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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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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Eidolons of Gran Pulse – Brynhildr

By the grace of Etro, warrior maiden be drawn by the fires of battle.
Come forth, wreathed in blazing glory.
Your Rousing Inferno terrorizes all with your fury,
Discouraging those who would seek to quarrel.
The Ethereal Blaze that surrounds your vessel
Shall burn to cinders any who provoke thee,
And with ease, your enemies shall swiftly foresee
The demise of those who with Eidolons meddle.

As you burst forth swiftly, racing through
Your enemies, they will with dying groans exclaim,
As you follow your powerful master’s bidding.
Múspell Flame, burn those who dare challenge you.
A name in blood, a pact of flame.
Brynhildr shall rise, her bond eternal and unyielding.

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Friday Night Retro: Mario Party

Within the seemingly endless number of videogame and videogame sequels popping up this year, it’s nice to fall back on familiar classics that everyone knows. And easily the most recognizable videogame character is Mario, that pudgy Italian plumber that’s always one step behind his eternal rival Bowser and his lovely lady Princess Peach. He is Nintendo’s poster-character, and is synonymous with old-school gaming. He has aged quite a bit better than most of his 8-bit friends like Sonic, but we all remember and love him during his early years. Nintendo has always been about multiplayer games, and so it’s no surprise that their most famous franchise has dozens of games designed specifically for party play, even one that literally calls itself that: Mario Party. Read the rest of this entry »

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Maniacal Monday: Dr. Nefarious, from Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

This week, we’ll be taking a break from the heavy, terrifying villains in favor of a more comedic villain. When it comes to bad guys in the world of comedy, their actions tend to be over-the-top and farcical. Their plans are crazy, and are usually either horribly convoluted to the point where you have NO idea how it works, or so spectacularly simple that you wonder where they learned how to be evil in the first place. Just like normal villains, however, they have just as varied and deep a background as any other (usually) and are the driving force behind the plot of the story. Enter Dr. Nefarious, from the Ratchet & Clank game series. Read the rest of this entry »

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Eidolons Of Gran Pulse: Shiva

By the grace of Etro, twin rulers arise from your icy thrones.
Come forth, sisters of Winter wastes.
In you, our trusts are placed.
Let not your presence remain unknown,
Lest your enemies’, you do condone.
Stiria, heal comrades with haste,
As Nix destroys those in frost encased,
And soon shall the tyrant be dethroned.

Two tires screech against the cement,
Knowing their speed will suffice.
A wall of ice, your weapon wielding.
Diamond Dust, freeze those of hot temperament.
A name in blood, a pact of ice.
Shiva shall rise, her bond eternal and unyielding.

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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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