Earlier this year I received a wave of different nominations for various blogging awards by a number of gracious bloggers. I figured that’d be the end of things, but it turns out that you folks weren’t done with me yet. I’ve been nominated for three more Sunshine Blogger Awards, which are granted to bloggers that spread happiness and cheer. Now I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly happy person, but apparently my online persona has managed to successfully fabricate the appearance of joy and spread it to other people! My mission today is to answer the huge string of questions I received from the folks who nominated me and to say thanks to them for nominating me in the first place.
This first set of questions comes from the amazing NekoJonez, a man whose unending support for other bloggers in this community goes unmatched. He’s a cool guy and a friend to everyone he meets, and the fact that someone like that nominated me for spreading sunshine is a pretty humbling award. He asked a total of ten questions that I’ll be answering, so let’s dive right in!
1. Explain as poorly as you can how Minecraft or Pokemon works.
Abandoned by his father and ignored by his overworked mother, an elementary school student kidnaps wild animals and pits them against other kids’ animals for money and permission to deforest the country.
2. Explain a game cryptically and let your readers guess which game or series it is.
A silent hero must journey across a medieval land to slay an evil wizard. The real challenge: guessing which game this isn’t.
3. Do you sell games that you have completed/beaten or keep them in a collection?
I keep all of my games in case I want to play them again in the future. The only games I sell back are the ones I flat out don’t like, and I usually don’t beat those because they’re too lousy to finish.
4. Which game/genre does interest you quite a lot but you are unable to get into the actual game/genre?
Xenoblade Chronicles (the first one, not the new one). I was really interested in the story of that game but when I tried playing it, it literally bored me to sleep on a regular basis. The MMO-style gameplay lacks interactivity and I felt like the combat loop of Stun-Break-Topple (or whatever it was) was really difficult to engage with thanks to the cruddy AI. I enjoyed the characters and I thought that Shulk’s struggle to understand his visions and how his actions did or didn’t bring them about was fascinating, but the gameplay just didn’t work for me.
5. Do you think that there will ever be an amazing video game movie?
I think it is possible, but that it’s not going to happen until the creative minds behind the film realize that shoving the full plot of an established video game is never going to be as good as just playing the actual video game. Why would I watch Ocarina of Time: The Movie try to shove a dozen hours of gameplay into two hours when I can just play Ocarina of Time and get the full experience? Movies are a short, contained experience that’s quite different from the more elongated experience provided by video games. When a film is inspired by a video game without directly trying to copy it, when a film dares to experiment and tell a unique new story within an existing game world, that’ll be a good start on the path to making a truly amazing video game film.
6. Would you ever consider blogging full time as a job?
I’m…honestly not sure. There was a time where I would have said “heck yes” to that, but I know for some folks that turning a hobby into a career can seriously harm your passion for the hobby. I know from personal experience that studying theater intensively for four years soured my love for acting to the point where I didn’t want to pursue that as a career anymore – I think for now I’m pretty happy with keeping my hobbies and my career as very separate entities.
7. I haven’t got a Switch yet! Quickly, recommend me a game.
I’m gonna try to recommend something a little more unique by recommending Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. There are other great Switch games but I’m sure other bloggers have already mentioned them, and Mario + Rabbids was surprisingly delightful. It has engaging strategy battles combined with fun (if simple) puzzles and lots of quirky humor. I loved my time with the game and am really looking forward to the Donkey Kong DLC story chapters in June or July.
8. If you had to choose between Sony, PC or Nintendo platforms and emulation DIDN’T exist, which platform would you choose and why?
I basically have already made this decision and chose Nintendo. I do own a PS4, but I almost never touch it. While there are some games for the console that I have enjoyed and some others I still want to play, the Switch’s portability appeals to me on a level that I didn’t anticipate when the hybrid console was first announced. Another contributing factor is that my wife prefers the PS4 and does a lot of socializing by gaming with friends online, and I feel kinda like a jerk for being like “hey, can you stop hanging out with your friends so I can play a game all by myself? Kthanxbai.” Besides, Nintendo has nearly ALL of the ongoing series that I love to play: Mario, Zelda, Fire Emblem, Phoenix Wright – it’s really no contest for me.
9. What is the platform you grew up on and tell us some fond memories?
I grew up primarily on the Nintendo 64, and golly were there lots of good games on that console. Star Fox 64, Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Paper Mario, Mario Party, Kirby and the Crystal Star, Banjo Kazooie, Mario Kart, Chameleon Twist, Mischief Makers, Mystical Ninja – I could keep going, really. My best memories, though, are those I made with my mother. She wouldn’t identify as a gamer but back in the day we’d play together all the time. When I was really little, she’d help me beat the levels I couldn’t finish myself, and we developed a mutual hatred for the Macbeth level in Star Fox 64 that persists to this day. She’s also the reigning Shy Guy Says champion, but I’m confident that if we ever get the chance to play Mario Party again I’ll be able to claim that title for myself.
10. Tell here a random story you want to share with your readers.
A random story, huh? Unfortunately for me, the first one that comes to mind is my “most embarrassing story.” Or, well, definitely a top contender for that title. So one time in college I was sitting around a table with a bunch of our friends and my girlfriend at the time. We were, ironically, going around the table and sharing our most embarrassing stories. I told them about how one time at drama camp in middle school, I saw a girl across the cafeteria who was very good looking. I was watching her instead of where I was going and walked face-first into a column, dropping my tray and all of my food onto the floor, drawing laughter from everyone in the cafeteria. When I finished the story, my girlfriend asked “how come you’ve never stared at me like that?” Without thinking I answered “oh it’s not that I haven’t, I just got way better at staring at girls.” I guess it all worked out because she still married me (surprise, it was my wife the whole time!), but the look she gave me then could have frozen lava.
That brings us to the end of Jonez’s questions, so now we’ll jump to the second Sunshine Blogger award. This one I received from Free Time = Game Time, a blog that I actually hadn’t heard of until they nominated me for the award! This was certainly a pleasant surprise and I’ll be checking out this blog to see what kind of content you can find there. In the meantime, I’ll answer all 11 questions asked of me there!
1. What is your Hogwarts house and do you agree with the stereotypes of that house?
This is an interesting question because when I took the quiz on Pottermore (which my wife tells me is THE place to find out your house) I actually scored so evenly on Gryffindor and Ravenclaw that it finally just asked me which of the two I preferred. I ended up choosing Ravenclaw as I don’t think of myself as a particularly brave/heroic person. I don’t think any person meets all of the stereotypes of their house, and the very fact that I could choose between two is indicative of that. It’s not like my personality changed by choosing Ravenclaw over Gryffindor, so obviously there’s some overlap in qualities.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers (and do explain why)?
Alright, confession time: I didn’t watch either of these shows as a kid. I don’t remember if Ninja Turtles was off the table but I was expressly forbidden to watch Power Rangers because of the violent content. So, uh, I’m gonna say Ninja Turtles, just because I am at least able to name them, something I can’t say for the Power Rangers.
3. The last thing you ate, and did you enjoy it? Or did you just eat it to sustain your human vessel?
I actually JUST finished eating some pizza as I was writing this post. It was decent, but there was definitely an element of sustaining my human vessel in there too.
4. What is your favorite part of playing video games?
I love being immersed in a cool world and experiencing the story it tells. My favorite games have a deeper lore that you can explore by completing all of the quests or talking to NPCs who aren’t necessarily a part of the main game. The history and stories of various game worlds fascinates me.
5. Biggest pet peeve?
I drive with cruise control on when I’m going down the highway. I have a lead foot, so setting the car to one static speed and taking my foot off of the gas is the best way for me not to get in trouble for speeding. Well sometimes when I’m cruising along, I’ll come up on a car that’s going slower than me, so I’ll get into the left lane and start to pass them up. Seeing that they are being passed, that car will speed up so that I can’t go past them. AND IT DRIVES ME CRAZY. It’s so freaking petty. This isn’t the Indy 500 and I’m not trying to show you up, you superficial moron, why the heck do you feel the need to speed up so I can’t pass by you? I would understand the behavior if I suddenly slammed on the gas and revved my engine and made a big show of trying to pass them up, but I have cruise control on and am literally going the same speed the entire time. UGH, it’s so stupid. Sorry. I got really into that just now. Road rage is a problem for me, guys.
6. You open the magic wardrobe that is the door to Narnia, plot twist it is the door to the one video game world you have always wanted to be in, which world is it and how do your survive/ role do you play?
Well the video game world I’d most love to visit is that of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. The city of Rogueport and its surrounding environs are one of my favorite video game worlds (after all, they belong to my favorite game), and living there would definitely be my Narnia. As far as what role I would play in the world, I think I’d want to live in Glitzville and be a commentator for the Glitz Pit arena. Or maintain the Trouble Center in Rogueport. Or have a job on the Excess Express and travel to-and-from Poshley Heights every week. There’s so many options!
7. In a zombie uprising, what role do you fill on your zombie survival squad?
Honestly, I feel like I’m not living through a zombie uprising. I’m slow and meticulous, a pacifist by nature, super squeamish, and most of the stuff I’m really good at is only practical in a modern society that is fully functioning. I guess if the rest of my party was willing and able to successfully babysit me until we managed to rebuild something roughly resembling a community, I could be a pretty solid teacher.
8. If you could have one super power, what would it be? Why?
Time control. I’m fascinated by time and even mild time manipulation could have a serious positive impact on life. Fitting eight hours of sleep into a few seconds so that I have more waking hours each day, slowing down my perception of time during special moments I want to preserve while speeding it up through the boring stuff, “instant transport” by stopping time and then crossing the distance between two places before resuming it – I wouldn’t want to be able to reset time or make loops or do any significant time travel. Just the basic quality-of-life stuff to make things better for myself and my family. See my answer to the above question for why I wouldn’t use my powers to be a superhero.
9. If you could have one video game job (jobs of people in games) what would it be? Get creative! (The treasure hiding guy, the guy who hides all the secrets, store clerks you name it you can be it!)
So I answered this question as a full post back during Charming and Open, but I’d choose to be an innkeeper. You get to meet lots of cool people and hear their stories, all while providing hospitality for them. This question reminds me of the Eario arc from Brawl in the Family, and you definitely should check it out – easily my favorite webcomic.
10. Coffee or tea, the age-old debate – which side are you on?
Alright, confession number two: I don’t drink either of these. I have tried both and have no taste for them. If I had to choose one I wish I liked, it would definitely be tea, if only because it has a stereotype associated with it of being refined. Plus it’s apparently really good for you when you’re sick or congested, so that would be a nice bonus.
11. Do you have a pet? If so here’s your chance to talk shamelessly about your pet or share a picture. If not, that’s okay share your dream pet!
I do not have a pet and if we’re being honest, I don’t have a dream pet either. I know this is millennial heresy, but I don’t really like pets. I don’t form emotional attachments to them, so when they proceed to do annoying things like vomit on my stuff, cover my house with hair, and complicate my ability to make plans, it’d just make me want to get rid of them. My wife definitely wants pets once we live somewhere that it’s possible, so my hope is that we don’t end up with some fuzzy, clingy monstrosity that wants me to pay attention to it all the time.
That’s round two of questions knocked out, so there’s just one more to go. My final Sunshine Blogger nomination came from Red Metal of Extra Life Reviews, a fun site for excellent game reviews that you definitely should check out if you haven’t before. I respect anyone who is good at game reviews because I myself am terrible at them, and Red Metal puts out grade-A stuff. They’ve posed 11 questions and these are interesting because film/television comes up a lot, giving us a little something different to talk about for the last set of questions. Let’s get these suckers knocked out and bring an end to this sunshine! Er, in a nice way, not in a blot-out-the-sun kind of way.
1. What is the dumbest competition you ever got in with your friends?
This one time in middle school, a friend of mine and I were bored and he sent me an e-mail that was something like “I shoot a flaming arrow into your girlfriend’s house.” I jokingly responded with a huge block of text explaining myself heroically rescuing her by showing up with swords and beating up her dad. He then responded to my ridiculous response with an equally long and ridiculous story one-upping me. This went back and forth until we had a self-insert fanfic a couple hundred pages long involving all of our family, friends, and schoolhouse rivals. I’m pretty sure if a school official ever found that document, he and I both would have been picked up for terroristic threatening.
2. If you could form a band, which genre of music would you end up playing?
Well based on my real-life musical experience, if I were in a band I would either be singing lead or back-up, since I have no instrumental skills whatsoever. I personally prefer rock music but my singing voice doesn’t suit rock at all. I have what we call in the theater a character voice, which basically means that my singing is primarily good for portraying ridiculous caricatures rather than perform anything meant to be taken seriously. As a natural result of that, I’d probably end up doing parodies.
3. What is the first film you ever watched in theaters?
I’m pretty sure that honor goes to the original Toy Story. I was so scared of the scene where Woody and Buzz are under the semi truck that I threw a tantrum and my mother had to take me out of the theater.
4. What is the oldest film you’ve watched all the way through?
That would have to be Gone with the Wind. I don’t consider myself a film buff by any stretch of the imagination, and revisiting old films is something that doesn’t bring me any amount of pleasure. I’ve attempted to watch some 20’s-era films before and wasn’t able to sit all the way through them.
5. Have you ever fallen asleep watching a film before?
Definitely! There were many nights as a teenager when the whole family would get together to watch a movie we’d rented and most of us would end up snoozing on the couch at the end of it. Notable examples of movies I have slept through include The Polar Express and King Kong (the Peter Jackson version).
6. What is your personal record for most number of films watched in a day?
I’m trying to remember if I ever watched all six Star Wars films in one day before…the only time I’ve ever shoved a bunch of movies into a single day were times when my family did marathons of long series like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, etc. In more recent memory, I tend to watch long-form television shows more than I do movies, but if you count every 2 hours or so of a television show as a “film” then I could say I’ve watched five or six movies in one day before. But to give a more realistic answer, I’m gonna go with three.
7. What is the single most heretical opinion you hold when it comes to video games?
This one is interesting because I feel like many of my “heretical” opinions are shared by a large enough group of gamers that they don’t meet that criteria anymore. I could say that my love of Nintendo above and beyond any other console is heretical, or my general disinterest in graphics quality (the phrase 4K gaming makes me roll my eyes). I could bring up how I like Ocarina of Time better than A Link to the Past, but I think plenty of folks around the same age as me likely experienced Ocarina of Time first and would say the same thing. Even my disdain for online multiplayer isn’t as rare as I sometimes think it is. So uh, I don’t know…Dragon Quest is better than Final Fantasy. Take that, world!
8. What is your proudest achievement playing a game?
I assume that this means personal achievement and not the achievements or trophies tracked by particular consoles. It’s hard to say, as I don’t feel great pride in my gaming accomplishments in the same way I feel pride in my work or in the success of my blog. If I were to choose something from recent memory, I was pretty proud of myself when I managed to complete the whole Captured Memories sidequest in Breath of the Wild without using any guides. I painstakingly found each memory with no help and even created my own guide to help other people do the same, all before I realized that all you really have to do is find the painter and have him tell you where all the memories are located…
9. What do you believe to be one of the few advantages that gaming critics have over film critics?
I think, at least in my own experience, that the opinions of gaming critics have more weight than those of film critics. I rarely use review scores of a movie to guide whether or not I want to see that movie – I either feel interested based on the trailers and I watch it, or I don’t and I don’t. If I see a movie that ends up being bad, I’m out what, $20 (assuming my wife comes with me)? With video games, I’m a lot more likely to be influenced by the thoughts of a critic, as there’s literally a greater cost associated with spending money on a video game that I don’t end up liking.
10. Have you ever binge-watched a show?
Oh boy, yes. I prefer long-form television over film and as a result have binge watched a great many shows. Some of these are shows that I missed while they were on air (Friends, That 70’s Show, Leverage) while others are shows specifically designed for binge-watching (Voltron, Daredevil, Jessica Jones). I probably binge watch my favorite show – Avatar: The Last Airbender – around once a year.
11. Do you follow any webcomics?
I do not currently follow any webcomics, but back when it was posted on Tuesdays and Fridays I closely followed Brawl in the Family (mentioned in the last section of questions). It’s a webcomic that started with Smash Bros Brawl and came to an end with Smash Bros for the Wii U and 3DS, and it covers all sorts of Nintendo games. The style of humor is witty and split pretty evenly between visual gags and wordplay. I still love the comic and I feel like some of the development of my own sense of humor can be contributed to Brawl in the Family.
And there you have it, adventurers, my whole life laid bare before you! I want to extend my thanks to the three bloggers who nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award – seriously, thank you for thinking of me. It means a lot to know that some folks out there find joy in reading my blog, and I hope that my responses to these questions can add a little bit to that joy. If you saw any questions you’d like to answer or you want to respond specifically to one of the answers I provided, feel free to post a comment below. Thanks for reading, adventurers!