On Poetry, Prose, and Videogames

JLawrence Kenny

Worst Video Game Series: The Sims

Let’s face it, for every good videogame you’ve played in your life, you can probably recall a dozen that you’ve played that simply weren’t up to par. Every aspect of life has its duds, and video games are no exceptions, whether it’s the result of poor controls, bad writing, or just a really crappy independent company that has no business making video games in the first place. We can all recall plenty of games that are just horrible, but which game SERIES is the worst? In my opinion, it’s got to be The Sims. I know this will probably seem like a strange choice to many readers, due to its popularity, when there are so many other games out there that are universally hated. And I’ll admit, there are a few things that The Sims does well which can make it “fun” to play. But if we’re talking about it in terms of series, The Sims comes out on top because of the fact that more universally hated games are usually a single game without a series because they were so bad that the developers dropped it immediately, or because they are a lone dud within the midst of a successful and well-done franchise. For me, The Sims matches neither of these criteria, so let’s jump right into the fray. Read the rest of this entry »

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Favorite Video Game Character: Ratchet, from Ratchet & Clank

Every good game needs good characters. A great plot, great gameplay, doesn’t mean anything if your protagonist is an annoying jerk, your villain is shoddily put-together, or you’re playing a FPS. (No offense, HALO fans) If the characters in the game aren’t relatable or likable, then the player won’t want to play the game, since the essence of the game is following these characters around and how they drive the plot forward. So while I’m preparing for finals this year, I thought I would introduce you to my favorite videogame character: Ratchet, from the Ratchet & Clank game series. Read the rest of this entry »

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Final Fantasy Favorites: Gameplay

Arguably the most important aspect of any game is, as the name suggests, gameplay. Beautiful graphics, wonderful stories, everything else becomes pointless if the interactive portion of the game isn’t interesting to the gamer. Otherwise, you might as well just read a book or watch a movie. I’m not talking about the battle system here, however, since I feel that deserves an entire post to itself, but I will be going into as much of the interactive experience of Final Fantasy as I can, including things like World Maps, minigames, transportation, and even simple things like controls and talking to NPCs. Let’s get to it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Final Fantasy Favorites

One of the more common video game blogs I’ve seen online have at one point or another done their own take on the Final Fantasy video game series, ranking them from worst to best, so I thought I’d join the club and contribute my own list to the internet. I find it really difficult to pick an absolute victor in the game series, however, since each game is so different from the others in so many different ways. So instead of a list, I’ll compare and contrast the games that I have played, which sadly is a rather short list, based on certain elements of the games, with a personal favorite in each category. Because this review list would otherwise be insanely long otherwise, I have decided to split it up into several separate posts, each detailing a different element. I’m excited, and I hope you are too!

First up: Gameplay

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Music Review: Super Ponybeat

Before I review this music album, I have a confession to make. I am a Brony. For those of you who are unaware of the term, a Brony is a person, usually male and in their teens or 20s, who watches the TV show “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.” You may gasp, you may ask, “But isn’t that a show for little girls?!” Yes. Yes it is. The whole purpose of the Brony movement is to prove that just because something is marketed to a certain audience doesn’t mean a completely different audience that has nothing in common with the first group can’t enjoy it as well. It’s about shedding off the limitations of stereotypes and what is considered “right” and “wrong” for someone to do. Me, I just love the characters, and the story, and the animation… pretty much everything about it. But I digress. As the fanbase for a show grows, it only becomes natural that those fans become more and more involved with the show on an independent scale, which is where the album for this week’s review originated from T. Stebbins, entitled “Super Ponybeat.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Maniacal Monday: Seymour, from Final Fantasy X

The Final Fantasy game franchise is widely regarded as one of the best RPG series’ of all time.  And with over thirty game titles to their name, it’s certainly one of the largest. The first Final Fantasy was released in 1987 in Japan, as a last-ditch attempt to save the Square company from bankruptcy, and it quickly grew one of the largest fanbases in videogame history. Each new title in the main series brings an entirely new story, a new battle system, and new characters. Like any good story, however, it needs  good antagonists. And one of the most intriguing is Maester Seymour, from FFX. Read the rest of this entry »

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Maniacal Monday: Darth Tyranus, from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

While all villains terrify us, not every villain is of the sort that haunts the deepest, darkest corner of your nightmares. Some bad guys are more refined, possessing elegance about them, a certain presence that changes who they are. More often than not, these villains are of noble background, corrupted by the world around them into doing evil things in order to fix what they see as flaws in society. Sometimes they are aware of their Evilness, sometimes they aren’t, but the way they act about their actions, one would think that they were playing nothing more than a game, where the pieces are people, and the rules are undetermined. It is into this niche of villain that this week’s character, Darth Tyranus, finds himself. Read the rest of this entry »

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Friday Night Retro: Pokémon: The First Movie

The Pokémon game franchise has been one of the most successful of our generation. Go up to any early-20s, late teenager and say the word Pokémon, and it will be recognized. (If they don’t recognize it, pity them, for they had no childhood) Whether they grew up with 151 Pokémon or 649, few are the children who don’t recall the adorable game about enslaving… I mean, catching… various monsters that exist in the Pokémon world, from the adorable Togepi to the terrifying Onix. So popular is the series, that it has spawned not only an abundance of videogame spinoffs and sequels, but also highly successful anime and movie franchises, both of which center around the eternally youthful Ash Ketchum, whose dream is to become a Pokémon Master. So secure was the company in the longevity of their franchise, they actually entitled the first movie Pokémon: The First Movie, so without further ado, let’s jump right into the wonderful world of Pokémon. Read the rest of this entry »

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Music Review: NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming

Video games seem to have it all. Even from their early arcade days, when the game had a singular, simplistic objective, video games had the populace enamoured. As time progressed, they expanded, evolving into interactive complex stories with surprise twists, with a variety of increasingly spectacular gameplay, not to mention the inevitable increase in graphic quality. One of the things that has always been at the core of great gaming, however, has been the soundtracks. To keep the sound of a game fresh and interesting when you have hours upon hours of playing ahead of you is a feat in and of itself, but audio directors always find new ways to go above and beyond when it comes to catchy game music. But for some of the older video games, from the 64-bit era and beyond, their soundtracks find themselves being lost to the ravages of time despite their superior quality because the sound has become outdated in these High Definition times. Thankfully, a website called OverClocked Remix has made it their mission to remix popular video game soundtracks, bringing a whole new dimension to the catchy tunes that filled our childhood. One of their most recent collaborations is entitled “NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming,” an album comprised entirely of remixes from the Sega Dreamcast game “NiGHTS into Dreams.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Maniacal Monday: Artemis Fowl II, from Artemis Fowl

The literary world is home to some of the greatest villains of all time. Aside from the fact that it is the oldest media, dating back since our origins in caves, the fact that books are not constrained by time limits allows a more in-depth look at everything that’s going on. This is especially true for villains, as the increased space allows for even more room with which to develop their character, backstory, and reason for becoming evil, which enhances their villain-ness exponentially. By getting to know the character, it’s possible to either love them or hate them depending on their reasons for doing evil things, again allowed by the fact that you have more time to get to know them. Sometimes you might even find “villains” in the role of protagonist, and one of my favorite books that demonstrates this duality is the villain Artemis Fowl II, from Artemis Fowl. Read the rest of this entry »

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