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Just a gamer. Aspiring VG music composer. Pretty chill but also passionate about the things that matter to me ^_^ Also, one crazy kookaburra.

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I have always had a love/hate relationship with the gaming industry whenever the holiday season rolls around. The world becomes a cluster of angry people shifting about, looking for the best deals on the hottest games of the season. Some of the larger retail chains and third party distributors start rolling out the deals like their inventory was going to turn to mushy bannanas an hour after Christmas day. It's hard to tell if a game that comes out on or near Christmas is going to be good, or if the developer is just squirting it out in order to get profits fueled solely by jingle-bell-fueled-consumer-anticipation.

The WiiU gets played pretty frequently in my household when the holidays come a-knocking. It's a chance for my family to get together and enjoy a pasttime that most of us love. Casually browsing the Nintendo eShop, I noticed that there was one title in particular I had my eye on that had been released Christmas morning; a little known installment to the relatively popular series by WayForward Technologies by the name of Shantae and the Pirates Curse.

I had bought and played a previous installment available on the Nintendo 3DS and had been keeping track of the series since then, and not just because the main character was a curvy, half-genie, half-naked belly dancer. I'm sure most of you recall the composer of the music for a game you may have heard of by the name of Shovel Knight? Well Jake Kaufman, responsible for the glorious music in that epic title was the composer for the wonderful music in Shantae. The original was an impossibly fun platformer with a wide range of interesting and lovable cast, all accompanied by enjoyable chiptune music. So, seeing that a new installment had been released with pretty good reviews, I figured $20 was a pretty good price for something that looked genuinely good, not to mention finished; a somewhat rare quality in games these days.

After only a handful of minutes into the story I was hooked. Seriously. Hooked. It was impossible to put the WiiU tablet down. So now I'm burdened with a serious question: WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS GAME?!

Shantae and the Pirates Curse is one of the best platformers I've played since I got my hands on Shovel Knight earlier this year, and I can personally atest to the gameplay being JUST as rewarding. Playing as Shantae, a half-genie who has recently lost her powers, the player teams up on an exciting adventure with the witty and scantily-clad pirate, Risky Boots to investigate a surge of evil in Sequin Land. Tying in classic platforming gameplay to gorgeously crafted sprites, you easily lose yourself in the sassy world of Shantae, whipping some serious monster butt with the power of a wickedly painful ponytail! Not to mention the abundance of clever and useful power ups you obtain along the way. The movement of the main character cannot be described as anything other the fluid and precise. There's a certain joy to be had by feeling that the character the player controls feels like an extension of his or her own instincts and thoughts; none of the movements or actions feeling misplaced or awkward.

Don't even worry about it. It's just a fire spider. I'm sure it's more scared of you than you are of it.

The stylized touches to this game are absolutely wonderful. As previously mentioned, the sprites and other animations in this world look incredible and provide a creative and immersive environment for the player to dive into. And I would be doing you all a disservice in not mentioning the absolutely INCREDIBLE music that this game boasts. Jake Kaufman does it again by taking a heap of favorite tunes from previous installments and recreating them into even more magnificent works of wonder to compliment the story. It's impossible not to enjoy playing this game when every time you debark onto a new island, you are greeted with a tune that's even better than the last you heard.

Another great feature to this game is the way the dialogue between characters is set up. I'm a huge fan of the dying art that is text only dialogue. While giving your characters a voice can help to connect a player to the characters more, I believe there's a certain amount of free creativity in allowing the player to give each character whatever voice they so desire. Each dialogue box is illustrated by an image, brimming with emotion and personality from the character speaking, adding a sort of comical feel to the mix. While Shantae will speak every now and then, the dialogue is mostly written for the player to read, allowing conversations to feel as fluid as the player wants to read them, at whatever speed the player wants to process them.

Just in case anyone was wondering if there's fan service to be had...

This game caters to SO many player styles. There's the obivious attraction to the players out there that enjoy platforming. But it also should be said that there are rewards to be had in this game for players (like me) who are completionists; personally vowing to obtain everything there is to obtain in a single title, along with those who aspire to complete an adventure in as little time as possible (you know, Speed Runners)

With such versatility, and so much fun for a straight up FRACTION of what a lot of games cost these days, I just do not understand why not very many people are talking about this game. Do yourself a favor. Save up $20. Pick up Shantae and the Pirates Curse. You won't be disappointed.


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Hello again C-blogs. It's been a while my lonely lady. We have to talk...

...about my ridiculously long absence from the blogging scene. I really had no intention of discontinuing my MWHA blog, because more so than other readers liking it, I liked it. A lot. And I still do. I plan to pick up right where I left of here soon once I gather the last few of my lost life flock and herd them sheep back into the pen where they belong.

Get back in there you! Ok so let's see, friends...family...love interest...gaming F***! Where did my job sheep go?!

A relaunch however, always bears the question: Should changes be made? I know that I've asked myself questions of this nature towards my writing multiple times. I feel as though there may be a possibility to flourish in the video blogging industry, and not just because I do in fact own a pair of cleavage. ;) (P.S. I ACTUALLY REALLY HATE THAT SOMETIMES THAT'S THE ONLY PREMISE BEHIND SOME FEMALE BLOGS EVEN THOUGH IT'S HARD TO TELL IF WE'RE DOING IT TO OURSELVES OR AT THE REQUESTS OF OTHERS....)

*ehem* *clears throat*

In any case, the type of blog that I have been posting requires a lot of Audio input, and there's a distinct possibility that it may do better as a video with links to the various songs and such with some fun editing. 

So! For those of you who care, I put it to you this: Do you think this blog stands alone fine in the written form? Would you be more inclined to click if there was a cleverly edited video with maybe a transcript of the words attached? Some other idea I haven't come up with? Let me know if you'd like, but you can be sure to see some more MWHA blogs in the future. Passion, just can't die. ^_^

I try not to remember my elementary school years when I can. Vivid memories of being that awkward little girl on the playground just kinda trying to hold my own against the other children around me, each with their own desires to be popular and underdeveloped ways of achieving that goal. It very much felt like a little slice of the wild Serengeti; there was always a wounded zebra for the lions to take down and devour. And interestingly enough, there's a game out there that unintentionally recreates that same atmosphere: Minecraft. Single player Minecraft can be a very rewarding experience when you get into it. You can create massive structures, works of block art, or a giant penis made completely out of TNT. Unfortunately, only YOU would be able to enjoy your incredible mansion and your tower of testes. This is where the servers come in. Imagine what you and complete strangers could build together! Imagine the looks on their pixel faces when you show them the biggest, blockiest "pair" they've ever laid eyes on...

...and then imagine it being gone two seconds later. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Griefcraft. This may be coming a bit late, but for those of you looking to get into the Multiplayer Minecraft world, let me introduce you to the hole you're digging yourself into.

#1-Spawn Killing

While a lot of good servers are set up with safe zones and other rules to inhibit this kind of behavior, there are some players out there that get a twisted thrill out of staking out the world's spawn point. Usually in groups, usually decked out in complete diamond armor and weaponry, packs of players that can be more accurately described as wolves will descend upon players the minute they step out of the "Safe Zone" forcing the newcomer to either remain in spawn, continue to die, or just rage quit. More and more lately I've been seeing people really fighting against this kind of behavior, but it still does exist.

#2-"Pay" to Play

Keeping in mind that every server is probably being payed for out of one or two persons pockets, it is to be expected that with public, join-able servers, there will be a coin pot available for people to donate to in order to keep their world up and running. Usually, these donation perks are extra commands normally not available to players (teleporting, enchantment shops, flying) or sometimes you can use real money to buy precious materials like diamonds. But there are a lot of server's out there that require you to sign up on their site and sometimes even make a monthly donation to play on their server as an actual player with a name and not a Guest.


I have found myself in a situation before where I could not find a passive mob  on the map that would provide sustenance if I was the last player on earth. I'm not sure I've ever felt the need to express that in chat. Granted, if people want to be charitable or ask for a bit of help every now and then, I see no problem in that. Hell, if we're all going to be living on the same World, it makes no sense to completely ignore our countryman's needs. But every world seems to have it's native hobo player - the one that can't build a house on his own, can't find food, can't mine material, and wanders the world in search of handouts. One time, sure, have a cooked fish. Twice....okay, but there's like a herd of cattle just over that hill there. Three times, you know what? here's a fishing rod - do you need me to teach you how to use it?

#4-Abusive Chat

For whatever reason, on any given server there's going to be that one player that just cannot find the common decency within his or herself to just let the other players be. Said player will usually spend most of their time on the server getting into profane arguments with other players involving land and resources or sometimes just picking fights for the sake of fights. A lot of the time they will butt into conversations that don't even involve them just to see their name pop up on that chat window. Pretty much every server I've encountered has  at least one of these players, the key is finding the server with the least obnoxious ones, or at least one with an Admin that will do something about it.

#5- Squatters

One of my most irritating experiences that I think I've had on a public server to date involved a very weird arrangement that I begrudgingly gave into with another player. I'd built a house fairly close to the spawn point, hoping to easily locate it again if I died. A new player came on, commented on how nice my home looked, and wanted to know if he could live there too. Knowing that I'd never hear the end of it if I declined, I rolled out the welcome mat. Upon returning the next day, a comrade of that other player spent probably the better half of ten to fifteen minutes trying to kill me and yell at me claiming that I was trespassing on the other player's home. There are going to be players that come along that don't want to put forth the initial effort of homesteading. If you build a structure close enough to spawn to be seen by the majority, just know that there will be at least a few eager-beavers looking to claim that castle, by diplomacy or force.....which leads me to my next and probably the most common issue with public servers....

#6-General Griefing

Even with the introduction of the Faction play, general griefing is still a pretty common occurrence in any public server. There's an underlining fear that in the time spanning between you logging off and logging back in later, everything you have built and recovered from the world could be destroyed. Griefing takes many forms. Sometimes players will set fires to neighboring structures or foliage to allow your structures or even your crops to ignite. I've seen elaborate TNT trails topple enormous structures in a devastating domino effect. Griefers derive pleasure from destroying and pranking to create an illusion of omnipotence and just for the fun of it. "It took you two weeks to build that mansion and I just destroyed it in two seconds....you mad bro?". But their jests can also include force-suffocating characters by dropping sand/gravel blocks on unexpecting players, encasing them in near-to and unbreakable blocks such as obsidian or bedrock, or even something as obnoxious as filling a character's inventory with useless stock such as rotten meat or dirt by dropping it on them. Griefing is just....causing grief. Some servers say they will ban griefers, and some of the more active administrators actually do. But a lot of public servers just accept it as a thing that will happen and warn players that no punitive action will be taken just to close the flood gates of complaints. You will encounter it. Period. End of story.

If and when you do find the Cinderella Server to your glass shoe, it's wonderful. When you get a group of people that are in it for the love of the game and can effectively enjoy everything public play has to offer, it's awesome. You can make new friends, get ideas for builds, and just have fun. But....there will always be the possibility of any one of these players showing up at any time. After all....it is Griefcraft.
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Holy god. I just made the most important thing in Animal Crossing: New Leaf ever guys: a Mr. Dtoid shirt.

Heehee. Sorry, not a particularly in depth Community Blog for those late night readrers, but if you don't buy this game for any other reason, I highly recommend it for those who think, "You know, I wish I could draw this on a grid and then wear it."


Alright. So This is my first request MWHA! And I most definitely have to thank Addison for the great request. This game had flown under my radar, but the music is really REALLY good, and I am very happy to share it with all of you!

Back in the good ol' days of NES development, Capcom released a game for the Nintendo Entertainment System by the title of Little Nemo: The Dream Master. This game was based off of a Japanese adaptation of a 1905 comic strip called Little Nemo. The game Little Nemo: The Dream Master, follows the story of Nemo, a little boy who is summoned to Slumberland to become young Princess Camile's playmate. Despite his reservations with playing with "a girl," Nemo is eventually convinced to fly off on a magical dirigible at the prospect of getting candy. From there, a vast and actually quite difficult adventure begins with little Nemo traversing the many levels in search for keys to progress. Each level is filled with various enemies and animals with different attributes and skills that Nemo can utilize by feeding them candy.

Nemo is a master of leap frog.

Composer Junko Tamiya (credited as: Gonzou) is the mastermind behind these melodies. This game came quite a bit later in Tamiya's career than Bionic Commando, which appears to be the game she's best known for. But there's definitely a reason why Capcom is quoted saying she "was very talented." And even though it's short, sweet, and to the point, I would have to characterize the Title Theme, as part of this talent.

The great thing about game music from this time period was that while the cartridges and such could not handle massive orchestrations for each game, the music was very intricate and special in it's own way. To this day, chip-tune style music is widely sought out because of the distinct sound. And Little Nemo delivers these sounds perfectly. I know that I've said this before, and it still remains true that Title screen and file select screen songs act as portals into the music world the player is about to be swept away in. This is perfectly illustrated by Tamiya's work in Little Nemo. The melody is playful and wonderfully embellished with some cleverly laid out harmonies and chord progressions. Just loop it! Over and Over again! Don't tell me that didn't put a smile on your face and make you want to climb inside a big lizard and crawl up trees!

Now I did find a couple remixes of the title music here on the web but I wasn't particularly impressed with either one myself. I will go ahead and list the one of them that I still thought was cool in a sense that it was pretty well laid out for guitar; just having some minor rhythm issues:

Little Nemo Title Screen (Guitar Cover) by: NickJonesSon

Thank you again Addison for bringing this game and it's amazing soundtrack to my attention. I think it's safe to say that I will probably be doing many more blogs about this game and Tamiya's other works. She did an excellent job capturing a childlike adventure and wonderment in this 8-bit dream.
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As an aspiring composer, I can tell you with true passion that the "Three Decades of Music" panel at PAX Prime 13 was an inspirational hit and quite possibly one of the highest energy panels PAX had to offer at Seattle this past week. Featuring C418 (best known for Minecraft), Danny Baranowsky (best known for Super Meat Boy), Jimmy Hinson (best known for Mass Effect 2), and the "living legend" Grant Kirkhope (best known for Banjo Kazooie/Tooie), fans from all over were treated to the experience of hearing opinions and stories from a harmonious collection of indie as well as AAA title composers.

The mood was almost instantaneously set as the panel began; Hinson began humming a note, and before long Kirkhope, Baranowsky, and C418 joined in, creating a beautiful chord that began to change shape over the course of about ten seconds before slowly dying out. But in those few seconds, the audience and panelists became tied together by the silky yet forever mailable and indestructible thread that is music. Beyond nuggets of information handed out about breaking into the industry and the evolution that has taken place in game music, the overall atmosphere of the panel was very playful. From time to time, panelists would lovingly jab one another over different aspects of their careers or musical aesthetics. But the core of the discussion was much more than a friendly roast of C418's relatively young age and Hinson's success with the sometimes trod-on series, Call of Duty.

The information passed on to the FULL HOUSE was very heartfelt and meaningful. Kirkhope and crew touched on important subjects such as the in-determined importance of documented musical training as well as what life can be like composing music for a your bread money.

This was taken a few minutes after they capped the line; maybe about 30-40 minutes before the panel started

As a member of the composer (well aspiring composer) community, it was immensely inspiring to see the flocking of game music enthusiasts to this one panel among the masses. It's a reminder that music is becoming more and more and actively recognized part of what makes games great. And It's a reminder that there are others out there like me (and probably you) that have either a deep desire to get into writing music for the many game titles just waiting to be created, as well as those who just love the accompanying sounds and songs that are crafted to embellish the mood of a journey or classic gaming moment. It's not just some weird hobby that someone may have developed over the many years of playing games. IT'S A THING.

All of the panelists touched on their musical influences and favorite soundtracks; another grand insight into the minds behind the melodies. The panel felt tragically short, and the audience could have easily been captivated for many more hours by the collective charm that these four had to offer. If I had to share one gleaming moment of this panel with those who couldn't be there, I would share a funny, yet very real moment brought on by Mr. Kirkhope. In response to the in-determined necessity for documented musical training he replied resolute, "If you can hear it, you can write it"; a very simple yet eloquent idea that artists sometimes forget. This was later jokingly quoted by Baranowsky as having been the "most inspirational thing he'd ever heard you [Kirkhope] say". But it still rang clear and true a thought, reverberating within the hearts of the audience.

My opinion is probably a bit biased, being a person who has a deep and strong rooted love for not only Grant Kirkhope's many compositions, but also C418's "mine-bliss" he created for Minecraft as well as the work he did with FZ: Side F. But this panel in particular was one of the most rewarding experiences of PAX13. And if they do another next year with any composers from the industry, I would say simply this: DON'T MISS OUT! PUT THIS ON TOP OF YOUR PAX PLAYLIST! I've said before,and I'll say it again. Music is a language we all speak fluently, and what better a way to come together at PAX than through something as alive and binding as music?
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