Shadows of the Empire

On May 24, 2016 I listened to the Star Wars Shadows of the Empire soundtrack while at work.

shadows of the empire soundtrack artwork

A few thoughts:

  • Feels like the original trilogy, and I do feel like I’m following a story as I follow the song titles
  • Reminds me Indiana Jones music as well, especially the beginning of “Xizor’s theme”
  • Made me think of the video game, Dash Rendar and the different worlds of that game, etc.
  • The chorus singing was a surprise, but I loved it
  • “Imperial March” during “Night Skies” was great, and the choral around it, then the Force theme as well towards the end of the same track. Great stuff
  • Joel McNeely also does several of the Tinkerbell soundtracks. Small world!
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Field Notes, Batman: Arkham City, Page 1

This is the first entry on my play through of Batman: Arkham City. Be ye warned that there will be spoilers for as far as I’ve played and please avoid spoilers for me if you have any comments concerning future segments of the game

Hearing that Batman: Arkham City is one of the greatest video games of all time, not only from critics but from a good friend (the latter carrying more weight), I’ve been looking forward to it.

This expectation of awesome can also be a burden, and I felt it during my first impression of the game. The player (as Bruce Wayne) is thrown into Arkham City without any explanation (or tutorial) and this first segment was off-putting to me initially.

Continue reading →

Halo @ E3 2014 – Halo: The Master Chief Collection

No need to rehash the intro, let’s get right to it!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection reactions:

Rumors notwithstanding, The Master Chief Collection is confirmed real and is almost everything I could want.

“Almost” you say? Of course! What kind of Halo fan would I be if I didn’t gripe about something trivial during a franchise high point?

Hyperbole aside, I’ve tried to Continue reading →

Modcast Bulletin (Ep. 5)

This Modcast was originally broadcast on 12.1.11

The “Modcast #5” achievement*** has been unlocked, and it was totally worth it!

As with the last Modcast, there were too many good things said to record quotes in here so that will be a separate post … enjoy!

Appreciated points:

Updated visuals take you there – CruelLEGACEY brought out the point that the updated Continue reading →

To Destroy the Death Egg – old school Sonic on the DS

Originally posted at GameSpot on September 25, 2010

And now, the whirlwind tour of the Sonic Collection:

March 17, 2010 – Started playing the Collection.

March 28, 2010 – Beat the original Sonic the Hedgehog. I was disappointed; the levels weren’t nearly as fun as I would have hoped, and I didn’t get the sense that bigger and better things were ahead. (Which, in my opinion, was the case – the Sonic games to follow were great.)

However, I am aware that I’m talking about a nearly twenty year old game; it wasn’t terrible, but I feel Sonic’s best days were ahead of him.

April 5, 2010 – Beat Sonic the Hedgehog 2; now this is more like it. It was a good trip down memory lane – I can’t tell you how many times before supper I yelled up the stairs, “Just a minute!” while I was trying to beat a level. I often had to pause it and come back later.

It was great going through and re-discovering the levels, and the last few (including the airship) were more epic then I remembered.

April 17, 2010 – Beat Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The graphics get a big bump up in this one, and the game is all the better for it. It has a much bigger feel, introduces the Knuckles story arch, and is a blast to play.

????, ??, 2010– I’m not sure what day I beat Sonic & Knuckles, but I flew through it – definitely a sense of “just trying to get done” with the Collection. That’s not to say the game isn’t great – again, the levels and music are fantastic.

In light of the fact that Sonic 4 will be coming out next year and is set up as a sequel of sorts to these games, it will be interesting to see how it stacks up.

The fact that I can sit down and go through them again shows just how good they were – and still are.

Post tenebras lux

Hope delivers

Originally posted at GameSpot on September 23, 2010

I went to the official Star Wars: The Old Republic site thinking I might grab a wallpaper or two, just do a little research on the game.

I don’t have a PC able to handle a game like that and probably won’t for a long time, but the game still looks cool and I enjoy reading up.

Went to the media section, the latest trailer was called “Hope.”

Wow.

If something can emotionally grab you in less than five minutes, you know it’s good.

The trailer was awesome – the narration, the action,familiar Star Wars music – it was all there. So many sweet moments packed into such a small space …I’ve still got the chills.

(As I was watching my wife heard me gasp and came over to check it out. We watched the entire thing from beginning to end – and she gasped at the same place!)

Yep, it’s that good.

It is worth getting a new computer for one game? The Star Wars: The Old Republic “Hope” trailer makes me want to say yes.

Post tenebras lux

Shut your freakin gob: Juno and cheat codes

Originally posted at GameSpot on July 1, 2008

About a month ago, I saw the movie Juno. I didn’t really expect too much, but I ended up really enjoying the movie.

That said, something interesting happened as I listened to the soundtrack not to long ago. I was driving home from work and heard these lyrics:

“Up up down down left right left right B A start
Just because we use cheats doesn’t mean we’re not smart”

I had heard the song before – track seventeen, “Anyone Else But You” by The Moldy Peaches. But this time I really heard the words and understood them: “Up up down down left right…” That sounds like a code I would have punched in on my NES years ago!

After some digging, I found out that this is a reference to the fabled “Konami Code,” made most famous in the states in the old NES game Contra.

While this may be common knowledge to others, I had never heard of it – and to find out about it from listening to the Juno soundtrack? Pretty sweet.

But even better is the instant connection I felt with the songwriter. I felt like I needed to pull the car over – up until them I had just been jamming along, but now the song spoke directly to me. I think if you were a musician that has to be one of your goals – your song hits someone in such a way that they almost pull over.

The moral of this story? Keep an eye (or ear) out – you never know where a fellow gamer may turn up.

Post tenebras lux

Absolutely ridiculous. I don’t paint.

Originally posted at GameSpot on May 13, 2008

My wife and I saw Iron Man this past Thursday (May 8th), and the movie lived up to the hype everyone was giving it. True, I had pretty much decided I was going to like the movie going in, but it really delivered on a great story with plenty of action.

Unfortunately, it looks as if the official tie-in game didn’t fare nearly as well, although you almost expect it with games based on movies. Well, there’s always next time.

As far the movie, I’m already enjoying the soundtrack and I look forward to the next installment.

Post tenebras lux

Of Gladius and guilt

Originally posted at GameSpot on October 29, 2007

Guilty? Me? Does this even make sense? I find it amazing that even after nearly three years, I still have something that can best be described as guilt over returning Gladius to the store.

Where does this come from? Why would I even have these feelings after a decent amount of time has passed? I have a few theories:

-I want to know how it ends! I enjoy a good story – and games are no exception. This explains how I can have as much fun watching a game as well as playing (Metal Gear Solid), or how I can keep playing a game devoid of fun but from good source material (Star Trek: Klingon Academy).Gladius had a great story; slow-building but definitely there.

– I feel like I wimped out on the game. I started Gladius, and I should finish it. It’s that simple. I can’t stand starting a book or movie and not finishing it, and the same thing applies here.

– When a game garners high critical praise, it seems like I should have enjoyed the experience more. I use GameSpot a lot to help decide what purchases I should make. Gladius received a very respectable score (8.4), and that was important in my decision to pick the game up. I’m not blaming the high score at all, I just feel like I missed out on something.

So there you have it – the reasons for my “guilt.” Are they good enough reasons? I mean, do I deserve to feel like I messed up somehow by not sticking with the game? In the end, I think the answer is no. And here’s why:

First, you have to establish context. The main reason I didn’t stick with the game is being recently married, spending hours a day on a RPG that your wife finds incredibly boring tends to lead to some disagreement. If I want video games to be a part of my life now that I actually do have more important things going on, I need her on board if I’m going to play something for any length of time. Gladius didn’t make her cut, so that’s one huge strike against it.

Second, in keeping with context, I had only just begun to enter the world of RPGs. Some might not consider Knights of the Old Republic a true RPG, but it was the closest thing I had come to the genre so far. Going from the quick pace of that game to the slow walk of Gladius made it easier to let it go.

Third, the game’s high score does not have to reflect my own personal taste. This may seem an obvious fact – but I do put stock in what people in the industry say about a game, and I concede that their experienced opinion holds more weight than mine. That being said, I still don’t have to agree with it. With any game, it comes down to what I like – not what someone else tells me I should like. (I give you Panzar Dragoon Orta – I hated that game!)

To sum it all up, Gladius was a great game. It had a great world map and soundtrack. It had great cut scenes with dramatic flair. It had good combat system, interesting storyline, and fun characters. But, it wasn’t a great game for me. I think it is possible to label a game as great without personally liking it as the same time.

Post tenebras lux