I know the new year doesn’t really mean anything – changing the year from 2020 to 2021 won’t magically make all of our problems go away. I gotta say though, it is nice to hang up a new calendar on the wall, to start a new bullet journal, and at least symbolically put the last year behind us.
I don’t want to diminish the hardships and tragedies that everyone endured this past year, of course, but I think there’s something to be said for the good things that happened this year. We can all grieve and still remember the moments that made us smile, too.
So, as is tradition, here is my Year in Review for 2020!
Video games are driven by decisions. The primary thing that sets video games apart from film or literature is the level of interaction involved, and that interaction comes through making decisions.
These days, there are entire genres of video games dedicated to decision-making, like visual novels. Apart from that, making choices is still a core part of narrative-driven games in other genres.
Bastion, the first game developed by Supergiant Games in 2011, is a typical action RPG on the surface. Beneath that, however, is a well-written story that culminates in two very charged decisions at the end of the game. The final scenes of Bastion have stuck with me since I finished the game a few months ago, and today, I’m going to take a closer look at what makes the game’s conclusion work so well.
Since I’m discussing the end of the game, spoilers for Bastion are below! I highly recommend playing the game for yourself first, but if you already have or just aren’t really a gamer, click to read on.
What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time? How far back would you go? Personally, there are a lot of things I would do, including going back about four years and telling myself not to create a music playlist for my first year of college.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed throwing together my annual playlists to summarize each year of my college experience. But it’s hard.
First of all, I have the memory of a goldfish and can hardly remember what I did yesterday, let alone what music I listened to several months ago. Second, I usually get about five songs in before I start struggling. There are always a few that jump out at me, but the second half takes some extra thought.
In spite of those challenges, I felt it would be wrong not to finish out this tradition with one last playlist. So without further ado, I present the soundtrack for my senior year.
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:
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.
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!
My life, like those of many others, has been rather chaotic this March, so blogging has taken a backseat to things like passing my classes and staying mentally coherent.
But hey, I’m back, at least for right now! And while it’s not on schedule by any means, I still want to share my February in review (thank goodness I took notes for it earlier this month). In some ways, it might be rather nice to look back on when things were sort of normal.
But first, blog posts! In February, I wrote about: