My Notes on Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

I highly recommend playing the game before reading this post.   My intention is to share my interpretation of the game which may differ from yours.

I bought this game seven years ago and I finally beat it. The content of this game is quite mature but with light gameplay, which is both suitable for adults and children.  Perhaps, I am a child at heart but I really prefer the simplistic gameplay approach, especially when the story is the focal point.  Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is about a boy’s journey towards finding warmth in the post-apocalyptic world. It has a typical story but it took advantage of the video game medium to produce a unique experience.

fragile-dreams

 

What I enjoyed about the game is that beautiful and atmospheric.  I found some of the enemies quite interesting and eerie, although this game is not a horror game.  I might do a separate post about this topic for in depth analysis.  Gameplay wise,  I personally think it’s a child version of Dark Souls.  In fact the bonfire and some enemies do have a strong resemblance to the Souls series. I don’t know much about the background for the development of making this game, but perhaps Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon  had some influences on the making of Dark Souls. Again, I will leave that for a different post after I gather some actual facts.

For now, I’d like to discuss Seto’s (the protagonist) journey. Throughout the game, Seto is accompanied by caring loving companions who are not humans. About midway,  Seto comes across an interesting character named Crow, who appears to be a big tea drinker like myself based on his clothes. This section, which may seem like a side track, is my favorite part of the game.

Crow

I enjoyed chasing and  hunting down Crow because it reminded me of  playing  hide and a seek and playing tag. For a moment, I didn’t mind taking a break from trying to find the silver hair girl. This section of the game illustrated an important point made by one of the characters, Chiyo : “It’s the sunbeams, the wind rolling over grass and the idle chit chat with friends [are] the gems of life.” That moment where Seto chased Crow to get his locket back is special. We must not forget during our journey to enjoy the moment we are in. That is called living.

However, the game also wanted to make an another important point:  Crow is a robot. Even if  we find happiness in the substitution of artificial life,  including digital ones–it does not replace the real life human interaction.  Thus, it’s the silver hair girl  that can offer Seto the real authentic relationship even if it involves conflict and misunderstanding between both people. And Sai, one of the main supporting characters, helped me understand that words may not always be the best form of expression, but it’s not entirely useless. Words fill in part where visual cue fails to communicate simple things such as  Seto wants Ren, the silver hair girl, to be his girlfriend. He is tired of being alone.

A little of topic here,  but I think everyone is alone because someone once told me that feelings are personal. We are so focused on our feelings most of the time that we forget other people have feelings too. There is a tendency to lack empathy for others and most of the time it’s unintentional. This lead to much hurt and destruction in the human society. The game really wanted to point out that the lack of empathy causes pain.

Overall,  the game provided a philosophical explanation for the continuation of existence, despite the dark side of humanity.  If you haven’t play this game already, check it out. And if you have played it,  let me know what you think. I’d love to hear them.

P.S

My next post most likely will be about Root Letter. I feel inspired by The Otaku Judge to get all the endings. Then I will play  Zero Escape: Nonary Games probably towards the end of this year.  

Thanks for reading! Until next time, take care guys.

 

Happy Anniversary Blogging

The truth is, I’ve had this account for 5 years but never wrote or post anything until last year around this month.  Writing has helped me tremendously to connect myself with the rest of the world. It’s therapeutic. In fact, people I know in real life are beginning to understand why I keep a journal with me.  My thoughts spill and splatter everywhere.

So it’s no surprise I treat this blog the same way as I treat my journal except this blog is more organized than the actual journal. The blog has helped me enjoy game one at a time.  That in itself, is therapeutic because someone asked me what is my secret to smiling?  Having some alone time for reflection.  Story-driven video games help me do that because I am exploring other worlds and relating it to mine.

So wondering what I am up to? Currently I am playing Fragile Dreams,  but finding the energy and time to play the game has been a challenged. Life first, then play.  This game is going to take me forever to beat as well, although I’m sure I will have a lot to say about the game once finished.  I really am enjoying it so far– but my only complaint about it so far is the Wii controller, which took me some time to get used to. No instructions in game, so manual is extremely useful.

Fragile Dreams

As for my final thought, I have updated the about me page, if you are interested to see what to expect from this blog.  I’ll be here for awhile even though I don’t post as much or always hit the like button, I am always reading.  And you are always welcome to follow or visit me on Instagram. I am quite active there.

Thanks for reading and take care guys!

 

 

 

 

 

My Notes on Nier Automata

I highly recommend playing the game before reading this post.  I will not elaborate the storyline into details.  My intention is to share my summary of the game which may differ from yours.

For those who followed this blog from the beginning probably knew that I was anticipating for Nier Automata (2017) ever since its announcement.  In fact, I was very hungry to play another game like Nier (2010)  and was hoping Drakengard III (2013) would be just as good. To my disappointment, I  didn’t enjoy it as much mainly because of the frustrating gaming mechanics ( I didn’t enjoy flying the dragon).  And yet I stuck with it because of the storyline and it’s humorous dialogue.  I have not reached the ultimate, final boss yet which I heard was difficult.

Zero_(Drakengard)I had to stop the game because I couldn’t understand  Zero’s (the protagonist) cruel intention to kill all her sisters. The character was hard for me to relate.  I was definitely playing a killer.  But after I watched Yoko Taro’s interview Philosophy of Violence, I learned to appreciate his approach in storytelling and the concept behind it.  I realized Zero’s behavior is natural, but primitive.  Instinctively we want to remove whatever is in our path.  Defeating our obstacles give us a sense of control and remove all of our competitions.  However, if we killed everyone in our way, we would end up dying alone and the aftermath would be Nier Automata.

I came to conclusion because I had to grasp my head around this killing frenzy around Yoko Taro’s games,  so I categorize his three games that I played into the following:

  • Drakengard III- killing to be the only one
  • Nier Gestalt- killing is justified as long as you think it is right
  • Nier Automata- killing loneliness

*One important thing to note, this is just my notes for the time being.  I really would like to complete the Drakengard series *

Onward to the main topic,  so when I started Nier Automata, I already knew it was about killing.  The game started off strong, which reminded me of Xenoblade Chronicles’ introduction where the characters are thrown into battle against the machines.   Once I arrived to a safe place (a city reclaimed by Mother Nature), I sensed that I was entering a world where a great civilization (mankind in general) once stood, but mysteriously drove itself to extinction.

NieR:Automata_20170310182757

All we have left are machines and androids fighting one another.  In some ways, the game has a particular viewpoint about existence, which is hard not to notice if you do the side quests. It clearly points out that all lifeforms don’t want to fight all the time– they just want to co-exist. What meaning is there to killing? Why?

covera

The real motive behind all the killing is more than just impaired thinking– it’s loneliness.   In the end, no one stands. But the tragedy is not the cycle of destruction, it’s actually the inability to view the world harmoniously, which is probably why 2B and 9S wear blindfold. They exist to take orders without comprehending their actions.

I won’t go any further into details about the game’s concept because I am beginning to develop my own theory, which is probably not what the game intended.  I do just want to mention  my overall experience with the game is good, but it is not one of my favorites. I like the first installment more partly because of nostalgia. The game did however, made me want to play Ikaruga, which has been sitting in my backlog of games to play.

Lastly, my final thought in regards to Nier Automata,  I’m starting to understand that it’s difficult to introduce big ideas and incorporate gameplay due to unforeseen limitation (e.g, technical, budget, translation etc.).  So I really do appreciate when game developers attempt to give meaning to their creation.

Well that is it for now. Thanks for reading guys. Until next time, take care!

P.S

Think I will play Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon next to clear my backlog before I jump into a new game.  My backlog began to grow back in 2010-2011 when I started playing co-op/multiplayer games. It is time to seriously tackle the single-player games list!

 

My Shopping List–Casual Games are Great!

My apologies for the lack of posts.  I have been busy with songwriting lately. However, I managed to complete Root Letter, a game which I grew fond of and I enjoyed the genre a lot (visual novel games).   For one, I  enjoy books and a good story. Visual novel games have it all for me at the moment: light gameplay and not too mentally strenuous.  Because after a long day, the last thing I want to do is play a difficult game.  I must say I am very happy with my time management for games. I learned that opting for casual games actually balanced my stress level.  But I must confess, I do get the urge to play more difficult games from time to time.

Due to a decrease in gaming time, I became somewhat of a game collector. Still looking for those hidden gems but probably will not enjoy it to its max. So I’ll share a list of games that I have been looking at:

  1. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

Nonary

2. Exist Archive : The Other Side of the Sky

Exist Archive

3. Assault Suit Leynos

Assault

I know most of them are Playstation games. I am not at all bias towards a particular gaming platform, I just can’t afford to own every systems at the moment and have time to appreciate it.  And my gaming passion is not about collecting games,  I am actually collecting ideas. We are living in the Information Age and I just happened to grow up in a video game culture just like many of you folks. New ideas are not dead–they are just delivered in the form of video games.

My final thought for the post, I’m almost done with Nier Automata, my brother and friend are bugging me about the game because I am taking forever to complete it.  I have a lot of things to say about it, but it takes time to gather my thoughts.  I am a bit overwhelmed with the game because it’s so philosophical.  Big concepts require time to digest. I am finding myself more and more taking frequent breaks to pause and reflect on what I am playing (I do this with books as well).   I will not 100 percent the game because I just don’t have time.   But my next post will surely be about Nier Automata.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Midnight Thoughts on Random Games

Awhile ago, I got my copy of Nioh,  but I had to drop it for Nier Automata. I will play the game toward the end of this year because it’s going to take me awhile to complete Nier Automata. I’m only on my second playthrough, and I’m attempting to complete all quests and collect all weapons.  But I really don’t know if I am going to 100 percent complete the game like I did with the first installment.  I do have some things to say about the game once I complete the game entirely ( I’m assuming there are multiple endings), I will surely share my thoughts here.

Recently,  I purchased Root Letter and Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters because they were on sale and have mediocre reviews.  Some of the games I enjoyed in the past don’t always get good reviews, so I have always been skeptical with professional video game reviewers whether a game is good or not.

These two games are melancholic.  Both are visual novel games, which is something I prefer lately.  Actually, I just like melancholic games if you haven’t noticed.   Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters was actually recommended to me because I am interested in the supernatural world.  Root Letter is a suspenseful adventure game. You play from a guy’s perspective, investigating the mysterious disappearance of a high school pen pal.   Actually,  the story is very interesting so far.

I’Il post a link to the  game trailers in case you guys are interested:

Root Letter

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters

So currently, I am switching between games–Nier Automata and Root Letter, depending on my mood.   I will write an analysis of these games in the near future.  Since these are the two games that I am enjoying very much and have a lot to say. I don’t do formal reviews because the truth is,  I keep this blog for fun as a way not to talk to myself.  So I really do appreciate those who stop by to read this post. Take care now.

Trying Not to be a Game-a-holic

I did some spring cleaning inside my head after the doctor advised me to sleep my full eight hours, so my immune system can work properly.  Currently, my health is not in the best condition because of stressful changes in my life that I had to get accustom to in the last few years.  Health comes first. If I’m ill and fatigue, I can’t enjoy games properly.  Last year, I think I only finished three games and that was considered a lot to me, since I was struggling to juggle with personal and work life.

Life surely does come first and games have always meant to be enjoyed.  I’m not going to lie and pretend my life is perfect, my gaming addiction became intense for awhile because I was once in a bad situation.  But now that things are becoming relatively normal, I had to take a step back and re-evaluate this hobby.  Do I feel happy? Am I realistic with how I spend my free time? If I’m not happy, then what is the point in torturing myself with games simply because it feels like a chore?  Most of the games I enjoyed in the past, had a high learning curve.  And that was consuming a lot of my time and energy.  I considered myself a decent player but not great.

So lately, the game have been playing currently, Nier Automata, brought this to my attention:

Whether or not you enjoy something simply depends on your own heart.

NieR:Automata_20170318093845

The statement is very true. Lately, I prefer casual games with light puzzles for health reason.  I remember when I was younger, I played games twice: 1)for the story and 2) for the gameplay.  With anything, I realized I can’t just jump into something  and expect to be good at it.  Gradually I will become good.   I don’t know why I was so hard on myself in the past. I can’t enjoy games if I have this mindset: ” I must become good!” It’s a villain-like attitude similar to one of the bosses in Nier Automata, when it said, “Must become more beautiful. ” There is no difference really.  I think I exhausted myself mentally.  I had to remind myself, the most important thing is not to forget that games are meant to be enjoyed.  Gaming, after all, is just practicing our muscle memory and strategic ability for the most part.  Sometimes we just need to set a time to cool off so that we don’t get burnt out from gaming.

I am beginning to enjoy games a bit more now because I had to be realistic with myself.    It might take me a couple of months to complete this game since I have no intention to play it every day.  If I truly like this game, I probably will 100 percent it naturally without feeling forced. In the meantime, I am taking pictures and just trying to take it easy.

Thank you for reading, and take care folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die

If someone came up to me and ask me what D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is about, I would say it’s about letting go of the past, eating and relationships. These are the three themes I noticed quite frequently in the game and the three main ingredients that keep a person functional in the society. This game is about a broken man named David Young who is on a metaphorical journey from death to life.

d4d

I must admit, I was a bit confused to what was going on in the game.  All I knew was the protagonist lost his wife.  So I played the game several times. Then I concluded the game is very dreamlike purposely.  One moment, we see Young falling into the bathroom, and then we see him reading a magazine on the bed casually, drinking coffee, crushing fortune cookies, changing music records, turning on the T.V, changing clothes, pushing little squirrel off the window etc.  Everything seems calm and normal.  Until Amanda, his cat, enters the scene.  Then I realized, Mister Young is not okay.  We are witnessing a man who is undergoing some severe trauma in the head!

amanda

And so,  Forrest Kaysen, an important supporting role in the game, is there to guide Young back to life, the reality–the present moment.  If you haven’t  noticed, once Young solved a particular mystery of his past, the memento loses its special power. This is a way for the game to tell the player–mystery solved–now you can move forward into the present moment.  Have you folks  ever experienced that?   When you are bothered by the past, but there is nothing you can do to change it, but live in regret? Leave it in the past, my friends, leave it in the past. 

hLooking closely at Kaysen, he is like a philosopher and sometimes like a twisted version of Little Peggy.  Speaking with him, opens up a dialogue about eating.  It is important to nourish the body with food.  How can any person function without food?  Obviously, the game attempts to point out that people who are consumed by the past do not feed their bodies.  Why would they? They are dead inside.  So it’s no surprise to me, when Kaysen confronted Young for not finishing his meal.  Kaysen knew that Young has been drinking excessively to drown his misery, but he also wanted acknowledgement for his cooking ability.  It’s a hilarious cut scene which I could personally relate to.  I too, have a small stomach, and have a hard time finishing my meal.  So I’ll tell you a little personal story.  I once dated a Japanese man. He asked me what he should cook for dinner and I said, “I don’t like eating.” I said it because I wasn’t hungry at the time and food was never on my priority list of things to think about on a daily basis.  He got very upset. To him,  I was disrespecting life and his food.  He said we need to eat to be alive, which is true.  I should have chosen my words wisely or not say anything at all. This part of the game really highlighted the differences between Japanese and American culture on food and human interaction in a twisted way.

I know I mentioned a lot about the plot because the plot and the colorful characters are definitely stronger than the gameplay, but the gameplay is not monotonously minimal  like other cinematic games.  The stunts with Amanda and the courier are quite funny.  But my all time favorite side game is taking Philip Cheney’s quizzes. His dialogue is interesting and his villain-like approach to the quizzes made me laugh hard.  I am not surprised he is the fourth “D.”

cheneey

And yes, the game ends with a cliffhanger and is too short, but I didn’t mind it at all.  The game is jam packed with timeless human drama that made me think even after I am done playing it. It made me think about human relationships as being the most important aspect of human civilization.  We are like civilized social animals, resembling cats. According to a scrapbook article I found in the game,  cats sacrifice the lone life to move in large group.  Doing so will make them achieve social status.  Hmm…we are like cats!

Lastly, the game made me think about relationship between lovers as the strongest bond between humans. Some of us argued that we don’t need it, but I think we do.  Life seems more enjoyable despite the arguments that come with a relationship.  Losing a relationship will drive us crazy as we see it with the Marshal who chases after the courier to avenge his wife’s death.  He too, like the protagonist, is living in the past. But perhaps, Little Peggy is right: Things in the past need to stay in the past or else a person cannot move on and live a happy life.  The only thing we can do is acknowledge our mistakes and practice for tomorrow as Young once said. Overall, the game gave me a good feeling.  Most of the time,  I was laughing with the game despite its dark plot.

I am still curious–who killed Little Peggy? I’m hoping for season 2. Let me know what your thoughts are on D4 if you have played it, and thank you for reading! Until next time, take care!