Hey everyone, so was your week? As for me, the past week has been fantastic. Itís definitely up there as one of the best weeks of my life. Iím sorry in advance if Iím going to be annoyingly giddy today. And beware; lots of music in youtube links ahead.
To start things off, this week I received my last grade for my Bachelorís degree in Law. That means that in two weeks, I can start with my Masterís. Whatís more, because I didnít fuck up any of my recent exams, with the addition of this final grade I have fulfilled all of the criteria to graduate Cum Laude! Taken over three and a half years, my weighted average is currently a 8.4 out of 10, I have never failed an exam, I have never scored a grade lower than a 7 out of 10, and I scored an 8.5 on my Bachelorís thesis. According to the internal guidelines used by my university, that means Iíve earned myself that sexy Cum Laude! Victory!
All of my friends and family seem to be really proud of me, although it took a little while for this to sink in, and I would be lying if I said Iím not a bit proud of myself too. Itís like after more than three years Iíve received cold hard proof that my work hasnít been for nothing, and that Iím even genuinely good at this, and thatís an amazing feeling. Being showered with praises also isnít something I normally enjoy, but this time it was special. I canít remember the last time so many people were legitimately so happy for me and so proud of me. When I get my actual degree in a couple of weeks, Iím going to celebrate big time, and I already canít wait.
Anyway, not two days after I got my final grade, I received an e-mail from one of my professors, telling me that I could come pick up an ďauthorís copyĒ of the new and improved edition of his book on EU competition law. Wait, did you say an authorís copy?! Yep, a fucking authorís copy. A couple of months ago I became one of his student assistants, and my first assignment was to edit a chapter of his book; my remarks were to be used in writing the next edition. This week, that edition finally came out, and a bunch of my remarks and additions really did make it into that chapter, sometimes even verbatim! Whatís more, my professor even saw fit to mention me in the foreword! Right now, the last line of the foreword reads: ďOf the many people who have added something to this second edition, [a girl I happen to know] and [ShadeOfLight] deserve a special mention for their work on respectively chapters 6 and 8.Ē This is the first time my name has ever been attached to an official academic work, or an actual book for that matter, and it really is something special. If Iím going to be completely honest, the mention probably has more to do with politeness than actual academic input, but I thought it was amazing nonetheless. My name has been mentioned in a honest-to-god academic book that people are going to study from. Victory!
The very same day, I went to pick up my new console; a Wii U off course. I ordered it after I learned my Cum Laude was in the pocket, more or less as a present to myself. I havenít played it all that much yet, because New Super Mario Bros and Darksiders II will arrive tomorrow, but so far Iím still really impressed by it. I never expected that the option to play video games purely on the Gamepad would be particularly useful to me, because I donít have to share my TV, but thereís just something about it regardless. I played a couple of races of the Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed demo (by the way, a Nintendo home console has demos now, holy shit!) on the Gamepad, and itís truly magical to be playing a full-on console game in the palm of your hand. The Rayman Legends demo looked fantastic and played just as well, and the ZombiU demo impressed me, both with its actually being survival horror and some clever uses of the Gamepad. Iíve even had quite a bit of fun with Nintendo Land, particularly Donkey Kongís Crash Course and Metroidís attraction. Already I can see a lot of potential in the system, and I canít wait to try my hand at Mario and Death tomorrow. In short, this Nintendo fanboyís got a WiiU, and is loviní it. Victory!
And off course, thereís more stuff for Nintendo fans to be happy about this week. By now, all of you ought to know about that amazingNintendo Direct that happened yesterday. For whatever reason, Nintendo, out of fucking nowhere, decided to pull out all the stops. There was something for everyone to be excited about yesterday. You liked Kirbyís Epic Yarn? Well, how about we give you Yoshiís Epic Yarn next?! You like Shin Megami Tensei? Or how about Fire Emblem? Well here you have both of them IN THE SAME FUCKING GAME. And man, what about that Zelda series, Wind Waker was a great game right? How about them cell-shaded visuals, theyíve got charm too. Boom; HD. And man, would you look at those screens. Thatís gorgeous is what that is.
But for me, the real kicker came at the end. I love Monolith Soft, I love them to bits. The Baten Kaitos series is my baby (be honest, did you notice?), and both that and Xenoblade belong on my list of favorite RPGs of all time. And then, little more than a year after I was able to experience the magic of Xenoblade, Monolith is shown to be working on a sequel. At the very least, the combat system looks similar to Xenobladeís, so thatís good enough for me, Iíve got plenty of faith in Monolith, whatever they do. Besides, the trailer showed massive environments, massive enemies and transforming mechs. Itís amazing. I literally couldnít breathe when Iwata mentioned Monolith Soft, and boy did they deliver. So yeah, not a week after I bought and installed my WiiU, Nintendo comes around and gives us all this awesome stuff to look forward to, just like I hoped they would.
Finally, it seems like some of my excitement for these games rubbed off on some people. In fact, Dale North quoted me in his article! Yup, thatís me right there, claiming my 15 minutes of Destructoid fame. Dare I say it? Yes, yes I dare. Victory!
And that was about it for awesome stuff that happened to me this week. I canít remember ever having a week like this, Iím still so excited about everything! The only downside this week was that I received the results for an essay contest I entered (grand prize Ä1000), but didnít win. I honestly canít even be bothered to care anymore.
As for what Iíve been doing with the rest of my week; aside from playing my WiiU Iíve also taken the time to finish all of the films by Studio Ghibli. I started watching all of them about two weeks ago, and I finished the last one just now. Thatís 18 films in two weeks, all of which Iíve really enjoyed. Theyíre great films one by one, and you should check them out. I canít recommend all of them to everyone (my friend watched a couple, but didnít like them very much because they were ďtoo cuteĒ. To be fair, one of them was Ponyo) but you should definitely go check them out on Wikipedia and go watch whatever captures your interest. Thereís lighthearted stuff in here along with some darker and more mature storiesÖand then thereís Grave of the Fireflies.
After having watched all of them, my final list is:
1. My Neighbor Totoro
3. Howlís Moving Castle
4. Spirited Away
5. Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind
6. Princess Mononoke
7. Laputa: Castle in the Sky
8. Kikiís Delivery Service
9. Whisper of the Heart
11. Pom Poko
12. The Cat Returns
13. Tales from Earthsea
14. Porco Rosso
15. Grave of the Fireflies
16. My Neighbors the Yamadas
17. Only Yesterday
18. From up on Poppy Hill
First of all, Arrietty is utterly fantastic. It is the best looking Ghibli film so far, and it is oozing with charm. Seriously, after you put the DVD in you have to go wash the charm of your hands. Thatís how much charm this movie has. The main character I thought was very well designed, and is one of those go-getter girls that Studio Ghibli loves so much. Unfortunately, I donít really know what to say about this movie other than that I loved it to bits and you should go watch it. I literally watched it 24 hours ago and it still brings a smile to my face when I think back on it. Oh, and its OST by Cťcile Corbel is amazing too, quite possibly matching (dare I say surpassing?) even Joe Hisaishiís work on the other Ghibli films.
Iím 14 years old, I am prettyÖ
As for the rest, thereís only a couple of quick comments I can make:
- Howl had great main characters, and I really liked the approach it took with the curse put on Sophie. Basically, Sophie is a young woman who has been turned into a 90-year-old by a witchís curse. However, every time she does something daring, where she believes in herself, little bits of her young body come flashing through. All of a sudden, sheíll have her normal face again in the middle of an action scene, and only later on do you start to see how it all connects. Very cleverly done. Also, I actually came across Howl in Dutch. Fuck that noise though, fuck it HARD.
- Pom Poko did great things with the tanukiís innate ability to shapeshift, especially in one scene where they host a massive parade.
- Tales from Earthsea was a little slow, but I loved its villain, a very calm and calculating woman, who says two words and shuts you the hell up.
- Ponyo was weird, thatís all I got. No, wait, it also had a very cool water-wizard type of guy, who was pretty much a cross between Aquaman and a water-bender.
- The Cat Returns is interesting in that itís a semi-sequel to Whisper of the Heart. This is the story that the main character of Whisper went on to write when she grew up.
- Finally, I had a very tough time choosing between Nausicaš and Princess Mononoke for the final of the top 5, because of how similar the stories are. I didnít want to cop out by making it a tie, so in the end I went with Nausicaš because of its heroine. San in Princess Mononoke isnít as major of a character as I wouldíve liked her to be (the animal gods are the stars more so than she is), whereas Nausicaš singlehandedly carries her entire movie. Both movies definitely have their own strong points, but I give the slightest possible edge to Nausicaš for that reason.
So the final verdict, Studio Ghibli is still fucking amazing. My week was already great, but watching these movies contributed a lot too, especially watching Arrietty on the final day.
If you want to know anything else about any of these movies, hit me up, and Iíll share all I can.
Well, I think thatís all there was left to say. Sorry about that, there was just a lot to go over. Letís get to the caps before this sugar rush of mine peters out, shall we?
No matter what the experience was or which game or genre left that strong first impression, such experiences have the potential to open our eyes to the rich history of a series or genre. With any luck, we might find even more to love or something better. A great first experience with RPGs could lead to an undying love affair.
Sometimes a first kiss can be so impactful that the game gets placed on a pedestal and enshrined as a gold standard, which has its own pros and cons. I mean, it is nice to have a basis for comparison, but some folks take it too far. There are people who loved Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or Final Fantasy VII so much that nothing after them really got a fair shake.
So first impressions matter -- they can shape and inform our gaming habits. I grew up on arcades, Nintendo, handhelds, and eventually into RPGs, so much of what I play will be influenced by how I acquired my tastes. I probably like Overwatch a ton because it has a passion for RPG roles, but contextualizes them closer to older shooters focused on objectives more than gear builds and grinding out perks for better killstreaks.
So for this month's Bloggers Wanted, we'd like you head over to the community blogs write about your first kiss, the games that positively influenced you or maybe biased you a little too much for a time. What turned you on to a series or genre? Was it love at first sight? Did it set any expectations in stone or possibly lead you to something better?
Whatever the case might be, remember to use the title "First kiss" and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!
Community Announcements We have a Twitter account!
@CblogRecaps Help us spread the word out on these recaps and in turn, everyone's blogs too! (These tweets appear on Dtoid's official accounts as well)