The Sunshine Blogger Award

As it happens in the WordPress universe every once in a while, there is a tag going around and I have been selected by Red Metal from Extra Life Reviews to take part in the fun. I used to let a lot of these tags go by without ever replying to them, not because I do not like or appreciate the whole game, but because I ended up telling myself I would write about them later only to completely forget my mental note until it was already too late.

However, given it is fun to write about different topics every once in a while, and also as a way to make my appreciation for the mention be known, I have recently made a point to try to reply to all of them if possible. Therefore, let’s get to it. As usual, Red Metal has created some pretty thoughtful questions and I hope my answers do them justice.


1- Between music, film/television, and game critics, which do you find the least consistently reliable?

It’s music critics, by far. Personally, this is not a matter of not trusting critics that work in that realm. There are plenty of opinions on music, be them by professionals or amateurs, that I enjoy reading. The problem is that, out of all these categories, music is easily the most subjective one.

Frank Zappa once said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture (or at least I believe it was him, because you never know with these quotes nowadays). And even though I know the purpose of that sentence is to mock the work of music critics, which is something I obviously would not do given I like to write about music, I agree with it in the sense that using words to describe songs is awfully hard and perhaps even futile. It all gets even more complicated when you take into account that one’s perception of music is strongly attached to the feelings elicited by the tunes, which will greatly vary according to the listener. That characteristic makes the whole task of evaluating and describing music be extremely personal, subjective, and – therefore – prone to errors as well as unreliability.

2- Between music, film/television, and game critics, which do you find the most consistently reliable?

It may be strange for me to say so, but other than the game reviews I read here in WordPress, I haven’t read a full game review in a while, because I usually already know whether or not I should buy a title based on gameplay videos alone and sometimes due to the fact they are entries from franchises I enjoy.

Still, I will go with game critics here. Undoubtedly, they are, like any other type of critic, vulnerable to being influenced by the hype surrounding a work. But I think game reviews are more reliable thanks to how the characteristics that make or break games tend to be less subjective than those that do the same for music, film, and television. Yes, there is still a degree of personal taste at work here, because it is perfectly possible for someone to enjoy the gameplay, story, music, and graphics of a title while somebody else is totally unmoved by them. But matters like bad controls, boring mechanics, or lack of creativity in design are easier to build a consensus around than saying a song is dull or a movie is not enjoyable. For that reason, game critics are more reliable.

3- What was your single worst theatergoing experience?

I have already mentioned this theatergoing experience here as an answer to another question, but I have to mention the time I went to see Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life with a friend. We were not familiar with the highly unusual style of the director and went to watch it due to the critical hype surrounding the movie. Thankfully, we had gotten the tickets for free, so the fact the highbrow nature of the film left us (and most of the audience) bored was not so bad.

In order not to fully repeat myself, I will also mention the day I went to watch Frozen with a bunch of Disney aficionado friends. We absolutely loved the film, which easily ranks among my favorites by the studio despite its overexposure, but unluckily there were a couple of people sitting right behind us that were annoying beyond belief. They must have been in their late teens, and I have no idea why they decided to watch the movie given all they did was mock what the characters were saying and make fun of the songs through most of Frozen’s running time. Their behavior did not ruin the experience completely, but it came quite close.

4- What was your single best theatergoing experience?

That one goes to Mad Max: Fury Road. I had never watched a flick of the franchise until the day I went to the theater to catch that one, and I am very glad I did. I was partially excited on account of everything I had read about the movie (which was not that much material), and accompanying me was a friend of mine who was totally oblivious to it; I remember she told me she had accepted my invitation just because she wanted to hang out.

Until this day, I remember walking out of the theater and being in awe at the thrill of the experience, and my previously uninterested friend was almost jumping with excitement as well. We sat and talked for a while about how we could not remember ever having such a mind-blowing theatergoing experience. And since that day, no other movie has come close to making me walk out of the room with such a feeling.


5- Do you think a lousy ending can completely ruin an otherwise great work?

I know Red Metal, who asked that question, would answer with a firm yes here, and I can certainly understand why, but I have got to say no. Sure, it is very disappointing for a film or book that was engaging all the way through to go out with an unfulfilling ending, but I cannot ignore or diminish the value of the enjoyable experience that came before the clumsy conclusion.

To me, a lousy ending does not mean an otherwise great work is ruined. It just means a great work could have been a lot better or fully realized.

6- Do you think an incredible payoff can redeem an otherwise middling (or even bad) work?

Maybe this answer is a bit contradictory given what I wrote previously, but I say yes to this one. A great ending can make the boredom of what came before it seem better. I cannot think of any examples of that right now, but an incredible payoff can either redeem an otherwise boring work or maybe even transform the dullness that preceded it into material that is interesting in hindsight.

7- Do you feel the price increase of AAA games was justifiable or not?

I am on the fence about the justifiable part, honestly. Games have always been expensive to me, since I live in a third world country with a devalued currency that has gotten even more devalued in recent years. However, I will say it feels like this was inevitable. The development cycle of games, especially the big projects by the big developers, has gotten a lot longer, so it is natural to assume the cost of producing a major title has gone up. In other words, I do not think this is just a matter of companies trying to squeeze more cash out of customers just because that is what happens in a capitalistic society.

Based on that last statement, perhaps I do think it was justifiable. But I remain neutral in that matter because I am absolutely sure some publishers out there will take advantage of that increase in price to charge more for games that have no business costing full price. So the justifiable evaluation will largely depend on what product we are talking about, I guess.

8- What work did you like as a kid only for you to realize it doesn’t hold up at all?

South Park Rally, for the Nintendo 64. I actually wrote a review for it sometime ago because I decided to revisit it, and it definitely does not hold up. Back when I rented games almost every week, South Park Rally was one of my most frequent choices, alongside Mario Tennis and Mario Golf. I was aware the game had been critically destroyed, but I loved to play it and I thought the races with different rules were quite a fun concept. In a way, I still think so, but their execution left a lot to be desired, since the game is plagued with all sorts of technical problems.


9- What work did you not like as a kid only for you to later realize it’s amazingly good?

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It might sound sacrilegious, but the explanation is pretty silly. When the game came out, I was about eight years old and did not know much English. I still remember renting the game to give it a try only to drop it before leaving Kokiri Forest because I could not figure out what to do, so I kept randomly running around the place for hours. Later that month, I had the chance to buy either Ocarina of Time or Bomberman Hero for my Nintendo 64, and I opted for the latter because I had not liked the former, which in hindsight must have been one of the worst choices ever made in the history of buying games. Maybe being unable to play a game due to linguistic limitations is not exactly the same as not liking it, but if you had asked me back then if I enjoyed the experience, I would have said no for sure.

10- Are there any podcasts you listen to regularly?

People have recommended dozens of podcasts to me, and I am sure some of them would keep me interested in the long run, but the answer here is no. The reason for that is simple: I just listen to too much music, so I have little time left for podcasts.

11- What is the most bizarre combination of ingredients you enjoy?

I am not sure how bizarre the combination is, but long ago there was a popular pizza chain here in Brazil that had a pizza flavor that was basically a regular cheese pizza (minus the tomato sauce) with a few strips of dark chocolate over it. I just loved it, and even though I have not eaten it in a while, I would definitely do it again if they still had it (the flavor was discontinued a while back). So if it qualifies as bizarre, my choice would be cheese and chocolate. They both go quite well together.

According to the rules of The Sunshine Blogger Award, I am supposed to tag other people and ask a set of eleven questions. Well, maybe it is a set of ten questions, but since I got asked eleven of them I am assuming that is the correct number. But since I am all for breaking the rules, I choose to skip that part and simply mention other fellow bloggers whose work I admire. Some of these are not even active anymore, like Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews, but they remain great sources for reading content.

I hope I did not forget anyone, but I am pretty sure I did. So I apologize in advance.


Aphoristic Album Reviews

Defy the Majority

Double Jump

Everything Is Bad For You

Extra Life Reviews

Indie Gamer Chick

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)

Ladies Gamers


Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews

Professional Moron

Recollections of Play

Stuff and That

The Below Average Blog

The Duck of Indeed

The Top 100 Reviews

Virtual Bastion

Wizard Dojo

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