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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Video Games: An Entertainment Medium

I think awhile back when I started posting on this blog in July of  2016, I was still gathering my thoughts about video games and what it meant to me.  Because I was raised by compassionate parents,  I was always conscious about the things I was exposed to.  I knew I would never harm a single animal or person in real life, and yet I enjoy violent games.  This prompted me to write about Dark Souls and its philosophy on what it meant to be human.  My ideas might be a bit archaic but the dark side of life is not so far.  If I’m not careful, I can lose my humanity too.  So that is why I prefer games that have human qualities which teach me something positive about life.

My belief that video games are beyond a pastime activity has been confirmed while  reading IGN interview with Swery, the creator of Deadly Premonition and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die.

[Video Games] are something greater than simply a means of generating money, or pieces of mere entertainment to be consumed. [Video Games]  are considered even a little bit as art or something eternal.

Like Swery, I believe some things in life is beyond human comprehension.  Video games are in fact just merely reflecting our human thoughts just like any other entertainment medium.   And yet video games, are often frowned upon as a waste of time by non-gamers.  They don’t understand that not all games are created equal as to not all books are educational.

I know that there is a lot of talk about video games becoming a mass consumption and the game industry is catering to a wider audience.  I have mixed feelings about this.  Seldomly, do I find modern games having the same aesthetic as classic or retro games. Some modern games are becoming longer and unimaginative.  Two bad combination for me.  I wonder is it even possible for developers to create games that appeal to the mass while continuing to take risk to innovate games?

I think you know by now why one of the best developers to me is FromSoftware.  They don’t chase after what is popular.  They create genuine games that are timeless to me.  So that’s why I’m always on the hunt for great games. They really are my treasures.

Thoughts on Tekken 7 & Other Games

My brother sent me a link to Ashley Judd’s speech on TED Talks which mentioned the video game industry fueling online abuse against women. This made me think  of the fighting game community, particularly the aggressive male gamers.

I want to invest time in Tekken 7 once it is released early June for my love of defeating bosses over and over using different strategies in games, but I do worry about the online harassment, which is why I have avoided fighting game for so long. I watched my brother played Zafina on Tekken 5 and noticed he received a lot of rape messages that were so gruesome that it made me laughed but angry. Brother told me not to be upset and ignore them.

I definitely will need to have a lot of patience playing against aggressive gamers. I have always been soft around other gamers to avoid hurting their ego in the past. But I always knew I could become great if I use my full potential. I got to prepare myself mentally.

Some big games I am going to play this year:

  • Nier Automata
  • Nioh
  • Tekken 7
  • Horizon Zero of Dawn
  • Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

I know my list is relatively short compared to some people, but I’m struggling to spend time with friends/family and participate in other non-work related activities which are interfering gaming time.  There are so many big games I want to play this year and some indie games. I don’t finish games quickly because I like to take time. I feel a bit overwhelm actually.

Right now I want to play D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die, until Nioh is released on Feb. 7th.  I was going to play Fragile Dream but I am too lazy to set up the Wii.

Until next time, happy gaming ! 🙂

companions

 

 

 

NightCry: A Cruel but Charming Survivor Horror Game

stage

NightCry is indeed a survivor horror game and it felt like one. But it made me laughed more than it scared me. Now I sound a bit sadistic, but hear me out.

The game is designed to have multiple endings, but of course there is a good ending. That’s the one you want! I found myself  playing the game as if I am working on a math equation. The moment where you thought you had the answer, but your answer is wrong because you missed one little step?  Yep, NightCry will steer you to the path where you’d meet your early doom because you got the wrong answer! Occasionally, I heard someone laughing inside my head because I was like a mouse running inside a maze, trying to find an outlet only to find myself at a dead end. What a cruel joke.

Gameplay is very simple: light puzzles, running, and hiding, but you can’t always hide at a place twice, and if you fail to hold your breath, Scissorwalker will cut you up. Yes I died many times.

nightcry2

The Scissorwalker is a bit humorous to me. That thing likes to play peek-a-boo. Got to be careful not to examine everything, doing so will trigger the Scissorwalker to appear, but it’s necessary. The character runs out of stamina easily and starts falling on the floor, making it easy for Scissorwalker to snip the character to death. So you better know where to run to! I made a mistake entering a dark room without turning on my flashlight. I got killed. I laughed. Game over.

As for the characters, I found them fashionable, simple and charming. There are three characters you can control: Monica , Leonard  and Rooney ( her name sounds like loony 😜).  They are well designed for their roles. In fact, I like all of them.

 

I won’t spoil the story for those who are interested in the game, but I think the game is intended for those who are suffering from depression. Sometimes when things get too crazy in life, your mind is switched to survivor mode, you got put your hand on your hip and remind yourself you are given life to live. So live!

rooney3

 

My final thought for this game is that people experience games differently. Currently my life is not that cheerful so I can relate to both Rooney and Monica. So it may seem odd that I can laugh at such a game. I would classify this game as a black comedy survivor horror game if I could, but that is just subjective. But overall, I enjoyed the game and I’m glad  I didn’t let some negative reviews hindered me from playing. You can never know whether a game is good or not until you try it yourself. Playing a game is a different experience from watching.  So go play it!

Thank you for reading. Until next time, happy gaming! 😊

 

Reflecting on Resident Evil Franchise As a Survivor Horror Genre

Resident Evil®_20161230211219

I don’t know what happened, but gradually over the few years, I begin to lose interest in Resident Evil franchise despite the fact,  I enjoy playing all of  the RE games, but I think I’m getting tired of playing them and I’m losing faith that it will ever return to its roots as a survivor horror genre.

It all started  with RE4, RE5 and RE6 on how the games are broken into chapters/campaigns. At the end of each chapter, I was given a”report card” on how well I did:  hit ratio, number of time killed, enemies routed etc. Because I am forced to acknowledge my performance, I spent more time focusing on how well I played and not so much about the survival aspect of the game.  This report card sort of destroyed the survivor horror experience  I had with RE1, RE2 and RE3.

I remember the earlier Resident Evil games were more story-driven and suspenseful. For example, in RE1, the characters are chased into the mansion. The mansion seems like a haven in the middle of the woods. They thought they are safe, but they are wrong. As they venture deeper into the mansion, they uncover its secret. Then with the realization that they might end up as zombies, they attempt to escape, knowing what they uncover is epidemic. To escape from something horrific is survivor horror.

I didn’t feel this way about RE4, RE5 and RE6.  There is too much action going on in these games which make it difficult for me to follow Resident Evil’s timeline. Both RE4 and RE5 are very similar, in terms of structure. The environment did not feel claustrophobic. It didn’t make me feel as if I need to escape since I am already out in the open. In RE4,  the appearance of the Merchant acknowledges that this is a shooting game. It allows me to tune up my weapons right before when there is a serious zombie action event.  RE5 is even worse, in terms of survivor horror,  Chris and Sheva are given handguns right after they walk pass the villagers.  The way how the handgun is given RE5 is not subtle compared to RE1, when Chris finds a handgun on the floor in the lobby and wonders where Jill and Wesker disappear to. Lastly, RE6 starts out dramatically with explosion. This is just a pure action-based game.

My argument is that the way how RE4 , RE5 and RE6 were introduced and narrated, made it less suspenseful, which in turn, made it less about survivor horror. So I can’t say whether I am too excited about RE7. RE games have always been cinematic but how well it is executed will determine whether it falls into the survivor horror category or not. I wish I could enjoy the demo, but sadly the first person-view  made me sick. I think I am going to wait for this one to go on sale instead of playing on launch day.