Community Collab: Video Game Literary Classics 101: Okami — A Cat’s Library

My dear friend Angie of backlogcrusader.com tossed out this challenge to the WordPress Gaming Community. The mission: It’s the year 2050. You are an educator in a high school teaching Video Game Literary Classics 101. You are teaching some of the greatest video game classics of all time to your students. We needed to choose […]

via Community Collab: Video Game Literary Classics 101: Okami — A Cat’s Library

A Cat’s Library wrote a wonderful post analyzing Okami. I played it on the PlayStation 4 and I adored this game! I enjoyed learning more about the art style and the characters featured in the game. I also did not know that Okami means both wolf and god! Read the post here and learn more about this amazing game!

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Music in Games: Persona 5

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I loved the songs in Persona 5! I love their lyrics and how upbeat and inspiring they can be. I wanted to talk about music in games since I love music. I have been playing piano since I was around 5 and electric guitar for about a year. I also took singing lessons for a year and did choir for a couple of years in college! I want to start with Persona 5 because I love the lyrics in these songs and the music is one of my favorite parts of the game.

“Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There”

The first song you hear every time you boot up the game! I learned the lyrics pretty quickly and started singing it every time the game booted. I love how it inspires you to “wake up, get up, get out there” with the refrain and lively jazz-like music. The lyrics talk about how you can change the world which is basically what you do in Persona 5! You change the world into a better place by taking down villains.

“Last Surprise”

You think you would get tired of this song considering it’s the battle theme that repeats every time you encounter an enemy, but you never do. I love the refrain: “You’ll never see it coming/ You’ll see that my mind is too fast for eyes/ You’re done in/ By the time it’s hit you, your last surprise”.

It’s a fun song that makes battles fun since you have to strategize your next move in the turn-based combat and it feels even more rewarding when the song is cheering you on while you battle!

“Life Will Change”

I love this song since it serves as a reminder that things will always get better. It is a theme of the game and the instrumental version plays after you reveal the treasure and go to fight the boss. I love the line “Can’t hold on or life won’t change” meaning to me that you have to be willing to make change to change your life. The song title is also definitive that no matter how bad things get, which bad things happen in this game from abusive teachers to corrupt politicians, life will always get better.

“Beneath the Mask”

This song is a somber song in the game. But, the music is also peaceful and the guitar and piano kinda sound like rain. The lyrics talk about having to put on a mask and be a “shapeshifter” to fit into society. This is the main character’s fate. He has to wear a mask in society not only to hide his true identity as the Phantom Thief, but also to fit into a world that treats him like a criminal due to false charges being put on him.

“The Whims of Fate”

This song is specific to the Casino Palace in Persona 5. The song is appropriate because it talks about chances at a casino and how you have to rely on fate. It’s a catchy song to play in a casino palace. But, it is also appropriate when it talks about fate. Niijima, the palace boss, tries to twist fate in her favor by cheating, but you continually figure out what she is doing to put fate back in your favor. This palace and boss is basically a battle between the fates of the Phantom Thieves and the fate of the palace boss.

“Rivers in the Desert”

This song plays during the last few major boss fights. The lyrics discuss holding onto hope with “Rivers in a dry land/ the last ace in a lost hand”. The song shows that there is always hope just like our protagonists know that there is always hope no matter what happens while they fight really tough bosses.

“Hoski To Bokura To (With the Stars and Us)”

This song is about bonds and how even far apart these bonds will still remain close. So this song was extremely personal to me. I got the game in April and finished it in May just in time for my college graduation. I had made some amazing friends and my closes friend would be in another state for law school. I cried when I looked up what the lyrics were in English and I was already crying because I finished the game!

The song is called “With the Stars and Us” because even though the friends of Persona 5 will be apart, they can still meet up and think of each other as they look at the stars. I’d like to think they are still close like I am with my best friend!

Jazzy Finale

I just had to call the ending this since all of the music in the game takes on a jazz-like theme! Overall, all the songs are amazing. I was happy when I watched the anime and they made even more original songs. Now, Persona Q2 is out with even more fun music! But, Persona 5 has really great music that just makes you feel good. It is uplifting with a positive message that life will be good and change for the better. I still love listening to these songs and this post gave me just the perfect excuse to listen again!

What did you think of the songs in Persona 5? What is your favorite song?

 

Meghan Plays Games Examines Ocarina of Time

Foreword This article was written as a part of a Community Colab, by Angie @ Backlog Crusader called “Video Game Literary Classics 101.” You can find her original post here. This write up will be a bit more formal/essay-like in structure, in order to explore the question “Which video game title(s) would you choose for literary […]

via The Philosophy of Ocarina of Time — Meghan Plays Games

Megan Plays Games wrote a fantastic post that closely looks at the major themes in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I really enjoyed her analysis! I played the game for the first time in college on my Nintendo 3DS and I did not really think of how much emphasis there was on childhood and growing up. I could not have played the game at a better time considering I was transitioning to adulthood in college! Check out Megan Plays Games post here and enjoy her analysis of The Legend of Zelda; Ocarina of Time!

Making a Villain: Bioshock Infinite

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Bioshock Infinite is one of my favorite games on Steam and I have yet to talk about it on my blog! This was actually inspired by Hiram Lodge from Riverdale. I have been watching the series recently and I really like how they portrayed Hiram Lodge as a villainous figure and wanted to focus on a villain in video games. There will be spoilers in this post so please do not read unless you have finished the game or do not mind spoilers!

I chose Comstock as the villain because he is an iconic one for me. He was the first villain I remember really angering me when I was playing the game. So here is my post about why Comstock is a complex and interesting villain

Utopia and Bigotry

Comstock built Columbia in the sky and at first it comes off as breath taking. You see these huge clouds everywhere you go and the sun is shining. Everyone seems happy and content. You just want to stay in this world forever. Then you see how ugly it is.

The utopia fades when you win the lottery and your prize is to be the first to hit an interracial couple with a baseball. The town is clearly racist. From there the Columbia quickly turns into a nightmare with guards chasing you claiming you are the False Prophet. The city is in the sky because Comstock wants to be free to rule Columbia without outside influence.

Before you even meet him, you already are angry to see him making such a hateful world where he is worshiped like he is a God because he claims he is The Prophet of God. He builds this world just so his ideas can be practiced and so he could be seen as this great religious ruler of Columbia.

Personality

Comstock comes across as being a megalomaniac. He acts like he is this chosen God.  I believe that he is convinced that he is this holy person, this chosen Prophet. He is so lost in the idea of being a Prophet that he will even use his daughter to get his wishes to control both Columbia and the world. Columbia is distorted by him using faith to corrupt others into following him and his ideas.

The Mistreatment of Elizabeth

He is so focused on his delusions that he does not see the harm he is doing to his daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is locked in a tower because she can tear through time and he wants to use her powers to create his perfect world. She is also later captured and in an alternative timeline where she is tortured and forced to destroy the United States.

When she is locked in the tower, she is so desperate to escape and live a normal life. She is trapped and she is never allowed to socialize so she only sees the world through books or her paintings. When you first free her, she is in awe of everything because she has never seen the outside world before.

Comstock’s Death

This is an interesting scene. Normally when you have a villain like Comstock, you expect a huge showdown. You expect a long boss fight. Here it is all done in a cutscene. Comstock deliberately pushes Booker by grabbing Elizabeth and keeps yelling at her to ask Booker about her finger. Booker looses his temper and drowns Comstock for torturing and locking Elizabeth in a tower all her life.

Comstock expected this to happen which is why he labeled Booker as a False Shepard and tried to get the people of Columbia to kill Booker. He believes that his role was to end with Booker killing him because he does not fight Booker. He also was able to convince Elizabeth that Booker was hiding something from her and also himself

The Twist Ending

Elizabeth reveals to Booker the truth at the end of the game. The truth is that he and Comstock are the same. Booker gave Elizabeth to Comstock to get rid of his debt through a tear and she lost her finger when he tried to grab her back. It turns out that you were playing the villain all along. This explains why Booker sometimes gets nosebleeds during the game because he was taken out of his timeline as Booker and went to Comstock’s world to basically fight an alternative version of himself.

This also leads to one of my favorite endings in video games. What separates Comstock from Booker is a baptism. When Booker is baptized he becomes Comstock, when he refuses the baptism he stays as Booker. So all versions of Elizabeth drown Booker so he will not become Comstock which means that Comstock, Booker, and Elizabeth are all no more.

I remember being so shocked by the revelation and I just stared at the screen and cried at the ending watching all the Elizabeths disappear and the credits roll.

Will the Circle be Unbroken?

This song plays as soon as you enter Columbia and I love this song! But, it also has a different meaning the second time you play. Comstock, Booker, Elizabeth. They are all on a never ending circle. Elizabeth broke it at the ending of the game.

It was surprising to know that I was fighting Booker’s alternative future. That this villain went mad because of a baptism causing him to become a overzealous Prophet that made Columbia. The game truly shows how just one small event can transform a person’s life.

What did you think of Bioshock Infinite? What is your memorable video game villain?

 

The First Series That Got Me Into Gaming: Nancy Drew

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The Nancy Drew mystery series is definitely not a series you would associate with typical beginner gaming. They are all point-and-click games where you solve mysteries as Nancy Drew. I have played a lot of the games growing up with my last game being Shadow at the Water’s Edge.

My first game was when I was 8 or 9 and it was Message in a Haunted Mansion. The game was featured in the Scholastic magazine because these games are educational. You can learn about anything from the Mayans to Italy to Japan.

This particular game taught me all about Victorian mansions. I loved it because the protagonist was a female and she was so like me. We both were sassy and we both loved puzzles. It felt amazing to be playing someone that I could relate to! So I am going to make a list of all the things Nancy Drew taught me for my first series into gaming!

Lessons From Nancy Drew Games

Women can Enjoy Games

These games’ target audiences were women. They were educational, but they were still fun games that girls of all ages could play. The protagonist was also this strong female character who you could easily envision yourself as. Her appearance is only slightly hinted at throughout the series so you can easily pretend you are Nancy Drew instead of her having a set look.

Perseverance

These games can be tough at times for a kid. Some of the puzzles are tricky and took time to learn. There were also difficulty settings to make the game even harder if you wanted them to be! The earlier games made you take notes on everything while the later entries used cell phone cameras or automatic notes to make things easier.

I remember in Message in a Haunted Mansion, I had to keep notes which I took on computer paper. I would write down passwords or any useful information to solve puzzles. I would be so proud of myself when I finally solved a tough puzzle because I worked hard to figure it out!

Courage

Nancy Drew gets herself in all kinds of trouble. The game has so many game over screen from when she gets herself in danger. But, she had courage to see the mystery solved. The games could definitely get scary, but I still worked my way to solve them.

An example would be Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. There’s a scene at the beginning of the game where you stay in a house to solve a mystery when these big glowing dogs attack your house and then you hear them every night! It was so scary as a child and every time I had to play the game at night, I was afraid the dogs would get me.

Still I saw the mystery through and it turns out that those dogs were nothing to be afraid of. No spoilers, but that’s what I loved about those games. If they did a horror game, you would eventually find out that there was nothing to be afraid of!

Kindness

Nancy Drew helps out so many people throughout her mysteries. You have to talk to people to gather information or help them out. It was so nice when you can solve a mystery and help a family!

I think my favorite example of this is Shadow at the Water’s Edge because you help out a nice family with a ghost. You also learn about Japanese culture by hanging out with the grandmother who teaches you things such as calligraphy and origami. But, the villain is treated with kindness here. Instead of having your typical, mean and nasty villain, this one genuinely feels bad for what they did after realizing the damage they have caused. You even have multiple endings depending on the amount of kindness you show to the villain.

Importance of Bonds

Nancy Drew is never truly alone in these games. You can always ask her friends for help and hints! You can call them whenever you need them and they are there for you. Just by using your friends as guides, the games show that it is important to create strong bonds with others and ask for help when you need it. Nancy Drew wouldn’t be able to completely solve the case without her best friends and boyfriend being there to support her and offer her advice!

Thanks Nancy Drew!

These games were such a great comfort for me which is why I attribute them to what got me into liking video games. I had played other video games long before Nancy Drew, but I related to her the most. She was confident, sassy, and intelligent and I wanted to be like her when I was older! I would say that I have definitely gained confidence and sass, but Nancy Drew has way more knowledge than I’ll ever be able to learn! She is a computer and book character after all so she is much smarter than your average person!

What was the series that got you into gaming? Have you ever played a Nancy Drew game?

 

1 Year of Blogging!

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At the end of May, my blog turned 1! I have now been blogging for a full year and I am super excited for the future! I would like to say thank you to the blogging community for being supportive of my blog! I am glad that I have met new friends through blogging and I enjoy reading all of your posts! Thank you for your support and I am looking forward to writing more about video games and why we play them!