28 March 2016

'Artifact' and the Art of Screwing Artists

As much as I love video games and music, I tend to go through periods of preferring one over the other for a year or two. My high school years mostly had me listening to all kinds of bands Pandora and my online friends recommended. After finding a nearly a hundred, only ten or so are bands I still frequently listen to as I play video games during my days at college. One of them is Thirty Seconds to Mars.

They're not one of my all-time favorites, but I've enjoyed enough of their work to have the majority - if not the entirety - of their discography (along with Lacuna Coil, Bentley Jones, Breaking Benjamin, and HIM). I generally like Thirty Seconds to Mars' take on alternative rock with lots of melodies, a touch of harsh vocals, and occasional periods of building atmosphere to set a song's unique tone. Most of their songs tend to stand out to me because the band occasionally changes up the "format" of a song. They tend to follow the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus pattern, but sometimes they throw in an instrumental break near the middle of a song that typically happens in the progressive rock genre. Throw in lyrics with tons of references to literature, religion, and mythology, some pretentious and philosophical music videos, and a tiny bit of self-awareness and that's Thirty Seconds to Mars. If more "ambitious" people who sing, act, direct, and be a celebrity who don't make huge holier-than-thou asses of themselves and their work like Jared Leto, I might be less of a skeptical person.

Or maybe Jared is an elitist asshole who hates his fans. Haven't seen or heard of any meltdowns yet on Twitter, so I'm staying optimistic.

16 March 2016

Tiny Bites of Happiness: March 2016 Update

Despite the usual stress of a humdrum life - along with my undergoing the five stages of grief over my graduating college in less than two months (oh superior being(s), I'm not ready for this crap) - a few things in recent months have helped me calm my nerves. Job searching has been annoyingly difficult, but welcome to the real world, me. Having some outlets to find relief and escapism has helped me cope with more than just my lousy odds at having any kind of career. Look no further than the rowdy and colossal tsunami known as the American presidential race with the stupid orange-haired sub-primate who I will not name near the heart of the storm.

This has been the state of my brain for the past few months.
To give me more motivation to keep moving forward, I've invested in some basic stuff that I can use practically. I've been buying CDs more often than in the past since I drive more frequently for much longer distances. Though my music taste is still too niche for any FYE or Best Buy - and I don't feel like waiting forever with Amazon - I now plug my iPod in my car. Whenever I have my own place, I have some things from home that I claimed as "mine" so buying furniture won't be crazy or expensive. Aside from some financial lessons that need to be learned through trial and error, I can live anywhere in theory, which is liberating and scary.

Only recently I realized how most of the bands I discovered in high school have released new albums I did not hear one wit about. Perhaps I'm far more selective in my observation of the world than I thought, but hearing new Breaking Benjamin content for the first time in six years made my heart grow two sizes. Lacuna Coil's latest album Broken Crown Halo was rather dull compared to Dark Adrenaline but a new album this year will still catch my interest.  The Birthday Massacre released Superstition in late 2014 and I've been listening to it whenever I can on loop. The lovely gentlemen in HIM finally found a new drummer a while back and they'll be working on new music soon. Having kept track of their progress on making Screamworks and Tears on Tape, I worry about them the least... unless one of them joins David Bowie.

To make amends for not looking into him much sooner, I bought his music, re-watched Labyrinth, and bumped his projects higher on my bucket list. Much different mourning happened with Alan Rickman though. Much like what happened during that one scene in Star Wars The Force Awakens, I cried like a baby the moment I heard of his death. Speaking of movies, I haven't seen much other than Star Wars, Crimson Peak, and The Martian. The Netflix selection has been kinda lame too with some of my favorites getting the boot for other movies and shows I couldn't care less about. The outlook for films this year doesn't look great either, so I might not go to the theater for any reason.

I'm really sick of superheroes at this point. Guess it'll take more time for the bubble to burst than I thought. Oh well. At least some aspects of nerd culture are celebrated in the mainstream... for better or worse.

Video game-wise... uncle. I bought Dragon Age 2 because an old friend of mine made a good case for it... and I love it. Damn it, Dragon Age, you won. ...I don't wanna talk about it.

Don't. Say. Anything. Morri.
To ignore my embarrassing and shameful defeat I went into my backlog and re-ignited my love for Sonic the Hedgehog just in time for the franchise's 25th year anniversary. I played through Sonic Adventure 2 for old time's sake and cried at the ending as I did twelve years ago when I was young and innocent and didn't know better. Like the music I was unaware of for years, I wanted to see what direction Sonic had taken - aside from the memes and jokes my online friends indulge in endlessly.

What I uncovered... troubled me. I know that reason and understanding can be alien concepts to the fanbase even on the best days, but I did not expect to see how thoroughly devastated the battlefield is. The Megami Tensei and the Persona "wars" spoiled me rotten, because I completely forgot how nightmarish the train wreck of a fanbase and the non-fans can be with the mere mentioning of "Sonic".

And that's before we get into the games, the spin-offs, the shows, and everything else in the franchise. All I want is to play the games when I'm bored, smile at the posters on my walls, and occasionally snuggle my plushies when I need a hug. The last thing I need are reminders of how the smallest changes can cause a fan to explode into outrage -


...


... Think happy thoughts, Fangirl. Think happy thoughts. It's just fiction. It's not real. Don't let your blood pressure explode over a fictional character you loved that made you a gamer be turned into offensive, pointless, shameless fanservice with none of the depth, care, complexity, and pathos you expected even during the Dark Age of Sonic with his game and '06. It's just a spin-off. There's no reason to go on a homicidal rampage over one of your favorite video game characters of all time who embodies the tropes and cliches that you can't help but love in other characters in all other forms of media just because one game completely fucks up his characterization and completely misses the point of who he is, his motivations, and his development from a villain to a neutral-aligned heroic rival -

Nope. I can't do it.



Fuck you, Big Red Button! Fuck you, SEGA, for letting this abomination destroy any dignity the real Shadow has left! BETRAYAAAAL!!!! THIS BETRAYAL WILL NOT STAND -



...

Aside from that, I've been well. There are a few drafts I need to polish up, so maybe I'll post something within the next week or so.

*remembers job searching and resume writing to work on*


*sighs helplessly*

06 February 2016

First Impression(s): 'Dragon Age'


With the seventh generation of games finally coming to an end, I've happily been seeking out discounted games I missed to fill up my library. (i.e. Who can beat Deus Ex Human Revolution for $3.00?!) I dipped my toes in some JRPGs for the most part, like White Knight Chronicles and the Tales of Xillia duology, but my Mass Effect-loving heart told me to give Dragon Age a try since Bioware is phenomenal at writing original characters and lore.

I don't mind fantasy stories. In fact one benefit of fantasy to me is that one does not need to worry too much about addressing and staying consistent with scientific concepts beyond your league. So with dragons, elves, magic, and political intrigue what could possibly go wrong?



*sigh* (1)

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