I’ve contributed a review of Final Fantasy VII to the nascent blog, Gaming With Faith, run by T. Martin, who pops up in the comments section here from time to time:
Today is the age of spectacular, Hollywood-esque video games, where video game culture has gone mainstream and where video game ads are even seen in movie theatres. As such, it can be difficult to appreciate the novelty of Sony’s ad campaign for Final Fantasy VII (FFVII) in the months leading up to its 1997 release.
In the era of Nintendo’s first heyday, video games and their respective consoles had been marketed and understood primarily as toys. Sony, however, marketed FFVII like a movie, with TV ads edited like movie trailers, featuring boastful taglines like, “The most anticipated epic adventure of the year…will never come to a theatre near you!”
The rest can be read here, and you’d might as well check out some of the other posts while you’re at it.
Having found a new source of income in recent weeks, I was able to afford a copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey and hence continue feeding my dungeon crawling compulsions.
Unlike Digital Devil Saga or Persona, Strange Journey is part of the mainline SMT series, falling in the cracks between SMT: Nocturne and SMT IV. Which means I can expect: demented Pokemon gameplay mechanics, characters reaching Colonel Kurtz levels of insanity, a bizarre morality alignment system, and edgy attempts to shock my delicate Christian sensibilities.
I have a love/hate relationship with mainline SMT, as documented elsewhere here. It really does seem to simultaneously embody the best and the worst of the JRPG genre, so it can be quite the emotional roller-coaster. You might even say that SMT and I have been on a Strange Journey together. Anyway, these are my thoughts on the initial hours of Strange Journey.
“Don’t ever call me mad, Mycroft. I’m not mad, I’m just…well, differently moralled, that’s all.”
I received a copy of Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair as a gift two Christmases ago, and now have finally gotten around to reading it. The first entry of Fforde’s Thursday Next novels introduces us to an alternate version of England in 1983 where things like time travel and genetically engineered dodos are relatively commonplace, and where English literature is taken seriously enough for an entire criminal racket of manuscript thievery and forgings to spring up. Our protagonist, Thursday Next, is a SpecOps agent belonging to a division investigating literary crimes. The theft of Martin Chuzzlewitt‘s autograph copy quickly sends her in pursuit of her arch nemesis and ex professor, Acheron Hades.
On the one hand, Fantasia 2000 invites unfavorable comparison with its predecessor, which was one of the greatest movies ever made. On the other hand, it reminds me that there was indeed a period in my lifetime where Disney, in addition to being an evil corporate behemoth bent on world domination, was artistically more than just a copycat of Pixar and Dreamworks. Indeed, the idea of any major American animation studio putting out something like F2000 in 2016 is unthinkable. And that’s a bad thing.
Since May is consecrated to Our Lady, and since the final vestiges of winter seem to have receded, I thought it’d be pleasant and fitting to post Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, “The May Magnificat.”
May is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season –
I expanded my top 15 games list to top 20, but didn’t think it worth a new post, especially with how image heavy it is. It may or may not be worth your time to revisit.
I finished Digital Devil Saga 2. It’s not a long game by JRPG standards. Now I’m in a position to give my more definitive thoughts on this game and the duology as a whole.
In brief: I take back all my misgivings about the direction things seemed to be heading in. DDS tied itself together in a fantastic and unexpectedly resonant note. Sure, it was all very cheesy and sentimental, but it was the kind of cheese that’s right up my alley. Seriously this stuff is on par with Final Fantasy IX for me. And since I’ve come to appreciate the SMT game mechanics, it might even dethrone FFIX (I probably should have waited until I had finished playing this to post that top 15 list).
Anyway, in order to give a more detailed appraisal I’ll have to spoil some stuff below the fold.
The late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels have long been a glaring omission in my sci-fi/fantasy reading. Attempts at rectifying this have often seemed daunting: the man penned a lot of these books, and the manner in which you break into them seems more confusing than it should be. On the one hand it’s claimed that the books are all largely standalone and that you should just jump into whatever seems appealing to you. On the other hand there appear to be multiple sub-series which should be read in a particular order. In both cases the sheer amount of choice is quite intimidating.
When I finish The Colour of Magic you guys will have my first impressions of Terry Pratchett. But until then it’s more video games.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I thought Digital Devil Saga was pretty rad, but that because it was a duology I couldn’t really evaluate it until I played the second one. The first entry leave you with a bunch of IOUs for its followup to pay back.