Wednesday, June 28, 2017

MIDI Week Singles: "Majula" - Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (PC)

"Majula" from Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Playstation 4, & Xbox One (2015)
Composer: Motoi Sakabura
Album: Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Original Soundtrack, & Dark Souls II Original Soundtrack
Label: FromSoftware
Developer: FromSoftware

I just started playing* Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin late last week after caving in for the Humble Monthly Bundle.  If you are familiar with DSII:SotFS, you will know that I am early enough in the game that the desolated village of Majula is my homebase, which also means that since this is Dark Souls, this is the song that I am hearing most frequently.

I find the area surrounding Majula to be very calming and I wish that there was a little more to explore in the area, but since this is Dark Souls, there probably is, but I just have yet to figure out how to explore deeper into the world and the lore.  The music here too is very calming, focusing primarily for the first half with a piano that sounds like it could be coming from a nearly broken music box in one of the houses there on the coast.  Then, if only for a few seconds/bars, the piano is replaced by a harp before the two play together, then finally a couple additional instruments (bassoon? bass?) join in as drones before the song repeats with the piano music box melody.

I really like this song even though there is not much to it, that maybe it is trying to be something more and that it just cannot find the way, and has resigned to itself in its simplicity.  Or I am just reading too much into it where there is not much to be read into.


*Now if only the game would stop freezing and crashing on me.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic

Whelp, it's officially happening, and I don't know if my heart can take it all over again.

Yup, that is right, Nintendo is releasing an SNES Classic console, similar to the annoyingly rare and oft overpriced due to scalpers and hoarders, NES Classic console that was released and discontinued in about a six month span.

The current game list as um, listed by Nintendo is as follows:
Contra III: The Alien Wars™
Donkey Kong Country™
Final Fantasy III
Kirby™ Super Star
Kirby’s Dream Course™
The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™
Mega Man® X
Secret of Mana
Star Fox™
Star Fox™ 2
Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV™
Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts®
Super Mario Kart™
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars™
Super Mario World™
Super Metroid™
Super Punch-Out!! ™
Yoshi’s Island™

When this popped up earlier (as in two hours ago as of this writing), I was excited and immediately felt the pangs and frustration of not being able to find/locate/play one of the coveted NES Classics.  I would rather not have to be that person standing outside of a Target/Best Buy/Odin forbid Walmart/Sam Goody/Game Stop/Fry's at 2 AM waiting with 300 other people eagerly anticipating the doors to open in order to tackle my way to one of the five SNES Classics that are in stock.  I would much rather put in my $80 pre-order through Amazon and have it arrive at my doorstep the day it is released.

I do not want that heartache again and I genuinely felt a bit of that anxiety all over again.  Sure, I know, first world problem and all that.  

Here's to hoping that September 29th is good to us all.


*P.S.  I will say I was a little disappointed that there weren't any puzzle games, Tetris Attack, or Tetris/Dr. Mario specifically, if only because those were my Mom's favorite games and t'would have been nice to hook that up to my parents' TV instead of the SNES that is semi-working at the moment.

P.P.S.  I also want to give kudos to Nintendo (at least for now) for including two controllers.  Great decision.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

MIDI Week Singles: "Deadlight" - Deadlight (360, XBO, PC, PS4)

"Deadlight" from Deadlight on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, PS4 (2012)
Label: Tequila Works / Valve
Developer: Tequila Works

What I love about this song, as well as the game Deadlight, is that it perfectly complements Tequila Works' take on the lone survivor in the midst of a zombie-type apocalypse.  The music is not loud, grandiose or bombastic, partly because Deadlight is not about running and gunning your way though to an evacuation helicopter or to fist bump your partner after executing a sick-ass kill with a chainsaw strapped to the end of a hockey stick, although there are a number of instances of needing to shoot your way through a number of shadows, but that is far from the emphasis.

At about 0:39, a choir comes in that creates a sense of longing and hope, yet at the same time, loss and despair.  It was at about this time, from what I recall, that the character of Randall walks out along the dilapidated remains of a highway overpass, and I just had to stop and look around at the remains of the world as the music swept over me.

Something interesting that did not dawn on me until writing this article (as is often the case), is that the main theme is comprised of four notes, that are repeated yet developed during the entirety of the song, and then returns to the piano at the end playing those group of four notes.  I love it.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Obligatory Post About E3 Part II

Since I did not really watch much from E3 live, all this post is going to be is listing a number of games that peaked my interest while looking through the games that were announced/updated/talked about/what-have-you.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown:  Loved Ace Combat X on the PSP and I've been chasing that high with the Ace Combat games ever since.  Based on trailer, seems like it'll be better than AC: Assault Horizen (hopefully anyway).  (PC/PS4/XBO)

Ashen: Open world survival in a sunless world, and not co-op dependent is a definite plus.  Love the art style. (PC/ XBO)

The Artful Escape: Side scrolling adventure game with musical abilities (bard?).  A hipster aesthetic, but a fun looking concept.  (PC/XBO)

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night:  This game looks a lot like a modern side scrolling Castlevania title, probably because one of the producers from Castlevania is working on this game, AS WELL AS Michru Yamane, who was responsible for a lot of the Castlevania music.  Excited.  (PC/PS4/Vita/Switch/XBO)

Call of Cthulhu:  Yes, yes!  Everything about this, yes!  (PC/PS4/ XBO)

Cuphead:  As with some other games that were announced, I really like the visual aesthetic. (PC/XBO)

The Evil Within 2: By now, it should be pretty obvious that I am a sucker for horror games and I do love me some Bethesda.  I guess I should probably play the first game though. . .a Steam is coming up soon with their summer sale so. . . (PC/PS4/XBO)

Kingdom Come: Deliverance:  I recall hearing about this game a while back and the combat system and visuals were very enticing.  I am excited to see that it will be released next year.  The only initial hang up is whether the game is only in first person or if you can switch to 3rd person, which would be my personal preference. (PC/PS4/XBO)

The Last Night:  I really wasn't too interested by the name and description of the game, but then I watched the trailer and that all changed.  The visuals remind me a bit of Out of this World, but that could just be the pixely protagonist, but something about it all just looks very intriguing.  (PC/XBO)

Metroid: Samus Returns:  This was the first (or second) game from E3 that I heard about and the only one that I really cared about until I started writing this article, post E3.  I am very excited for this title and the only thing that could mar this release would be if it was only available for the New Nintendo 3DS.  (3DS).

Middle-earth: Shadow of War:  I really enjoyed the first game, so I am interested to see how they improve on their Nemesis System.  I also want to see how they progress the story. (PC/PS4/XBO)

Monster Hunter: World: Honestly, I've only played one of the Monster Hunter demos that was released for the 3DS and I wasn't too impressed, but something about the games first release on the PC has me interested again, and I am not entirely sure why.  (PC/PS4/XBO)

Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents: Space Odyssey:  I am slightly intrigued by the description even though I have seen a number of universe simulators, but I do love me some Dr. Tyson.  (Android/iOS/PC)

Ori and the Will of the Wisps:  I still haven't played Ori and the Blind Forest, but I have been meaning to (as well as meaning to buy the game), but I heard nothing but good things so this title was interesting as well.  (PC/XBO)

If I did not happen to mention a game that you think will be the best game of 2017, not just E3 but the entire year, then oops and oh well.  There is probably also a good chance that I just passed over the one of 157 games on the larger list I used.

Butt Hole Modifications

Friday, June 16, 2017

Thoughts on Collecting for the Sake of Collecting

And Maybe Some Other Stuff Too.

Needless Disclaimer: This article/rant is not intended to change anyone's mind, especially those who do in fact collect games and video game accessories with the desired outcome to have a "complete" collection.  This was purely written out of minor annoyance, frustration, and the state of the cost of living in nearly every category far outpacing a realistic living wage here in the US.

Thoughts about people who collect things for the sake of collecting them crops up every so often, most recently when I was on the phone with my Mom the other day and the Nintendo Classic Mini came up.  My Mom had asked what had happened to the system as her initial plan was to get one for each of us siblings (three in total) for Christmas last year and was saddened when she was unable to find any before the holiday season.  I told her that they were sold out nearly everywhere and being hawked on eBay and Amazon for 500% above MSRP and that she should wait until stores are restocked and the price goes down, but as we all know by now, that never happened.  I could tell that she was let down a bit, because our family grew up playing the NES and SNES and this was something my Mom wanted to do for all of us; possibly so that anytime she came to visit us she would whoop our asses at Dr. Mario any time our parents came to visit.

Which brought up thoughts and feelings again about people who collect games for the sake of increasing the size of their personal collection without any desire to play their coveted games.

Also, I realize that the jacked up price for Nintendo Classic units was not solely because of collectors as it was primarily because asshats knew a hot commodity when they saw one, and decided to take advantage of the situation.  Although I have seen a number of people from various sources who bought at least more than one unit, one to play and the other to keep boxed up and to display.

Just a word of warning (again).  This is not so much be a think piece as it is a rant, and will potentially irritate some people on the Instagrams (those who I know are avid collectors and who frequently post pictures of rooms dedicated to their shelves of games).  And honestly, some of what I say stems from a form of jealousy, but not from not having those games so much as not having the chance to play those games.  It is not that I too would like to have a room dedicated to a collection of video games, I instead would like to have a room dedicated to playable video games.  What really gets my proverbial goat is seeing pictures of set ups or room with many of the same console that may never see the inside of a TV screen.  Petty I know, but there it is.

An unfair equivalent would be someone buying works of art for their personal collection without allowing public access.  Which is done all of the time, and you cannot really play a painting.  Then you run into the Indiana Jones Syndrome where anything of historical value apparently belongs in a museum.  And I too am guilty of having objects of semi-historical value that I have not shared with the greater public because, well, I love dinosaurs and those fossil fragments were a gift.

The point is, that there is something that annoys me and so the Internet becomes a blank canvas for me to publicly disclose my annoyances, even though I too am guilty of partaking in the collecting for the sake of collecting, but not the things that presently annoy me.  And while we're on the topic of minor annoyances (that could still be in the realm of CftSoC), is the advertising of selling video games that are shrink wrapped.  After having worked in a video store (back in 1999) and shrink wrapping movie boxes that were opened (in order to remove the movies and then turn the boxes into display boxes), I realized that it is not that difficult to shrink wrap anything.  Movie boxes, video game boxes, styrofoam blocks, sandwiches. . . most things really, except hands, don't do that.  The point is, just because something is labeled as "shrink wrapped" and claims to be new, does not mean that that item is as new as the day that it was first produced.

Alright, I feel that this is semi-incoherent enough to be proud of and post it for all to see.  Maybe I came off whinier than I thought or not as whiny as I was anticipating, either way, and again, there it is.


Sitting In A Sluggish Vertigo

Thursday, June 15, 2017

MIDI Week Singles: "Wilderness" - Golden Axe (GEN)

"Wilderness" from Golden Axe on the SEGA Genesis (1989)
Composer: [See Below]
Developer: Sega AM1

First off, apologies (of sorts) for not having/knowing who the composer of this music, let alone the score from Golden Axe.  Apparently there is some question as to who wrote the score, with You Takada being one credited in a compilation of SEGA music.  Although this CD set, has Nankyoku, Decky, and Imocky credited for sound, which in a lot of early 80s era video games was also the person who wrote the music.

Something else that did not dawn on me until just now, is that this is the first SEGA Genesis game that we have covered here on MIDI Week Singles, which is probably due to the fact that both Dr. Potts and myself grew up fiercely in the Nintendo Camp during The War.  And most likely because of this, I did not recognize any of the composers listed in either of the two albums mentioned above which makes me wonder how many composers, if any crossed over between consoles?  I guess I have some homework to do.

That being now said, "Wilderness" is my favorite track from the first game in the Golden Axe series, probably because it is the music from the first stage which is the stage that I have most frequently played.  And while listening to this, I would be very surprised if there was not already a metal cover of this song as that baseline is pretty great throughout the entirety of the song, especially around the 1:25 mark.

Basicaly, I just think this is a great track for a hack-and-slash type game.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Obligatory E3 Post Part I

This image may or may not be copyrighted against being used without expressed permission.  But hey, this isn't the NFL. . .

I say "Part I" because E3 started last week on Saturday June 10th, most of the major company's have already had their big press conferences followed by individual games the rest of the convention.   Part II should be out later/soon.  Presently all I know from the entire convention is that Microsoft's next iteration of their console, previously code named Scorpio, has been given the title of X Box One X; because apparently one more X will be all the difference in the world.

But since we like to talk about video games and other things related to geek/nerd culture, I felt that we had to have no less than one post about E3, and since no one associated with our site is at E3 this year (or ever), we are going to resort to speculation, conjecture, and just some good all around tomfoolery.

First off, I would like for Nintendo (who has their press announcement tomorrow on Tuesday) to say that they are producing more Switch units and will make sure that anyone who is in the market can readily buy one and that through 2017, only one unit will be sold per up to three people in a household because damn it, it has been 101 days since The Switch was released and I have only seen one out in the wild, and have never seen one at any of the electronic stores I have visited (Target, Best Buy, Fred Meyer) have had any physical Switches available.  Guess I'll just wait until December for the Allfather Odin to drop one off for Winter Solstice.  And while we're at it Nintendo, time to add additional titles to your Nintendo Select titles for the 3DS, like Fire Emblem Awakening, Star Fox 64 3D, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Bravely Default.  Alright, I'm just complaining now.

I guess I will just leave it at that though as my finger has not been on the pulse of the gaming industry since about 1998 and I could talk about how I would like to see a new 2D Metroid game in the vain of Super Metroid, or maybe a compilation 3DS title of both Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion, or maybe a new title from The Chineseroom or Frictional Games, but if I continue down that road, I am only going to further demonstrate that my own video game desires do not line up with that of the video game elite.

I will say that every E3, I am slightly excited to see what either new games or new IPs are in development.  And it is pretty amusing to see all of the fallout from people who become upset for one reason or another, or those that are convinced that it will be a specific company's end as their press conference just proves that they are in a downward spiral towards a fiery death.

So let's just wait until possibly Friday's article (let's be honest though, probably Monday's article) where I at the very least talk a bit about the games that interest me, regardless of platform, similar to what I have done in the past.