Afterwords: 7 Spectacular Songs from Video Games

A few years ago, I was just beginning my foray into video game soundtracks. I had just finished my first year of college, and during that time I discovered that while my usual playlist made it difficult for me to focus on my work, instrumental soundtracks had the opposite effect. So I wrote a blog post ranking my favorite songs at the time.

Since then, I’ve expanded my horizons and listened to music from movies, TV series, and even some video games I never played before. Even though I’m not a musician, I find myself picking up on different themes in the soundtracks of my favorite games. I pay attention to the music, and it enhances my experience.

In light of that, I figured it was about time to revisit my list of favorites. I gave myself a few rules this time around:

  1. No music with lyrics. So even though “Paper Boats” from Transistor is one of my favorites, it won’t make the cut. You should still listen to it though.
  2. Only one song per game/franchise/composer. My playlist is much more varied now, and I want that to show through on this list.

On a side note, I did try to list composers in addition to the game’s title! If I didn’t know who composed the exact song, I just listed whoever was credited on Wikipedia.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite soundtrack songs that keep me going!

Read More »

Nintendo Switch with text "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC"

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC

If you follow video games at all, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – released barely over two months ago – has become Nintendo’s fastest selling game. The multiplayer fighting game is a hit with hardcore and casual players alike, with its colorful selection of stages, items, and characters setting it apart from the crowd.

Since the original Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999, the character roster has grown from twelve to over seventy different options. Of course, we’re still waiting on the new DLC (“downloadable content”) characters. Nintendo announced that Joker from Persona 5 will be joining the roster in February, but the other newcomers remain a mystery.

I understand the speculation train has long since left the station, and everyone and their cousin has put out a video or article about who they want to see in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I’m going to do my own anyway. After much deliberation, I’ve compiled a list of five characters I think would be good fits for the SSBU stage – not necessarily ones I think are likely to make it there, but if I were in charge, I’d pick them.

Read More »

What’s Wrong With Walkthroughs?

Let’s say you’re planning a road trip across the country. You get your maps out (or use the internet) and follow the highways, looking for cities and other places to stop along the way. Before long, you’ve got the whole route planned out, down to every motel or Airbnb you’ll be staying in.

Does this make the trip any less exciting? Most of us would probably say no. Planning ahead is the prudent thing to do – after all, you don’t want to end up in the middle of nowhere with no place to eat or sleep. Having a GPS or map guide you doesn’t make the trip any less of an adventure.

Video game walkthroughs function similarly to a GPS, except instead of telling you which exit to take, they tell you how to defeat those strange new enemies, which block needs to be pushed to solve the puzzle, and where to find any hidden secret. In other words, they’re a map to guide you on your virtual adventure.

Following the road trip logic, using a walkthrough shouldn’t diminish the sense of adventure or excitement in playing the video game. Yet, for some reason, we gamers seem to think it does, and we look down on any one who would dare look up the solution to a puzzle on YouTube. We call them “casuals” and “fake gamers.”

But why? What makes their way of enjoying video games inferior to ours? What’s so wrong with using a walkthrough?

Read More »

My Top 5 DS Games

Gaming giant Nintendo pioneered the handheld gaming industry with the Game Boy, first introduced in the United States in 1989. The Game Boy went through a number of iterations and upgrades before Nintendo took the next logical step and introduced the DS, a device similar to the Game Boy, but with two screens instead of one.

Although the DS has since been replaced by its relative, the 3DS, it’s still home to some of my favorite video games. A while back, I wrote a blog post about my Top 5 video games on another old Nintendo console, the GameCube, and today I’d like to do the same with the DS.

The “rules” for this list are similar to the ones for my GameCube post, but with one small exception.

  • A game that was not completed can be included if I feel like I completed it enough to have experienced it fully
  • Only one game per franchise, spinoffs included
  • Games created exclusively for the 3DS are NOT included, as I consider that a different console.

Now, without further ado, here are my favorite Nintendo DS games in no particular order.

Read More »

7 Spectacular Songs from Video Games

One of the most overlooked aspects video games is its soundtrack. Like movies and TV shows, you often don’t notice the music in the background as you play your favorite games, but those tunes are just as vital to creating the game’s atmosphere as any other element. The beauty of soundtracks is that they aren’t in-your-face, and yet they can still affect your mood and thoughts during the game. After all, who can forget the intensity they felt as Tetris taunted them with its catchy tune?

Although I’ve always appreciated video game soundtracks, I started really listening to them a few months ago, since the (typical) lack of lyrics and fast-paced music helps me focus on homework, writing, and other things that require concentration. Plus, because they’re usually intended to be played for indefinite period of time, I can listen to them on repeat for as long as I want. In light of that, I’ve compiled a list of seven songs from video games that I love – perhaps you’ll find a new favorite as well!

Read More »

Why I’m Okay With Good vs. Evil Stories

A Good vs. Evil story is usually pretty straightforward. You have the Good Guys on one side, and the Bad Guys on the other side, and you’re almost always cheering for the Good Guys to win. It’s the type of story you see in children’s fairy tales, but that doesn’t make it childish.

Lately, I’ve noticed people tend to steer clear of these types of stories. The argument is that “Good vs. Evil” is too unrealistic – people and societies really aren’t that clear-cut when it comes to morality. In reality, there’s a lot more ambiguity. That’s how we end up with writing advice about giving our villains redeemable qualities and giving our heroes flaws.

And don’t get me wrong, that’s good advice – you do want to have fully developed characters on both sides of the equation, or it isn’t a very fair story. But in the process of giving this advice, we shun the typical good vs. evil stories, calling them cliche, predictable, overdone, and so on and so forth.

But here’s a secret: I’m actually okay with these kinds of stories.

Read More »

Writing Lessons from Ace Attorney

First things first, we need some good background music. This is most definitely not a ploy to get you to listen to one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. Not at all.

Way back in May of last year, I read a book titled Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson which I really enjoyed. After reading it, I noticed that there were writing lessons that could be gathered from the story, and I compiled those ideas into a blog post I called “Writing Lessons from Steelheart.” Since then, I haven’t written any more “Writing Lessons” blog posts, but that changes today.

As you may or may not know, I am slightly obsessed with enjoy a series of video games called Ace Attorney. To make a long story short, you play as Phoenix Wright, a rookie defense attorney, as he investigates crimes and defends the innocent from wrongful convictions. As you can imagine, these games don’t feature a lot of fast-paces gameplay – instead, they focus more on puzzle-solving and logical thinking as you put the pieces of the case together and determine the truth.

phoenixwright-objection
Phoenix Wright, star of the Ace Attorney series

Because of this, Ace Attorney happens to be heavily story-driven. It’s like reading a mystery novel, except you’re the main character. With all of the story and narration involved in these games, it makes sense that there are a lot of writing lessons that can be learned from them.

Since there are a lot of games in this series, I’m just going to focus on the first three, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Justice for All, and Trials & Tribulations, which actually fit together like a trilogy. I vaguely hint at a few plot points, but I did my best to keep everything spoiler-free. Without further ado, here are some writing lessons from the Ace Attorney Trilogy!

Read More »