on Shin Megami Tensei.  The SMT one didn’t appear on this blog, but it’s out there on the internet and unfinished, and I don’t want to leave it like that.  I’d also like to be revisiting the whole Visual Novel Theatre deal a bit more, although that one was never a finite series and more just something I haven’t really touched on in a while.

So yeah.  That’s a goal.  A bit more of what we’ll be seeing in the future.  You can get back to your day now.