The 700th Blog Spectacularsaurus Indominous Alpha III

 

Welcome my friends, to the 700th blog spectacular(saurus Indominous Alpha 3)! That’s right, I’ve written a grand total of 700 blogs for this site! Oh, joy!

Ah yes, there are many ways to celebrate such a landmark blog, none of which are quite as good as a bombardment of gifs!

 

“The cuteness!”

Alrighty, that’s enough gifs (for now). Let’s move on to (relatively) serious matters.


 

Possible Changes

Partly inspired by my closest blogging ally, Matt from NintendoBound’s recent changes made to his site, and partly because my site is well over three years old now, but I’m thinking of making a few changes to my own site. First and foremost, I’ve wanted to change the layout for a while now, and even more so once an acquaintance told me he liked my reviews a lot, but found the site hard to navigate. I’m not sure when I’ll change the overall layout from the site, I guess once I find something clean and easy to use.

Also of note, I’ve been contemplating changing my rating system. Now, this doesn’t have to affect fellow Wizard Dojo writer After Story, but I was contemplating switching my .5 rating system to a “mostly” whole number system.

What do I mean by “mostly whole numbers?” Simple, numbers 1-8 would simply be 1 through 8, but when it comes to 9s, I would keep both 9.0s and 9.5s.

Granted, this does sound a bit silly, and if it is too silly, I certainly won’t do it. Although I’m not one to take myself too seriously, I do like to think my reviews have a degree of seriousness to them, so I wouldn’t want a rating system that discredits them.

However, if we’re going to be honest, most people don’t seem to care much about the “in-between” scores until you get to the 9s. That’s not to say that I don’t care, but the 9.5 certainly does say something more than any other .5s. I mean, it wouldn’t even be all that different from what I do now. If you look at my page explaining my scoring system, the 9.5 is the only ‘.5’ I gave a separate description for.

I like to think of it as being somewhat tongue-in-cheek about how serious gaming criticism often takes itself, but also serious enough that the ‘near-perfect’ score means something.

Again, if it sounds too nonsensical to have whole numbers, but then have a 9.5 staring you at the face, I won’t change things. But I do like the idea of keeping that ‘near-perfect’ score for the prestige of it.

I don’t know, I’ll let you people discuss it in the comments. Let me what you think of the idea of changing to the “near whole number system.” If anything, it’s silly-yet-serious enough to fit the tone of this site.

*Insert wrestling gif here*


 

Answer you Everything!

The third edition of my Ask Me Anything questions will now be answered!

Matt asked the following questions

If you could make one improvement to Breath of the Wild, what would it be?

Although Breath of the Wild is probably my favorite Zelda game, and a mostly flawless experience, I do really wish the primary dungeons (the Devine Beasts) were aesthetically different on the inside, and that their bosses were similarly differentiated. The dungeons themselves were great, but I wish they looked thematically different on the inside. And having all the major bosses looking so similar as derivatives of Ganon was a little disappointing. I would definitely have made more unique bosses.

Perhaps this isn’t necessarily an improvement, but an addition, but I would also include some dungeons separate from the Devine Beasts and the shrines. As in, a couple of traditional Zelda style dungeons as parts of optional quests. That would make for some meaty side quests, if anything.

Which would you prefer as the next release for Mario’s main line of games: a sequel for Odyssey or a sequel for Galaxy 2?

Honestly, you couldn’t go wrong with either. The Galaxy duo and Odyssey are basically the holy trinity of 3D platformers, so it’d be wonderful to see Galaxy 3 or Odyssey 2. Maybe a combination of both?

Given the time that’s passed since Galaxy 2, it might be interesting to see Galaxy 3 suddenly emerge. But again, no bad options here.

Should Metroid Prime go the way of Corruption and divide its map into different planets or be more like most Metroid games and feature one huge map located on a sole planet?

I’m always a fan of one big world in Metroidvanias, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing a small lineup of big worlds to explore. Again, no real bad options. As long as it keeps the Metroidvania style, I’m good.

Since we are getting a sequel to The Incredibles, are there any other Pixar franchises you think deserve a second installment?

Is it too soon to say Incredibles 3?

In all seriousness, Incredibles was the Pixar movie I (and many others) felt needed a sequel. But Pixar has made so many sequels now so close together (some great, others not so much), that the idea of a Pixar sequel sadly doesn’t feel as special as it once did (with that said, I’m still really looking forward to Incredibles 2).

I guess if I had to pick one, I’d say Inside Out, since it’s my favorite Pixar movie and the concept certainly has potential to tell another story. It would be risky, but outside of more Incredibles, Inside Out is the one I’d love to see more of.

 

Red Metal Asked the following questions

The state of gaming criticism is pretty dire if you ask me. If you had one piece of advice for gaming critics on how to improve, what would it be?

It’s kind of hard to narrow it down to only ‘one piece’ of advice, but if I guess I had to choose, I’d advise gaming critics to view games as games. It’s fine if some games want to be more cinematic and story-driven, but too often it seems like critics let things like presentation cloud their judgement. I get the feeling that many gaming critics praise a game for having a story, without stopping to think that having more story doesn’t automatically mean a good story. I don’t think gaming critics properly analyze such elements or how well they translate to the uniqueness of the video game experience, with many reviews being able to be summed up as “it’s good because story.”

It isn’t just story heavy games that get this kind of free pass, but it seems like if a game has the right level of hype or presentation, it ends up in a similar boat, whether they deserve the praise or not.

When the 2010s come to a close, do you see yourself declaring it the greatest decade in gaming?

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that. I hold to what I’ve said in the past that the 16-bit generation of the 1990s saw 2D gaming reach excellent new heights, but then the fact that 3D gaming came to prominence – in an unpolished infancy – kind of hit a reset button. I think in more recent years 3D gaming has reached similar heights to what 2D gaming did in the 16-bit days, and with indie games and such on the rise (and abandoning their more pretentious nature of the 2000s), there’s even more variety of quality games.

I mean, this is a decade that more or less started with Super Mario Galaxy 2. Doesn’t that just say it all?

Who is your favorite gaming critic?

This is one I may have to get back to you on, as I can’t think of a particular individual who stands out (unless we count my close blogging circle). I am a fan of the Angry Video Game Nerd, but I see him more as an entertainer than a critic. I also really enjoy the way Edge Magazine writes their reviews, but they also do so under the anonymous collective of “Edge,” so it’s hard to single anyone out. Although I don’t remember much of his contemporary reviews of the time, Lucas M. Thomas’ reviews of the Wii’s Virtual Console games at IGN certainly have left an impact. I’m not a fan of IGN (to put it gently), but those were some of the first examples of “retrospective reviews” I can remember getting into. I also liked that they were pretty short and to the point, and were basically summed up by whether or not the games held up or not. I wouldn’t say he’s my favorite gaming critic per se, but I still go back and read some of those Virtual Console reviews from time to time.

To go a little off-subject, I may even say the Wii Virtual Console itself played a large role in my desire to review games, since it put classics of the medium (and my youth) into contemporary criticisms.

Again, I’ll get back to you on a  favorite gaming critic. But I might say Matt from NintendoBound or that Red Metal fellow. 😉

Who is your least favorite gaming critic other than Yahtzee or Jim Sterling?

Well, there’s certainly no other gaming critics I revile as much as those two…not by a long shot.

Although one critic I can say I’m not a particular fan of is Jeff Gertsmann of Giant Bomb. I know, this is a controversial choice, because he was very much wronged by getting fired by GameSpot for giving honest critiques of games that happened to be sponsoring GameSpot (seriously, that sucks). But after seeing a few videos where he’s part of discussions with others, he has a tendency to just shout his opinions so no one else can get a word in edgewise. I don’t flat-out dislike the man or anything, but he doesn’t seem particularly professional when it comes to conversing with other editors.

Oh wait, if this counts, let’s say Tommy Tallarico. I know he’s primarily a video game composer (and a decent one at that), but he was also a part of ‘Reviews on the Run,’ and I remember he criticized games like Katamari Damacy for having “bad music” (?!) and said he wasn’t impressed by Mario Galaxy because he “wanted HD” and “wanted to unlock achievements” (basically, because it wasn’t on 360). A good composer maybe, but not a particularly good critic.

Alex9234 asked the following questions

Can you write an article about how toxic the Star Wars fanbase has become? Ever since Episode VIII came out the fanbase has become flat-out unbearable.

I’ve actually been meaning to write such a blog (or blogs) about just that subject. Though possibly in a telling sign of just how toxic Star Wars fans ave become, I actually feel annoyed just writing about such negativity. But I will get around to it, especially seeing as I’ve greatly enjoyed Disney’s Star Wars output.

Do you plan to review any of these games:
– Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
– Metroid Fusion
– Resident Evil 2
– the 3DS Senran Kagura games (Burst and Deep Crimson)

Yes, I would love to review all those games. Though the only one I’m currently in possession of is Metroid Fusion (via the Wii U Virtual Console). Once I have more money and have caught up a little on games released this year, perhaps I’ll finally get around to them.

What year would you consider to be the greatest for gaming?

I’m actually really tempted to say 2017. Though 1995, 1998, and 2007 were also excellent.

Do you plan to review more Lupin the 3rd content, like the TV Specials, the TV series, The Woman Called Fujiko, etc.? Discotek has localized a ton of Lupin stuff as of late.

I would love to review more Lupin III! I’ll try to check out the other Lupin movies, and once I start reviewing TV shows, I’ll probably add some Lupin III to that lineup as well.

What are your dream video game crossovers?

Ooh, good question. It may not be a video game crossover per se, but if From Software made a Dark Souls-esque Star Wars game, that would be something special.

But if we’re talking about a more direct video game crossover, I certainly would be up for a platformer in which the Super Mario and Donkey Kong Country series finally crossover. I mean, Nintendo has put DKC characters in Mario spinoffs (something they haven’t done with the Wario series and such), so they’re apparently okay with the ideas of those series sharing canons to some degree (not that they have a whole lot of canon to begin with). There are a few other Nintendo series I’d like to see crossover, but Mario/Donkey Kong (as in, the whole DKC universe, and not just another Mario vs. Donkey Kong game) seems the most realistic.

And of course I’d always be up for Square making another Mario RPG, and wouldn’t mind if they expanded on what they did with the Culex boss fight in SMRPG and made in a full-on, Mario/Final Fantasy crossover or something.

There are all kinds of crossover possibilities with video games, come to think of it. I don’t know where to even begin.

Dylan417 asked the following questions

How does reviewing games differ from reviewing movies?

Another really good question. I think the key difference is that, with movies, you can review them based on the story alone, and how well you think it was executed. But with video games, there are technical aspects that really can’t be ignored when reviewing them. With a movie, you can (but don’t have to) focus solely on the finished story, and keep the technical stuff to the side. But with video games, you kind of have to mention how well all the pieces come together (control, gameplay, graphics, etc.). Both are fun to write about, and I don’t have a preference between the two. But I think the biggest difference is that movie reviews can be all about your opinion of the movie itself, whereas with games, you kind of have to bring up some of the finer details.

Are there any games that you wish you could like but for whatever reason just cannot connect with?

There are a few, but I’ll go ahead and say the Elder Scrolls series. People go on and on about how great they are, and how easy it is to lose hours to them. And to a degree I can understand where they’re coming from. But every time I try playing one of the entries in the series, its sense of control always feels sluggish and unresponsive (some say it’s because your character wears armor, but I’ve never thought the armor-clad knights of Dark Souls felt unresponsive). I’ve heard a lot of people say you can download mods to make the game more to your liking, but that doesn’t really seem like a good answer, since mods should be used to change up a game, not bring it up to the status quo. I can understand the appeal of Elder Scrolls, with its open worlds and heavy mythology, but they’ve never really come across as particularly fun to me.

What does your dream scenario Pokemon Switch game look like?

In all seriousness, my dream Pokemon game for Switch would simply be the full-on Pokemon experience (the usual type of Pokemon adventure found in the handheld main entries), but that utilizes the full capacity of the Switch. Imagine a Pokemon game that looked like Super Mario Odyssey! Also, maybe streamline a few of the mechanics (namely, improving a Pokemon’s base stats), and find new ways to expand the series with its presence on a system that also works as a home console (imagine finding online battles with the smoothness of Mario Kart 8). It honestly wouldn’t have to be anything radically different, just the classic Pokemon experience capitalizing off the Switch’s abilities.

If we’re talking about spinoffs though, a sequel to Pokemon Snap is long overdue. Though Pokemon Snap has aged somewhat, the concept is still has so much charm and potential. Imagine what they could do with the concept with modern hardware? They can turn what was a short and simple N64 game into a huge adventure that features hundreds and hundreds of different Pokemon.


 

(Not Really) Frequently Asked Questions

These are things I wish people would ask me so I can answer them, but they don’t, but I’m answering them anyway.

What is the best/your favorite game you didn’t score a 10?

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Dark souls 3, Bloodborne and Super Mario 64 are also strong contenders, but DKC:TF takes the cake. AfterStory and the Miketendo64 guys can confirm this, but when I was reviewing the Switch version of the game, I was reeeally tempted to give it a 10. I ultimately didn’t, and I’m still not sure I made the right choice. It’s simply a platformer that just…gets it.

I may go so far as to say DKC: Tropical Freeze might earn a place among my top 10 favorite games. This might ultimately contradict my scoring system, since I may actually give ten games (maybe even slightly more) a perfect 10, but Tropical Freeze may still rank above some of them. A couple years ago this wouldn’t have been the case, when my maximum amount of 10s (at least under this site’s current criteria) wouldn’t have reached double digits. But with Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey both being released last year, and my recent re-evaluation of Undertale, the past few years have put a few extra 10s in my book. Who knows how I’ll decide to rank my favorite games when the day finally comes, but if I don’t have Tropical Freeze in the top 10, I may just be a big fat liar.

What is your favorite movie you didn’t score a 10?

Probably either Castle in the Sky or Princess Mononoke. But I’ll go ahead and say Castle in the Sky, since I actually did make some points to justify my 9.5 of Mononoke (it is an improvement over Nausicaa, but still somewhat derivative of it), whereas I really don’t have any complaints with Castle in the Sky. I really only didn’t give it a 10 because – in cases such as this, where the filmmaker behind the movie has such a stellar track record – I kind of rate them relatively to other films by said filmmaker or studio. And while I can’t find anything really wrong with Castle in the Sky, I do like a few other Miyazaki films more. So I guess in terms of most other movies, Castle in the Sky is a 10, but because I was comparing it to such an esteemed filmography as Miyazaki’s, it’s a 9.5.

Does that make me pretentious?

Do you plan on reviewing TV shows?

Yes! Though I’m still deciding how I want to go about doing that. For the obvious reasons that TV shows a bigger commitment than movies or even video games, I don’t see myself reviewing them as frequently, but I still think it’d be fun to do. But I’m still trying to decide if I want to review shows by season while highlighting a few exceptional or disappointing episodes (a review for every episode may be too much), or just review a series as a whole (which would obviously limit things to series that have already wrapped up and shorter series). I’m guessing the first method would be best.


 

Future Stuff!

Well, along with the aforementioned possible changes, there are a few other things I’m planning to do with the future of this site.

First off, I have been tempted to make a secondary site for my creative endeavors, such as drawing, creative writing, and detailing progress on my studies of game development in hopes of making my own video game someday in a (hopefully) not-too far off future. But I would only make a whole site dedicated to such things if I think enough people are interested.

Second, yes, I am still hoping to make my list of favorite video games sometime this year. In fact, my next video game review will be number 300, so I figured after that, it would be a good time to start conducting my list. Don’t expect it to be the next post after my 300th game review or anything, but that will probably be a good time to start putting it all together. It will also be a nice time to make an updated version of my Game of the Year for Every Year of my Life.

Thirdly, to compliment my list, I am still hoping some of my fellow bloggers would join in as well and make there own all-time favorite games lists (and hopefully we can link to each others lists through our own and make it into a ‘thing’). Anyone who’s interested can join in if they want, but I specifically nominate AfterStory (who writes for this site as well as his own), Matt from NintendoBound, and Red Metal of Extra Life Reviews.

In addition to this, I would also like to somehow make a conjoined list of greatest games of all time along with the above mentioned bloggers (separate from our individual lists of favorites). We could use different criterias and such, while also allowing our personal lists to play some role in our selections. The only problem is figuring out how to compile such a list, seeing as WordPress has no direct messaging, and talking about the finer details of such things in comment sections would just spoil it (and be kind of awkward). But if we could find a way to make it work, I think it’d be a fun little endeavor.


Okay, this 700th blog has gone on long enough. Actually, it went on long enough a long while ago. I mean, I should save the lengthy stuff for the 1000th blog or something.

At any rate, I hoped you enjoyed this self-indulgent nonsense, and hope you have a good day! Stay pretty!

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9 thoughts on “The 700th Blog Spectacularsaurus Indominous Alpha III

  1. Matt

    I am looking forward to the changes you will implement! And I like your current rating system, but I am also a fan of the whole-numbers-only style, obviously!

    Thanks for the answers and for the mention! =D

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. themancalledscott Post author

      Thanks! Hopefully it won’t be too long before the site becomes more accessible. I am now thinking I’ll probably stick with my current system (guess I just needed to write that dilemma out there). But who knows?

      Of course! Always happy to show my appreciation for your work and to answer your questions.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. veryverygaming

    Congratulations on reaching 700 posts! And wow, this is a monster length post to go along with it. Really enjoyed reading your answers, especially on game criticism.

    Although I don’t keep with modern reviews, so maybe this has changed, but I have definitely noticed this bias towards the most hyped, high profile big budget games. Hopefully indie games are changing this but I always felt there was a rigid set of criteria for what a game should include, that’s mostly based on trends.

    Essentially if games don’t tick all those boxes that suggest AAA, sprawling open world, online multiplayer and so on, they get downplayed or dismissed as average or bad value or whatever. I have plenty of examples that are near and dear to my heart, but you mentioned Tropical Freeze and that’s a example of it – after all it’s “just” a 2D platformer. You might say it’s a habit of reviewing a game’s ambition and budget rather than its execution.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. themancalledscott Post author

      Thank you very much! This was indeed a lengthy post to write. It was originally supposed to have a whole other section (“Fun Facts,” where I would have brought up my brief appearance – in a picture – in the AVGN’s recent EarthBound episode…now), but I spent so long writing the rest, I just forgot…

      I couldn’t agree more. There are a lot of problems with modern video game criticism that is just over-simplified (“open-world = good. Linear = bad” “story and immersion automatically make something good,” etc.). Saying they praise a game’s ambition and budget is an excellent way to put it. And yeah, in the eyes of many, something like Tropical Freeze would “just” be a 2D platformer, but that doesn’t change the fact that it kicks all of the ass.

      Like

      Reply
  3. Red Metal

    Congratulations on making it this far! Think you’ll end up making it to 1,500 posts?
    Weirdly enough, I’d say the dungeons are the biggest appeal of a Zelda game, yet two of my favorite entries are Breath of the Wild and Majora’s Mask.

    Yeah, after hearing “graphics don’t make the game” preached for the better part of two decades, the 2010s became a really jarring time for gaming criticism considering they’ve got against it time and time again. I want to say Limbo was the first time they made that mistake, and it only got worse from there. I have no objections to story-heavy games (as my OneShot and Undertale reviews demonstrate), but the problem is that many critics tend to parse them in terms of the medium itself. That’s why I feel a lot of the times that critics say a game has good writing, there’s an unsaid connotation that they think it’s good for a game whereas the question I ask is “Is it a well-written story?” That’s why I wasn’t impressed with The Last of Us; the writing came across as too complacent for its own good.

    I think this decade being considered the greatest in gaming is inevitable. Sure, it’ll take the community some time to realize that, but in all honesty, that’s nothing new. Those are some good years, and I personally would add 2011 to that list – the year that gave us Portal 2, Ace Attorney Investigations 2, and Dark Souls.

    Yeah, both Yahtzee and Jim Sterling are pretty dire. I’d say Jim is worse if only because he’s more inconsistent with his opinions. Plus, I believe he said about Undertale that Toby Fox doesn’t know when to let go of a joke. This is coming from the guy who ended half of his videos insulting Konami (even when a Konami game wasn’t being discussed). That said, I remember when he got in a fight with Digital Homicide, and they actually managed to give Jim the moral high ground. How do you do that?

    I want to say that what little I’ve heard of Jeff Gertsmann’s critiques makes me want to agree with you, though I’m not that familiar with his body of work.

    Meanwhile, Tommy Tallarico’s critiques don’t make any sense to me. It just comes across as sour grapes.

    Ah, thanks! I’m glad Matt and I have managed to surpass the gaming critical circle in your mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. themancalledscott Post author

      Yeah, I definitely se myself getting to 1500 posts eventually. I don’t have any plans to stop writing here. Even if life gets super busy and things move on, the worst I can see is simply that I slow down with it.

      Video game criticism has just become too ‘on-the-surface.’ It seems like anything that makes even a half-assed attempt at a serious story is considered some artistic landmark. Same goes for presentation, open-world games (a game is linear?! It must be bad!), etc. The humorous irony of independent critics like Yahtzee and Sterling like to think they’re going against tropes and are some kind of trailblazers, but they follow their own set of ignorances (indie automatically means good, sequels are automatically bad, etc.). I’ve never heard of Digital Homicide, but now I’m kind of glad I haven’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    2. themancalledscott Post author

      Also, yes, 2011 deserves to be ranked as one of the all-time great gaming years. I actually almost listed it with the others…don’t know why I didn’t. Any year that brought the world Dark Souls and Portal 2 (which is way better than the first, I don’t care what anyone says) has to be up there. Also, 1996! How did I forget that? Super Mario RPG, Super Mario 64, DKC3, Kirby Super Star, Nights Into Dreams all in the same year? Yes please!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. dylan417

    Interesting thoughts in your replies. I’m quite the stranger to actually writing a review for a movie or a game but I always try to critique them in my own mind and keep a ledger of sorts of the movies I’ve watched and games I’ve played, sorted and scored. I think there’s science and mechanics behind both, but they are far more visible in games when they don’t work. And then there’s preference, which leads into your second reply. I’ve tried a few times at writing reviews but I always struggled with the concept of objectivity. Do I try and break things down with a weighted criteria or do I just go with my heart… These are the questions I’d ask myself and they ultimately turn me away from trying to review something in writing. For example, your Elder Scrolls vs Dark Souls comparison. I see the praise in Dark Souls and would even admit that the series has better gameplay, but I greatly prefer TES. The feeling of booting up my save in Skyrim on PS4, and embarking on a new adventure each time I enter that game world with the scenery and the music and the environmental storytelling. The core gameplay gets old, fighting the same handful of enemy types over and over again, but everything else keeps me coming back. Weird, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Responding to Blogging Awards + Wizard Dojo Fun Facts! | Wizard Dojo

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