As I write this, I’m sitting on a plane heading back from MAGfest 13. It’s a rather lengthy flight from the DC metro area to San Francisco – a little over five hours – so of course I came equipped with entertainment. Last week, Square-Enix released a new batch of non-Final Fantasy DLC for Theatrhythm, including some songs from Chrono Trigger and The World Ends With You, which I promptly acquired to accompany me back on my trip to the West Coast.
One of the DLC tracks from TWEWY is “Calling,” a theme that plays primarily during exploration and dialogue sequences. It’s a beautiful song, and I was very eager to play it1. What I wasn’t prepared for was an unexpected flood of emotion through me as I ran through it. As focused as I was on carefully gliding my stylus through the note barrage, I felt an intense longing hearing that music again.
But why? After all, back when I played The World Ends With You in 2008, I really enjoyed the game – but I hate, hate, HATED the ending, which I felt was an utterly stupid and transparent twist that undermined a great story concept. It made me bitter towards a game I had invested a great deal of time and emotion into. Yet hearing Calling stirred something inside of me. It made me realize what, exactly, makes TWEWY so very special: it’s a risky game that challenges players to do new things, to step outside their gameplay and setting comfort zones. And frankly, I don’t know if we’ll ever see something like it from Square-Enix ever again.
If you’re anything like me, you had the Awesome Games Done Quick charity speedrunning marathon running throughout most of last week. The great thing about AGDQ is that, since it runs 24/7, there’s always something going on. However, since our frail humanoid bodies require things like “food” and “sleep” and “jobs through which we acquire necessary funding to live,” it’s almost impossible to watch everything that looks interesting on the AGDQ schedule as it airs live. While a lot of us make time to watch the speedruns of really big games, there are a lot of smaller titles with really fantastic play that get shown as well. But since they’re at odd times, or they’re of relatively unknown titles, or they’re not really viral-video material, they have a tendency to kind of happen and be forgotten. Even people who see the schedule and think “Yeah, I’ll watch this later” may likely forget them amongst all the other stuff happening that week.
But personally, I think there were a lot of really noteworthy speedruns at this year’s AGDQ that I worry a lot of folks missed out on. Yes, we all saw and enjoyed stuff like Tetris TGM and the Megaman X race and Boshy and Shovel Knight and blindfolded OoT, but just because you missed it and it wasn’t trending on Twitter doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great run. Here are some of my picks for the best runs of AGDQ 2015 that you might have missed!
A while back, I did freelance work for the Shonen Jump Alpha web portal, writing a bunch of assorted gaming content for them. One of the most fun bits I got to do was the Games We Love 2012 Awards, which was basically me, another freelancer, and my editor making up ideas for wacky awards that would stand out from the typical “Best Graphics,” “Best X360 Game,” “Favorite New Character” stuff, and I think it turned out nicely.
Unfortunately, SJ’s freelance budget got gutted soon after, and I haven’t written for them since. I’m still quite sad about that, because it was a really fun gig.
But that feature stuck with me, especially when I started thinking about posting a year-end wrap-up here. I don’t really like “Game of the Year” awards, mainly because my personal tastes are utterly divorced from the popular AAA software zeitgeist. I decided that, much like those Games We Love awards, I wanted to hand out awards (and “awards”) in categories less typical. We’re all about the less typical here at Gaming.moe, after all.
I also thought long and hard about what to name said awards. I posed the question to my followers on Twitter, who had some great suggestions1, but I was convincingly convinced to stick with my original idea of “The Waifus.”
It’s a feeling I think we’ve all experienced: the uncomfortable notion from withing that there is something deeply wrong with us for not enjoying a particular piece of media. It’s especially discomforting when it’s something that seems engineered to push all of our individual Like buttons, as though somehow we’re the ones that are flawed for not properly adoring this work made to cater explicitly to us.
This feeling cropped up when I started playing the NES Remix games on Wii U. Here were cleverly conceived compilations of classic NES titles with the addition of “remix” games: parts of classic titles remodeled and mashed together in unique ways to deliver bite-sized new challenges. I certainly love Nintendo history, having grown up on so many of these titles, so the concept excited me immensely. But actually playing NES Remix 1 and 2 on Wii U felt strangely unfulfilling, even downright frustrating. I wondered if it was the platform – these sorts of short objective-driven challenge experiences, I feel, tend to work better in mobile games that you can dig out and play for ten minutes. With this in mind, I picked up Ultimate NES Remix on 3DS, but even playing it to break up long Persona Q sessions left me feeling more irritated than amused. Obviously, it wasn’t the platform that’s the problem. So then, what is it that makes NES Remix considerably less than the sum of its parts?
There’s a superb feature on Polygon today about the collapse of THQ, and I highly recommend that everyone read it. With all this new info about THQ’s inner workings circulating the internet, I feel like it’s time to re-share a little story of Veteran Games Journalism that I posted on tumblr a while back. Here, for your reading enjoyment, is a small account of my experience with tragic-in-hindsight company wastefulness, which I originally wrote in early 2012.
So hey folks! It seems that interview with Mr. Jerauld was extremely popular! I’m glad so many people liked it, and it makes me all the more excited to pursue further interviews of other interesting gaming figures for this site.
The only problem is that the interview was so popular that I’ve now used 75% of this month’s bandwidth for the site within the last few days. Eep! Looks like I’ll have to upgrade the hosting plan much sooner than I expected. While site growth is a good thing, it does require a substantial amount of time and effort to create the articles you see on here. Not to mention the costs involved with hosting and upkeep. So if you like what I’m doing and want to support more unique, independent game writing from me, please do consider contributing via Paypal or supporting our Patreon. Every little bit helps a lot!
Besides that, things are going well: My next feature-review-type-thing, a look at Namco’s Libble Rabble, is coming along nicely, and I got a fantastic new book to review over the weekend. Everything I mentioned in the previous newspost is still in the works in varying states of completion. It’s pretty common of me to have numerous ideas for things to write about at once, it’s just a matter of what I feel compelled to write about most at that time. (For example: I’m still doing the Terra Battle review, I just hit a bit of a block with it and want to spend more time with the game itself before I come back to it.)
What else has been going on? Well, I’ve been making the podcast rounds a fair bit. I was on the TinyCartridge TinyCast to talk about subjects as varied as Amiibos, Rodea the Sky Soldier, Sega 3D Classics, and of course, this site. (also: Soap shoes.) Later this week, I’ll be joining the Anime News Network ANNCast for an overview of the year in gaming. Set your podcast apps in those directions and have a listen!
Other professional freelance writing stuff I’ve done recently: I wrote a Tales of Hearts R review for GameSpot that should be going up any day now. If you live in Australia, I wrote about Puzzle and Dragons for the HYPER magazine mobile gaming special, too.
So yes, we’re definitely keeping busy here! We’ve had a great first month of existence, and I’m glad you’ve come along for the ride. Here’s to many more months of gaming.moe!
Heya folks! This is just a handy little public service announcement. We’ve been getting an influx of new visitors lately, and that’s pretty fantastic! I’m super excited that this site is reaching new people. Gaming.moe is still pretty new, and since I’m still pretty busy with other games writing, I can’t really update every day – a couple times a week seems like it’ll be the norm. If you want to know when updates happen, I highly suggest following the Gaming.Moe twitter account, which will update whenever something new goes live (and occasionally when other interesting business is afoot).
So what do I have planned? The next thing to go live will either be a look at Terra Battle or a review of the strange, beloved Belgian freeware PC RPG OFF. Other stuff I’ve made drafts for: a review of Sega MegaDrive/Genesis Complete Works, a review-type thing for Konami’s bizarre 1984 arcade game Mikie, NIS’s mostly-overlooked PSN game Battle Princess of the Arcadias, and a figure review. I can’t say for sure when all of those will go up, but they’re definitely cookin’.
Also, I’ve had a few folks ask me if I will be taking outside contributions for articles on here, and that’s honestly something I haven’t decided yet. I want Gaming.Moe to be somewhat personal, yet I think there are a lot of people with similar tastes in gaming and great writing skills who could use some exposure. It’ll probably be a while before I make a decision either way; Right now, I just want to establish the overall “feel” of the site and increase awareness.
I originally had a good chunk of this text as the intro to my upcoming Terra Battle article, but it became so long-winded that I felt it’d be better off as its own bit. It occurred to me that rather than front-loading a piece that’s supposedly dedicated to a specific game with way too much text justifying covering free-to-play games, I should make it its own little editorial. After all, free editorial is part of the reason I started Gaming.Moe to begin with.
We’re finally launching! I’ve had this site in the works for a while, and now we’re finally ready to go public. Yes, Gaming.moe is ready to take its first steps into that scary, uncharted wilderness we call the internet.
I’m planning on putting up something new every few days or so, work schedules permitting. If you want to know when the site updates or what’s in the works, follow the Gaming.Moe twitter!
Of course, there are probably a few things that will need adjusting as I ease out of the initial launch into establishing this site a bit more. You might see things like image and layout changes from time to time as some of the kinks are worked out to make this site look as attractive (dare I say… kawaii) as possible. Some of the functions might not be working 100%, either, so if you notice something amiss please drop me a line. Twitter is probably your best bet for reaching me quickly.
I hope you enjoy the site, and if you dig it, please do consider supporting the Gaming.moe Patreon campaign. Here’s to a bright future of pure gaming love!