Sometimes, we more or less know what to expect from video games. Sure, you never know for sure until you play them. But usually, if there’s a game you’re going to play, you’ll know it when you see it. Whether its long-standing murmurs leading into a not-so-surprise announcement, or a game that simply looks to be ticking all your boxes, it’s usually no secret which games speak to us.
Sometimes, however, video games can take us by surprise. Whether it’s a genuinely surprising announcement that comes out of seemingly nowhere, or a game that proves its experience to be far more memorable than its initial appearance, sometimes games can surprise us in the best ways.
Winner: Deltarune: Chapter 1
Hey, look at that! Undertale got a kind of/sort of sequel!
Okay, so calling Deltarune a sequel to Undertale (even a “kind of/sort of” one) is a little misleading. But Toby Fox’s sophomoric effort does feel like a rightful follow-up to his stunning debut game.
After teasing something big on Twitter in late October 2018, Toby Fox released Deltarune: Chapter 1 the very next day! And for free! Suffice to say, it was quite the surprise.
It’s true that Deltarune isn’t a finished game (that “Chapter 1” in the title isn’t just for show). And unfortunately, it sounds like the full game won’t be finished for quite some time, with Toby Fox suggesting he’ll need to get a team of people together in order to finish it in anything resembling a reasonable development schedule (as opposed to Undertale, which Mr. Fox created almost entirely). So who knows when, or if, we’ll see Deltarune in its entirety.
For now though, let’s just enjoy that Undertale has any kind of follow-up at all.
Oh no, is it time again for a filler post? I guess so.
In my defense, I will be away for a few days, so I figured I’d drop a little update about what I plan on writing when I get back. Maybe I’ll even write about my trip. Hopefully writing my plans down will help me get to them post-haste once I’m back (because history has proven that to be the case with me, right?).
Anyway, I’ve recently seen both Shazam! and the live-action Dumbo, and plan on reviewing both. I’m hoping to catch Missing Link as well, and if I do, I’ll review that too! Also, with Avengers: Endgame nearly upon us, I’ll try to get around to reviewing the other three Avengers films during the lead up.
Yes, I also plan on finally, actually and for real getting to my movie and video game awards for 2018 when I get back. I also have a few extra game reviews in mind, but I may wait to get to them until May, depending on how quickly I get the other stuff I mentioned done.
And as I’ve mentioned in the past, I really, really hope to start doing both TV reviews, and top 5/10 lists. I have a small handful of TV series in mind. As for the lists, I think I’ll start with a ranking of the modern Disney animated features (Princess and the Frog to today), which I’ve made no secret is my favorite generation of Disney animated features. After that I’ll do the logical next step and make my list of all-time favorite Disney animated films (spoiler, there will be some similarities between both lists). I might make a new edition of my ranking of the Pixar films as well, now that they’ve reached the twenty film milestone and have Toy Story 4 in the near future.I guess Kingdom Hearts 3 got me in a really ‘Disney’ mood as of late (hey, that game did something right).
Of course, I plan to do my long-promised lists of Best Nintendo Systems, Nintendo Franchises, and things of that nature.
Naturally, I don’t plan on cranking these out the day I get return, but within April/May-ish, and maybe June. For the record, I’m actually only going to be gone a couple of days. I don’t know why I’m making it sound like I’m going to be gone a while. Maybe I just wanted an excuse to write something?
So I hope you enjoy what I have in store when I make my triumphant return! I have some even bigger ideas planned to expand my brand (rhymes). But because I have a bad tendency to promise too many things I can’t deliver in a reasonable amount of time, I’m going to hold off on revealing them just yet. But stay tuned. And stay beautiful.
I’ve made it no mystery that my love of video game music rivals my love of video games themselves. Though I’m no musician, I can appreciate (and am often mystified by) what music can do both on its own and for other mediums. Though there are a number of film scores that have left an impact on me (namely Joe Hisaishi’s work on Hayao Miyazaki’s filmography), for the most part, I think the musical side of my heart belongs to video game scores. Whether it’s the infectious soundtracks of the Mega Man series, the atmospheric sounds of Donkey Kong Country, or the epic scores of Dark Souls, video game music continues to shape and mold my creativity as much as video games themselves.
As such, I not only have a rather impressive collection of video game soundtracks (if I do say so myself), but frequently seek out remixes, covers and live performances of video game music. And a number of months ago, I discovered one of the best.
L’Orchestre de Jeux Video is an ongoing orchestra that specializes in video game music. As someone who has frequently sought out video game orchestras, I do believe L’Orchestra de Jeux Video (or ‘OJV’ for short) is the most consistently excellent I have discovered so far.
Some of their performances reflect the original feeling of the music they’re covering, brought up to the epic score of an orchestra. Other times, they recreate classic pieces in new ways, bringing new appreciation to both the pieces in question as well as OJV’s abilities.
Seriously, I can’t speak highly enough about what OJV does. Oftentimes when I’m writing a review late at night, I listen to their performances, and I swear it helps my creative juices flow, and even some of my trickier reviews start coming together. I guess you could argue that a number of my writings owe a little something to OJV.
But enough jib jab from me, here are some of my favorite performances from OJV, direct from their own YouTube channel.
Let’s start with one of my all-time favorites, Super Mario Galaxy.
A little Banjo-Kazooie always does the heart good.
Here’s an entire performance dedicated to my main man, Bowser.
Some Undertale music, because that’s always wonderful.
Of course, you can never go wrong with the iconic Dr. Wily theme.
And naturally, I of all people have to include their performances of Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario RPG. I just hope they do some more covers from them in the near future, because you can never have too much of a good thing.
If you would like to find out more about L’Orchestra de Jeux Video, you can check out their website here. Or you can find more of their performances on their official YouTube channel. It’ll be well worth the time of any lover of video game music.
Oh no, am I doing another one of these filler posts? Sadly, I am, but with reason. In my last January update, I mentioned I was planning on reviewing some big games during the month (namely God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), and that I plan on doing (at least) one top 5 list and one top 10 list per month. Obviously, I’m running out of time in January to get all that done. There’s maybe time to squeeze in another big review before January ends, but not all of these things. So I’m here to apologize. I should still be able to get to all of these soon, however. But sorry I couldn’t get it all done when I planned.
As for the top 5/top 10 lists, I do plan to start doing those on a monthly basis, and it does suck that I couldn’t start on the first month of a new year. But, as always, better late than never, I suppose. I will say I am working on my list of Top 10 Nintendo Systems as we speak (err…as I write), which I planned to have up for a couple of weeks, but have backpedaled on the ordering of said list numerous times, thus postponing it (I know the top 4 for sure, but I keep flip-flopping the others).
So yeah, sincerest apologies for more filler, but I’d hate to have mentioned doing those reviews/lists this month, not do them, and then say nothing of it. So I hope you look forward to them. On the plus side, this filler post brings me closer to my 800th blog milestone, and these delayed posts should probably push me to said milestone. Then it’s off to my 2018 video game awards, and beyond. But I’ll keep that “beyond” a secret for now.
Let’s take a moment to talk about wrestling once again. This time, it’s the 2019 edition of WWE’s Royal Rumble, the first of WWE’s “big four pay-per-views” in the calendar year and probably WWE’s most loved PPV aside from Wrestlemania. Now, if you include the pre-show, this Royal Rumble went on for nearly seven hours, I’m going to try and keep my synopsis as short as possible. And I’m skipping the pre-show bits. Now let’s get started.
Becky Lynch vs. Asuka (C) for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
The pay-per-view proper started off with a bang, as Becky Lynch challenged Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a great match. Surprisingly, Asuka won completely clean by making Becky Lynch tap out, but they found a way to end the show making both women look strong, and it was such a strong match that Becky still looked strong in defeat.
The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) (C) vs. the Miz and Shane McMahon for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
This match was…okay. Everyone involved pulled off some strangely stiff shots on each other, and Shane McMahon got some time to do his usual ‘he’s-too-old-to-be-doing-that-kind-of-thing’ top-rope stuff, including ending the match with a Shooting Star Press for the win and the tag team titles.
Ronda Rousey (C) vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship
This match should have been better than it was. Not bad, but with how much progress Ronda Rousey has made in her year as a wrestler, and how good Sasha Banks always has been, it was a bit clunky. Rousey retained of course, and I don’t see her losing the title (or a match) until Wrestlemania.
30-Woman Royal Rumble match
This felt like the proper Royal Rumble of the night, and should have gone on last. Not a whole lot of surprise entrants, but we had the ironwoman of the match (Natalya Neidhart), the blink and you’ll miss it entrant (Liv Morgan), and all that jazz. It wasn’t anything too special, until Becky Lynch interrupted the entrance of an injured Lana, took her spot in the match (which makes no sense, but don’t worry about it), and went on to win the Rumble despite being beaten and battered after her war with Asuka. Great finish that, again, probably should have closed the night.
Daniel Bryan (C) vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship
As expected for two wrestlers of this world class caliber, the in-ring action was stellar. The ending, on the other hand… kind of random. Erick Rowan (AKA the guy who was one half of a tag team whose gimmick was carrying around giant mallets for all of last year) made his return, and conveniently showed up about a minute before the referee got knocked out, gave AJ Styles a choke slam, and helped Daniel Bryan retain the title. Because reasons.
This was just an utterly random ending. And if this were the route they were going with, couldn’t Rowan have entered the fray sooner? I get that it’s a show, but having the guy who’s bound to interfere enter the scene mere seconds before he’s supposed to do his thing kind of crushes the suspension of disbelief.
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Finn Balor for the WWE Universal Championship
Look, I get it. WWE has some bizarre infatuation with Brock Lesnar, despite the fact that his “special attraction” aura disintegrated years ago now. I knew Finn Balor wasn’t winning this. And to their credit, WWE did give Balor a lot of really good offense. So he almost looked good in defeat.
I say ‘almost’ because WWE decided to give the match a crap finish by making Finn Balor tap out after a less-than ten minute match. Okay, I get that the show was obnoxiously long already, but was this really the match to trim down? And making Balor tap out kind of undermined the whole “David vs. Goliath” story they were going for. Couldn’t they have made him pass out from taking too much punishment and refusing to give up or something? You know, an ending that would play into his heroism, even in defeat. And what about after the match? Balor just got destroyed by Lesnar some more! What was the point? Who benefits from this? I mean, other than Vince McMahon and his fetish for overplayed acts?
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
This was decent, but not as good as the Women’s Rumble. Seth Rollins won, of course. Narratively speaking, they haven’t built up anyone else who could have won (unless they did for Finn Balor what they did for Becky Lynch). So it was a pretty obvious conclusion, but at least they didn’t show a video package ahead of the show that more or less screamed who the winner would be like they did with Randy Orton in 2009.
The only real noteworthy story was that Nia Jax, after having been eliminated in the Women’s Rumble, beat up R-Truth during his entrance and took his place (again, don’t think about it too hard). She managed to eliminate Mustafa Ali, before taking a super kick from Dolph Ziggler, 619 from Rey Mysterio, and an RKO from Randy Orton before being tossed out (you would think she would have eliminated more people if WWE went through the trouble of adding this mini-narrative…but again, we’re talking about the company who still thinks the idea of Brock Lesnar as champion warrants a shred of interest).
Overall, it was an okay show. The Royal Rumble matches are always fun to watch as they happen, but after the fact you can think about how well everything played out. And well, the Rumble winners were expected but deserving, and the in-ring work of every match was solid. But the ending to Daniel Bryan/AJ Styles (a match that needed no screwy finish), and especially the ending of Lesnar/Balor really dampened the show. And with a five-is hour main card, and a total of seven hours including the pre-show, and the 2019 Royal Rumble was another example of a modern WWE pay-per-view being waaay too long.
The only other noteworthy bit to take away from the show is that Kacy Catanzaro and Naomi out-Kofi Kingston Kofi Kingston. That is to say, Catanzaro and Naomi saved themselves from elimination in their Rumble match in more creative (and believable) fashion than Kofi Kingston did. I always enjoy the Kofi Kingston spots we get to see every year during the Royal Rumble, but this year Kofi did two, both of which seemed derivative of previous spots from yesteryear, and both of which I swear both of his feet hit the ground anyway.
An okay show, and hopefully Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch’s victories mean things will pick up from here. And here’s hoping that something will actually come out of Finn Balor’s loss, instead of him just being another unnecessary burial to Lesnar. Far from the best Rumble (I don’t think it was nearly as entertaining as last year’s edition), but not the worst either (that would be 2015).