Saturday, June 23, 2018

Blogoversary Vlog, Part 2

Well, today is the "official" anniversary date. I started my blog on June 23rd, 2017. I shall never forget that day . . . hopefully. As of right now, my first post, "Greetings and Salutations," is tied with my first Music Monday Awards post with 125 views each. I didn't think the Awards would get so popular. Here's to hoping for even more success this year!

Speaking of music, here are the songs I used in this video. Headphones are recommended!










How're you liking this so far? Did I answer the questions good enough? Do you have a favorite answer for part two?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Blogoversary Vlog, Part 1

Yes, the day is finally here. Last month, you guys submitted questions for me to answer in a Q&A vlog. Lemme tell you, I got a ton! But I promised to answer them all, so here we are.

As you probably know, the reason for this vlog was to celebrate The Steadfast Pen turning one year old. That thought still blows my mind. I look back to that Friday last year, when I finished up my first post before I headed off to work at one of city's gas stations. I anticipated coming home and checking to see who had all commented on my blog, and I was not disappointed.

If I had fast-forwarded one year, I'd never have guessed that I would be filming my second vlog for you all. It's been a fun journey, and I hope you've felt that way too.

So here you go, part one of ten! Starting today, you'll get one video per day, with July 1st being the last one. This process took a goodly amount of works, due to my computer and phone being finicky with each other during the import process. Also, editing and uploading ten videos that are all at least ten minutes long takes longer than you might think. Headphones are recommended! Here are the songs I used:




So what'd you think of this first part? Did I do better with the music volume than I initially did with my Humble Beginnings vlog? Are you looking forward to watching nine more videos of me chitter-chattering?

Monday, June 18, 2018

We're Halfway There /// Music Monday #26

Well, would you look at that? Not only are we half-done the Music Monday posts for 2018, but we've also been at this for a year now. Woo hoo!


And for today's song, we have one from a video game that sounds like it's been pulled from a movie instead.

"Now" from Detroit: Become Human
Composed by Nima Fakhrara


If you haven't heard of this game before, it's about a not-so-distant future where androids are a reality. Their presence, however, isn't appreciated by many people, because of the AI taking jobs that humans once had. The developers have a lot of interesting things to say about a world with androids and how it would affect everything; it's also a means for them to talk about racism, because that's what it feels like when people make a point of calling an android "it" and treat it less respectfully.

I'm currently watching Jacksepticeye play the game, and while I don't know the overarching plot yet, it's really interesting. It focuses on three main androids: Connor, Kara, and Markus. Connor is working with the police to locate deviants, androids who've broken through their programming and fallen prey to emotion. Kara is a maid to an abusive father and his young daughter, who fears her dad's wrath. Markus is the caretaker of an old painter whose son despises AI with a passion.

You follow them on their journey in this game, which, truth be told, feels more like an interactive story. Much of what you do is make choices, and there are lots of those. What you do affects who will live or die throughout the game.

What's really cool is that they got three different composers for each character, Philip Sheppard has a more emotional score for Kara; John Paesano goes for something more epic with Markus; and lastly, Nima Fakhrara takes a Tron-esque approach for Connor. As you're probably able to guess, today's song is for Connor's storyline, when he's pursuing a deviant in an intense chase and you're making rapid-fire decisions throughout.

People in the comments were comparing it to "Mombasa" from Inception, and I can see the resemblance. But the overall sci-fi tone sets it apart. I really love the blend screeching strings, pounding percussion, and simmering synths. (I don't why I described it as "simmering." I just wanted to keep up the alliteration.)

What'd you think of the song? What're your thoughts on a world where androids are a reality? How would you treat them? Do you believe they'd have the potential to take over?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Coincidence? I Think So /// Humble Beginnings, Part 11

Can I get some hype for another Humble Beginnings post?!

source; instantly regrets putting this in before writing enough to hide it

. . . That's it. The intro's over. Let's move on, please! Before our eyes hurt from that crazy Toad. I will just quickly insert here that the chapter is called "Silent Shadows," which seems a bit unnecessary. Last I checked, my shadow has always been the strong, silent type.

The table occupied most of the [meeting] hall, its round shape symbolizing that there was no head or tail; everyone was equal, and ideas could be shared freely.

This isn't a negative thing, but I just wanted to point it out because it makes me think of a humorous scene in the Ninjago show that was later imitated in the movie as well. Lord Garmadon, in both scenes, needed his minions to help come up with a plan to stop the Ninja, insisting that there was no such thing as a bad idea. But whenever someone suggested something he didn't like, he had them thrown off the ship (the show) or literally fired them out of his volcano base (the movie). Random, I know, but that's just how my brain thinks.

Soon, all that was left were ten empty spots. "Who are those for?" [Mark] asked John.
The former tank gunner stopped rubbing his stubble and said, "Oh, they're for the rebel delegates. See, when we need to discuss battle tactics here in Castle Wurlenit, they send 'ambassadors' to help."
"But why? Wouldn't they add negativity to the atmosphere?"
"Most aren't that bad. They just need a different cause."

Hold up for a minute. We need to discuss something a few things about this blurb. First, that's cute and all that they invite the rebels, but why? What if the rebels decide to sell them out? They could easily hand over all that info to Lurkum. I mean, they didn't care about Revier, so . . . I know, I know, different generation, sins of the father, and all that stuff. But still, has no one considered this?

Secondly, I'm getting tired of the whole "call the person by their job" trick that I overused in this story. I'm not joking when I say it's kinda getting on my nerves, and I have no idea why.

Thirdly, what the heck is the name Wurlenit? That's the dumbest name for a castle I could've come up with.

And fourthly, younger me, make up your EVER-LOVING MIND about the rebels. Are they good or are they bad? You don't seem to know, and if you don't, your readers won't either. Don't make me slap you upside the head; get your act together!

The men clasped hands tightly and shook. John whispered to Mark, "He's the rebel chief, or leader. Samuel and Richard are friends from way back. Unfortunately, that doesn't give a hoot to the rift between Followers and rebels."

Again, inconsistency with whether the rebels are decent or not. If the leaders are friends, does that literally have no effect whatsoever on their people? Also, incorrect use of "giving a hoot."

Richard raised a palm. "Your turn, Taylor."
The man who had helped David seemed hesitant. "We heard your bomb was finished, so we request that we use it to destroy a castle near Levgalne."
Samuel's jaw dropped. "The Rachendax? Not only does the maraconda baron dwell, but Leviathan is also stationed inside. Any attempt to blow up the castle would be extremely challenging, if not a sure death."

Hey, remember Taylor? You know . . . Taylor? C'mon, how could you forget such a memorable a guy like . . . wait, what his name again? Ah, that's right: Taylor! I feel like I reused characters I already named just because, if they wouldn't logically be wherever the scene was taking place.

Smooth exposition there, Samuel. I'm also glad you know how to speak and didn't forget any words in what you said, because that'd be awkward. Especially when you're trying to make the reader scared for the characters who are probably going to take up this suicide mission.

"At least it would be more useful than going to Zracs and signing a parchment before freezing to death," another delegate exclaimed.

Lemme fill you in by saying I didn't include Harvey's comment about them making a treaty with the wraithclaw tribe before launching an assault. Does this idiot delegate not think that their chances of success are higher if their forces are larger? How was he/she chosen to represent the rebels?

"Besides," Richard added a lot more gently, "I thought the chosen ones were supposed to do it." He then quoted a prophecy: "The ones who are chosen/Will bring out their best/If they will succeed/The wanting heart's test/But those who are not/Will harden the race/They will destroy/Like the spikes of a mace."

Eh . . . definitely not a great prophecy, or even a well-written one. I wouldn't rely on it too much. The prophet was probably drunk at the time.

"And that's just it," Smits said. "We know who the Chosen Ones are."
A hush blanketed the hall immediately. Richard broke it by saying a hopeful tone, "If you know, then who are they?"

Ooh, I wonder if it's Lance, Reuben, and Xander, just like the stupid villains thought! I can't stand the anticipation. Richard, by the way, you speak in a hopeful tone. Get it right next time.

"These three," replied Samuel, pointing to David, Mark, and Warren. "We translated a Toreth tablet by first looking at its reflection and unscrambling the words. It was a quote by an unknown philosopher that read, 'Detrius created love to be a rock in life's race.' The word race refers to when an apostle named Paul said that he had finished the race. David has firm Follower beliefs, therefore, relating to the 'race' of a believer. Warren is like a rock with his physical strength and solid friendships. And Mark is loving, besides the fact he is in love with Michelle."

. . . Are. You. BRICKING. SERIOUS?! What the actual brick, younger me? Explain to me how a random quote by a random philosopher randomly placed on a random tablet that randomly says "The Chosen Ones' Description" on top is talking about these three? It could apply to just about anyone. Heck, the baddies could've actually been on to something, and their guesses were the absolute worst. If you're going to do Chosen One/prophecy tropes, do them right, man! Not like this junk.

"We have the advantage of surprise now. We need to use it before it's snatched out of our grasps," a delegate argued. "We have siege towers, ballistas, catapults, men, horses, and the bomb. There's no time to waste. And if you don't give us permission to use the Chosen Ones, we may take them by force."

#MoreConflictingRebelStuff

For your information, the proper pluralization of ballista is ballistae. You're also being a little forward, assuming that the Followers are gonna hand over their bomb to you when you've done nothing to deserve it.

Warren cleared his throat and felt eyes turn his way. "I have a compromise. We go with the attack, but should trouble show, we run and sail to Zracs."

Yes, this is a compromise, but it is by no means a good strategy. I'm a little surprised/not surprised that none of the rebels see this.

Ian made sure the coast was clear before he left the darkness the barracks provided from the moonlight. He had two important jobs to do tonight, both with swiftness and stealth. The less people that saw him, the better. Because he had instructions to eliminate any that noticed him. So hopefully, no one had been awake when he passed by the barracks window.

As per usual, I've got a couple of bones to pick with this, but I'm gonna do it rapid-fire. The first sentence feels awkward; the "because" sentence feels like an afterthought; and Mark did see Ian (just didn't include that part), except he thought it was his imagination, so I guess Ian's in the clear.

He dashed from shadow to shadow, avoiding patrols that made their rounds. His eyes scanned the area, searching for a high vantage point. Catching sight of a tree, Ian ran to it. He scrambled up the branches, wanting none to hear or see.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't dashing make you more noticeable to the patrols? Surely they'd sense movement in their peripheral vision and check it out. I'd also like to see a demonstration of someone climbing a tree quietly.

At a high part, he looked over the gigantic courtyard. He finally spotted the prison building a good distance away. Satisfied, he hurried to the solid ground.

Let me get this straight: this dude somehow convinced his superiors to station him in front of the room where they were deciphering the tablet, but he DOESN'T KNOW THE WAY TO THE PRISON?! This . . . I . . . I have no words.

"Ian," a watchman said."What brings you out here at the late hours of the night? You anxious for the fight tomorrow or something?"
Ian cursed his foolish actions. He had forgotten there was a tower close to the tree. He turned and looked at the man, who was illuminated by a torch. The traitor produced a blowgun, targeted the watchman, and blew out. The arrow whizzed into the guard's throat, sending poison to his heart. The watchman buckled, cracking his skull on the hard floor.

And now he's forgetting about nearby towers? I'm starting to think Leviathan chose the wrong guys to work for him on Adiryulle. Now all the patrols within earshot should be wondering why there was no response to the watchman's questions. If only they knew he was killed by conveniently-fast-acting poison.

He reached the prison with ease. The building was dull and set low in the earth, stairs leading down to the doorway. A sentry stood in front of the steps, his helmet on the ground next to him. Seeing Ian approach, he waved and started to say his greeting. Unfortunately for him, Ian's flail was already in action. The spiked ball slammed the side of his head. A severe crunch sounded and the sentry fell, his mortal wound leaking a thick substance. Ian took the fellow's key ring and stepped to the door, unlocked it, and going inside.

*gags* Blegh . . . that is morbid and gross and disgusting and what was wrong with you, Josiah? Why did the sentry have his helmet off? How did he not see Ian start to make a move for his head? I will say, I love the tense change in the last sentence. Best idea for the story so far.

"You failed," Ian said flatly.
"Ssen flunked his job," Hcol growled. "If he hadn't, I would have succeeded my part. Now hurry up!"

Yeah, about that . . . both you virockel spy dudes failed. He was a poor imitator, and you showed up at the trail disguised like someone already there. Just saying, is all. Oh, and by the way, you might want to take an English course. "Succeeded my part" sounds pretty bad, and if it is correct, that's plain stupid.

As Ian took off the shackles on his hands and feet, he asked, "Hcol, do virockels have a weak spot?"
Hcol glared. "Yes, one." He pointed to the base of his skull on the back of his neck. "That's where."
"Interesting." Ian pulled off the neck shackle. "Well, you just may want to keep that part covered."
"Why?"
"Somebody might do this." Ian whipped his flail at the soft area full force. It connected, and the virockel stumbled forward.
"You'll . . . pay," Hcol grunted, fury alight in his taut face.
"Nah. Leviathan would have you executed anyway, so die, won't you?" Ian shoved Hcol, who in turn toppled onto his back. Green and blue blood mingled in an oozing mess.

Wow. So there's no one you can trust in the bad guy army, can you? Everyone's gonna double-cross you, and then they'll get double-crossed by someone else. To be fair, if someone asks about your weak spot, you probably should be concerned. (Also, I used to think Ian's last line to Hcol was so cool, but now it's just meh.)

Ian left the building and headed for the stables. Now that the job was done, there was another to tend to, which was telling Alex the assault plans.
The Followers and rebels were in for a nasty surprise.

You do realize you're gonna have to pick up the pace, right, buddy? If Leviathan wants to get a drop on the heroes, Alex is going to need to book it back to the castle as fast as he can. Just make sure he doesn't kill ya first. And ooh, such suspense! I'm shaking in me boots.

It's so weird to think that there are only three chapters left. Does that news bring heartache to you? I hope you enjoyed this part regardless. Did I up my sarcasm enough? (Pretty sure I did.) 

Friday, June 08, 2018

6 Writing Lessons from Indie Games

Earlier this week, I mentioned how I rooted for the underdogs of media. It could be anything from a movie (such as The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which is disliked by many and didn't even make double the budget) to a game (like Skyward Sword or Spirit Tracks). It got me thinking: why do I like these things so much?

Now, I love gaming. But I also know not all of you are here just to read posts about video games. So I figured, "Why not make it a post about games and writing?" That's how this idea came into being. We're going to be looking at six indie games that are all very different from each other, but are similar in the fact that they can all teach us something.

left to right: OneShot, Undertale, Among the Sleep, Little Nightmares, Terraria, A Hat in Time

Before we delve into each title, I want to quickly chat a little bit about the indie game territory as a whole and what we can learn from it. It's interesting to note how crooked some triple-A developers have shown themselves to be as of late. We've got companies like EA making games like Star Wars Battlefront II (the 2017 version) pay-to-win and refusing to get rid of loot boxes, despite numerous states and/or countries comparing them to gambling and making them illegal. Bluehole wants to sue Epic Games, because they're miffed by the fact that Fortnite has taken over the battle royale genre in popularity instead of their own PlayerUnknown's Battleground. (Yeah, because you can copyright a bricking genre, and it's always a good idea to sue the company that created the engine your game runs on.)

Then we look at indie developers, and their story is usually quite different. Believe it or not, Minecraft started out as an indie game. However, through word-of-mouth, it became so popular that Microsoft bought it for $2.5 billion. Unknown Worlds Entertainment nearly went out of business a few times when they were making Subnautica. But thanks to YouTubers like Jacksepticeye, who bought and played the game in Early Access, the game gained popularity, and the developers were able to see their dreams come true. There are a number of indie titles, such as Undertale and A Hat in Time, that used Kickstarter projects to get enough finances.

For me, it's always cool to see when these underdogs make it to the top. That's not to say all indie games do; they tend to either be really good or really bad. But I think we can take note in the fact that bigger doesn't always mean better. Triple-A games aren't always the best. So just because we as writers may not get a famous publisher to put out our books, it doesn't mean our big break isn't coming. Take heart and keep doing what you love. Enthusiasm is catchy.

For indie games, it's also interesting to note that there's less . . . expectations, if you will. When you're a well-known developer, there can be a lot of expectations and criticisms from fans that you have to deal with. Smaller developers are often free to do whatever they want. I do want to note that this isn't always the case either way, but that's what seems to often happen. We have to remember to balance the two: take into consideration the suggestions of others, but make sure your project is still yours.

But let's take a closer look at the individual games and get one takeaway from each.

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A child named Niko wakes up in bed, but he knows not where he is. The world is dark and unfamiliar to him. He eventually discovers that he can speak to you, the god of the world. You must guide him on a journey to save the land and restore the light by bringing the sun, in the form of a small lightbulb, to its rightful place atop a tower. There is no combat, only puzzles that must be solved. But if there is one thing to remember every step of the way, it is this:

You only have one shot. Succeed, and revive a broken world. Fail . . . and watch everything fall into an unforgiving darkness for eternity.

While I have yet to finish this game--and I'm doing my best to stay away from all potential spoilers--the thought of only being one shot to make things right intrigued me. Yes, the whole concept of the game being very aware of your presence also got me hooked, but it was the story that truly made me stay. And I do have to wonder: how will my choices affect the ending? I don't want to fail, but I fear that I might miss something and do so.

What we can learn: your story must have weight to it. If there is no gravity to the plot--if nothing the characters do have consequences--you shouldn't expect readers to stick around. But if you can show that actions have effects, including bad ones, they'll be hooked. Don't be afraid to make both the characters and the readers fear failure.

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I could give a lot of writing lessons based on this game alone. Everything from how it makes you really think about consequences and how life doesn't give you a reset button, to the core themes and ideas of the plot, like mercy, determination, and the inner struggle between good and evil, would be interesting to talk about.

But as I mentioned in my review, something Undertale excels at is flipping the entire RPG genre on its head. It gives you the option to be nice to your foes and spare them. It even tricks you by calling them "monsters," something I'll eventually talk about in a full post.

If you go into it and act like it's just another fantasy RPG, you're going to be shocked. You'll either initiate the Genocide route, which tosses the two hardest boss fights at you just to make you change your ways, or you'll get a less-than-satisfying Neutral ending. The game punishes you for not giving any thought to your actions.

What we can learn: make your story unique. You might be writing a fantasy, a sci-fi, a contemporary romance . . . whatever genre you're dabbling in, find ways to shake things up. Subvert your readers' expectations. Your story can be different from the thousands of books that share the same category. Don't let the genre's name keep you boxed in. Dare to try something spectacular.

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The hero of this game, a two-year-old who goes unnamed, is celebrating his birthday with his mother. He receives a gift from his father, who doesn't live with them anymore: a teddy bear by the name of Teddy (simple and straight to the point). That night, the child gets out of his crib and plays with Teddy, who happens to talk. But something else is in that house. A monster lurks, waiting to snatch the kid.

As the game progresses and the child goes on a frightening journey, there's a feeling that pervades everything. A feeling that everything here in this nightmare landscape has a double meaning. I don't want to spoil the plot, because it's quite interesting. Suffice it to say that the game tackles some tough, but real, issues through the eyes of a small toddler.

And that's the game's strongest point. With how everything is structured, it wouldn't make as much sense in anyone else's POV. But make a very young child with a whirring imagination experience all this, and it makes for a twisting turn of events.

What we can learn: think about who's watching your story's events unfold. How will things look if you change the POV from a courageous hero to a cowardly villager? What if the antihero provides the eyesight for your readers? How about the princess's bodyguard instead of the princess herself? Change the POV, and you might get an entirely different story, because how one person sees something will not be like how another sees it.

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Six is a kid trapped in a dark, steel prison. Where she's locked away, kids like her are fresh meat for their massive captors. She must do all she can to get out--but what will it cost in the end?

That's the basic plot of the game, and it's hard to really say more. Why? Well, besides the spoilery reasons, there is no dialogue to be found here. Any story here is presented through characters and what they're doing. You have to piece things together.

So in a game where there is no conversations, you might be tempted to think that there's no real theme here. But there is, and it's a strong one told expertly throughout. It's all about hunger, and how far someone will go to satisfy that hunger. While shown through the lens of physical hunger for food, it can be easily interpreted for anything that people crave. Again, this is something I'd like to delve into fully in a separate post.

What we can learn: don't outright preach your theme. You can lessen its impact if you just talk about it. Weave it into the actions and motives of your characters. Be subtle. I didn't catch everything Little Nightmares was trying to tell me the first time I watched it being played. I had to watch it a couple of times to grasp the whole concept. Your readers aren't dumb, so don't act like they are. They can appreciate a story that makes them ponder.

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How does a game with no plot whatsoever teach a writing lesson? All shall be revealed very shortly. You see, Terraria is a game that allows you to, essentially, do three things. You can choose to explore and nab materials, craft things with said materials, or fight bosses. Some people might find games that aren't story-driven boring, but I quite like this game.

One of my favorite things to do is crafting. I randomly decided the other day that I wanted to make a home in the snow biome. So I created a new character and a new world, and headed off to find the perfect location. I'm now working on my cabin/lodge, and it's really fun! I harvest all the right materials to make things such as windows, furniture, and the like, then find the perfect place for everything to make a cozy home.

That's not to say that mining by myself doesn't get tedious at times, but the end result is worth it. It's even more fun when you can play with a friend, like I have with Preston, to do stuff with. It just adds to the whole experience so much.

What we can learn: unleash your imagination in your story. The sky isn't the limit; heck, even space isn't! Your only limits are the ones you set on yourself. Everything you need is at your fingertips. Some things take time to hone and perfect, but you'll get there. Enjoy the journey and allow your creativity to roam freely. And hey, if there's a friend you can bring on the journey, don't pass up on that opportunity. Two hands are better than one.

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The developer of A Hat in Time set out with one goal in mind: to right the wrong that was Donkey Kong 64. He believed in better platforming games and wanted to renew interest in them. However, the release date for the game fell in an awkward place. It was after the release of Yooka-Laylee, a platformer that wasn't received with glowing praise, and before the release of Super Mario Odyssey, a highly-anticipated platformer that could overshadow A Hat in Time.

Turns out, there was nothing to fear. Just check its Steam page, and you'll see it has overwhelmingly positive reviews to this day. Why is it so loved? There a number of factors, from great voice acting to phenomenal music. But I think it can be boiled down to the fact that it's very unique.

You see, the plot is episodic, and the worlds are all vastly different from each other. Mafia Town is the most "normal" one of the bunch, but you can't deny that Mafia with bad English and great accents are a great addition. It also introduces you to the villain, whose intentions really aren't all that bad. Battle of the Birds is all about making movies, and switches between things like a murder mystery on a train and an explosive game of follow the leader. Subcon Forest is where you lose your soul to a devilish fellow who has you do his dirty work for him--that includes fighting a possessed outhouse and sneaking through a very creepy mansion. Lastly, Alpine Skyline allows you to free-roam and explore mountain peaks in search for Time Pieces, which is what the plot is all about.

What we can learn: right place and right time are important elements in anything in life. But while these are things you should consider, don't get bent out of shape because of them. Even if the timing sometimes looks bad, don't give up. You have something unique to say with your story, so don't let yourself be overshadowed by other books. Your art will always have an audience.

That wraps up this writing lesson! What'd you think? Did you have a favorite takeaway, or one that you know you need to work on? Why do you think there are a lot of popular indie games these days? Is the same true on the indie book scene?

Monday, June 04, 2018

My First Zelda Song /// Music Monday #25

Master, the music in your soul is nearly depleted.


I just realized yesterday that, for reasons beyond me, I have not highlighted any song from The Legend of Zelda series. What's wrong with me?! Today, I must amend that grievance.

"Overworld Adventure" from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Composed by Nintendo


If you know me, you'd (probably) know I've got a thing for underrated media. If it isn't popular enough to be mainstream, but it deserves all the love it can get, I will show it off! I will sing its praises from the rooftops, and I will not stop until I have convinced others of its greatness.

That goes for Spirit Tracks. Not only was it less popular because it was on a handheld system (the DS), but there are people who have issues with the art style. To them, I say, "Pssh! You don't know what you're missing." Seeing as this was my first Zelda game, I figured I should showcase a song from it.

The overworld theme is an excellent one. Because the game is all about trains (and who doesn't love a fantasy land mixed with steam technology?), the music sounds very fitting for such a mode of transportation. You can practically hear the chugging of the engine, the toot of the whistle, the rush of wind blowing past . . . It just puts you, mentally speaking, into a train.

It's also very catchy. If the music that plays in a game's main map is bad or annoying, that isn't going to help players like the game. But this song, like all the others, is a good tune. That's not to say it won't start to get annoying if you drive across the land for too long, but while you're there, it gets you in the right state of mind.

I'm now debating if I like this more than the Hyrule Field theme from Ocarina of Time, and I have to say, I think this is the better overworld song. Classics have their place, sure, but I think this song is more unique. Ocarina's might be able to suit more than one game, since it has an overall fantasy vibe. This one, however, immerses you into the Spirit's world and makes it believable.

What'd ya think? Do you root for the underdogs too? Have you played any of the handheld Zelda titles? Would you like more music from the series? (You actually don't have a choice in the matter. Even if you say no, I'm still including more.)

Friday, June 01, 2018

Monthly HapPENings: May

Hey! Listen! It's June, which means it's time for another Monthly HapPENings post.


So what happened this past month? Let's see . . . I worked a lot of evening weekend shifts. Which wasn't fun, but whatcha gonna do? I, uh . . . did stuff at home? I know I say this every month, but nothing terribly big or exciting happened. Whether that's a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing is up to you.

Oh, yeah. I found water in the basement, and we discovered we had a leak in the house. It shifted recently, and a pipe in the wall cracked. Whenever we used our main floor bathroom's sink, it would send water gushing into the basement. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon, because sharing one bathroom downstairs isn't fun.

And to report back on my words, as I mentioned in last week's post: I noticed that while I didn't necessarily complain or say negative things, I also didn't say positive stuff. I was wondering if that was going to be my problem. I also noticed that it's sometimes easy for me get stuck in a bad mental rut, where I focus on the negative. Now that I know the problem, I can treat it properly. How'd your week go?

Bookish HapPENings

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I went into this book hoping it'd end up being good, but nay, those hopes were dashed against the rocks! From characters who seemed insane by the amount of times they talked to themselves, to a villain who was initially really cool, then somehow got boring by the finale, to typical school story tropes . . . It was unfortunate, really. The premise of the story is cool, but the mediocre writing ruined it. There's too much to talk about now, so maybe I'll do a full review of it another day.

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Yes, I actually read two books this month. And even though this was a reread, I was still captivated by the writing style, the plot, and the great characters. I devoured it too, which is always fun to do. It was also cool to read this knowing the plot twist ahead of time, and seeing how Jennifer set everything up. If you haven't read this book yet, do it! It is well-worth the time.

HapPENings on the Screen

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Spider-Man 2 was . . . blegh. In fact, the whole "original trilogy" is blegh. They are basically all the same plot disguised as three separate films. Spider-Man struggling with his powers? Check! Relationship issues with MJ? Check! Villains who create themselves through bad science experiments? Check! MJ gets kidnapped? Check! Villain ends up being his own demise? Check! How boring and predictable. I used to love these movies when I was younger, but now? They bore me. I'd like the two hours I spent on this film back, please.

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I rewatched The Death Cure with my family, and man! What an outstanding film. I can honestly say it has made me cry more than any other movie has. Like, when I say I cried during a movie or TV show or whatever, it usually means it twisted my feels and made my eyes water. But I actually had tears falling down my face this time. Definitely a powerful and moving experience.


While I only watched one episode this month, it was a good one. When I first saw "Attack on Gorilla City," I deemed it as one of my least favorite episodes from S3. But I think I've changed my mind. It was actually really enjoyable! Things I hadn't really understood before clicked now, and the CGI was amazing. There was a close-up shot of one gorilla, with the sunlight on him, and his fur just looked so real! Once could afford to take a page out of The Flash's book.

Gaming HapPENings

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I had barely played this game when I first got it, due to my youngest two sisters wanting to watch it. But since they agreed they didn't need to see me play, I restarted this month. What a fun--and surprisingly addicting--game it is. It takes the RPG style and makes it really entertaining, allowing you to choose the cast. It embraces the tropes, having everybody from a Dark Lord to a Great Sage to a Guardian Spirit. It also isn't above poking fun at other Nintendo games. At one point, when my party came into view of the castle, I (as in, the representation of me in the game) pipes up, "I bet there's a princess there." My friend quips, "No, the princess is always in another castle," a jibe at the old Super Mario Bros. game. A great experience all-around!

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I'm replaying this game with Chloe and Kaitlyn, and it's been so much fun. Not to mention that it's one big nostalgia trip for me. It's the best Kirby title I've played, and it's also one of the best games I've ever played in my life. The replayability factor is huge for me. I don't get bored playing this. If you have never played a Kirby game before, I highly recommend this one as your first. The plot is interesting, the art style is charming, the gameplay is enjoyable, the music is absolutely phenomenal . . . what more do I need to say?

Writerly HapPENings

I've begun to read over and tweak what I have written for The Tournament of Convicts. Hopefully I'll find the time next month to blast through it. I'm really enjoying it! There's a few things that I would do differently now, but they're not so serious that they ruin the flow of the story. Wish me luck!

How was your month? Do anything exciting? Now that summer is upon, what're your plans? Remember, any questions submitted for the vlog will no longer be accepted. I've got 60+ as it is.