lauantai 31. maaliskuuta 2012

20 Questions

I wasn't going to do this before the Year 2 summary coming up in August, but there have been so many interesting questions, and I've had so little interest in updating the FAQ section, that I think it's as good time as any to answer some of them. To be more precise, 20 of them, in the good old style of 20 Questions.

How's it going?
This is the most usual sentence my blog-related e-mails start with - this, and all variations of "Greetings, cocksucker." I'm all right at the moment, thank you. Most things at work are fine, my best friend's about to be a dad, no one's screwed me over worse than usual in the last 30 days, and I've met some incredibly fascinating new people. I'm just dandy.

You've been jabbering on about it for the last year and you still haven't got Skyrim?
Let me break this down as plainly as I can. No, I don't, which makes me a very lonely person on the planet. I'm definitely getting it, but you have to understand that I have never considered The Elder Scrolls to be that huge of a deal. Hell, I'm not even close to completing just one game in the series, although I have each one that preceded Skyrim. The main reason for the (bunch of) delay(s) is that it's still a very rare find for anything less than its original, full retail price. There's always something that I consider more interesting, and it's usually much cheaper. Once again, I'm getting it - the Xbox 360 version, just as an act of consistency. Believe me, you will know when I finally have Skyrim in my shelf.

But seriously, it's a quite good movie.
How about the movie reviews? And could you at least tell us your general opinions on movie adaptations of video games? There a favourite one? Least favourite one? Something. 
I don't like watching movies alone except when I'm too hung over to do anything else, that's the first and foremost reason for this delay. In a nutshell, I like to talk about the movies with someone while watching and after 'em. Also, I don't feel right doing just one or two periodical movie reviews, this one's just GOT TO BE A MARATHON. There's no doubt in my mind about that. It's still coming, it's too great of an idea to pass up, 'cause as you've seen in all of my reviews of licensed games, I like to talk about movies - a lot (a backdrop for the next question). So, it's only natural that I will take on this marathon of dung sooner or later. There's your answer: most movie adaptations of video games suck ass. But, they all suck ass differently, that's what makes them great critical fodder. My favourite one would have to be the first Mortal Kombat movie; it's not a masterpiece in drama, but it's good entertainment. The sequel's not only a horrible video game adaptation, but probably the worst movie I've ever seen - right after The Exorcist II. I liked Silent Hill, 'cause it captured the spirit of the game series quite well - hell, better than any Silent Hill game released since Silent Hill 3. To name another God damn horrible waste of celluloid, I can't possibly leave Super Mario Bros. unmentioned. All in all, there are really, really bad ones, and semi-good live action adaptations of video games. I'll get to 'em when I find the time... and someone to watch the flicks with.

You spend an awful lot of time talking about movies, especially when you're doing licensed games, and while there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, where does it stem from and why are you not doing movie reviews?
I have absolutely no interest in doing movie reviews of a similar scale. I wrote a few movie reviews just for fun some years ago - I reviewed the Batman quadrology and the whole Star Wars series - but I very soon grew tired with it, I figured it just wasn't my thing. While I perceive writing actual reviews of movies a little boring and one-dimensional, I enjoy talking about them and making a few points. I'm also a sucker for all sorts of trivia (I know, "no shit").

You've reviewed a lot of what you claim to be your favourite games. How many yet unreviewed games do you think there are which will make it past 9 and/or in the Top 60?
Whew... I seriously don't know... but I could name at least one game which will most likely make it to no less than the Top 10 - which should tell you that I'm not done with games that I consider absolute masterpieces. I won't name it, though - I don't want to get your hopes up for a high profile marathon just now. I've spared a lot of praise up my sleeve, believe me.

You've talked about reviewing your collection, which includes sports games. Do you really think there's any sense in doing an NHL marathon - or anything like it?
No, I don't, and I totally see your point. Instead of standard reviews, I'm doing something different with sporadic sports titles such as EA's NHL franchise, which is having its turn in the spotlight relatively soon. Something kinda in the style of the DLC Guides I've been doing, with the main difference being that the games are not exempt from the Top/Bottom lists.

Which kind of games do you consider the most fun to review? Or the most difficult?
The answer to both questions is "any RPG". You've seen the gigantic reviews; when I get my juices flowing with any deep RPG, there's just no end to stuff that I want to point out. However, starting to write such a review is always the hard part. About halfway into it, everything starts to come naturally.

How long does it take you to review a game, counting out the play time?
A couple of hours with any game - and it would certainly take that long even if I wrote in my native language. I'm very careful nowadays; I usually proofread every review at least a couple of times before publishing it. Gigantic reviews, the most recent example being that of Mass Effect 3, take me days to write. I started writing the review the day after getting Mass Effect 3, and finished up the day I completed it, which means it took me four days to write. This way, I made sure I didn't forget to mention anything important - I usually do this with games which I know to be up for a huge, thorough review.

I'm far from calling it even
with Malak.
Name one or two games which you'd totally want to review again.
No question about it. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The original review on display right now is a rushed piece of shit. Although I'm perfectly fine with the rating, I zoomed through the game due to my hardware problems, and didn't really stop to look around and see what made it a great role-playing game, just a great Star Wars game. The only reason I reviewed it was that I couldn't leave it out of the Star Wars marathon as it was one of the main reasons for me to start doing the marathon. Although I've decided not to do the review of the PC version all over again, a review of the Xbox version is in the works, and it'll be a whole lot more thorough. There's also one game which I would like to delete from the blog's timeline and do over, namely Super Metroid. It was the first game I ever reviewed, and it shows... I wish I would've started out with a little less of a masterpiece. There's so much more I'd like to tell about the game than just "it's fuckin' great."

Are the days of the Monster Mash over?
Not by a long shot. I still have plenty of great ideas from all ages to build up a few Mashes. A Monster Mash requires some downtime from everything else, and a certain mood. I'm pretty certain you will see one or two mini-Mashes before the end of the year, at least on Halloween.

What's your relationship with James Rolfe, a.k.a. the Angry Video Game Nerd? You cite him quite often.
We don't have one, I don't know James. But I know where you're getting at. I started writing game reviews before I even knew who he was, but I must admit he was a great influence on my early reviews, and an even greater influence on all of my retro reviews. While it might seem that I end up reviewing a lot of the games he's famously reviewed (Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Fester's Quest, Batman: Return of the Joker, Frankenstein: The Monster Returns etc.), on purpose, and to the same outcome, I'm actually trying to avoid it the best I can. I see eye to eye with him a little too well when it comes to flaws, and the reviews have a tendency to end up like transcripts of his videos. Like I've said before, though, I'm still waiting for him to take on the Bubsy franchise...

Being a newborn BioWare fanatic such as yourself, are you going to review some of BioWare's earlier/more "obscure" titles, like Jade Empire or Baldur's Gate?
"Newborn BioWare fanatic"... I like that! The answer to your question is: absolutely! Jade Empire is up there on the shelf, waiting for its turn, which will not come for a while, however, since it's been added to my collection after the concept of reviewing my collection first came to me. Same goes for Baldur's Gate. I have a physical copy of Dark Alliance II for the Xbox, and in my usual style, I'd feel guilty if I didn't go for a BG marathon when it gets its turn.

The time will come when
I will tell you about the
greatest tale of friendship
there ever was.
What's this talk about "Looking Back at Mass Effect"? What's it all about, and when will it be published?
I think I put it quite plainly, but Looking Back at Mass Effect is a short review of the whole trilogy, and a chronicle of the decisions and views on different characters and situations from my original (or more correctly, "favourite") Shepard's point of view. It might sound like a diary or "Commander's log" of sorts, but it's not - that's already been done, so well at that, that I wouldn't feel right about doing one. I can't really explain it, you'll have to see it for yourself to understand it. I can't promise you any details on the schedule, I guess I'll at least wait 'till things settle down about the ending of the trilogy and how it supposedly "ruined" Mass Effect, and see how BioWare decides to deal with the criticism... which I think is completely pointless, by the way. I have just one thing to ask of those "former fans" of Mass Effect: think you could do it better?

Now that you're finally done with Mass Effect 3, which upcoming game(s) are you pumped up about the most?
I haven't really thought about that, but when I do reflect on it a little, I'd say Resident Evil 6, which is coming in the fall, and Grand Theft Auto V, to which a release date hasn't officially been slated yet. I have fears and doubts of both games, but I think that in the end they're gonna rock.

It was a while ago and I don't know if even you remember it yourself, but you said something about reviewing Wii games. I'm a Wii owner myself and would like to see this happen, is there any semblance of truth to this left?
I do remember, I'm surprised that someone else does. The reason I haven't talked about it more is that the schedule regarding Wii is wide open. I've been thinking of borrowing my friend's Wii when I have my official summer leave from work, that would give me lots of time to skewer a few Wii exclusives. However, unlike what happened with the Xbox 360 at the same time last year, Wii will never become a standard part of the blog, I'm never going to buy it, and this decision stands. So, unfortunately you'll have to settle with the little you're going to get in the future.

From a classic gamer to another: Is Mario truly dead to you? What about Link's adventures? Will you whip it once more (you know what I mean ;))?
Not the first time I've heard this question; I believe there was a similar question included in the Year 1 summary. Oh well, here's my answer at this moment: Mario is truly dead... until his resurrection. I firmly believe I'm not quite done with the franchise, Mario is such a completist's treat. Plus, there are Nintendo games - while not Mario games per se, they prominently feature the character, so I guess they could be labelled as Mario games by some degree. As for Link... I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I consider The Legend of Zelda perhaps the most overrated franchise in the history of video games, and I dare not take it on before I'm in a certain mindset. As for the last question: yes, I do know what you mean ;) And the answer is yes. I'm almost done with the Vampire Killer, just not quite.

Are you going to review games for more platforms in the future?
Yes. I've been thinking of adding the aforementioned Wii, GameCube and the Nintendo DS into the mix sometime in the future, and there will possibly be other additions. I've also considered doing more PSP reviews than just that one.

I was expecting a dramatic increase in PC reviews when you got your new hardware :(
Well... I'm sorry? I promised to do more of them, and I'll stick to the promise when I find the time. That's all I can say on this subject right now.

Have you calculated the monetary value of your physical game collection? Assuming it's in top shape, there could be some big bucks involved.
It's generally in top shape. Every new copy I've ever bought of any game still looks like new. The PS1 games I've bought used or been donated, are somewhat banged up without exception. Nowadays, when I buy used games, I always aim for the box that looks to be in absolutely flawless shape (and they usually include the original DLC codes). If such flawless box can't be found, I buy the game new, or just wait for a better-looking copy to show up. The answer to your question is no; since my SNES collection just suddenly vanished back in the day, I haven't dared to. Besides, I wouldn't care. I'm not selling anything except extra copies.

What does the future hold for your blog?
I think all of the previous answers will answer that. If not, you could always shower me with more questions.

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