Junior year soundtrack

Junior Year Soundtrack

Every school year, when I get to the end of the spring semester, I think, “there’s no way it could get any tougher than this,” and then somehow, it does.

That’s not meant to be a complaint – my years in college have been some of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding years of my life. Still, the rewards are easy to forget when you’re drowning in multiple 10-15 page papers and group projects while working two jobs and a maintaining some excuse for a social life. A lot of times, I find myself listening to music for encouragement, motivation, or just comfort.

As is my tradition every year, today I’m sharing a short playlist of the songs I listened to this past school year that encouraged and inspired me. As is NOT tradition, this post comes halfway through the summer. Even though it’s been a few months since the semester wrapped up, I still think this is worth sharing (and I’ll never let myself live it down if I let this school year go by without a playlist.

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Character figurine with duct tape over his mouth and the text "Don't give up on silent protagonists"

Don’t Give Up On Silent Protagonists

Technology is amazing, right? In early video games, we were lucky if we got a few strings of text to move the plot forward. Today, we’re presented with cutscenes that play like short films, complete with voice acting and animation. This growth has been great for gaming, but the increased use of voice acting has often left one of my favorite tropes in the dust: the silent protagonist.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a silent protagonist is a video game character does not have dialogue. They may interact with other characters through facial expressions, gestures, or “assumed” speech (in other words, there’s a pause in which the protagonist is assumed to have spoken, but they’re not given explicit dialogue). Silent Protagonists are most often seen as player characters. A few examples would be Link from The Legend of Zelda, the player character in the Pokémon series, or Chell from Portal.

As voice acting becomes more common in video games, the silent protagonist is less common. After all, it would seem weird to have everyone else talking except for one individual character!

But I still think there’s a place for the silent protagonists in our video games, if for no other reason than the way they provide a playing experience that other types of protagonists cannot.

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Tattoo Wishlist

Let me start off this post with a note to my parents: No, I didn’t go get a tattoo without telling you.

I’m fascinated by tattoos, but I don’t think I would ever actually get one. Nothing against tattoos at all – it’s just that for someone like me, who has trouble putting stickers on her laptop without thinking it over for approximately 3 years, the idea of getting something permanently inked into my skin is kinda terrifying. I have so much respect for people who have the commitment to get tattoos, but I’ll stick with wristbands and pins, thanks.

Still, sometimes I wonder if I absolutely had to get a tattoo, what would I get? What’s something that’s so important to me that I would want it with me for the rest of my life? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve decided to compile it in a “tattoo wishlist” – one I’ll never act on, but a wishlist nonetheless.

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More Than a Damsel in Distress: A Look at Two Iconic Princesses

Fairy tales have told the hero-saves-the-princess story for about as long as fairy tales have existed. This plot was later incorporated into video games, with some of the earliest story-driven games requiring you, the player, to save the damsel in distress. This trope has appeared in dozens of video games since, but none more prominently than the Mario and Legend of Zelda franchises.

Back in the 8-bit days, both of these franchises revolutionized gaming with Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. Though vastly different in terms of genre and gameplay, both games tasked you with fighting the villain and rescuing the princess – Princess Peach in the case of Mario, and Princess Zelda in the case of Zelda.

The appearances of Peach and Zelda in these early games are classic examples of a Damsel in Distress – no real plot importance other than being a person to be rescued, and essentially helpless (though less so in Zelda’s case). Over time, however, Nintendo has subverted these tropes in their games, especially in each franchise’s most recent entries, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Although the safety of these princesses is still the goal of your quest, these two ladies are far more than just damsels in distress.

Warning – Spoilers ahead!

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Week In Review – March 16

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’re having a good week, whether there’s snow on the ground (like where I am) or it’s sunny and warm. Despite the weather, I’ve been enjoying my spring break at home – it’s given me a lot of time to work on things I’ve had to put aside lately, and I’ve gotten caught up on some work as well. It’s been a good week!

This week, I wrote about the ABCs of Pokémon, similar to what I’ve done with Writing and The Legend of Zelda in the past. If you’ve ever wanted to be a Pokémon Master, this should get you started.

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Week In Review – March 9

Happy Friday everyone!

I hope you’re all doing well! My week had some ups and downs, but overall, it was pretty good. I have spring break to look forward too now, so I’m excited to head home and spend some time chilling out.

This week, I started a new series on my blog called “The Poetry of Metal,” in which I analyze the lyrics of metal songs and show how the artists use literary techniques to convey their message. I analyzed “Panic Room” by Silent Planet this past week, so be sure to give it a read and let me know what I should write about next!

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Week In Review – December 22

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’ve all had a good week – things have been busy but fun for me lately, so that’s  been really good. Also, my blog hit a pretty big milestone yesterday – it was my 2-year blogiversary! I can’t believe it’s been two years since I started blogging again, but it’s been such a fun journey. If you missed the celebration post, be sure to check it out for some fun surprises! And, while you’re at it, you can read my Monday blog post from this week, The ABCs of The Legend of Zelda.

Other than that, not much has been going on around here. I’ve mostly just been hanging out, running errands, and working on some projects while I’m at home. But if you’d like more details about what I’ve been up to lately, keep reading!

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The ABCs of The Legend of Zelda

A few months ago, I wrote a post titled “The ABCs of Writing.” Today, I’d like to give you a rundown of another one of my favorite things, The Legend of Zelda in a similar manner – for those of you unfamiliar with the video game franchise, think of this as a quick introduction to the games (no spoilers, I promise). If you’re a Zelda fan like me, I hope you’ll find this to be a fun and entertaining look at the elements that make our favorite games what they are.

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Week In Review – December 15

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’re all having a good week and you’re staying warm, especially if you’re in Northeast like I am. If you’re in school, I hope your exams went well (or, if you’re taking them soon – I hope they go well). But no matter what, congrats on making it through another week!

My exams just wrapped up on Wednesday, and as of Thursday, I’m home safe and enjoying a nice long winter break. Overall, this semester went pretty well, but I’m glad to finally have some time off to spend with my family and friends. Also, this week, I blogged about my favorite TV shows, so be sure to check that out as well!

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My Top 5 GameCube Games

Today we’re going to talk about a purple box. And I don’t mean just any purple box – I mean the Nintendo GameCube, the first console I ever owned.

People have mixed feelings about the GameCube, but it’s one of my favorite gaming systems I’ve ever owned, right up there with the Nintendo Switch and 3DS. From its looks to its controllers, I’ve always really loved it, but the reason I still have mine is because it’s home to many of my favorite video games, even now, over ten years after Nintendo stopped manufacturing the console.

Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite games from the GameCube era. I know many of these are outdated now in terms of technology, but to me, they’ve held up over the years, and I still find myself playing them from time to time. Just a minor disclaimer: I didn’t duplicate franchises, so as much as I love MarioKart: Double Dash, I took it off in favor of another Mario game. In addition, games that I didn’t finish, like Metroid Prime, and ports/remakes, such as The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition, were not included in the running.

So without further ado, here are my top five GameCube games in no particular order.

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