Favorite Games – The Halloween Edition

Since it’s Halloween time it seems as good a time as to talk about my favorite spooky/scary games, or at least some of them. I’ve always loved Halloween but for the most part I’ve always had something that stopped me from fully enjoying it, be it work, or a busy life, or not enough time to even decorate properly, there’s always been something and even in the midst of my own apartment being renovated I’m trying to find ways to enjoy it. Now I will be the first to admit that scary things (movies, games, tv shows), well, scare me. I’m not a huge fan of things being gross just for the sake of being gross but still, I do enjoy a good thriller and even a good horror movie when the mood strikes. I will also admit that when playing scary games, depending on the game, usually I end up playing from save point to save point (so about five minutes at a time when I tried tackling Dead Space). In short, I love scary games they just, you know, scare me, but regardless of that fact I want to talk about some of my favorite ones so do follow along and enjoy the ride.

Layers of Fear

I want to start off with a game that scares the ever-loving hell out of me and ranks as one of my favorite scary games of all time. I honestly did not know what I was getting in to when I first heard about it and once it was one of the Games with Gold on Xbox, I figured I wasn’t out much as far as trying so I gave it a shot. I don’t swear much in my posts, but holy shit did this game terrify me, I was literally only able to play it a few minutes at a time between the jump scares and the super creepy atmosphere I was constantly on edge. All in all, there weren’t a lot of jump scares it was more about the environment, the mood, and especially the story which had to be one of the most twisted ones I’d experienced in a long time. Now up until this writing I hadn’t played in months up until the morning of writing this entry for an early morning stream, but one of the biggest thing that draws me in is the heavy focus on exploration and story since combat isn’t a driving factor (it doesn’t even exist to my knowledge in the game).

Never knowing what was around the next corner, and often times turning around to a very different setting than what you left, never knowing what was behind you or even around you…I really do love this game and eventually I’ll be able to finish it, hopefully.

CarnEvil

Anyone who grew up in an arcade most likely knows of this one, wandering around a carnival and blasting creatures that nightmares are made of, it was less scare and more just the setting that made it creepy yet incredibly entertaining for me. Basically it was a light gun game in the shape of shotguns as you wandered around, clowns were prominent of course because, why not, but also many other nightmarish creatures, and overall it was just a good bit of fun and it was my personal favorite next to House of the Dead 2 anytime I was able to get to an arcade. Now I will concede that it’s been years, actually decades, since I’ve played this one mostly because arcades in my town have gone somewhat out of style and the few that are still around mainly have an overload of racing games, but I still loved it when I was younger and if I ever get the chance to play it again I wouldn’t even hesitate.

Silent Hill 4: The Room

Now I will admit I was never a huge fan of Silent Hill, I remember when the first game came out and everyone told me how terrifying and scary it was and when I first played it I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I wasn’t scared (which was odd since at the time even Super Metroid scared me), I wasn’t freaked out, maybe it was that I didn’t get far enough in but I also didn’t have the patience for it either so I quickly put it aside…and then “The Room” came out.

While for the most part it wasn’t too scary for me to handle, I actually made it much farther than I thought I would, but the atmosphere is what did it for me and I notice that’s a trend amongst scary games for me. Sure jump scares get me, no question, but when the environment is done just right I’ll spend a great deal of time trying to get from point A to point B, longer than I should, because I’m always expecting something just based on the mood the game presents. If I’m being completely honest though, the one thing that actually did really creep me out was a room with a giant head in it, I mean come on, and those eyes, I get shivers just thinking about it now.

Resident Evil 0

I love Resident Evil, as a series of course but there are a few that stand out that I really love and Zero (yes, I’m writing out the word) is without question my favorite. I know at the time the feelings were mixed on the game, ditching item boxes for item dropping which most definitely made things a little more complicated (though if I’m right, that was the intent in the first place, to make the game more difficult) as well as adding a new partner zapping system which allowed you to hot-swap between Billy and Rebecca to solve the games puzzles. Like I said, I loved it but I also loved essentially seeing the original game from the perspective of Bravo team plus Rebecca Chambers was always my favorite character in the RE series so seeing her get her own game (well basically) was pretty awesome as well.

This was also the first RE game I ever finished without even considering a cheat, and I still have no idea how I managed to finish it without extra help as I needed it for the first three games plus RE4 as well. Tis a mystery that will never be solved for sure.

Bioshock

Finally I’m adding Bioshock because why the hell not. When I first tried the demo I “noped” the hell right out as soon as the first slicers showed up before the game even started that’s how spooked I got. Eventually I forced myself to try it and I’m proud of myself for making it through the entire game. Between the environment and location, the eerie setting, the twisted baddies, the entire game was nightmare fuel for me and oh how I loved every second of it. It wasn’t even the jump scares that got to me to be honest, it was always the environment more than anything, everything about the environment alone was done so well that it always kept me on edge because it always felt like there would be a jump scare around the corner and a lot of it was mostly my mind playing tricks on me.

Over time I’ve played through a couple of times I believe, and I’ve played both sequels but if given the opportunity I’d always choose the original each time.

There you have it, not all my favorites but ones that stand out the most and why. I hope you enjoyed reading, I know I enjoyed writing it, until next time…as Elvira would say “unpleasant dreams”. Sorry, it’s late, I’m getting loopy, but I’ll see ya next week folks.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

A Haunting Favorite

Since we’re getting closer and closer to one of my favorite days of the year (Halloween if you haven’t guessed it by the title), I wanted to take a moment to talk about one of my favorite scary movie…would scary be the right word? Horror movie perhaps? I know, Thriller, maybe that’s more fitting. In any case, “The Haunting” for whatever reason has managed to make it as my favorite Halloween time movie, if not my absolute favorite then right up near the top that’s for sure.

Now I couldn’t tell you what movie I had gone to see when I saw my first teaser for “The Haunting” but I can tell you that the mixture of the haunting music and tone, coupled with the morphing house into a twisted face had me hooked the second I saw it and right then and there I knew I had to see this movie. I knew that it was essentially a scary movie and even though I have a love/hate relationship with being scared out of my mind I still wanted to see it. Honestly I think it was the CGI use in the teaser that hooked me more than anything but in the end I don’t care, I wanted to see this movie and damn it I would if it was the last thing I did on this earth. Now to be fair I’ve done many things since seeing it so naturally watching the movie was not the last thing I did in this mortal coil, but saying it felt fitting to say the least.

Again, since it’s been so long, I couldn’t tell you when I first saw the film either and while it was less scary than I thought it would be I love it none the less. I loved the story, the concept in general, even the characters, there’s just something about this movie that really grabs me, and I think it’s because it is a scary movie but not too scary if that makes any sense. Looking back at it, the story may not be the best regardless of the fact that I loved it, well it is a little corny or predictable at times, but it made it all the more interesting to me but it was the slow realization of what was going on that really hooked me.

Sadly it has been a while since I’ve seen it and parts of it are lost to memory but one that always stands out is the spiral staircase scene, Eleanor standing on the edge at the top as she’s possessed in a way while the good Doctor begins climbing then without warning it begins to crumble away beneath him. It isn’t fast, it isn’t intense, it’s slow and drawn out, building suspense with every second, wondering if he’ll survive or not and that is what got to me, that’s what I loved and not just in that one scene but it was across the movie in various spots. I love the thrill (does that make this a thriller?), wondering if they are going to make it or not but done so in a way that brings you to the edge of your seat without it being a face paced roller coaster ride.

Every year around Halloween time this is one of the movies I try to make sure I watch and unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity in the last couple of years to do so though I’m honestly hoping to change that in the coming days. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, all I can say is if you enjoy a decent thriller without a lot of blood or gore and love an occasional jump scare or three then “The Haunting” is definitely worth watching even though I know it’s been slammed on many occasions for being silly or boring but still, I personally found it enjoyable and I know I can’t be the only one.

Incidentally, and perhaps I should have mentioned this one first, this particular movie is actually a 1999 remake of a 1963 movie (with the same title) which was made based off of a 1959 novel (The Haunting of Hill House…yes, same as the Netflix show, and yes, somewhat tied together as well in a way). To be perfectly honest, even with the film being panned for various reasons, not only is it worth watching, along with its 1963 counterpart, but the history of the novel and it’s adaptations are also worth looking in to and to be fair I myself kept getting distracted as I went further down that particular rabbit hole.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

Nostalgia Trip with WoW Classic

It’s been a bit since Blizzard decided to return to World of Warcraft’s roots and I’ve finally had an opportunity to dive back in and give it a try. Now to be fair I did initially hold off because I, like everyone else, knew how crowded the servers were going to be and I wanted to give everyone else plenty of time to jump in and make it past the starting locations so that by the time I went in I would be relatively on my own…well all of that plus, you know, monies. Before I go too deep I want to go back as well, to when I first got into WoW and why I left shortly after Mists of Pandaria, or was it before, I can’t remember but it was most definitely around that time period when I decided to leave it behind for what I thought was for good.

I originally joined WoW not long after Burning Crusade and I loved it, I didn’t understand it, but I loved it. Everything about it was so new and fresh for me, I’d never played an MMO before and this was my introduction to the genre, and I was blown away at the shear scope of the world that was there to explore. Now at first, even though I loved what I first experienced, I didn’t fully jump in until a few months later mostly due to not having the time to really enjoy and explore the world. Once I had the time to really play I had already created a Dwarf Warrior, Shinchan I believe, on the Blackwater Raiders server and to be honest, since this was all still new, I didn’t realize or understand what an RP server was until later and by then it was too late anyway. Either way, I wasn’t really liking the Dwarf Warrior I had created so I started over with a Human Mage named Helyn and stuck with her until around level 70-ish I believe and through at least two different guilds, one of which I was somewhat of a second in command before leaving to create my own guild that flopped spectacularly.

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My first serious character, Helyn the squishy

Now I liked my Mage and did well but I was getting tired of being “squishy” and helpless, plus I had seen Hunters and their pets and wanted to try that route…so I did, with a Night Elf named Thina and that was when I really found a character and an experience that I would love. At the time I didn’t know the bad rep that Hunter’s had, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t have cared either, I was having far too much fun. I was a Survival Hunter; I had done moderately well in PvP which surprised even me because I normally hate it, and I was moving along at a good clip up through Wrath of the Lich King and hit daily quests. At that point I started to hop from toon to toon because I felt there was nothing left to do, most of my friends had moved on and it was starting to look like the beginning of the end but that actually came a little later, around the time of Mists of Pandaria. (before or after I can’t quite remember, maybe even somewhere in between that and Cataclysm actually).

thina and keira
Thina in her glory days, before the dark times, before the changes, before…Pandas

I’ve managed to narrow it down to what truly drove me away from WoW, it started with little things over time, things like taking away weapon leveling (a task I actually enjoyed), simplifying things like not needing materials to create a campfire to cook, all those tiny little things that may seem monotonous to most people I took simple pleasure in, but while those little things started the downward spiral it was a few bigger things that really drove me away personally especially when it cam to Hunters. Switching away from Mana, taking away ammo for ranged weapons, and most importantly for a Survival Hunter like me, taking away dual wielding which was the backbone of my personal PvP strategy. By that point a character that I’d grown to love and cherish the adventures we’d shared together suddenly became a sad shadow of her former self and I didn’t have the energy to put into it anymore, that’s when I really checked out…and then Classic came out years after.

All of  the magic I experienced in the early days came flooding back the instance I loaded it up and WoW felt new and fresh again, yeah the grind was back, but so was the challenge and that was what I missed more than anything else. It feels like everything that mattered to me was there again, from the look to the feel everything is the same and I won’t lie even in the short time I’ve had to experience it, I wouldn’t trade that grind for anything in the world. Up until this point Wrath of the Lich King was one of my favorite expansions and now I can thank Blizzard for bringing back what brought me into the game in the first place and if I needed any proof for myself that it’s gameplay and experience and not visuals that make a game great I can look no further than WoW Classic because it has the same look as it did all those years ago…well slightly better because I have a PC that can run it on its highest settings now.

There is no question that WoW Classic was brought forward for the long time fans but it’s also a great way for people who have never experienced the game from the beginning to see how a game that they love now came to be, how it evolved into what they know now…and yes, to see how easy they have it in some cases, no massive gold drops from trash mobs, no automatic flight paths, you had to walk to every new one…up hill, both ways, through the driving snow, and…okay so I’m showing my age but my point is WoW classic was such an amazing experience and over time the original game morphed in a way to draw as many people in while turning it’s back ono the people that made it great in the first place and thankfully Blizzard is giving their seasoned fans a chance to relive their early days.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

Paperback or Hardcover?

I love to read, no, really, I do even though it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. Now granted I will concede that in the past few years I haven’t had the time I used to have to devote to reading but regardless I still love it. Now as far as what I prefer to read, that changes depending on my mood, I mean I have my favorite genres of course but as far as what I feel like reading that is dependent on my mood for sure. Now more often than not I’m usually reading either Science Fiction or Fantasy, but there’s also been a Biography or two that I’ve enjoyed, Horror, and of course Humor books as well (I’m a sucker for the Bathroom Readers), but no matter what I’m reading I always prefer reading a physical book. I know, a lot of people say print is dead and whatnot in favor of the digital age but nothing, to me, beats holding an actual book in my hands, taking in the scent of a new book almost like a new car smell, and just opening it up to get lost in a new adventure.

After thinking about this, I must admit that I’m curious for those who may be reading who feel a desire to share, but what is your preferred format for reading (if you read that is). Is your preference that of a good old-fashioned physical book and if it is, hardcover or paperback? How about audiobooks? Or what about kindle, or rather digital books? For me personally it’s hardcover books, I love them, everything about them to be honest. I love the weight of a hardcover book, and while the dust jacket is usually hit or miss for me as far as design goes but it’s what’s under it that I really love. To be completely honest, while I would never actually destroy or get rid of a dusk jacket on a hardcover book, I would much rather my shelves just show the books as they are, name on the spine and in all their simple, colorful, glory.

20190509_075444
A personal favorite of mine.

Obviously, the biggest downside is the price, a hardcover book is generally anywhere between $10 to $20 more than their paperback counterparts (at least in my experience) and while that’s the biggest downside to me there are obviously other issues that present themselves for various other reasons. For instance, usually hardcovers are of course bigger and take up more space, I believe I mentioned that they are also heavier which for me isn’t a huge deal but for some I can understand it being an issue especially since on cheaper shelving they can warp those a bit. Even the dust jackets themselves have their own problems since they can get caught if you aren’t careful and rip then there is the issue of buying them from a bookstore (yes they still exist) and depending on which one you have to deal with price tags that can ruin the dust jackets as well.

Now just because hardcovers are my favorite, I of course have a large collection of paperbacks as well for various reasons, price is obviously one of them followed closely by space, but still, it’s a physical book and I’ll take it any day of the week. Now to be fair though, I only own I think two digital books through Kindle and one audio book which I haven’t listened to yet and I am by no means knocking either. Kindle and other e-readers offer an entire library at your fingertips and on the go which is amazing  without question and audio books as well offer the same advantage as well as allowing you to listen to it as your own personal story time and I can certainly respect both mediums and quite honestly I would love to experience them more but right now, in my own case, time seems to be my biggest limitation.

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A stack of lovelies before they sadly had to be stored temporarily

I know, I’ve droned on a lot about how I like to read so I’ll stop there but I will end with mentioning a couple of my favorite books of all time (because I know you’re looking for recommendations after all). For starters, while one of my favorite authors is R.A.Salvatore because of the various Drizzt books, my favorite book (or rather books) of his fall under the Cleric Quintet, an epic story crossing five books about a cleric on a mission to essentially save the world which just happens to fall into the Forgotten Realms. Next, and another favorite author, is Christie Golden and while I have not read a lot of her books, my hardcover of Arthas ranks as one of my top three books ever and the only reason I don’t read it more is not so much time but the fact that I don’t want to ruin my signed copy of it and am waiting for when I have the extra money to get it in another format and quite honestly the book was so good I don’t even care what format that is. Finally, The Fall of Reach, out of all the Halo books this one was my favorite because it was more than just about the Master Chief but about the Spartan program itself. Yes, it still focused on the chief, but it offered so much more backstory which really fleshed out the Halo setting to. Written by Eric Nylund I honestly couldn’t put it down and I’m fairly certain, if I remember correctly, I finished it the day I got it.

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While I didn’t mention it here, this one was a bit of a sleeper favorite. It surprised me with how much I loved it.

Okay one more, mostly because I love talking about the books I’ve read, but the Resident Evil series by S.D.Perry, these novelizations of the games were out of this world and I loved them. I loved them so much that the first one, the Umbrella Conspiracy, is actually falling apart as the pages are falling away from the spine from reading them so often. I take care of my books I promise, I don’t throw them around and I’m careful when I read them but still…sooner or later a book just starts to deteriorate. Honestly the Resident Evil books are high on my list to replace with new copies but again, monies is usually the reason I haven’t yet.

So, let’s see, I covered genres I love, the medium I prefer to read, and some of my favorite books and authors did I miss anything? Probably. Regardless I want to hear from you as well, favorite books, favorite medium, favorite genre…lay it on me cause I wanna know!

~Fallyn Aingeal~

Fresh Eyes (SNES Edition)

What’s your favorite game? I know, hard question, right? Damn near impossible for almost any gamer really, so instead of asking your favorite what if I asked you what game (or games) you’d love to experience for the first time just once more. A chance to see a game with fresh eyes just like the first time to hopefully, or, in some cases, feel the same type of wonder you felt the first time you played it. Still hard I know but I bet everyone has at least a few that if given the chance, would love to see as if it was brand new. I’m no different in that regard but it’s still hard to narrow it down to just one so I’ve gotten it down to three…plus a few honorable mentions. My real issue is do I rank them from lowest to greatest desire to see fresh again, or do I just throw them out there and hope for the best?

Well if you know me at all then you know the former is usually my specialty (and I’m giving myself double points if I used the right word there). In case I didn’t use the word “former” correctly, I’m just throwing out three games that I wish I could see again for the first time, at least just once more. Obviously, as the title states, I’m focusing on the SNES and even that was hard to do since it’s my all time favorite system and there are so many good games to choose from and to be fair the ones I’m choosing…two of them I think a lot of people would agree with and one not so much but I love them. Okay, enough stalling for space, time to delve into the games.

Super Metroid

Without question Super Metroid has been and always will be one of, if not my absolute, favorite SNES game. From the action to the music everything about this game was perfect to me but even more than that (and I know I’ve said it before but it deserves repeating), in a time when all I saw were bright and happy games seeing one that was super dark and gritty was a huge welcome. I loved everything about it even the parts that were super frustrating such as a few of the bosses but in the end I love it and while I love a lot of games this is one that if given the opportunity I would really love to experience again for the first time. I’m not kidding about how much I love this game, it was the reason I started getting a Nintendo Power subscription if for no other reason than to get the strategy guide for it, I would play it for such long stretches that I’d nearly wet myself because I didn’t want to stop to use the restroom (I know, gross, but true), and the picture below? I’d planned out a dozen ways to make my own aquarium to mimic it as best as I could because it was my favorite location in the entire game. To be in that moment again, to see it for the first time with that same wonder and even fear (and a little terror when trying to escape back to your ship at both the beginning and the end of the game), I can dream and imagine what it would be like for sure, but nothing (no matter how many times I play it) will ever bring that initial feeling back sadly.

Maridia Tube

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

First off, this is a massively underrated game on many fronts in my opinion. Most of us know it’s unfortunate history, partly created because at the time Western audiences were viewed as being unable to handle the difficulties of an actual Final Fantasy game and while we know that’s not true, I think this particular entry serves an even greater purpose that should actually be celebrated. I played this entry into the Final Fantasy series (yes I know it’s not recognized as part of the series since it isn’t numbered) because it was packaged with another game, I can’t remember what game I know it was one that didn’t seem to go with it. Now up until the point of playing Mystic Quest, I had never really played an RPG at all so right away I was blown away by a game that was almost purely story driven and the action was turn based which allowed me to enjoy the game without worrying about having the skills to beat it. I was drawn in with the graphics first, but the music is what really pulled me in deep, on top of that having a quest that centered around finding elemental crystals made it even better for me. At the time I was big into Earth Science, and minerals, and elements and this one hit all the right chords. Everything about it just hit the right spots for me and I fell in love with the game, it was the first RPG I ever played and the first one I ever beat and throughout the entire adventure I was enthralled, I never wanted it to end and from there I started playing more and more RPGs. In all honesty, Mystic Quest is what turned me into a Final Fantasy fan in general and an RPG fan in particular, not to mention filling my youth with some amazing adventures.

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

It probably isn’t a surprise this would be here, it’s consistently on people’s favorites list and for very good reason. In many ways it’s the perfect game, well balanced, open world yet still guided in a way. Throw in an excellent score and amazing graphics and what isn’t to love? Link to the Past was the system seller for me, I wanted the SNES before but it wasn’t until my best friend brought his over to my house along with this game that I knew I had to have it…I had to have this game over any other for certain. I really couldn’t tell you how many times I played through this on the original hardware, I know I play through it less on my 3DS but a large part of that is because of the fact I’m not experiencing it like I did the first time and there’s a certain amount of sadness to that so sometimes I don’t play all the way through because it is a little depressing. I know it can be silly in a way but when it’s a game that’s special it’s hard for me to see it any other way. I know I don’t stop playing because I’m bored, it always comes down to it’s not the same and some people may think that I don’t really love the game if I’m not willing to play all the way through over and over again but I think that’s wrong thinking there. I still love the game without question and would love more than anything to experience not just the entire game anew but those opening moments as well, I know for a fact when I first played I had chills and I miss that feeling when it comes to games.

Finally, I come to honorable mentions, though originally it was two now it’s but one:

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

This one hit me like Mystic Quest did in a way, by this time I’d played a few RPGs, but it also mixed two things I loved (or grew to love). On one hand you have Mario, mix it in with the developer responsible for Final Fantasy and you have pure gold. I loved the music, and the graphics of course but the story was next level for me in terms of a Mario game and add in a new combat system…at least to me at least. I think this is more or less here aside from the fact that it’s an awesome game but also because it’s an RPG and there is a long list of those, I’d love to experience for the first time again. My main reasoning is the fact that once I experience the story of an RPG it’s hard for me to play it again since I know what’s happening or going to happen so to see it again for the first time would be amazing and this one is no exception.

In reality, there is a much longer list of games that I would love to experience for the first time again on any system, but these top my list on the SNES. They are all amazing games in their own ways but the wonder and feeling I had with each one of them never really faded from memory but trying to recapture that feeling always seems impossible. It’s also more than just the feeling I got from playing those games for the first time, it’s a feeling I miss when I play more modern games though to be fair there have been at least two in recent memory that have given a similar feeling, both Spider-Man and Monster Hunter World have given me that same feeling from when I was a kid so perhaps not all is lost on the future of gaming.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

The Terribleness of Video Game Movies (One in Particular)

Okay so before I jump into this I want to make something abundantly clear, because I know how the internet works (just enough) and no matter what someone is gonna get all pissy because I’m talking about what I think is one of the worst video game movies and most people are going to come back at me screaming “MARIO BROS IS THE WORST MOVIE NOT WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO SAY, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!?!?!”. Okay I got that out of my system, but this is just my opinion and mine alone, if you agree then that is totally awesome, if not, that’s cool too. There are a lot of games movies to choose from, in fact the genre, for lack of a better term, has a plethora of candidates that could easily qualify as the worst film adaptation of a game but after a lot of thought I narrowed it down to one (and technically its sequel but I’m just talking about the first one right now). Curious about the movie yet? Probably not but I’m laying it on you anyway. Of all the movies to choose from, and I’ll concede that I did indeed consider the Mario Bros movie but personally I think the title of worst video game movie should go to “The House of the Dead”.

“It’s spring break and these college kids just want to party. When they charter a boat to take them to a rave on a nearby island, they find it completely deserted, except for the bloodthirsty zombies that have taken it over.”

That up there? That’s the plot synopsis that Amazon Prime Video has for this atrocity of a movie. Now it’s reasonably safe to assume that as gamers, most of us have heard of the game itself a much-loved game no less which in my opinion is way more fun to play in an arcade than on a console but that’s neither here nor there. Now with our familiarity of this game we know at least one thing for sure, it takes place in a house…not an island, not during a drug infused rave, a house. Now to be fair this is billed as a prequel to the original game and quite honestly, they should have just named it anything else then it would just be a bad zombie movie. Then again, if it was called anything else and not tied to a video game, it could almost be considered decent or at least it could have except for an even bigger issue that pops up.

Like I said, this is supposed to be a prequel movie to the game, cool, awesome, whatever, then why are we using actual game footage, for the game that technically isn’t supposed to have happened yet in the story, in the midst of battle sequences as a substitute for actual effects. I suppose it isn’t completely fair to rag on this film alone, it was made by Uwe Boll and we know his track record with various IPs so it should come as no surprise how it turned out and yes I will concede that a video game movie isn’t like making a normal movie, you have to balance your fans, subject material, and try to reach a broad audience all at once so it’s no easy task there either. Unfortunately all of that said, House of the Dead and it’s sequel are treated with so much disrespect it’s not even a bad joke and even knowing who was behind the movie I really wanted to like it, I mean I really tried, but I couldn’t do it. Oh, I made it all the way through both movies but each one left me filled with a mixture of disappointment, rage, sorrow even at how such a great game and series was given an absolutely horrible treatment.

Yes, video game movies are hit or miss, and of all the ones I’ve seen, most of them have been at least acceptable. I enjoyed Mario Bros, Doom, Prince of Persia…were they perfect? Of course not, and all video games catch flak for one thing or another because as gamers our expectations are so high to see our favorite games brought to the big screen that to be fair, sometimes it’s our own fault, some movies will never meet the expectations that we set on them. At the very least the only thing we can truly hope for is at least a movie that holds the spirit of the games we love at its core as it expands the lore of the subject matter itself. It’s that same thought that I personally approach every video game movie I see or hope to see, I have a bit of cautious optimism if you will, always hoping that it will be what I think it should be but always expecting it to be terrible.

Just a thought or two on gaming movies in general but mostly, admittedly, probably mostly ragging on a movie that everyone already knows is terrible, but I wanted to get off my chest. I would like to know what you’re least favorite or most hated gaming related movies are, or even ones that you loved.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

Gaming Memories: Lunar Silver Star Story Complete

It may seem odd that I’m talking about this one instead of its original incarnation but there are two reasons for that…wait, three, sorry. For starters, I never had a Sega CD so I never had the opportunity to play it in the first place. Second, I hadn’t even heard of this game until the PS1 version. Finally, it’s my blog so I’ll write about what ever version I want so back off…please? Sorry I didn’t mean to fly off the handle there.

Like I said above, up until the point of the PS1 release I’d never even heard of the Lunar series at all, but I was big on RPGs. I recall being in GameStop, before a festering hatred of the place really took hold, and at the time I was looking for something new to play and saw this one on the shelf and as I recall for the fancy version with the map, making of DVD, and soundtrack, not to mention the leather-bound (well fake leather at least) manual, all wrapped up in a pretty little box it was actually fairly reasonably priced too. No, I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but it was long before collector’s editions started climbing into the hundreds of dollars. Plus, like I said, it was an RPG that still had the overall look of an SNES game which was a huge sell for me as well since it instantly reminded me of classic Final Fantasy games and I loved those (I was terrible at them, but I loved them). Anyway, where was I? oh yes, okay so I have a game I’ve never heard of, an anxious drive home to hurry and try said game, and plenty of time to enjoy it so what could possibly go wrong? Absolutely nothing, that’s what.

Now over time I’ve played a lot of amazing games across nearly every genre (or at least every genre at the time of Lunar SSSC’s release) and before playing this one, Final Fantasy VII was my favorite on the PS1 as well as holding my personal record for most hours dumped into a game at the time (all told around 200+ hours into FF7 total). Lunar however, from the moment I put the first disc in and that intro animation started then the title song hit, I was hooked instantly and it only got better from there. Now I’m gonna be completely honest here, up until this point in my gaming life I really did think that Squaresoft (Square-Enix) and Enix for that matter, were the only ones that could really make a stand-out RPG that hit all the right points and never have I ever been so happy to be wrong about anything in my life.

Before you misunderstand me, I still love my Final Fantasy games and I’ll always be a fan to a certain degree, but we’re not talking about those we’re talking about this and this is a pure gem. Lunar blew everything I knew about story in games out of the water, but it was even more than that, the graphics were a perfect calling back to the days of 16-bit RPGs only obviously still a bit better, smoother really. Graphics aside there was the animated sequences, the voice acting, the music, the battle system, I’m pretty sure I could go on and if someone doesn’t stop me I might. All of that combined delivered an incredibly emotional experience and it’s one that I haven’t had again since to be honest.

It took many long nights to tackle Lunar until I finally finished it but not a second felt wasted, but the one thing that did crop up was a rather empty feeling. Not empty as in the game or the story was hollow, but empty as in I’d spend so much time growing to love the characters and being pulled deep into the story that suddenly realizing that it was over was more than just a little sad. If that wasn’t bad enough though, the one thing over all that almost made me depressed in a way because I loved the game so much was the fact that after finishing it I’ll never again come back to the game and experience it for the first time ever again.

As gamers we all search for those games that draw us in and won’t let go, the ones that impact us in some meaningful way. Like I said earlier, I’ve played a lot of fantastic games, but this particular incarnation of Lunar the Silver Star will always rank high on my list of favorite games, maybe not as my all-time favorite game but damn near the top for sure.

There is a lot of praise to be had for this game, and clearly, I’m not hiding or sugar coating my love of it either but let me leave you with this final thought on it. Since I completed it all those years ago I have yet to pick it up again. Like I said already, I’ll never experience it the same way again, I’ll never again see it with fresh eyes and have the same level of wonder, I know because despite saying I’ve never picked it up again, in truth I did once, years later, and couldn’t get very far and most of that was because I was seeing what I’d already seen before. The wonder I felt when I first saw it was only a small flicker and while I still say it is an amazing game in every way, it was also a story that once told I simply could not return to regardless of how well it played or how beautiful it looked. I know I’ll try it again in hopes of recapturing the same amazement, I may even succeed but for now it will always be a cherished memory in my own gaming history. Do you have any games like that? A game so good you couldn’t go back to it because it never felt the same again, but you know you still loved it? Please share because I really want to know, I can’t be the only one.

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Just for fun, Lunar SSSC, Lunar 2 Eternal Blue, and the Arc the Lad Collection 😀

~Fallyn Aingeal~