Thanks to Red Metal over at Extra Life for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger award! That’s a great honour I’ve never experienced before, so cheers. This was also a lot of fun to write for and I hope my answers weren’t slathered too much with my English misery. Nonetheless though, these are some honest answers to some frankly great questions. Thanks again Red Metal!
For those unfamiliar with the sunshine blogger award – you get nominated by someone and you need to answer 11 questions of your choosing. You answer, come up with your own questions, then pass them on to another 11 bloggers of your choosing. Pretty neat idea if you ask me.
Anyway, on with Red Metal’s questions:
- Have you ever watched a critically acclaimed show only to feel it didn’t live up to the hype?
This is a difficult one to answer at the risk of looking like a terrible cultural leper but I’ve found Game of Thrones really challenging to get into. From afar, it’s blueprint for great TV: A moody, grimy take on fantasy that feels realistic and biting, tempered with wild flourishes of T and A to keep your dad watching. Perhaps the political skulduggery is what intrigues me most, and the way it presents human morality and loyalty as some transient, illusory vale is something that I find myself nodding in agreement with but it’s depiction of sex seems oddly stale when it’s trying it’s hardest to be anything but. Sex and screwing seems entirely devoid of lust, filth, nastiness and indeed anything resembling a natural sexual feeling you might feel in real life – it’s just rote gratuity. An attempt at looking more mature, like a schoolkid toking on a cigarette for the first time. Perhaps the show runners don’t think people would be as interested without it but I think they would. For me though, the show has always landed with a dull thud, like a thrown dog, and I’ve never had the gumption to look at it again.
- After truly getting into the medium and observing the many times film critics failed to see eye-to-eye with fans, I’ve come down to the conclusion that the former faction could stand to improve themselves. How do you think they should go about doing that?
Honestly, who knows? There’s always been a kind of cultural Berlin wall between audience and critic. I think it would be totally delicious to believe that society as a whole has lower standards than they usually would have and that the critics are the one true virtue who know what good art is, but the reality is people like things because they vibe with it somehow. It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to speak to them and that’s fine. That being said, I think critics don’t need to change. I like latching on to a critic I share ideals with and I love to hear their recommendations, weather I agree with them or not. I think dispelling that sense of discussion and debate would suffocate the art more than if critics had to bend the knee to the audience.
- What is the most obscure album in your collection?
Maybe Saccharine Trust’s first record. I don’t think this is terribly obscure, but I guess in terms of knowing people who have also heard and love this record I’ve not met anyone yet. Classic punk sneer with a jazz lawlessness threatening to break the structure down at any moment – and the whole thing lasts about 10 minutes, beginning to end.
- What film do you consider “So bad it’s good”?
I don’t really get the trend of sitting down to watch shitty movies just to laugh at them but I do sometimes like shitty movies un-ironically because, for whatever reason, I saw something good in them. Tarantino’s Death Proof is a good example of that – I don’t know. I just liked the attitude it displayed. Hamburger Hill is another woefully clunky film with a curiously republican bent but it has a fantastically nihilistic ending that I find totally irresistible.
- What do you think the ideal length of a game should be?
This is a great question. I’ve played games like last years Nioh for hundreds of hours and loved them and I’ve also played Gone Home for 2 hours and thought it was a terribly important piece of work. Games are unique like that. They can stretch time and still be worth it. It all comes down to how you spend those hours and weather it keeps you engaged for the duration.
But to actually answer the question, if we’re talking about a streamlined, cut out the fat, thrill ride from start to finish? I think about 12-15 hours is perfect.
- Have you ever cleared a game while traveling abroad?
I try not to game abroad, honestly. Games are a comfort thing that I like to do at home on the couch. When I’m abroad I want to pound the streets and take everything in as much as possible. I want culture and food and all that good stuff.
- What is your favorite decade in films?
I’d love to be inclusive and say I love all decades of film but I think the 70’s were a really special time for cinema. It was a time of huge cultural change. Directors like Scorsese and Coppola were at the forefront of that and so many beautiful pictures were released at that time. The Deer Hunter, for example, one of the greatest human tragedy movies of all time, Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Dog Day Afternoon, Apocalypse Now... that’s a whole other level of heavyweights and the sensibilities depicted in those movies really formed a lot of my creative backbone not just as a writer but as a person who loves art and culture.
- What game do you feel doesn’t get enough credit?
Last year’s Prey. I get really strong The Thing vibes from it which is never going to be a bad thing. I think it’s really special and it got ignored. I know I mentioned Nioh earlier but I think it gets discounted as a mere souls-like too often when it is, in reality, a tightly refined technical gem. It’s the difference between an accomplished submission master and a brawling fighter… the submission master wins with intelligence, just like Nioh.
- What lesson do you think film fans could learn from gamers?
Not a lot. I think gamer culture hasn’t done well to dispel it’s negative image. Cinema goers seem to actually enjoy their hobby and if it’s problematic there is open debates. But gamers don’t seem to have the same respect for their own passion. They’ve proven themselves to be anti-intellectual, they’ve proven themselves to be racist and sexist and those that aren’t are too slow on calling out their peers and in general I think the vibe among gamer culture is totally negative and exclusionary which is crazy when you consider the direction the industry wants to go in is in the opposite direction. Developers want to diversify, they want to introduce a wider array of voices to the creative tap but that utterly frustrates gamers. I know i’m right, too, because writing something like this makes me feel nervous because if it got out on twitter, gamers would drag me for it even though it’s the truth.
- What good work do you feel had a negative impact on its respective medium?
For a while it was Call of Duty – it’s a great game series, really, but the net gain overall has been negative. The yearly cycle of pumping out unimaginative garbage is a trend we still see all the time. The monetization of psychologically negative and addicting game mechanics is something that had it’s roots in Call of Duty’s unlock and progression system. It’s a shame because I think they’re great games, really. Especially the first and second Modern Warfare
- What bad work do you feel had a positive impact on its respective medium?
Probably something like Deadly Premonitions – It’s janky as all hell but people love it because it has charm, it has a soul. Games could do that more and I think we’re starting to see that especially with the rise of games like the Yakuza series. Idiosyncratic, auteur-led video games are the key to the industry being culturally legitimized and taken seriously.
That was fun. I hope my nonsense wasn’t terribly nauseating. Anyway, without further ado, here’s my 11 questions:
1, If you could change something about your favorite game to make it even better, what would that be?
2, What current games do you think will have the most cultural significance in the future?
3, Who would you pick to soundtrack your ideal movie or game?
4, What developer in the industry do you think deserves more recognition?
5, Do you think wider culture as a whole respects video games?
6, What could movies learn from the best video games?
7, What frustrates you the most about our current political climate?
8, What’s your video game guilty pleasure?
9, Where do you go to learn about new music?
10, Is there a good way to introduce politics into games?
11, What are you going to do after Brexit (or Trump, if you’re from the other side of the Atlantic)?
To answer these questions I’ve decided to nominate the following…
- Kim over on Later Levels
- Shelby Steiner over on Falcon Game Reviews
- Tecsie over on Tecsielity
- Astro Adam at Video Game Nebula
- Chris Scullion on Tired Old Hack
- 1 Broke Gamer Girl over at… 1 Broke Gamer Girl!
- GluxBox over at The Glux Blog
- Karl Weller at Game, Complain, Repeat
- Bee over on A Girl Named Bee
- Rei on Shenanigans of a Gamer Mom
Hey, I couldn’t find an 11th. This’ll have to do.
Have fun people! Thanks again to Red Metal!