My Thoughts on Shenmue: Short but Sweet

Today I feel especially happy. So happy I was skipping from work to home. It might be the effect of the booze I had during social hour at work (it’s a way for the company to get us introvert workers to mingle and talk) that is giving me this happy feeling. But more so, I think it has to do with it being Friday and I completed the first Shenmue installment. To my surprise, I didn’t know that I was so close to completing it. Wow, I kind of like how short the game is compared to games these days which require over 50 plus hours.

Despite it being short, I can tell the developers carefully craft the game. It’s a fine cup of tea. I enjoyed the thoughtful dialogue. Each NPC is different and not mass produced like Final Fantasy X.  There is nothing more annoying than bumping into clones. I like some imperfection and some distinction between the characters I interact with.  I was also quite fond of the changing season and the changing time.  Overall, I felt satisfied buying a” ticket” to  Japan with my gift card that I earned from work. Just play Shenmue, it feels as if I have been transported to Japan.  Life is so much simpler without the traveling part.  Plus in the game, I only need to sleep and investigate. There wasn’t a time I need to eat or use bathroom. Those two things I can live without.

So to celebrate my accomplishment (yes, I beat a game, and therefore it’s an achievement) I will share some of the special moments I enjoyed about the game that made me reflect on my own life and what I’d like to improve. After all, video game to me is just time out from reality which I often like to refer to as my cigarette break. So I list three:

1) Work– There was a period in my life where I had a hard time looking for a job. It doesn’t help that I have a soft personality.  Over the years, I learned to be assertive out of desperation just like Ryo who literally asked everyone at the harbor for work.  Most of the people would tell him they are not looking for new people and that work at the harbor is not easy.  I hate such discouragement because it reminds me of my own life–I was often told I can’t handle the work.  At that point in the game, I got a little frustrated because every person I turn to wasn’t helpful. One example is the homeless guy who said: “Son, do I look gainfully employed to you?” He later on said if you want to be unemployed just come back and talk to him.  I really appreciate the humor.  Perhaps in real life, generally speaking, if you looking for something–you ought to associate yourself with those who can provide you the tools and answers you need for success.  There are some people out there who can really give you bad advice and have a negative influence on your life. Personally, I think I have met some very wonderful people whom I can called my second family.  Without them, I think I would be a lost soul. They are always encouraging me to step up and grow. I am in fact, in the process, of refining my skills for a new venture.

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2) Health–The statement below is so accurate. “Health is the most important thing,” so take care of yourself.  I try to live a somewhat healthy lifestyle. I get my dose of exercise by walking to work.  In addition, naturally I like to eat vegetables. Good for me. However, what is not so good is my struggle for protein. I don’t like to eat meat. If I eat meat, it will cure my lack of energy for gaming? Hehe.

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3) Partner– They say loneliness is the number 1 killer. It’s more toxic than consuming cigarettes. Unfortunately in my life, this is the part where I need work the most. Although I am a bit hesitant to get into a relationship. I am perfectly content being single.  If you are single, you get a lot of pressure from family, and even from the opposite sex.  Just because I am single, some guys think I am lonely. What an insult.  To be honest, the reason why I am single is because I have a lack of interest in dating. The chance of meeting the right person is slim.  The solution? I thought of meticulously designing a fake boyfriend so people will stop pestering me.   But if I were to choose an actual partner, I’m not all that picky, like Mai, I just want an honest, hard working man–a guy with a big heart. No crazy people please! I am sensitive to stress.

I really had  a good time with Shenmue.  I did struggle a bit with quick time event and the fighting part. But that is to be expected.  I had fun. It kept me alert and focused. I like that feeling!

Until next time, I’ll be in Hong Kong. Maybe this time I will finally get to meet the mysterious girl in the cover of the game. Oh how I appreciate some romance! Life without it, is kind of boring and dull.

Update

I know my blog has been very quiet because I’ve been out of the country.  I am so glad for the long weekend. This year, I am spending Thanksgiving alone because I want to. It’s mainly because I’m suffering from jet lag and need time to properly rest.

I consider myself an honest person, so I’m going to be straight forward. I don’t know my readers really well, but if you are like, you are probably very sensitive to people, especially in big crowd. Sometimes it is just nice to shut the fuck up. Silence is beautiful.

 

 

A Little Drama at Work

Awhile ago, I wrote a post about my struggle at work on how video games motivate me in my life. A lot has happened in between since that post.  Things did normalize for a bit but then got crazy. There has been some ongoing drama at work that I don’t even need to watch Korean drama to be entertained. I get enough dose of entertainment at work.  Yeah, that’s how bad it was. On the positive note, I gain the respect from my boss. He told me I have good work ethic and I’m the nicest person in the world.  Wow, what a nice compliment! You can thank my mom.  She taught me to be polite.  My alter ego can be actually disturbing. I prefer alone time, killing demons or blowing things up in virtual reality. It calms me down.

Sounds like I have a dual personality. I am not fake. It’s just being courteous.  At work, things can get really stressful because meeting deadline is a big thing there and when we are tired and under pressure, it’s hard not to make mistakes.  Some people take it personally and unfortunately, some people are not always friendly and cooperative. One of the girls from my department couldn’t get along with other girls.  She was really mean and nasty to the point some people did not want to approach her. She eventually quit. It’s a shame as she was really bright. I really wish she had more patience, and most of all, I wish she wasn’t so hard and critical on herself. I know she was suffering from anxiety. She told me she got a lot of pressure from her mom about her weight and her overall look. Personally, I think she is really cute. I get it.  It’s hard to accept yourself when the Asian mom is critical.

This work incident made me think of the game I played earlier this year: Virtue’s Last Reward.  The text below helped me cope during those difficult times. I don’t think she was aware her mean talk was like a knife. It cuts people up and reduce them to little particles. For awhile, I wanted to quit my job. She was so unpleasant.  With that attitude, no one wins in the end. Humans can achieve great things if they work together and respect one another. In the end, I think all of us just want to do our our work and go home so we can sleep soundly. I know I want to go to bed having pleasant dreams. Oh I was so annoyed. I broke out from stress just thinking about it.

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games_20180407173018I hope the girl understand that grown ups should learn to cooperate. You are still a child, if you think the world center around you.

Anyway, in the upcoming future, I plan to play Final Fantasy VIII because it’s my brother’s favorite Final Fantasy game, and I want to write an in- depth analysis and share it on this blog. Why not?  Writing and talking about games casually can be quite fun. It helps me release stress. But first I need to complete Shenmue. It may take a couple more months at this rate.  There should be a trophy for the slowest gamer on the planet because that’s really me.

Until next time, take good care of yourself and Happy Halloween!

 

 

Reflection Time: My Blog Report Card

When I am gloomy I like to clean.  I like to clean my place and I like to clean my blog. As I was organizing my blog posts, I noticed maybe I should proofread before I hit the “Publish” button. I am so embarrassed, hehe. I made several typos.   Oh what a pain! I have to go through all my posts and make it pretty so that I can appear to be somewhat professional, even though I am just writing for fun.  Although lately, I think I should be more serious about what I want to achieve from this blog. What I intended for this blog in the first place has shifted. I was writing about games, but now I want to focus on my poems and songs. I would like to become a full-time poet/lyricist actually.

Yes, these days, I play games seldomly.  I did get my copy of Shenmue. I enjoy it but didn’t get very far. I am at the part where I need to join the mafia to figure out who is the tattoo artist. So far, it’s a fun detective/drama type game. I feel like I am playing an Asian soap opera.

One  character that stood out to me the most is the old lady. She kept telling Ryo (the protagonist) baby Ryo to stop wasting time. Somehow I feel that she was speaking to me as well.  I kept pressing X so she got annoyed and told me I’m hitting on her. So funny! Yeah, I will continue on my investigation. Similarly, my friends are like the old lady in Shenmue.  I am being lectured to cultivate my creative side and stop wasting time.  So that’s what I have been doing other than cleaning my place.  Telling an artistic person to be organize is like asking her to do the impossible.  Never know when inspiration strike! Once I am gone I am gone! It does take me a whole day to clean because I get distracted easily.

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Anyway, this blog will be quiet for some time. No gaming related content, as I am planning for a vacation. From now on,  I think I will do this Blog Report Card because it helps me put things into perspective. I was so close to deleting the blog after all this work.  I confess, I was feeling a bit stiff, as if I can’t breathe.  I started asking myself what’s the point? I know that my opinions are not popular, but then I realize I am  going to stand up for it anyway! And I don’t give a damn if I am a commentless blog in Seattle  as one blogger pointed out. Blogging is for my personal enrichment. If I write to gratify people it will become a chore. I already have a full-time job. I don’t need more stress in my life.  Unless you pay me, then I will entertain you gladly.

As for my final grade for my blog—I will give it a C+. Need to have a clear focus or else I’m just wasting time writing when I could be relaxing. We all know that writing takes time. On a good note, I think I have been good at attempting to be consistent. That’s quite an accomplishment for me since I get bored easily. By now, I think my blog would have been deleted. Thank goodness, I read my old posts. I put a lot of time into it so I will stick around.

 

 

 

Reflection Time: Video Games & Films

Recently Extra Life nominated me for the the Sunshine Award.  It made me smile as I appreciate the thought. But strangely, I was having a hard time answering his questions as I don’t have strong opinions about the film industry generally even though I have watched a handful of good films in my lifetime. I think I am a rather picky person when it comes to films.  If a film fails to grab my attention within the 30 minutes, I just quit watching it.  I have more patience with games than films because they are interactive. His questions, however, made me reflect about games and its relation to films and how I feel about it as a consumer. So I write my thoughts here and skip the tagging since I couldn’t answer some of the questions properly.

Back in 2011, I took Silent Cinema course  not necessarily because I am a film enthusiast, but I needed the credit.  To my surprise, I am really glad I did because I enjoyed the course a lot. I learned how films evolved overtime from something that was used for scientific purposes to entertaining the masses. In the early 1900s, the average person include the working class begin to have more time to watch films. It was a great escape and a cheap alternative to vacation. Similarly, I can see how video games can offer the same instant gratification. I enjoy traveling, but I was never the type who have a lot of energy in the first place.   Video games allow my brain to roam and since I’m the introvert type, I do enjoy doing single activities, which unfortunately society called people like me anti-social, which in truth, I don’t suffer from social anxiety and can be quite sociable. I just prefer some alone time to function as a proper human being. But of course, I’m one type of consumer. Some people play games causally and to past time. And there’s nothing wrong with that!  I remember a friend asked me to bring my Wii because I wouldn’t visit her without it. She actually really enjoyed playing games with me. We had a good time. Video games, despite its bad connotation as a social deviant activity, it is actually replacing films and becoming the new form of entertainment for the masses. There are different types of games for people to enjoy like how there are different types of music for people to listen.  So the term”gamer” is kind of outdated because it no longer distinguishes a particular group of people from the rest of the society as if there is something wrong with gamers. The correct term these days, might just be a gaming enthusiast.

Taking Silent Cinema course, made me understand why Last of Us was so successful and why it is appealing. It has that film aesthetic and the gameplay is extremely casual.  I could play the game during the weekdays after work without putting a lot of mental energy into completing it. Therefore, I think the game deserves it success, although I don’t think the medium should be ashamed of itself and try to morph into something else more mature (film). Video game has the potential to grow.  Don’t try to change its essence, which boils down to gameplay. This really got me thinking why I prefer Japanese games over western games. Japanese games are more experimental and don’t throw away the “gameplay” aspect even though it tried to imitate films (Silent Hill series is the perfect example).  However, Japanese developers can learn a lot from western developers. I find western games to be more realistic and honestly I prefer the realistic style over the animated cute style. But that’s just preference.

I have some friends who are more than a decade older than me. I get along with them pretty well. My new friend from work is a very beautiful, intelligent woman in her 60s. She was once a manager for a video store. She watched hundreds of films during that time she worked there so she can sell them. I have been discovering good films and books because of her lately.  She has good taste. We both have the same personality actually.  Unfortunately, it’s the age difference that set us apart. Lack of knowledge about games make it hard for older folks to  accept video game as a respectable medium. I believe some games do have the same aesthetic as great films.  I am pretty sure when I am her age, I can see myself becoming an expert in games and most likely still play video games (quality games). Then I can see myself becoming critical of the younger generation for the lack of taste in entertainment. Whatever the future holds, who knows.

I will end this post by answering one of Extra Life’s questions. My favorite film decade is probably the 1960s.  I love watching old shows such as Come Drink with MeBreakfast Tiffany’s and The Twilight Zone. When it comes to animation, I like anything from the 1980s.  But honestly, anything that have thoughtful dialogue would instantly captivate me.  To me, great art is timeless and it doesn’t belong to a certain era.

 

 

 

Beauty and the Beast

This post is not an analysis. It’s just a summary of what I thought about Beauty and the Beast play.

Assuming you are not familiar with Beauty and the Beast, it’s a tale about a narcissistic prince who denies a shaggy old lady into the palace.  As a punishment, he turns into his true form: a beast! To undo the spell he must learn to love and have love return to him. That’s the only way to be human again.  Sounds like a good moral tale and would make a cool video game. I like that sort of thing or perhaps, I am just old fashion. When I was a kid, I didn’t like the fairy-tale all that much.  My first exposure to the fairy-tale was the Walt Disney animated version.  Now as a grown up, I do appreciate the meaning behind it. I discovered the beast is not gender specific because beast is a metaphor for one of the ugliest traits found in human beings, and that is conceit.  This is something I wouldn’t have noticed as a kid. The moral of the tale is you shouldn’t deny someone based on their appearance.  Both the Prince and Belle had to learn that moral lesson together. The play also emphasizes on the importance having good manners, which unfortunately, most people lack nowadays. Overall, I enjoyed the play. Plus, they serve coffee and dessert. Great combo!  I was happy.

Even though I enjoyed the play, I prefer to read than watch a play (I like my eerie imagination more). Sometimes I just go to the theater for the experience and for the visual presentation. I like the stage props and special effects, but  the play didn’t leave me wanting more. But then again, I am not a frequent playgoer.  So I wouldn’t know how to rate the performance compared to other Beauty and the Beast plays. All I know, it’s an activity I probably wouldn’t go quite frequently.  I am not as nearly obsessed as the girl from Glass Mask.  I prefer reading alone in my place.

On the positive side, the play has made me rediscover picture books. I borrowed this book  from my co-worker.  I like picture books when I was a kid. I still do.  It’s a simple but effective way of telling story.

This version is different from the play as it highlighted that inner beauty is found within, and beautiful women do fall in love with “unattractive” men.  After all, attractiveness is really in the eye of the beholder.  I believe Leo Tolstoy mentions something similar to that in Anna Karenina.

I intend to watch the Belle et la Bete  (1946) directed  by Jean Cocteau.  Perhaps I would do a proper analysis if I find myself enjoying the film. When it comes to analyzing a story, I like to take my time. I couldn’t do that with the play.

P.S

Believe it or not I have not played games for over a week. Work is so unbelievably stressful that I just switched off my brain and do activities that don’t require thinking.

My Video Games Shopping List (Part II)

There were only a few games I am interested  from watching E3. It’s a good thing. This will give me a chance to clear my backlog and help me save up money for bigger things.  I got some big plans at the end of this year.  It all work out just fine.

So I will name the games I am looking forward to here. Not all of them are from watching the E3 event.

#1 Bayblon’s Fall

Reminds me of Xenoblade Chronicles/ White Knight Chronicles.

#2 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Honestly, this trailer makes me worrisome as it reminds me of Nioh.   Even though I have a hard time getting into Nioh, I will attempt to play it again.  When I was playing Nioh  last year, my brain was already fried. I had way too many  things going on in my life.  I realized I have my limitation.  Brain is overheated. Need sleep.   I am willing to give Nioh another try though.  Some people prefer Nioh gaming mechanics over Dark Souls. I am a bit surprised because I didn’t really like how fast Nioh moves in comparison to Dark Souls. Every time I play this type of game, I do get the adrenaline rush–droplets of sweat dripping down my forehead.  Game can’t get intense sometimes.

I must admit, I am glad  FromSoftware is not making the same thing.  There are so many games out there that imitate Dark Souls success. It is rather annoying.  There is even a twitter account dedicated to that.

#3 Soul Calibur VI

I like fighting games because I like watching martial arts films.  Soul Calibur is my favorite fighting game franchise as it involves swords. I like hitting, cutting, hacking, and slicing things very much.  A great game to play to blow off some steam.

#4 Shenmue 1 & 2 Remastered

I never got the chance to play the first two installments. This will give me a chance to experience the game before Shenmue 3 release. I heard that the game came into development after being inspired by a musical piece.  I think this one of the games that have that romantic quality.  It reminds me so much of the international films (Hong Kong) I grew up watching as a kid.

That is my list of games.  These games will keep me busy for next few years.  Every time I told myself I am quitting games because modern games disappoint me, some new game come out looking all flashy, grabbing my attention, I find myself back to where I started.   So that’s why I give up trying to give up games.  It’s like telling a person to stop drinking tea.   Now if only have the proper time to enjoy them–it’s very difficult these days.  Adult life is so demanding.

P. S

My co-worker is excited for Last of Us II and asked me if I feel the same.  I actually  turned around so he can’t see me giggling.  People do have different taste in games surely.  Even though Last of Us never did appeal to me, I am actually currently playing the game so I can give my proper thoughts on it.