Wednesday, January 02, 2019

My Top 10 Albums of 2018

Listing things makes you appreciate them more, probably.

EDIT 7/1/19: Updated due to the fact that like an absolute berk I'd forgotten the Decemberists had an album out that I liked last year.  Well done me.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

My Top 10 Films of 2018

Movies!  That I saw!  That I liked!  In an order!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Further evidence

Seriously, look at her go!  Even if having a five-stringer is slightly cheating in my eyes.


Under recent evidence, I think Misa from Band-Maid may actually be the best bassist working in rock at the moment.  Observe.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sinny ma

I think this month might be the most I've ever been to the cinema.

Week 1: 2 movies (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Post)
Week 2: 1 movie (Mary and the Witch's Flower)
Week 3: 1 movie (Ready Player One)
Week 4: 2 movies (The Shape of Water and Rampage)

For the record, Three Billboards is the best.  Well, I'm actually seeing Rampage in an hour but I suspect it won't be as good.  Still, you never know...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Top Ten Games of 2017

And with this, I've run out of ideas for lists.

10. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Tried all the Uncharteds except 4, never got what the fuss was.  This, on the other hand, is a delight.

9.  Horizon Zero Dawn
Not actually got as far in this as I probably should have, because I keep getting distracted by making pretty pictures in the photo mode.  Still great when I remember to play the actual game though.

8.  Persona 5
Not got that far in this either (I think I'm getting giant-game-fatigue), but what I have played tells me this is special.

7.  Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
Discussed this already.  tl;dr - it's a welcome return to Resi of old, made fresh by the first-person perspective.

6.  Sonic Mania
Several levels are too long, about half the bosses are shite and more new designs would have been welcome.  But my goodness it's wonderful to have a properly, indisputably brilliant new Sonic game.

5.  Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
The fact that - gasp! - all the minigames are both comprehensible and enjoyable means that gameplay-wise this is the best Danganronpa yet.  Plotting's as excellent as ever, to the point that not even learning who the evil mastermind was before I started playing it didn't ruin it for me.

4.  Prey
Not quite as good as it should have been, but it has moments of brilliance, superlative world-building and is filled with more original ideas than it knows what to do with.

3.  What Remains of Edith Finch
Aptly described by some matey on Twitter as "WarioWare, but emotional", this game never stops pulling you up short.  The cannery sequence will linger in my mind for years to come.

2.  The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo give the open-world concept a whirl and of course they master it straight off.  The most innovative Zelda since the first one - maybe the best?

1.  Life is Strange: Before the Storm
A prequel to a game that didn't need one by a completely different development team with none of the original voice cast returning.  This should have been wretched.  But it's absolutely brilliant and brings out more subtleties in the original game.  The sequence where you act in a production of The Tempest is my gaming moment of the year.

My Top Ten Albums of 2017


10. Concrete and Gold - Foo Fighters

9. The Amazons - The Amazons

8. Whiteout Conditions - The New Pornographers

7. Still Hungry - DJ Format & Abdominal

6. Everything Now - Arcade Fire

5. Hug of Thunder - Broken Social Scene

4. Just Bring It - Band-Maid

3. Migration - Bonobo

2. Music from Before the Storm - Daughter

1. Something to Tell You - Haim

(I should point out that Daughter track's probably the weakest on the album but the only one I could find in full on the YouTubes.)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Top Ten Films of 2017

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  The time that I point out that this list includes films from 2016 that I saw in the cinema in 2017 so they totally count, and also there are a bunch I didn't get round to so don't complain about the lack of Get Out, The Florida Project, The Big Sick, It, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Wonder Woman etc.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Root Letter

Finished my first playthrough of Root Letter this evening.  It's...interesting.

The fact that said first playthrough took about eight hours but I've had the game since it came out last autumn indicates the game's quality.  The writing (and I'm not sure if it's the original script or the translation) is frequently terrible to the point of being a) hilarious, b) incomprehensible or c) both, and the gameplay is similar.  While presented as a typical visual novel, it tries to ape the peerless Ace Attorney with investigation sequences and bits where you quiz characters, but they're so poorly done that you frequently end up employing a trial-and-error approach.  And as for the bizarre "Max Mode" sections where you basically have to press X at the right time to shout at someone with precisely the right amount of vigour...well.

And yet, I'm planning to go back and get the other endings, and eventually the true ending.

The base script may be frequently awful (although it does have its moments), but the overall story is excellent, and the characterisation is spot-on.  It's essentially a meditation on growing up - the core plot is that your character is trying to track down his penpal from his teenage years by using her old correspondence to identify her former classmates.  It might help that all the characters are close to my own age, but at times it really resonated as these well-rounded individuals reflected on their teenage years and how near or far they've stuck to their childhood goals.

It's also almost comically pretty.  The game's set in Matsue, the capital city of Shimane prefecture, and was apparently developed with the aid of the city's tourist board and dammit, it worked.  I definitely want to visit Matsue now.  (The soundtrack and voice acting are both very good, too.)

Basically, it's kind of successful at what it does.  But what it really needs is a good anime adaptation so you can skip the whole "game" bit.  In the absence of same, back to my save file to see the other endings I go.