Alternative title: ďTropical Freezeís soundtrack is spectacularly brilliant.Ē
So yeah, itís that time of year again! Last Saturday was April 12th, which marked the end of my 23rd year of being. To be fair, Iíve never felt like I aged a day past 18 (as a result Iím one of those people perfectly capable of forgetting their own age), so the difference between being 22 on April 11th and 23 on April 12th is marginal at best. Regardless, I like birthdays: theyíre a nice chance to catch up with those friends I havenít had the opportunity to talk to in a while, and more in general I think itís a really special thing that every year for every person we set aside a day to celebrate that personís life/existence. I guess not everyone sees it like that anymore, but itís quite something if you think about it.
And then, of course, thereís the games! What would a gamerís birthday be without getting at least some new games to play, right? And I gotta say, this year I left with quite a haul!
Each year my friends ask me what they can get me for my birthday besides boring old money, and each year I send them a link to my Steam wishlist and tell them to go wild. And go wild they did! For my 23rd, my friends got me a total of four new games on Steam, namely:
- The Stanley Parable - Luftrausers - Contrast - and a preorder for Child of Light
I pretty much have the best friends.
While Iím going to have to wait another two weeks before I can claim the last one (which is looking to be a beautiful fairytale-inspired JRPG), I already had some fun with the others. The Stanley Parable in particular is both fascinating and hilarious at the same time.
But thatís not all! My parents and family face the same dilemma my friends do, namely that they never know what to give me unless I supply some suggestions for video games. For my parents I tend to stick to console games rather than Steam, because honestly I donít trust them to operate Steamís gifting service. Since this was the first birthday on which I owned a 3DS, not to mention my handheld library was in desperate need of expanding, I received two new 3DS games:
- Fire Emblem Awakening - and Kid Icarus Uprising
I pretty much have the best parents.
I havenít had all that much time to play the former yet, but itís looking to be great from what Iíve already seen. Iím playing on Hard Mode rather than Normal, and even in the first few battles I had to pull out all the stops to get everyone through in one piece. I mean, I could have had Frederick just clean up everything, but I know enough about Fire Emblem not to let the early pre-promote soak up all that juicy EXP. Apart from that, I really like how fighting battles as a team has become vital in this installment, rather than just being mildly convenient as it was in previous games. As for Kid Icarus, itís a fun little distraction to be played in short bursts. I can overcome the common complaint of handstrain (from having to hold the 3DS in one hand) by playing it lying down on my back: Iím just about chubby enough that Iíve got my own make-shift table everywhere I go. At any rate, the gameplay is quite fun, but more than anything I like the witty banter between Palutena and Pit. Palutena in particular is immediately likeable and likes to reference the original Kid Icarus and even Super Smash Bros.
- What? It could happen!
Finally, my parents gave me enough money to buy a game of my own accord, which I wasted not a second to use for:
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Platformers are far and away my favorite video games, and no one does it better than Nintendo. With DKC: Returns, Retro showed that they got the stuff, but by all accounts Tropical Freeze is looking to be even better. The one complaint I had with the original, namely that the roll move was mapped to shaking the Wiimote, has been fixed as long as you play with the WiiU Gamepad. The game looks gorgeous, is fun to play, and has some stellar boss fights. Most notably for me, however, is the music. Goddamn this soundtrack is fucking amazing. Iím a huge video game OST buff, but Tropical Freezeís music has a good chance of becoming one of my all-time favorites. Itís that good. Whereas Returnsí soundtrack tended to get a little same-y with only a few stand-out songs, Tropical Freeze hosts an incredibly wild variety of tunes with almost all of them being memorable. Lots of cheerful songs in particular, which go well with the beautiful backdrops of this game's levels. Mind you Iím only up to the third World by now, so I havenít even heard half of it yet. †
I would recommend almost all of the above games to anyone (Contrast is pretty niche and I canít comment on Child of Light yet), but if youíre into video game music you at least owe it to yourself to check David Wiseís latest out.
All in all, lots of great stuff this yearís April 12th!
- Dear King, can we have this as our national anthem now?
Villains in all media, not just video games, can end up being a dime a dozen. Far too often, a villain's motives boil down to "I am a bad, and so I do bad things. Fear me." While this format has worked for countless stories, at this point in my life (the ripe old age of 20) I‚Äôve become jaded and grumpy, finding myself rolling my eyes when I see yet another antagonist wreaking havoc with no background or reasoning presented as to why they‚Äôre being such a butthole.
What‚Äôs far more interesting to me is when a villain‚Äôs motives or actions come across as justified, perhaps leaving you rooting for them to defeat the protagonist [insert Elder God Tier villain meme here].
My favorite example of this would be Meruem from the Chimera Ant arc of Hunter x Hunter. While he doesn‚Äôt necessarily fit the exact mold I laid out above, he‚Äôs easily one of the most dynamic and curious villains I‚Äôve ever come across. For the sake of not spoiling what is perhaps one of the most exciting, action-packed, and tear-inducing arcs in anime history, I won‚Äôt delve into the details of what makes Meruem so great. Instead I encourage anyone who hasn‚Äôt seen Hunter x Hunter to set aside some time and plow through the series. Really, it‚Äôs that good.
But hey, that‚Äôs just how I feel. I‚Äôm sure there are folks out there who prefer their villains to be simple. If I ever met one of these theoretical people I might have a panic attack, but I‚Äôll deal with that should the time come. I‚Äôm sure after some deep breaths we would get along. Maybe we could even snuggle, should my husband allow such an event to transpire.
All said and done, we arrive at the topic of this month‚Äôs Bloggers Wanted: Villains that did nothing wrong. Due to communication errors, this entry in the hallowed halls of Bloggers Wanted is a tad late. Regardless, all you have to do is head over to the Community Blog section of the site, and whip up a Cblog about a villain who you feel was secretly the good guy all along.
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