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  1. This weeks winter edition of #TuneTuesday tune does not have the word 'snow' in its title. It is Ice Mountain Zone Act 1 from Sonic Advance on the GBA, composed by Tatsuyuki Maeda & Yutaka Minobe. Everyone knows Sonic the Hedgehog and the concept of all of the games. You 'gotta go fast' to defeat Dr Robotnik/Eggman from taking over the world with his evil robot minions, usually with the aid of at least one of the Chaos Emeralds, which I've never really fully understood what they do other than make Sonic and other characters go Super Saiyan/hedgehog. Levels whiz past in a dizzying blur as run, jump and spin your way through levels and enemies. The music of the games usually reflect this adrenaline rush, but this cue (and the slightly varied Ice Mountain Zone Act 2) is somewhat laid back, as more delicate platforming is involved. That said, there is some brilliant cross-rhythms and almost jarring time syncopations, allows players to continue to fill excited and pumped as they are moving forward in the stage. The plinky percussion is the main instrument that suggests we are entering a winter wonderland, one that is covered with ice or snow. It was also the first level in the game to have an underwater segment, which does slow the player right down because of science. I could be wrong, for it was almost 20 years ago since I first played that game. Fuck, I feel really old now...
  2. As we're now in December, I am going to cover tunes that either Christmasy, Snowy or Icy in nature for this months #TuneTuesday tunes. To kick things off, here is the #Persona3 FES version of Snow Queen, composed by Idehito Aoki & Kenichi Tsuchiya, arranged by Shoji Meguro. This is the version that most Persona fans would be immediately aware of. The original comes from the original Persona, which I will include here also, for comparison's sake, which definitely has a more snowy flavour. I've discussed the Persona games in great detail before, so I will just give a brief overview. Take your favourite shonen, slice-of-life anime, slap it with Pokemon with an existential crisis, and you've got yourself every Persona game. The plot of Persona 3 revolves around a group of Japanese high school kids (surprise-surprise) who hit the books by day and hit the Shadows (daemons essentially) with their powers of Persona summoning by night. These are manifestations of one's inner self, which are essentially more mature 'Pokemon' based on real-life mythic deities. Persona 3 had an extended version (like the Pokemon games) do call Persona 3 FES, which didn't add in a whole, besides previously Japan-only DLC 'The Answer', an epilogue to the original story and additional music for the dungeon areas, known as Tartarus, a seemingly neverending tower that reaches the heavens by the end of the game. The remix of The Snow Queen was one of those included tunes, which is in A minor, not in the original's C minor and is an emotional dance track and not the whispery orchestral version found in the original Persona game. It's inclusion in FES is a very good one, as it works well as you make your ascent in Tartarus, especially when you reach the final few floors at the game's climax. Another altered version is also on 'Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight', which just adds to the emotional drive of the tune. The Snow Queen is a famous boss in the Persona universe and some gaming circles for two reasons. 1) She is a gruesomely difficult boss, as is her arc in the original game. It is not part of the main story, and players can only do that route of the main story route as if The Snow Queen was DLC or a story in an alternate universe. The reality is that both The Snow Queen and the main route happen at the same time, but with different members of the party, depending on one which ones you choose to explore with or what you decide at a certain point in the story. 2) The Snow Queen questline is not found in any version of the original Persona, outside of Japan and no one seems to know why (inform me if I am wrong about this!). I am presuming it is because of it being too difficult for western audiences, but I am not certain. Both versions of the cue have become iconic within the Persona fanbase, for good reason. They are both incredibly moving, delivering on the intended emotions and setting of each perspective game.
  3. It occurred to me recently I had not talked about any Pokemon music in any of my #TuneTuesdays, so I wish to change that with this weeks wintery tune, one that comes from a game pretty close to my heart. It is Snowpoint City from Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, composed by Junichi Masuda, Gō Ichinose & Morikazu Aoki. I'm sure everybody who both follows me and reads these weekly musical threads what and how Pokemon operates. For a quick crash course, you are a Pokemon trainer who has 3 objectives. Catch all the Pokemon, become the Pokemon Champion by beating the 8 Gym Leaders & Elite Four at the Pokemon League, and stop the evil schemes of whichever group of baddies are wanting to take over the world. In the fourth generation of Pokemon, the story revolves around you stopping Team Galatic, who plan to use the Legendary Pokémon Dialga and/or Palkia (it depends on which game you play) to create a new universe just for themselves, while destroying the current one. Pokemon had been a while with many cool locations that exist on small islands, treehouses and even at the base of a fucking volcano. Never had there been a city/town that was covered in snow. That is, until Generation 4's Snowpoint City, which sits at the base of Mt. Coronet. You visit the city late into the main campaign, where things with Team Galatic are beginning to get intense and have a fight with some of their Admins in the tunnels of Mt. Coronet and appear in a snow-covered path, the first in a Pokemon game. As pretty as it is seeing other Pokemon trainers dashing about on skis and snowboards in the snow and around the trees, the two routes you have to traverse to get to Snowpoint City, Route 216 & Route 217 (both having pretty music themselves) have a notable danger with them. It is snowing, which in gameplay terms is translated to it Hailing in battle, which means non-Ice type Pokemon will take a bit of damage after every turn, which can destroy ill-prepared trainers. I can remember it doing just that to me during my first playthrough on Pokemon Pearl 12 years ago. The intensity of the snow pickups as you move from Route 216 to 217, turning it into a full-on blizzard. This doesn't affect your team during battles, but it does make things a bit more difficult to see as you are trying to navigate through the linear route. Eventually, you arrive at Snowpoint City and hear this almost creepy delayed synth line, unsure whether you have arrived at the city. Cautious players will walk and not run, just in case more trainers/wild Pokemon appear. A dock will appear on the bottom of the screen, some houses and Pokemon Market & Centre in the corners of the map, the Pokemon Gym at the city's centre, and a big-ass temple at the top of the map. It is fair to assume at this point you have reached Snowpoint City, ignoring the missable pop-up that appears on the top left corner. As you explore some almost-jazzy strings enter introducing new harmonies not found in the implied key of E major, making the percussive synth parts sound more friendly as the piece progresses, making the player feel not only safe in this city but creates a sense of 'let's play in the snow', something I wanted to do as a kid all the time. Pity you can't make snow angels in any of the Pokemon games... What I described about route traversal and the exploration of the city were my own experiences with the game, which is incredibly personal to my own development. Pokemon Pearl and my Limited Edition silver DS Lite (both I still own) were birthday gifts of mine 14th December 2007. I was so excited to have that cool DS in my hand, playing a new Pokemon on not one, but TWO screens, one of which is a touchscreen. No one liked Pokemon at my primary school, so I had to play the GBA games by myself. Even if they did own those games, they wouldn't have played with me anyway. To spare you revisiting old scares and scars of my past, let's just say that I was not terribly popular. I had Pokemon Pearl finished by 1st January 2008 and when I went back to start the new year and term at school, no doubt did many of my peers had new DS Lites, mostly in black or white, for those were the only colours available (outside of the grey original DS). Most people also owned Pokemon Diamond, so I was suddenly the go-to guy for all the Pokemon Pearl exclusive Pokemon to trade with Diamond Pokemon I desired. All of a sudden, I was a popular kid and would soon develop friendships through these new Pokemon games, and I think there is not a better cue, to sum up, this transitory period in my life. The uncertain loneliness and desolation (the teasing chromaticism of the synths), followed by the growing confidence of speaking to people (the introduction of the second synth part) with the New Year granting me some friends (the aforementioned string parts) before ending with having a small pocket of good friends that were my crutch for the next 5 years at secondary school (the positive synth parts at the very end).
  4. until
    RELIVE CLASSIC CARTOONS WHILE ENJOYING ONE OF OUR HOT BREAKFASTS OR A BOWL OF YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL WITH ICE COLD MILK.THE ULTIMATE NOSTALGIA TRIP AWAITS !
  5. until
    A great night of fun,food, and video games, what is there not to like!! This month's theme is all about "Naughty or Nice" fighting games, where you will be going head to head with other contestants in some of the greatest fighting games of all time, and some of the not so greatest fighting games, all to be in with a chance to win one of our highly coveted trophy's and get your picture on our wall of fame! We will also be holding a very special raffle this month, where we will be raffling off one of the amazing single player arcade crates, which is a smaller version of the awesome arcade stick that we have here in the cafe. This alongside with some other awesome items, we are getting in the Christmas spirit early! The gaming night is free to enter for all customers so come on down and enjoy some good food great games and possibly win some awesome prizes.
  6. To conclude this years #Spooktober's Edition of #TuneTuesday, I will talk about the panic-inducing Taurus Demon cue from Dark Souls, composed by Motoi Sakuraba. I'm fairly certain everyone at this point is familiar with how difficult the Soulsborne series is, which would soon create the 'git gud' mentality from many players, but you may not be aware of the story, which I will briefly go over for you, for context sake. You are undead, and you must go and link this great fire. That's it. Everything else remotely narrative is built upon various bits of lore that you can choose to read on items and weapons you find, and the occasional NPC who talks at you. But one does not play the From Software games for stories, they play them because they are masochists who like smacking their head against a brick wall 100s of times to defeat the franchise's gruelling boss fights. It is also during said fights you will hear music, as the games are pretty mute otherwise (with a couple of areas having some music, and Sekiro having music practically everywhere). First time players would have struggled with the game's first proper area, Undead Burg, as they learn that anything can easily kill you, enemies often ambush you and not to take on the Black Knight, lest you get completely destroyed. You finally ascend the inner works of a castle, pass through a fog gate, and wander around the very narrow Crenellations, which can be easy to fall off of, should you not pay attention to the environment. The next thing you know, a large, sheep/bull demon with a huge axe leaps off of the opposite tower and begins to charge at you. This is where today's cue enters. What I think many fans of Dark Souls and video game soundtracks overlook is the size of its orchestra. Most games that have symphonic sounding soundtracks have full-phat orchestras with lush reverbs and may have screaming full-phat choirs. I don't need to go into more details about that I'm sure. Dark Souls has a much smaller ensemble, most likely a chamber orchestra, recorded in a much smaller recording space. The choir seems to be much smaller as well. Because it sounds smaller, does not mean it has any less punch. In fact, I would say that it was more because of this orchestration/compositional decision, which adds to the fear of whatever hideous boss monster, demon or dragon is tearing your arms and pancreas apart, the vast majority of these cues being atonal messes. If the orchestra was the more typical 80-100 piece a lot of the unique energy the cues had would be lost. There are very few soundtracks to that of the original Dark Souls, where the soundtrack is just boss cues. Some of them are rather moving and emotional, whilst others, like Tauras Demon, induce PTSD-esque flashbacks. And of course, there are very few games as frighteningly frustrating as Dark Souls.
  7. Xeno

    Top 10 Goriest Video Games

    Gore. Since the time a certain video game on this list have arrived, video game makers have pushed the boundary for shock and awe factor, delivering blood spill splatter like horror icons such as Jason, Leatherface, Saw, or the Final Destination films. While many would stay far from the M rating in hopes to avoid lack of sales and media targeting when it comes to violence in video games, these select few have shown that some adult theme can make the game worth playing and worth the money. For this week, I'm going to present to you the top 10 most goriest video games. Let's do this. 10 Thrill Kill It's a game you probably never heard of since it was never released by EA due to its standards and reputation they had in the late 90's. Releasing this game to their minds may mean that they are no good of a company who sells ultra violent video games like Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto. But the game was released for free so yeah it does go on this list. Thrill Kill is a brawling fighting game where the object is to survive against 3 other competitors. The game holds a variety of twisted characters, all who are dead by the way, murdering each other for a chance to live once more. What makes this game so grotuatise is their fatality system. Filling up your special meter during the fight allows you to kill your opponent one by one, until the last man standing will unleash their thrill kill on the poor soul. These deaths contain limb breaking, decapitation, electrocution, some voodoo spell that shrinks opponents, and the worst death of all…...getting a foot massage from a bdsm mistress. Oh the horror!!! This game is only available for the Playstation 1, and it is out for free so long you can burn the game properly. There is no copyright against the game at all so if you can find it and burn it, by all means, try it out. 9 Happy Wheels What's best about this particular game is that it is free. And boy do they sure on making gore comical. Happy Wheels is a series of challenges created by people that forces players to think fast and think carefully. The characters are ordinary people, like a man on a bicycle with his kid, an obese woman on a scooter, a pogo jumper, a man on a wheelchair, and many more. But what makes this game so gory is the fact that each challenge, your character starts to lose their limbs. Each limb lost can be vital depending on the challenge, you might not even make it at all. Strangely, this game has a mixed influential of a Saw film and an evening cartoon show. Grueling and grotesque yet charming in a sick way. You can easily access this game anywhere or check out some Youtubers reaction while playing this game. It is worthwhile. 8 Manhunt For every non-violent game Rockstar make, like Monster Madness Monster Truck and Ping Pong game, Rockstar makes 4 more GTAs, but this particular game takes the cake. Manhunt is a stealth action game with a twist on the goal. Instead of retrieving items, or escaping, you must kill your way to the next level, often by gruesome means due to their execution scenes. These scenes feel straight out of a horror film, with means of severe beatings, multiple stabbings, and decapitations. While the first game is almost tamed, the sequel pushed the boundary more on their executions. The game is very grueling and disgusting that many countries outside of the US has banned the game, demonstrating how disturbing the game is. Although the thought of murdering your victims were the true purpose as to why the game is banned, there is no mistake that Manhunt can be gory in unexpected moments. 7 Splatterhouse This Friday the 13th Horror look alike icon has delivery pain misery, and a shit load of dead bodies in it’s wake. Splatterhouse centers around a Super Humanoid Monster name Rick who ventures through a horrific mansion in a landmark known as Splatterhouse, coincidence, in an attempt to rescue his girlfriend from a mad scientist. Depending on what version of the game you are playing, either the late 80’s early 90’s beat ‘em up side scroller, or the remake in 2010, Splatterhouse has a reputation of hardcore music, gruesome characters, an eerrie and ominous enviroment, and best of all, all the bloodthirsty blood and dismantelling the game can deliver. Depaitcations, limb ripping, fleshing dissolving, and of course, all the blood that would make the man behind the hockey mask himself smile, if he could ever smile in the first place. Splatterhouse is oddly enough a isn’t a red herring to Mortal Kombat, as the idea of video game violence was done in the arcades when this game was released, yet the demonic, monstrous, and fantasy like that Splatterhouse offer may have people over looked this game in the first place. And besides, when would there ever be a time during that era that you can play as someone who looks similar to Jason himself. That is awesome! 6 Doom This is just one satisfying, aggressive, hardcore, wildly wicked video game that any game makers could have ever created. Doom puts you in the role as a space marine from Mars on a mission to send back the demons of Hell by any means necessary. And by any means necessary, means that you can use all the weapons that are available in space! Shotguns, Rocket Launchers, Beam Rifles, Chainsaw, BFG!!! Even your bare hands can be used as a weapon to turn all these imps, demons, monsters, and Hell Knights into mulch. Things do pick up in later editions of Doom, especially the 2016 reboot of Doom, where graphical kills demonstration how fancisintating it is to dismantle the poor bastards and send them back to hell, or maybe somewhere worse than hell. The amount of kills you can do in this game is nothing but an amazing artwork painting, fill with limbs, bones, guts, and blood, to create a portrait of mastery with exquisite brutally and beauty. 5 Mad World Who said that Nintendo has to be family friendly. With games such as WiiSports, Super Mario Galaxy, and Smash Bros., Nintendo can get dirty every now and then with some M rated games to their line up. And Mad World really fits in the idea of Nintendo going out of it’s way to allow gore into their library list. Mad World centers around a violent game show where protagonist Jack Cayman must kill each of the top contenders in the game show to settle a personal vendetta with the show’s creator and terrorist group. For all the games Nintendo put out, this game is a big relief in terms of adult content, especially how amazing the artwork is, mixing with the ink like artwork from an old school comic book but keeping the color of the blood for it’s gore factor. This helps out a lot as the game look more exciting and spectacular as well as creative when it comes to the violence that the game breaks out. And speaking of creative, the executions that Mad World have and the finishers are by far the most creative deaths Platinum Games have congregate. Just check out some of the finishers on each boss, including popular ones like RinRin, The Shamans, and The Black Baron. It’s an amazing game to own and something enjoyable to play with the nunchuck controller. Which btw the way also makes the game great, the controller is smooth and interesting. 4 God of War The God of War series follows a brutal and gut wrenching story of a Spartan that goes by the name of Kratos, who is on a vendetta mission to slay all of the Geek Gods for betraying him after he murder his family and the innocent and holds the ashes on their death and sins on his body. There hasn’t been any violent game in the Playstation 2 and 3 era such as this game and it shows. As Kratos you can violently tear enemies in half with your bare hands, slice up all foes with his trademark weapons, or use the weapons gifted by the gods to slay all beasts and demons. But by far, the best examples as to how gory the game can be is its cinematic quick time events and cutscenes. With just a combination of correct button pressing, Kratos can display how destructive he can be by tearing apart his victims piece by piece. From sea monster in the first God of War game, to Poseidon and Helios, Hermes and Zues. Even the recent God of War games with Norse mythology gods and warriors have received brutal deaths at the hands of Kratos himself. Each decapitation, limb ripping, eye gouging, and implement has filled the drama and excitement that God of War offer in all four installments including the side stories for the PSP. If you ever want to feel like a true god slayer and be the one to hold the power of all the gods, get this game and find out how vicious you can be with a mad man like Kratos. 3 Dead Space Strange that in all the horror themed games I have on this list or action pack games, none can has been known as a survival horror game like what Dead Space has to offer. Not even Resident Evil has the top honors on this list, and the recent Resident Evil games were brutal and vicious indeed. But when it comes to how gory it can get, Resident Evil can’t hold a candle to what Dead Space has done in only their three game release. Dead Space center around a maintenance worker in space aboard a distress signal on a deserted ship. Inside are a pack of zombie like aliens who has infested the dead in the ship and is out to murder anyone who they find. One of the best things about Dead Space is how creative the kill has to be. You see, normally to kill a zombie, a well placed head shot is all you need to take down the undead. However, in this case you need to severed the limbs on the undead or face the consequence of death at the hands of this dead alien zombies. The dark and eerie environment is what also helps improve the tense horror that Dead Space offer and the wide variety of deaths our poor hero will suffer helps amps up the ranking of this game. Each death is both savage and vicious for its own rights. The Decapitation and head replacement of one alien, being sucked in through a damaged vent and having your entire body crushed and folded while ripped apart, and the most famous of all, getting your eyeball pierced and screwed with massive amount of blood spewing out. For all the crap we give about EA today, at least with Dead Space they knew what they were doing. 2 Gears of War Let's make no mistake, Gears of War is not just a sad and cruel story, but it is also barbaric and nasty when it comes to the kills. As a member of the COGs, your mission is one thing and one thing only, survive and attempt mass genocide of the enemy horde for mankind sake. Throughout the game there are tons of ways to murder your foes, with traditional shooting, explosives, posioning, or by far everyones favorite, the chainsaw on the lancer gun. Players can get a full on experience online with team deathmatch that allow players to get a chance to deliver an execution on their opponents as either a member of the COGs or Horde team. Each execution various as tradition curb stomps or brutal pounding have their victims head explode, while each weapons do have uniqueness added to the kills, with weapons like the shotgun and snipers are used as golf clubs, or weapons like the torque bows or and boomshots. Whoever you side with online, or together against a horde of enemies, just be sure to bring in a towel to wipe off the blood following this vicious kills. 1 Mortal Kombat It's the game that truly pushes the blood and gore, it caught the attention of everyone, including the news media and the government. Mortal Kombat needed to be something different than what Street Fighter was at that time, and thankfully it did, putting in a fatality system that allow players to kill their opponents after winning a fight. Each fatality a character perform can be classified as weak, Lui Kang MK1 and Quan Chi MK:Deadly Alliance, to Brutally Awesome, Sub-Zero MK1 and most of MKX fatalities. While games do their best to ease up over the years with less blood or finishers, Mortal Kombat goes a step further as if the game is becoming a thriller film. No matter which edition of Mortal Kombat you pick up, with the exception of MK vs DCU, you'll always find that one fatality that gives you the nod of how gory the game is. Here’s to the king of killing people with style! Like what you read? Be sure to follow me here on Ember. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Xeno9933. Stay Awesome everyone!
  8. Week 3 of the #Spooktober takeover of #TuneTuesday has us look at a more intense #horror game cue, one that I think is terrifying, both in and out of its associated game. The cue is 'Suitor Attacks' from Justine, the DLC from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, composed by Mikko Tarmia. You play as Daniel, a young man from London who has awoken in the dark and empty halls of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle with little to no memory about himself or his past. All he can remember is his name, that he lives in Mayfair and that a 'Shadow' is hunting him. It does not take him long to find a letter from his past self, telling him that he has deliberately erased his own memory. But before doing this, he instructed his future self (ie, you) to kill Alexander, the castle's baron (it's set in 1839). Why he didn't kill Alexander before wiping his memory is beyond me... Gaping plot flaw aside, it is considered to be one of the greatest horror games to have spawned from the mouths of hell, and I am in that mindset. The Dark Descent takes many influences from Lovecraftian horror, using the famous quote “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” to it's fullest. I discussed in a previous #TuneTuesday thread (almost a year ago) about the impeccable sound design and score, both of which scares you more than the monsters themselves. You cannot fight the monsters, so your only option is to hide. They are sensitive to the light from your lamp, so you have to hide in the dark. Problem is, Daniel is scared of the dark and can start making whimpering noises, should his Sanity drop too much. You can't really look at them drains your Sanity Meter, which is not good for Daniel. In short, you're fucked. As for today's cue, this is found in the game's only DLC, Justine. Here, the player takes control of an unnamed female character, who awakens with amnesia in a dungeon cell, accompanied a phonograph. It contains a recording by a woman named Justine, who tells you that she is the subject of a psychological test. The player character is then allowed to escape, or die trying. In some ways, it is more frightening than the base game, for reasons I will avoid for spoiler reasons. In addition to the new monsters that you can't look at, there is also permadeath, so if you die in the game, you have to start all over again! Where it excels is its ability as a laxative. You will die a lot in this DLC, especially at the DLC's penultimate puzzle, which involves you moving about in a pool of water, so your movements are slower, whilst you are being chased by one of these Suitors, who is much faster and aggressive than the ones before it. Accompanying this is this uniquely aggressive cue, which is horrible in every sense of the word. I won't begin to attempt to pull it apart in a music theory sense, because (as I'm sure you can hear) is an atonal mess of screeching strings, harrowing synth pads and thumping percussion. As I said on November 2018, I do believe everyone should experience this game, whether you have the stomach to actually play it, or watch someone else through a let's play. One could argue it is because of PewDiePie's Lets Play that Lets Plays are a thing at all. It certainly made PewDiePie an internet sensation which, in turn, made gaming more mainstream, rather than just an expensive waste of time to the general public.
  9. To carry on this musical #Spooktober, this weeks #TuneTuesday is the creepy cue 'Who's There?' from Persona 4, composed by Shoji Meguro. Persona 4, like the Persona games before and after it revolves around a group of Japanese high school kids who are granted magical powers by a man with large nose to defeat this impending evil that lurks in the shadows. These powers allow them to summon a Persona (the protagonist can summon multiple), which is a manifestation of their inner-self. It is essentially Pokemon with an existential crisis. There are two things that have made Persona 4 particularly famous: 1) How hard ATLUS has milked the franchise with a variety of spin-offs, including an extended version (Persona 4: GOLDEN) 2 fighting games, surprisingly good dancing game. In addition, there are also 2 animes and manga. 2) How happy-clappy much of the game is. If you are a fan of slice-of-life anime where everyone and everything is fine and enjoy the schoolfriends having fun and solving problems in their life, you will enjoy Persona 4, without a shadow of a doubt. You'll probably enjoy GOLDEN more because there are more in-game events where the characters have even more fun with each other. Such as them going to the beach, bringing it all the more closer to its slice-of-life anime counterpart. Now what I have avoided is the plot, because it is actually incredibly dark, the severity I feel is overlooked from time-to-time with fans within the Persona community. The plot revolves around a strange case of murders, where people are being wound up dead, strung up by TV aerials, the first two being young women, one of them a teenager. Besides this, what they also had in common is that they both appeared on TV, as would the other targets on The Midnight Channel, which is only on during midnight in the rain. The protagonist and friends become an Investigation Team to solve the case by entering the TV World and saving those who appear on The Midnight Channel. It is during the more sinister moments in the game where this creepy piano motif plays. Either when an antagonist threatens the party, horrible truths are discovered. The cue is at it's strongest when it plays just before the game's climax when the party has to make decisions that not only affect the outcome of the story but whether certain characters live or die by your direct hand. You can become a heartless murderer in this game if you wish. Similarly, there is a secret(ish) ending you can achieve in GOLDEN which is just as, if not more heartless as the previous one. You can work out that one for yourself... As for the cue itself, it's barely in F#minor, which can be worked out from the haunting tremolo strings and stabbing celli (plural for cello) and basses. It works so well in distilling horror to the players in the game, especially as one that is as upbeat and as jolly as this one. You can be having fun with your friends or working on that social link when BANG! The scary music returns and someone is dead or about to die with next to no chance of saving them. In an instant, your lives are in turmoil once more. This is one of the few cases where the music of a Persona game delivers horror brilliantly.
  10. A few weeks ago, Blizzard released the long-awaited World of Warcraft: Classic - a throwback to the early days of WoW, warts and all. Until that point, I had never played World of Warcraft. Roughly 2 weeks in, my Orc Hunter, Orcthisway, is sitting at level 31 and I am thoroughly addicted. So, what took me so long? I'd never been a fan of subscription-based MMOs. I hated the idea of paying to keep playing a game. However, after a lot of persuasion from friends, I gave it a shot. I paid for a month's subscription to try Classic out. I've not touched the modern version, referred to as "retail" WoW, but will likely do so in the not-too-distant future. The following will be a series of rambling thoughts on Classic and it's design. I had a little bit of help from a friend in grasping the basics, navigating the UI, and so on. "Intuitive" is not a word I'd use to describe Classic. It's of an era where RPGs required the player to read quest information and figure things out for themselves, rather than the modern standard of "follow the quest marker". Now, there's nothing wrong with quest markers, but I personally find the over-reliance most modern RPGs have on them to be a little too much. Hand-holding throughout the opening of a game is fine, but when you're max level and a master of the combat system, having the game point you in the right direction feels very patronizing. I often turn quest markers off when I play RPGs I'm familiar with, so I found Classic to be oddly refreshing in the sense that the only directional markers you get are to the nearest settlements (and your allies, if you're in a group). Markers for finishing quests only appear on the mini-map when you're nearby, and the only other markers are from abilities you have to track certain enemies or harvestable materials. You want to know where monster X that you need item Y from is? Read the quest log and figure it out. Can't figure it out? I guess Google is your friend, right? I love this kind of design. Yes, it can get frustrating, but it makes it all the more rewarding when you finally get it done. And the reading leads to actually learning more about the world than you would if you were simply told a few things and led around. The writing is pretty good, and I'm enjoying learning about the war between the Alliance and Horde. There's some nice humour in there, to boot. Leveling is SLOW. It's been around two weeks and I'm level 31. The level cap is 60, so I might hit that by the end of the month - if I'm lucky. Unlike a lot of other MMOs, you have to mob-grind: kill as many enemies as you can on the way to your next quest, and you'll have an easier time leveling up. The majority of enemies that are around your level are capable of killing you fairly easily if you're not careful. I enjoy this challenge. It makes the enemies feel tough, and you not feel all-powerful. Grouping up to take down tougher "elite" enemies and bosses is essential, but if you're trying to get a particular item to drop, you're going to have a hard time. Loot is shared rather than individual, and unless the rest of your group has already got the items you need, you've got to rely on often low drop rates to get them. The only exceptions are bosses and certain items, where the whole group will get them from the same enemy. XP is only given from enemies that you or your group hit first - if a random passerby hits (or "tags") the enemy you're after before you do, you're gonna have to wait for it to respawn, or find another. Speaking of respawning, the timers for some bosses are painful. Some enemies take 10-15 minutes to respawn, which slows your progress right down. If you're after a boss and someone's just killed it, go make a coffee or something. You'll still be waiting by the time you're back. I get why Blizzard did this - to slow players down so they don't burn through all the content too quickly - but holy shit, it can be tedious sometimes. Getting around is also very slow. Be prepared to walk a LOT. Flying from one area to another (once you've unlocked the flight paths) can take quite some time, as well. It's another of those "go make a coffee or something" moments. I suppose it's a good thing, as it gives you an opportunity to take a break, but if you're just trying to meet up with your friends, it can be pretty boring - especially if you're trying to fly somewhere to get to the ships or zeppelins that take you to different regions, then flying even farther once you get there. Thankfully, mages can teleport and every character gets a Hearthstone, which teleports you to whichever inn you've set as your home. Mounts are available at level 40 for a hefty fee, which cut down on some travel time, and some classes get abilities that speed you up - the hunter, for example, gets a 30% speed increasing ability. This reduces some of the travel time, but it's still very slow to get around. It's amazing what you take for granted in modern games. Classic just says, "Fast travel? What's that?". You might think I'm complaining, but honestly I absolutely love this game. Yes, the game is slow and can be very dull at times, but roaming around an unforgiving world, slowly killing one enemy at a time in the hopes that you get the items you've been searching hours for, is a challenging and rewarding experience, and an absolute breath of fresh air in an age where everything is practically given to you on a silver platter. You have to earn those levels, your mounts, etc. and it feels so damn rewarding when you level up... only to have to go back to your class trainer to spend the majority of your money on new abilities. WoW Classic is a rough place, but somehow I still absolutely love it. I've not been gripped by an MMO this much in a very long time. I look forward to when I'm done and move on to retail WoW, where I'll no doubt have my hand held and level much faster, but the world and it's lore has sucked me in. It only took fifteen years for it to finally do so.
  11. Hello, my fellow Ember Members! I hope you are doing well wherever you all are. For those of you who are unaware, my name is Jack Le Breton. I am a composer, most known for composing some of the music for the award-winning, BAFTA-nominated game 'Two Point Hospital', which was released 31st August 2018. I also did the music for an indie game 'Hartacon Tactics' which released 1st January 2019. Hopefully, I can add more to this soon! But I digress. If you follow me on Twitter, you may be aware that every Tuesday, I discuss in great length about a piece of music that I like, be it for an anime, film, TV show or, most usually, a video game. 'Why do I do this?' you may ask yourself. As a composer and a creative individual, I think it is often very easy for those who are neither of these to not appreciate the thought processes behind these things. I don't think this is deliberate, but I do think this should change, hence the creation of #TuneTuesday So, I wish to bring my celebrated weekly dose of music here, where I am not restricted by Twitter's character restrictions. To get you started, you can find the vast majority of my #TuneTuesday moments on my Twitter. The ones you won't find are 'The Path of Wind' from 'My Neighbour Totoro' and 'Insane Family' from 'Vampyr' as Twitter's new look has prevented me from any more to a year's worth of moments. Thanks, Twitter I hope you will all enjoy my weekly info dump on music and have fun learning and appreciating some good ol' music.
  12. Xeno

    Women in video games

    Over the years of video gaming, I have never come across something so hostile than the ideal of women in video games. For nearly 40 years since graphics have improved and more games are developed, female characters are at times portrait as eye candy, someone that we love based on their looks, and the ideal of how women are when it comes to certain genres in video games; platforming, fighting, adventure, FPS. Yet, while their initial appearance didn't spark any outrage or controversy, things change as the years pass by. Those who grew up in the 80's or 90's era of gaming would soon adore the women they grew up even more, given time they look at them and study them further rather than good looks. Yet others still have a blind eye of how female characters are suppose to be rather than who they need to be. A recent review of the third installment of Marvel's Ultimate Alliance have made a remark about the features of the Marvel superheroines represented in the game and how rare it is to have women like them in video games today. Yes, of course they are rare. The reviewer have literally describe how women look which is in nearly all video games, including when they first debut in games. With that one dumb short paragraph, unfortunately, the review feels meaningless, and it has cause a spark on comments and tweets out of anger and smite. But we're here to talk about how bad the review is and who has reviewed it, because I for one am not interested in giving this reviewer or site any props or clicks or views or whatever. Instead I wanna explain something that many of these people fail to realize what makes a character good. It's their personality and attributes in the video game they are in. Let's give a couple examples as to what I mean and why these characters should be loved and cared for what or what they have done rather than how they looked. Princess Peach is by far the key definition of a damsel in distress. In nearly all of the Mario games she has been featured in, she has been depicted as a helpless princess waiting for the hero to come and rescue her from her captor. In a certain case you can put this like sleeping beauty. A princess captured, thou thankfully not asleep, waiting for a hero (Mario) to arrive while he must fend off a dragon (Bowser) and rescue her. Except over the year we see more from Princess Peach than a helpless woman she is shown to be. She's actually caring, willing to step forward and protect her kingdom from said trouble, and has been able to shown capabilities of standing up for her own. She even at one point decided to team up with Mario and Bowser, yes the one who always kidnaps her, to save Bowser's Castle and the Mushroom Kingdom from impending doom. Another great example is Street Fighter's Chun-Li. For years we follow her and her adventure for revenge, justice, and peace. She demonstrates that women can be on equal grounds with men and has had a tragic backstory with her to follow up with her motives. She does display love and care, especially when she help adopt a girl who was used for creating a doomsday device that'll help power up M.Bison, and teach kids martial arts as well. And you know what's the ironic thing about this? This wasn't supposed to happen in the first place. A couple of developers felt that Chun-li was not necessary to be in the game in the first place. And when she did, they wanted to do less with her, less special attacks, half a health bar. It's only when a few people from Capcom have pushed her to be on par with all the characters in the game that soon made her as one of the most popular characters in the Capcom market, being someone that people want to cosplay as, paint portraits or collect figures, heck make a movie based off her story. Her good looks help, but it was because people care and so much effort has been put on her character's story and personality that help prevail. Even characters such as Lara Croft or the women in Mortal Kombat has had some significant changes on appearance but yet displayed the same attitude as before, showing us something that we may have missed when they first arrive on the roster. It's amazing that over the years, great writing and storytelling as well as fleshed out personality brought us these wonderful characters. Now there's nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of a female character, and sure having a sense of adult theme or attitude can help expand a character's value and be different. I even admit at times I do have love interest on a variety of characters, because of features or a certain item they have, but to say that being a sex symbol is the best part of character is just plain wrong. Play through the game, study up more on your favorite female character, read books, manga, comics, or blogs around the character. Know something about your favorite character and love ‘em for who they are.
  13. Come hang out with Zen and the Celestial Empire as we kick butt & take names! Stream Link Stream is in Eastern Standard Time.
  14. Come hang out with Zen and the Celestial Empire as we kick butt & take names! Stream Link Stream is in Eastern Standard Time.
  15. until
    Come hang out with Zen and the Celestial Empire as we kick butt & take names! Stream Link Stream is in Eastern Standard Time.
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