May 29, 2014

Tales of Opinia: Trophies & Achievements

So it's been a while since I've done something different here, and I've had this blog type chambered away pretty much since the beginning, I just hadn't the time or content to tap one out. Tales of Opinia blogs are - you guessed it - opinion pieces. As always, you are free to disagree with me, but I'm going to try to shed some light on who I am and why I feel the way I do about certain aspects of the gaming industry. I'm always looking for inspiration or motivation regarding content, so if there is something you'd like me to discuss in a blog, please get in touch with me and share, and I will try to oblige.

Today's case in point: trophies and achievements, and why I don't like them. Let's start with the obvious incoming disclaimer: these are MY opinions. I understand a blog could easily be written to the opposite tune of this one. In fact, I could probably rhyme off a few great things about trophies and achievements, but that is not the purpose of this blog. If you are a trophy/achievement whore (I say that affectionately), that's fine. By all means. I don't hate you. I'm just saying I don't particularly care for this system. Quick warning: my mouth comes out in this blog. Sorry.

We didn't have trophies and achievements when I started gaming. We did have high scores, but after arcades, gaming became a very personal thing, and so did your scores. If you had the good fortune(…?) to grow up with siblings, close neighbors or friends who never went home, maybe you still had a little competition, but it was between you and the people you cared for. Your biggest enemy was you.

May 22, 2014

The Elite Four: Effective Songs

So here's a fun fact for you: like so many others, music is an absolutely huge factor in my life. In my troubled childhood, music was often what kept me sane; in my tedious teenage years, music propelled me through school; and in my adult life I've studied music and audio extensively and incorporated it into my career. That said, it should come as no surprise to you that soundtracks are one of the first things I notice in a video game, or anywhere really. A well composed soundtrack can add so much to a game, and over the years I've added countless soundtracks to my music collection, and dumped them onto every iPod I own. While I insist that there are many, many worthy soundtracks and several amazing composers who work largely in the video games industry, over the years I've noticed a few tracks from some of my favorite games that just... stand out. Every time they pop up I'm immediately filled with memories and a very strong desire to play the game from which they originate. Not only are they catchy, they're memorable and very descriptive of the levels and moments they accompany. So with the quick disclaimer that this was a very, very, very difficult list for me compile, I present you what I think are my Top 5 Most Effective Songs from Video Games.

May 15, 2014

Minor Distraction: SaGa 2: Hiho Densetsu (Final Fantasy Legend II)

warning: may contain spoilers

I think this may be my most anticipated discussion to date, as many of you are old fans of this game and the rest of you have never played it! So I will do my best to provide some insight on this awesome Game Boy classic that will hopefully do the game justice.

Let me begin by quickly clarifying that SaGa 2 was retitled 'Final Fantasy Legend II' in North America. I will, however, refer to it only as SaGa 2, largely because I like the name better, and because I'm not proud of the rename. It seems the game was retitled to leech off the recently popular (in NA) Final Fantasy games, and guarantee SaGa's success in other markets, but I've always felt that SaGa was plenty fantastic on its own.

I first got my paws on this game in the early 90's when it was released in North America. I guess my mum recognized the name "Final Fantasy" as one I loved, and bought it for me - so I guess the sales tactic worked. Imagine my surprise when I popped the cart into my Game Boy and discovered that this is no Final Fantasy at all! That doesn't stop SaGa 2 from being an excellent fantasy RPG, though, especially considering it's one of the earliest RPGs made popular on a handheld in this hemisphere. While it does share a handful of qualities in common with Final Fantasy, it is - as I said - its own title, and one that I've replayed countless times. I love this game.

May 08, 2014

That's A Wrap: Final Fantasy X

warning: may contain spoilers

I have played Final Fantasy X as many times as years it's been available, plus a few. It's a tradition for me to pick this title up and blast through it at least once a year, so excuse me if I consider myself something of an expert on it.

I can't fully recall my first impressions of FFX, but when I think about this game my brain overflows with memories, some of the most prominent of which are from my first playthrough, in which I trailed my friend Rich, and we'd get together every day to talk about the game. Allow me to take a moment to insert this confession: if ever there were a fictional character I'd totally marry the shit out of, it's Seymour Guado. Stupid voice actor and all! That said, Rich was the recipient of one very pathetic phone call, from one devastated Lo Burton who had just killed Seymour. His response was "...which time?" and my day was made.
This time around, there was some initial shock regarding how poorly FFX has aged, and how it compares to the current gen, but those feelings were quickly replaced by the anticipation of diving into the world of Spira, its magnificent story, its interesting cast and the last game in the series to hold onto the longtime values that make a game worthy of the title, 'Final Fantasy'.

May 01, 2014

Don't Panic: The Rules

The following outlines the rules and regulations regarding contest prizes and giveaways from And Then She Games and Lo Burton. Most contests or giveaways will be conducted via twitter (@nintenlo). As a participant, you must first agree to these stipulations.