Saturday, May 28, 2011

Song of the Week 38.5: 'A Hero's Legacy' by Evan Pattison (redo)

For this week's .5 edition, I'll be reviewing the song talked about in Song of the Week Reogan Style. Actually Reogan doesn't talk about the piece itself, but he adds visuals that go along with what he heard. I'll try to keep those visuals in mind while I'm reviewing this. This is Evan Pattison's second OCR piece titled 'A Hero's Legacy'. Huh, I think this is one of the first (if not the first) Legend of Zelda franchise remixes I've ever reviewed. Anyway, I'm not going to go off topic, so let's get down to business.

The song starts out with a gradual entry by a group of strings. These strings are what is mainly heard throughout this song. The group of strings had a wide range of pitches; approximately two or three octaves are used. At 0:09 a small woodwind instrument (most likely an oboe) is heard playing a rhythm while the strings are harmonizing against it. At 0:19 there's a large cymbal crash and the beginning of the song is repeated, this time much louder and dramatic. The only difference hear is the volume and the entry of some low brass to help out the lower-pitched strings. The harmony with the strings as the oboe plays this time is even stronger as well. At 0:35 another crash is heard and a new section begins. After this crash, what's heard is all of the sounds holding a note while slowly fading from the song. 0:41 is the real transition to the next major section, for the piano comes in and plays a solemn melody. The piano solo consists of the high melody without much bass to back it up. There are times throughout this section where the notes from the piano are accented, which makes the whole thing seem a little louder. After the solo ends at 1:08, all of the orchestral elements heard before as well as another cymbal crash will come back in the song. There are lots of harmonies heard here, although the four-measure-long melody is repeated the entire time. At least the harmonies aren't as repetitive. At 1:32 there's one more crash, and another break similar to the one at 0:35 starts up again. After this at 1:40, the piano will come back in once again. It plays a melody very similar, if not the same, as the piano solo back at 0:41. The difference here is that there's a small amount of flute backing the piano up as it plays. At 2:05 the strings slowly come back in. At 2:06 the oboe will now play the melody while the strings play a rather simple harmony. The melody is none other than the well-known LoZ melody that a huge majority of gamers have heard. However, this arrangement of the melody is much sadder, depressing, and slow. The strings create a very dramatic feel along with the melody. This is where I can see those visuals that Reogan described, and they actually make sense with what I'm hearing. At 2:33 snare drums come in, as well as a church bell. The melody now repeats, this time louder with a whole lot more elements added. There's now timpani, louder strings, low brass to back things us, and various cymbal crashes. At 3:02 some of the elements are slowing starting to drop out. The melody continues to play, with strong strings and great bass. At 3:16 though, the song comes to an end...

Pros: There were a lot of great orchestral elements here that made the song shine. I thought that the harmonies went very well with the melody, and I liked the dramatic feeling that it gave off. This type of music fits well with a Legend of Zelda game.

Cons: The piano solos at 0:41 and 1:40 were accented too much. The song was a little simple and repetitive; there was hardly anything new heard as the song progressed. Also, I hated the ending. There was hardly any fading (the song pretty much just stopped), and the song sounded a little weird ending right in the middle of the melody.

Overall: This song is good, although I feel that it does need some tweaking. It's a very calm piece with a lot of dramatic orchestra, yet it lacks the complexity to really make me go "Wow, that was an amazing piece". Still, this is pretty good stuff here.

Rating: 7.8/10

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Song of the Week 38: 'Dear Death' by The Opensky

So it's been a little while since I've put up a SotW. Marim does just fine without me, but I do like to pitch in once and a while. I find that I tend to enjoy examining atmospheric tracks so I can point out all the little things that really pull it together. Ironically, this atmospheric stuff is what I'm bad at when I compose music, so hopefully I'm learning a few things. Anyway, this week's track comes courtesy of The Opensky a.k.a. Joe Byun who's been producing a lot of high quality music... especially for someone who is 15 years of age. The Opensky isn't OCR related, but I found him through following Stargame on soundcloud (however, even if I didn't notice a Stargame comment, I would've soon noticed that he took a crack at the Weeping Clouds remix contest held by Hollidayrain and Flexstyle, two OCR and Protagonist Records contributers). This particular track is titled Dear Death. I've had it on my mind for a while to review an Opensky track, but I couldn't get myself to choose. I went for Dear Death because of the wandering atmosphere that this track has, featuring plenty of ambient sounds, strings, and piano. Going back to the comments on this track on soundcloud, this is Mr. Byun's first attempt to create something orchestral. I'd say it went off rather well otherwise I don't think I'd be taking a look at it here. Anyway, let's get down to business...

The first three seconds of this track immediately remind me of Last Man Standing by Hybrid although I can also tell this is going to be a lot more relaxed sounding (the tracks aren't really that similar, it's probably just because Last Man Standing is frequently listened to). Different beeping tones fade in and out as a ambient tapping/scratching noise with added effects enters in at 0:05. Pretty good atmosphere establishment that sets the tone for the first true note to be played at 0:18 as a simple two note string/synth bass rotation. The ambiance is slowly building during all of this and hits a good volume at 0:36 when the piano is introduced. The piano does a good job of containing two parts that split to create an interesting melody. All the while the "beepy" ambiance starts to remind me a bit of Pink Floyd (although nowadays there are tons of things that remind me of how Pink Floyd originally sounded). The piano goes through four "series" of melody lines interconnected by well placed pickups to measures. After the fourth "series" a brief string section comes in for four notes down a chord. This lightly played "dun dun dun dun" (just had to type that out) becomes one of my favorite parts of the track as you just learn to anticipate it and it forms a big part of this track. After the "dun dun dun dun" a higher string melody is added to the mix as it plays slow, drawn out notes to help create some interplay with the piano. At 1:02 the ambient tapping/scratching with effects is subtly removed in order to avoid damaging the melody. This leaves the remaining elements to slowly increase in volume with another casual "dun dun dun dun" coming in at 1:11-1:12 this time followed by a bass drum at 1:13 (albeit a very ambient bass drum in keeping with the elements of the track). Once again this "dun dun dun dun" (which isn't very loud at all) introduces new elements to the track. A subtle synth fluctuation (similar to the one heard in Under Mars by The Opensky) emerges buried deep underneath the bass elements. At this time the strings get a new bass section added to the two note rotation, adding some more variety to the mix. Now with these elements in play The Opensky runs with this setup, as the sounds seem to drift in a dreamy sense with no distinctive elements (in fact, what makes the "dun dun dun dun" so pronounced in this track is the fact that it is a short, consistent series of notes repeatedly played). Speaking of which, 1:48-1:50 brings this "section" to a subtle transition with the "dun dun dun dun" followed by the ambient bass drum. It really isn't much of a transition except in the following section the piano plays a little less low notes relying on melody more and the atmospheric elements don't seem as prominent, leaving the listener to follow the notes of the string and piano interplay. 2:43-2:44 is another "dun dun dun dun" transition followed by the bass drum. This transition is definitely more pronounced than the last, yet none of the transitions are truly pronounced by my standards other than the distinctive "dun dun dun dun". The ambient tapping/scratching noise with its effects reenters here. The strings make a very subtle exit amidst the newly found atmosphere. The piano also becomes a little more recognizable as running through a melody instead of wandering. This section transitions with another "dun dun dun dun" at 3:38 at which time the string section is reintroduced again by switching out the tapping/scratching ambiance. Once again we're left with piano string interplay with an ambient bass drum entering on its own at 4:15-4:16 (this reintroduces some of the atmospheric synth fluctuation that was going on in the previous section). This is transitioned at 4:51-4:53 with another "dun dun dun dun" and the ambient bass drum the listener has come to expect. This section removes the piano entirely, letting us enjoy the drawn out notes of the soft strings and the mixing of the atmosphere. The tapping/scratching ambiance comes back as well, but more subtle than when it has been reintroduced in the past (around 5 minutes is when it starts to reenter). The ambiance seems to slowly build in this section with another "dun dun dun dun" coming at 5:09-5:10 (this time it isn't followed by the bass drum). The change fades without the bass drum to introduce it, the tapping/scratching ambiance builds and the string/synth bass drops out entirely at 5:20 (good example of a soft element influencing the entire track). Now the ambient elements slowly exit with the soft "beeping" tones going first, leaving the tapping/scratching ambiance as the only thing still creating music. This is also given a good exit as it is slowly run under a low pass filter until it is faded out. Good stuff.

Pros: Unlike the last track I did for SotW, this will not leave you shaking in your boots. This is very good ambient layering and atmospheric setup that makes a hard track to create sound easy. I have to love how each new "section" was subtly introduced yet at the same time it wasn't because there was always the "dun dun dun dun" (which is played a total of 7 times by the way) or the ambient bass drum to cue us in to the change. The piano and strings worked well together and the "beepy" (that word is not as "subtle" as I would like) ambiance really put things together. Dynamics are also fantastic.

Cons: The melody does a lot of wandering that makes it too easy to loose interest sometimes. The piano is also a little sharp and I'm sort of disappointed the melody interplaying with the strings wasn't another synth tone or at least a piano with effects added on. I think the piano's initial entrance stood out after hearing the rest of the song.

Overall: Atmosphere wins. I still feel like I missed some sort of sine waveish synth pad that was used in the ambiance. The landscape of ambient sounds is really something to admire. While the title "Dear Death" brings to mind something a little more emotional, I think this track has put a new meaning on the words for me and I can see how it works. Good stuff.

Rating: 8.7/10

Monday, May 23, 2011

Video Games: Galaxy on Fire 2

Update 8/25/2012
I notice a lot of people arrive at this page searching for help with certain situations in Galaxy on Fire 2 (especially since the game is now available for PC on Steam). I have beaten the main story as well as the expansion DLC and would be willing to answer any specific questions related to certain instances in the game. Just post a comment below and I will respond in kind. I played the game on a 3rd generation iPod Touch so my help may not be specific to your platform. 
I've always been a big fan of mobile games since the dawn of the cell phone. I miss the old Nokia phones that played snake. iOS has proved to be one of the most versatile gaming platforms of the last few years and I've been consistently impressed by the capability for many good games. Galaxy on Fire 2 is a space trading, dogfighting, adventure game developed by Fishlabs for iOS as a sequel to Galaxy on Fire. I've played Galaxy on Fire (I got it for free when GoF 2 came out), but I could never get into it as GoF 2 proved so much better that I couldn't couldn't go back to the old version. GoF 2 now has a story expansion available as DLC, but I have yet to purchase it. Perhaps I'll release a review of that once I've completed it.


Combat is merely an accessory to Galaxy on Fire 2, but it's still a very important part of the game. Most of the story objectives (it's been a while since I've played the story) do involve combat, but it isn't emphasized. All of GoF 2's movement takes place through the third person perspective of a fighter sized space ship (although comparing the size to some of the passing cruisers reveals it is actually comparable to the Normandy from Mass Effect). This also proves a good venue for combat as a large portion of it is spent maneuvering your ship into position and unleashing fire at the location where the enemy ship will be. It's essential to have a good scanner when using lock-on weapons and tractor beams as this will greatly improve your ability to freely move and dodge fire while inflicting damage on enemies. Abilities such as the speed boost items and cloaking also greatly enhance combat. Cloaking is invaluable to survive some of the game's more longer and grueling fights (such as the final battle and the DLC fight to take Kaamo from multiple pirate bases). Turrets are also an interesting addition, however, I find that they're practically useless and overpriced as they require your ship to fly in a straight line and cease all weapons activity other than the turret. The turret must also be controlled manually, and while it has a very good range, even the best turrets suffer from slow rates of fire and lack of maneuverability. GoF 2's combat is fairly well rounded with the only issue being the difficulty of taking evasive action. Overall, it's better to eliminate as many enemies as you can before they damage you; cloaking is essential.

Exploration is by far the most appealing feature of Galaxy on Fire 2. With the graphics on maximum for any iOS device (particularly iPad), the game is absolutely beautiful as your ship soars through space across multiple planets in multiple systems. The full galaxy map (once you have access to it after the beginning story events) presents a massive amount of systems and planets (each planet has an orbital space station which you visit). I believe I've visited at least 100 stations during my playing time and the new DLC should add even more. The game allows you to travel within a system by locking onto planets and flying to them quickly, but travel between systems involves reaching a station with a "jumpgate" that accelerates you to the planet of your choosing in another adjacent system.

Story Mechanics
From the very beginning Galaxy on Fire 2 is a very beautiful game. However, the initial story leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. The voice acting is average for an iOS game (which by my standards is not very good). The on-board ship computer, while only heard in the very beginning of the game was so cheesy that I almost stopped playing. Luckily GoF 2's amazing graphics and mechanics kept me playing. The rest of the voice acting in the game, including Keith T. Maxwell (the PC) is not half bad. The opening dialog (after the hyperspace incident that transports your character to another part of the galaxy plus a few years) is also odd in the impression that it leaves. However, the rest of the story seems to flow fairly smoothly without too many quirks. Many of the story objectives simply involve flying from one place to another in attempts to contact different people or gather different items needed to create something. The story is easily left alone for quite a bit while your character gathers the necessary equipment to tackle some of the tougher combat sequences. Sidequests are also an important part of the game as they provide you with much needed finances to fuel your quest for better ships and weapons.

The trading system in Galaxy on Fire 2 is well managed, although it's not as prominent once your ship has been upgraded more substantially. The mining "minigame" is fairy well designed and I like the way it's incorporated into the story. The big part of the logistics system for GoF 2 is the factions system. There are 4 factions in GoF 2, Terrans (humans), Vossk, Nivelians, and Midorians. The Terrans are at odds with the Vossk and the Niverlians are at odds with the Midorians. The game has an "affiliation meter" in which doing certain quests for certain factions can result in anything from slight to major shifts in your allies. For instance, accepting a quest from a Terran that involves destroying a convoy carrying illegal goods may result in the destruction of several Vossk ships. This usually results in a major shift on the meter from Vossk to Terran (the Vossk and Terran meter is completely separate from the Midorian Nivelian meter). With the new update, signatures are now available that can be found by destroying ships from different factions (pirates are a nonfaction). When equipped, these signatures alter your allies to that of the affiliation of the signature (for instance, equipping a Nivelian signature puts you at war with the Midorians and highly in favor of the Terrans over the Vossk). The only thing I don't like about this meter is the fact that it means nothing within the story and only means that certain ships will attack you or you'll have to pay a bribe to dock at an enemy station. Your status may be shifted to "not at war" by representatives who will offer you to erase your record in exchange for money.


Galaxy on Fire 2 is complimented by a fairly good mix of orchestral and electronic score; certainly more than I would expect from an iOS game. There is music for the four different factions for both noncombatant space exploration and when docked at a station. There is 3 variations on the combat theme that vary in intensity based on the number of enemies. The music may get a little repetitive sometimes, but it is overall very enjoyable.

Each faction has unique ship, station, and jumpgate design making for an overall better exploration experience.

If it's on sale, buy it. Ten bucks is a lot, but it's a fantastic game, especially for iPad.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keep Watch and Keep Running


There is
a great


to be solved.


all things


time unravel.


your life.



is almost up.

What does



Does it


Keep watch


keep running.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Song of the Week 37: 'Ochre Threads' by Oliver Sadie

Hey, it's time for another Song of the Week. The song this time for this week isn't OCR related; it's from Soundcloud. So with that in mind, this song is titled 'Ochre Threads' by Oliver Sadie. He has two versions of this song, but I'll be reviewing the original today. The piano version of the song will probably be reviewed for the next .5 post. So, without further delay, let's get this started.

The song starts out with two different synths. The lower of the two acts like a bass while the other is a little higher in pitch. The bass synth plays the first note, while the other plays and holds the last two beats. I'm pretty sure that the song is in 3/8 time. At 0:13 a much higher synth comes in to start off the main melody. The synth here is clean, yet it rings after playing, giving a bell-like tone to it. In addition to this synth, a string section joins in to play the rhythm the first two synths were playing at the beginning. However, it will only play the role of the second synth that plays. While the melody continues to play, it gives off a very peaceful atmosphere. The part so far where the melody is the strongest would be at 0:40. This strong buildup with the melody will die back down again at 0:46. At 0:52, the strings and the melody drop out for a while, leaving the two original synths that played at the beginning continuing it's light and calm rhythm. At 0:58 a new section starts up, and the melody changes. It still uses the synth with the bell-like tone, but it's now at least an octave lower. The strings this time do a little more than just playing a note each measure; it now harmonizes slightly with the rest of the track, while still keeping a nice, slow pace. There's another strong point with the melody at 1:10, and it's great that hardly anything in the melody has been repeated yet. After 1:10, the melody will die down again and eventually drop, leaving everything else. At 1:25 everything breaks off for a brief moment, and then the song will come back in very strong. Not only is the melody coming back in strong, but the strings as well. Not only until 1:32 is when the strings die down more, with the melody soon to follow. By 1:38, you can now hardly hear the melody. At 1:45 the song builds up once again, with probably the strings being the loudest here (the melody is still pretty close to it in volume though). 1:51 is a place where the harmony from the strings is heard very clearly; it's not until about 1:56 where the melody becomes a little more dominant. At 2:03 the strings crescendo one more time in a nice harmony, but then fade away. Now starting at 2:07 the original synths are now heard clearly with the melody still playing. The melody continues to play its charming melody while the strings come in for a final time at 2:19. At 2:26 the strings become stronger and then play the last note. The song will then fade away...

Pros: This is relaxing, peaceful, and completely calm. There was hardly any repetitiveness in the song except for the background rhythm that played for the entire time. The strong buildups that were used occasionally were dramatic, flowing, and always had good timing. I also really liked the break-off at 1:25.

Cons: The background rhythm after a while did bother me slightly. I wouldn't mind if there was a slight change in that rhythm. Perhaps the strings could've had a little larger of a role also?

Overall: This song is short, sweet, and straight-to-the-point. It's a great song to listen to when relaxing. I recommend listening to it. Stay tuned, because Ochre Threads (Piano version) will be reviewed this Saturday!

Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Revolutions, Chapter One

The building was small and modest. Innocuous. Built hardly a year before, it's timbers still smelt of pine; John suspected that some of the mortar trapped between the bricks had yet to cure. Made for carpenters, nothing more, nothing less.
John sighed, and wiped the rain from his eyes, peering out over the balcony rail. It was impossible to see anything in this storm. There was the Hall behind him, the rail before him, and beyond that only gray. The torrent from above was, in its roar, somehow silent, and its silence managed to blot out the arguments that surely continued inside.
It was Thomas, of course, who started it. He always did, playing the fool and clinging to his impossible beliefs.
Of course we want to strive for ideals, Jefferson, but what happens when something goes wrong? We need to be realistic. 
There was only one man of whom John knew who could make the radical see sense. A man who had worked with their oppressors, and knew exactly what self-governance would cost the colonies. The most anticipated member of the Congress, and he was nowhere to be seen.
John raised his hand to the storm lantern that hung above him, and flipped its shutter three times. After a short pause, two answering flashes shown from somewhere in the tempest.
A faint smile. At least Philadelphia remains untouched.
(But for how long?)
He sighed, and turned to return to the hall. As he passed through the doors, Galloway passed by him. The two men exchanged a brief nod of the head, and Galloway whispered in passing, "If there ever comes a point where reason is again welcome in these walls, have me alerted."
Before he could even begin to wonder what sort of situation could have prompted such a solid man as Joseph Galloway to take his leave of the Congress, John passed into the main room. Without a pause in his ranting, Thomas pointed a finger at John while raging at his cousin. "And you side with him, Samuel? With a man who would defend the Redcoats for the cost of a pair of shoes?"
Instantly, the chamber erupted into a roar of accusation and counterpoint. No semblance of organized debate remained. The few men who crowded around Samuel Adams could hardly speak with the weight of the rhetoric that Jefferson's disciples had almost certainly learned by rote. Others of the man's mob had broken away to abuse John similarly. Samuel himself gave him an accusatory look. 
You know I didn't get you into this, dear cousin.
 Above it all, though, was Jefferson, standing on a chair with his smug grin boring into John. He knew exactly what he was doing. For a man of such weak character, Jefferson had a remarkable way with words. He had given his followers - supposedly learned delegates - their instructions, and they obeyed them unfailingly. Alone, he was nothing, and he knew it. But now, with forty heads to repeat his views, eighty hands to do his work, he was strong. Your turn, his grin said.
My turn indeed. I may not have your popularity, but I do have one thing.
"The truth," John said. His words were surely lost in the crowd, but someone saw his mouth move. He fell silent. John met the eyes of the man next to the first, and soon he did as well. Soon, a slow ripple of silence resonated out. When there was no sound, John took a breath. Samuel and Jefferson were both watching him, waiting. Neither pair of eyes was friendly.
"The truth," he said again. ""Facts are stubborn things. They persist whatever our wishes. They endure despite your eloquence, Jefferson. And the fact remains that not a single soldier fired on a colonist that day."
An outraged mutter from someone in the crowd.
"The fact remains that while their acts may be intolerable, Britain remains sovereign over us. We have but to remind her of exactly how far that sovereignty extends."
A murmur now rose in the crowd, building like a wave.
"And the fact remains that you all see only what you want to. May I remind you that politics are not our concern. May I remind you, that Britain is not our enemy. May I remind you that we convene in Philadelphia not for convenience or secrecy, but for safety? May I have the audacity to suggest that our Congress could potentially save or destroy the lives of every man, woman, and child in these colonies?"
His last note hung in the air for a moment. Then Jefferson smiled.
"So you propose we fall to our knees and crawl back to our Mother King?"
John opened his mouth to protest, but the crowd was already warming up again. Jefferson remained smiling, but his eyes burned with resentment even at John's very temporary success in stealing away the attentions of his supplicants. Samuel didn't even look at him.
I know all the facts. I say all the right words. But they never listen. They prattle on with their politics while hell itself rises to devour us. We need another Jesus. We need a leader of hearts, another prophet, another pillar to support us.
Where are you, Washington?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Random Thoughts Revival

I wonder who was the 52nd person to own a lightbulb...

I wonder how we wonder...

Speaking of wondering, I wonder what it would be like if it were impossible to wonder...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Song of the Week 36.5: 'Swingin' With Death' by Nase (redo)

.5 SotW's have returned! So, this is a remake of Met's Song of the Week 13-which could hardly be considered much of a "review" (mainly because I was nonexistent on this blog back then). This song is Nase's debut remix: 'Swingin' With Death' from the game Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. Without further delay, let's get to the remix.

The song starts out with a cymbal roll and an orchestral sequence. It mainly consists of strings increasing in volume and pitch, making a pretty epic sounding intro. The brass section here can be heard making numerous buildups until one of the instruments, a french horn I believe, has a very small solo at 0:10. After the french horn plays there's a minor buildup at 0:13, and then a new section begins. This next part of the song has now flipped genres-going from what appears to be a powerful, orchestral piece of music to a funky swing. Here the piano now controls the melody, jazzing up the entire track. The percussion is now displaying your basic swing beat, and the bass plays a tune of its own while backing up the piano. At 0:24 the piano drops and is replaced by the trumpet (which is apparently a brass sample). I figured it was just a sample since it doesn't really sound like a real trumpet. At 0:33 the piano comes back in with a funky trill and continues the jazzy melody that has been going on so far. There's a little more piano here, for a lower octave will come in occasionally to back it up. At 0:42 the brass will come to buildup the song even more. After the brass comes in the melody switches instruments again, and the piano is now replaced by a flute. I like the fact that there's a good variety of instrumentation used throughout the song. At 0:49 the brass will come back in to buildup the song alongside the flute, mainly to add a little more beef I think. At 0:54 a different section starts to be played. The piano has the melody again, although this time the rhythm is a little more straight than the jazz ensemble previously heard. The percussion now has the addition of a cowbell, which is pretty cool. The brass play more buildups while the melody is being played. At 1:04 the melody switches again to the brass-mainly the trumpet. At 1:12 the piano comes in to help transition the song again. At 1:14 there are really only two main instruments being played here: the percussion and the clav (which has the melody). The clav here plays a funky tune while low brass back it up occasionally. At roughly 1:24 the clav is going wild in its soli (pretty cool stuff here). At 1:32 the soli stops with the bass and the clav doing a two-part soli which transitions the song again into a new section. At 1:36 the first melody is repeated (the one from 0:13). Instead of the piano playing the melody though, the clav, one octave higher, plays it. The piano instead plays some chords backing everything up. At 1:46 the melody switches not to the piano, but to the bass. Yes, bass solo time! The bass already sounded pretty sweet when it was playing its "normal" role, but now it's playing a crazy, jazzy melody that rampages through this section. At 1:56 the bass goes back to what it was previously doing, and the melody now is played by a smooth synth. At 2:06 another section is repeated; this time it's the section from 1:04. Instead of the trumpet this time, it's more of a low brass instrument (most likely trombone) that plays the melody here. At 2:13 the trumpet joins in and now harmonizes with the trombone. The clav also joins in occasionally to play a note or two. 2:24 sounds pretty interesting; everything became muffled, gritty, and intentionally messed up (in a good way). At 2:31 the song cools down a lot by having the percussion leave and a high synth play the melody. There are a lot of synth buildups while this is going on, as well as piano playing a couple chords. After 2:41, the song echoes and then slowly dies away.

Pros: The song was fun and upbeat. It always kept that swing beat, never stopping or remotely slowing down. The bass was absolutely awesome here, I love the fact that it served as melody, harmony, as well as the bass. The variety of instruments used here was great considering how short the song was. The clav dominated section from 1:14 to 1:32 was pretty awesome as well.

Cons: It was perhaps a little too short; this has to be one of the shortest songs I've reviewed so far. Also, I thought that the brass samples could have sounded more...realistic? I know they were samples that were used very well throughout the piece, but I'm not really in favor of them.

Overall: This is a short, catchy, swing that probably make people appreciate jazz a little more. I'm neutral when it comes to jazz; I neither like it nor dislike it. This song is pretty fun to listen to though, so people should take three minutes of their time to hear it.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Video Game Idea: Gods & Glocks

NOTE: All religious ideas expressed in the idea for a video game are strictly for the video game idea and do not represent the beliefs of the the author or any other members, followers, and/or viewers of this blog.

Okay, the title sounds weird, but you can't say that there haven't been games based on mythology out there. Here goes... The game would probably run on an Xbox system. It would be a shooter (as depicted from the title [in case you didn't know, a Glock is a handgun that comes in many varieties]). Whether it is first or third person I don't really care (customizable camera view, anyone?).

The basic plot (for career mode) would be that a team of scientists had (somehow) built a device that proved that the Gods existed. This caused the scientists to go berserk and wonder if they could become as powerful as them, but then one guy came up with the idea of making the Gods only as powerful as the scientists. They then went straightforward in creating a device that, when activated, made the Gods and any other magical creatures mortal. Eventually they finish and activate the machine, causing the Gods to wonder what happened. Chaos ensues soon after as the Gods and many mythical creatures are released unto the world. All of these mythical figures are now buying guns to defend themselves. This is where you choose which storyline to start pursuing (you can switch between storylines without losing progress).

There is the scientist's storyline, this is the defense one, where you play as a scientist on the team who discovered how to make the myths mortal, in which you have to defend the laboratory (and, specifically, the machine) from waves of oncoming immortals (who are now mortal) who are trying to destroy the machine to regain their immortality.

There is the Roman/Greek God's storyline, here's your one-man-army mode, where you play as Hercules in a solo effort to take the advantage of mortality to destroy evil Gods and mythical creatures.

There is also the mythical army storyline, this is the team tactical storyline (even though the allies will be AI), where you take control of a Kitsune (spirit fox) in an army of mythical creatures bent on world conquering. Why a Kitsune? They seem to be the most human-like. I'm not doing very much research for this (it's just an idea!).

Lastly, there is the captive storyline. This is (surprise!) the stealth storyline. You play as a human captive captured by the mythical creature army. They take you to their base (who knows where?) and you need to escape. Early on, when you escape your cell, you find a guard's gun. Poor guard, he's probably going to be beaten (maybe even eaten) later for his laziness.

Of coarse, as with my The Legend of Zombies video game idea, the storylines will intertwine. You will NEVER see your character through the eyes of another character, at least, not outside of a cutscene.

What would be a shooter like this without multiplayer? In the multiplayer mode, you would have a few options. First of all, before any match would begin, you would choose your form, which would consist of a few selections, including a scientist, a captive, a kitsune, hercules, a few Gods, and maybe some others. The real meat, of coarse, is in the gameplay. There will be a few modes.

The first is an all out firefight, where you choose a map and it is every man for himself. The winner would be determined simply by kills minus deaths. So if someone kills 10 people, but dies 8 times, and another kills 3 people, but plays safe enough to never die, the winner (between the two) would be the person who killed 3. This may not work as a good system, but it's an idea.

The next would be team battle. As the name suggests, the players would devide into a specified number of teams. If some teams have less players, the team votes on accepting a normal AI player or not. Why not? It may end up as extra kills for the enemy.

Last would be special fight, where it is either a firefight or a team battle with special rules (E.G. rocket launchers for everyone, handguns only, low health). This would probably be local only, just due to the variety, but maybe if online were added the special rule would be randomly chosen.

Now for some Extras (yay!). This would consist of a few goodies for players to unlock, some only purchasable (through in-game currency, collectable in many modes), including a stage creator (unlocked right away, but purchasable content available). A stage select would be available for going back to your favorite career levels. Also a few "cheats" that are unlocked through defeating the storylines, and a few more for defeating them all. When activated, however, they will only work on stage select and maybe a few local multiplayer modes. If used, they will not allow for money to be earned.

I would like it very much if you commented and/or critiqued this uber-long list of babble that is a video game idea.

This concludes my horrendously long video game idea #2. I hope you find it interesting and at least a bit feasible.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Kingdom of Spades


A long time ago, when the land was not new, but not modern, there were many kingdoms. One such kingdom was the Kingdom of Spades. This was a prosperous and friendly kingdom. Everyone was friends, well, at least not enemies. They all liked their ruler, too. His name was Hugh. Because of the age and kingdom, the people of Spades called their ruler their Ace. Therefore, Hugh was Spades' Ace. However, due to fear of a revolt (which never happened in the history of the Kingdom of Spades), Hugh ruled under the name of Goght (that is a silent "gh" in case you didn't know). No one but Hugh's family knew that Hugh was Goght. Hugh lived a normal life as well as the life of Goght. Things went like this ever since he was crowned king. Hugh would always enter the castle just before sun up when no one was up. One day, however, one man spotted Hugh entering the castle before it was publicly open. The man figured that it was just an emergency that needed to be attended to by Goght. He was a bit suspicious, so he got up early the next day, too. Sure enough, Hugh entered the castle at the same time. This made the man think. Finally, he put two and two together: Hugh was Goght. He kept this to himself for a while. Another day, though, a while after the man's discovery, "Goght" held a town meeting. Everyone attended. Hugh posed as Goght. People were wondering where Hugh and the man were. They were mumbling to each other. Arriving late, the man burst into the door and shouted "Hugh's Goght the Ace of Spades!"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Decay of Hope


is everywhere.

You can

make yourself


it doesn't change
a thing.

It only
seeps in

around you.

You can be


you can
fight it,

but it doesn't

do any good.

Confusion is

its ally,

cannot escape.

What more is there
to worry



You're lost


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Song of the Week 36: 'Damn Those Turks!' by Daniel Baranowsky

Hey, it's time for another Song of the Week. This song is another from Final Fantasy VII and is titled 'Damn Those Turks!'. Also, this is from the same FF7 album that had the song reviewed for SotW 35. It was remixed by the artist Daniel Baranowsky. I really don't have anything else to say, and I'm already writing this at the last second, so let's get this started...

The beginning starts out with three notes hit by an acoustic guitar, and then the song will play a slow, western-like rhythm (to define "western, I mean the "wild west"). At 0:08 the guitar Linkcomes back in, although this time it's an electric guitar. This plays a twangy, little melody that ends at about 0:15. There's a buildup that happens at 0:17, and at 0:19 the track will burst with some strong percussion hits and a very twangy, electric, western guitar-like synth. I can't exactly describe it. At 0:28 the normal acoustic guitar gets the pickup into the leading melody. Here the melody is controlled by the guitar (with possibly some harpsichord), and the electric guitar plays as the bass. The percussion plays rather slow here, and throughout the entire song (it plays the rhythm that everything played at 0:19). At 0:37 the acoustic drops back a little bit, and the electric guitar will take over as the melody. The twangy guitar synth...thing that I really couldn't describe in words plays that same rhythm from 0:19 as the electric guitar jams out. At 0:46 the acoustic takes over the melody again, and it goes back to the way it was at 0:28 except for the "twangy guitar" (which is what I'm going to call that sound from here on). At 0:55 the song will go back into that western groove it had going on back at the beginning of the song. The acoustic will play the melody here, which is simply it playing various arpeggios. At 1:01 a synth can be heard slowly stretching it's pitch up one level. At 1:11 you can hear some bass playing a small counter melody, and at 1:13 the percussion will play a couple times each second. The bass will also quicken to the speed of eighth notes (which isn't all that fast considering how slow the tempo is). At 1:19 that synth from 1:01 will come back again and repeat the cool, sliding sound it made from when it played earlier. At 1:28 there's a quick buildup, and at 1:30 there's a new section. Here, everything that had played before dropped out, and new stuff will take over. A male vocal will now rise and sing the notes in the melody. No words are spoken, just voice. A bunch of synths are added to harmonize with the voices, and play fast sixteenth notes. At 1:40 the rhythm from 0:19 will come back in to back up the melody even more. This section will continue to play and repeat itself for about twenty more seconds. At 1:57 the piano is now added to counter the vocal and the percussion/twangy guitar, which plays a light rhythm. The bass for the piano is also muffled out a little bit, so the treble is mainly heard here above everything else. At 2:07 the choir completely drops out, and the piano starts to get a little more flashy. It plays at a medium-high pitch, and there's hardly any bass with it. At 2:10 a buildup is beginning, continuously getting louder and louder. At 2:16 everything drops out, except for a light, percussion-like synth, the stretched note last played by the guitar, and the piano to play the melody. At 2:22 is where the piano really starts to speed up in terms of melody, and 2:26 starts with low piano at the pickup (same notes as the guitar at 0:28). Unlike 0:28, there's no guitar, and the melody previously played by the piano continues. The piano does a great job here in keeping the melody moving and not being too repetitive. At 2:42 the song now becomes a pure piano solo with nothing to stand in its way. However, at 2:51 the guitar comes back in and plays almost the exact same thing back at 0:28 except for the quiet piano continuing its melody. Then, after repeating itself a little bit, the song fades away...

Pros: The various guitars used here in the song were pretty sick. The percussion hits, starting at 0:19, were clean, strong, and powerful. What I like the most about this song though is the piano dominated section from the second half of the track. I know that I speak of my love for piano too much, but for this track I do prefer the piano over the guitars.

Cons: The song, even for its very short length of 3:11, was a little too repetitive. I got sort of sick of the sections that just played over and over again (mainly the section at 0:28). Also, the section where the vocals came in bothered me. They sounded good, but they didn't sound right with the rest of the song. To me they came in at a pretty bad place. The ending could have been better also. It would have sounded better if they did something new for the ending instead of just repeating the section that was playing all the time.

Overall: The song sounds pretty cool, but it's not one of my favorites. It's also very short, although the length is fine considering the few changes in the song altogether. Very western, very clean, and it's pretty cool to listen to.

Rating: 7/10

Note: Probably some are thinking why I placed such a low rating on this song. Well, I'm trying to change some things in terms of my rating system. I've noticed, and other people have noticed, that I rate these songs way too high. I may even fix the ratings on the other songs I've looked at or even create some .5 SotW's for the first reviews I ended up doing since I started writing on this blog. I want to limit the ratings to only whole numbers or a number with a .5. This is no longer "on a scale of 9 to 10..." No, this is on a scale of 1 to 10, which means the lowest rating I can put a song would be 0.5 or maybe a 0 if the song is a complete disgrace to music everywhere. I would only use numbers with other decimals when comparing a song with others reviewed in terms of their ratings. I'll try not to do that too much though. Now, I probably won't rate anything lower than a 5 right now, but hey, at least I'm trying to turn things around. Who knows, as I continue writing these I may change the way I write the entire review. That probably won't happen for a while; I'm just trying to take things one step at a time...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Tree of Life; Knowledge

The leaves
Of knowledge
Fall from the tree
Of Life

I gather
Them up
And recreate
The impossible

The basis

Purest thought
In a form
So mundane
Yet found

The misuse
Of great
The downfall

And yet
We seek
For more

But in all
There it lies
Barely known

Monday, May 09, 2011

Video Game Idea: The Legend of Zombies

Alright. Here's a video game idea that would never work on the modern market but is fun to think about. The Legend of (Zelda crossed out in blood, replaced by blood-written words under) Zombies. This takes place directly after the events of Ocarina of Time. What would happen is you choose from four different races: Kokiri, Goron, Zora, and Gerudo. Each would have a storyline.

What happens is that everyone is going to witness a big ceremony and the placing of the Master Sword in the Pedestal of Time. For some reason you cannot attend the ceremony (lucky for you, as you will see.) Many others couldn't attend, either, for their own reasons. At the ceremony, right when the Master Sword is being placed in the Pedestal of Time, the Master Sword breaks, releasing a deadly virus that transforms all animals into zombies. Luckily, this can only be spread within a certain time after being released in a small vicinity. Unluckily, a lot of the population of Hyrule was in the vicinity at the time.

So, depending on your race, you will have to seek out different objectives. You will travel to the defeated dungeons in search of your objective. These dungeons will have new puzzles due to things you would expect (cave ins, broken machinery, hidden paths revealed, etc.) All the while seemingly endless hoards of zombies are attacking. There will be "safe houses" (a place inhabited by no zombies, usually with a survivor) every now and then.

The plots would intermingle, so when you defeat one storyline you should go back to another race to explore that storyline. You may find something out you never knew. Each race would have different traits as well as items you could use to solve puzzles and pulverize zombies. In the end, after you beat all of the races, you unlock a special storyline which jumps between characters. In the end you would, obviously, fight an epic boss (probably the infected Link with all of his items) and come to the ultimate end where, predictably, you find a cure to all of this and life returns to as it was. The Master Sword gets fixed and the ceremony is finished, with each of your characters being honored as heroes.

This is a pretty short idea, but then again, how do you elaborate on this?

I would prefer to be critiqued on this idea that clearly states that I am a Zelda: OoT fan. Please leave it as a comment, thank you.

One last idea: perhaps at one of the safe houses a slightly crazy person would tell you "Today is a great day for a zombie apocalypse, isn't it?"

Sunday, May 08, 2011


NEWSFLASH! Mathematician Breaks Laws of Motion!

This just in, a mathematician was reportedly seen outside his house jumping and not coming down. The neighbors across the street reported this after "sensing that objects weren't following Newton's rules." They reported to the police immediately. When they came they quickly took cover as the man was sliding around, ignoring friction and air resistance. After capturing him using scientific proofs involving Newton's works as well as other scientists' works they were finally able to cause a vacuum bubble long enough to get handcuffs on him. After taking him to court he was sentenced to five years in a physics classroom and a stack of experiments that he needs to complete proving the Laws of Physics. Failure to complete this will result in an additional year in the classroom as well as writing on a chalkboard "I will not disobey the laws of physics" one thousand times. "It was a hard punishment," the chief of police says. "But no man should break what science has proven."

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Newspaper Puns







Thursday, May 05, 2011


If dark be the absence of light,
Then also wrong be the absence of right.

Government cannot be perfect,
for all government is governed by laws,
laws are governed by right and wrong,
right and wrong are opinion,
and true opinion is in the eyes of the beholder.

Some forms of government are like sweet fruits, delicious and pleasing to taste,
Others are like an okay fruit, just okay, but not bad or good,
Still more are like unripened fruit, sour and horrid,
But one thing rings true,
The amount of tastiness and sourness you taste in your government is your opinion alone.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Song of the Week 35: 'Mark of the Beatsmith' by Hy Bound

Song the Week is back, which means that I myself am back. Truthfully, it's about time posting started up again at RPS; I've missed posting at least once or twice a week. After a two month break, it's time I start writing again. I may have been away from my reviews, but I've been looking into OCR more than ever now. My undeniable love for music has never stopped (thank goodness). Alright, this song is actually one that I chose myself. It's title: 'Mark of the Beatsmith'. It's a pretty epic title. We got ourselves another Final Fantasy VII mix again! It's featured on the album 'Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream'. Oh, and the remixer for this track is Tyler Carson (a.k.a. Hy Bound). Anyway, I'm glad to be back, so now let's get to the details...

The first couple seconds start out with the piano lightly playing. A very light cymbal hit can be heard as well, playing on the downbeat of each measure. At 0:09 and maybe a second before that there's a small buildup which mainly includes some bass drum. Starting at 0:10 the strings come in, as well as a hint of choir, to really set the atmospheric mood that will be continuously heard throughout the song. It merely plays stretched chords every other measure, but the section is drawn out to sound very calm and angelic. At about 0:25 is when the strings/choir change a little bit in volume by gradually getting louder; the entire song, in fact, builds up into what is now currently being heard. The choir drops here, and the strings are now what keep this calm mood flowing. There's a minor buildup at 0:38, but when the song reaches 0:41 a beat starts to play. The strings speed up too, for instead of playing every other measure they now play on the first beat of all measures. At 0:56 the current melody from the strings plays in almost perfect unison. It's great that about three octaves of strings are being used for this. This pattern will continue for about ten more seconds until the sound gets sucked away and a buildup occurs at 1:11. After the buildup a new section starts playing. Even though the basic rhythms are the same, the beat changes and becomes a little more fast-paced. Because of that, the section is therefore different than what was heard previously. This section actually continues for quite some time, although the melody never weakens or gets too repetitive. The higher octaves as the section continues will create a harmony for the lower melody. The percussion here is pretty solid also; it hits hard on every other beat while keeping the song going. The changes that occur after the section start at 1:42. There's a short buildup, but the real action happens when the chimes bust out a solid, five-note introduction at 1:44. The strings run up the scale, and then burst forth into an explosion of sound. The melody during this section is now controlled by the piano, which really does stand out amongst the percussion and string sections. This is awesome stuff right here, plus the strings aren't there to just create more atmosphere (it's playing a rhythm of its own). Every part of this piece, primarily the major three (strings, piano, and percussion), are all doing something different. At 2:00, the song continues, but the melody gets played by a new instrument. It's probably some sort of string instrument, although I can't really tell since the sound of it is so unique. At about 2:15 the strings exit and take a break for a while, while the string melody continues to do its thing. There are many short buildups here, and what's cool is that the sound is completely sucked out after each one. The percussion, after a short break as well, plays its previous beat again at 2:27. There's a ton of cymbal action here as well. The chimes will come in again to transition the song into a new section at 2:33. This section mainly consists of the cymbal crashing from before, the percussive beat that constantly is driving, and the strings slowing making an entrance (starting at 2:37). There's also some pretty cool synths used here before the strings come in. The string melody will come in again at 2:41 while the strings/synth will continuously build up, suddenly stop, and repeat the process. At 2:48 there's a pretty sweet bass drum solo for a couple seconds. After this solo, the sounds of everything in the song start to become distorted and even cut out in the middle of the rhythm. That was done on purpose though, and it actually sound pretty cool. At 2:58 everything starts to calm back down again, and the strings will play their angelic notes. At 3:05 the piano will start to play a little rhythm as well. Note the very quiet pattern of notes heard in the background, for it's foreshadowing what could possibly be the next main melody. It, and also the piano, will go away at about 3:08, so listen carefully for it. The next ten seconds are very string-focused. At 3:20 the piano will jump in to play a little ditty within all the atmosphere. Some bass will start to develop into a single note beat at about 3:31, and a high octave of strings are going to start playing with the lower strings at 3:38. This will continue to play, with the piano coming in occasionally (especially at 4:02). At 4:10 the bass and the strings start to play twice as fast. The melody that was played silently at around 3:02 will play again, this time a little louder. The beat picks up, and the volume increases. At 4:25, everything gets chopped up, and the new section begins. So basically, the last fifteen seconds were one massive and awesome buildup. The melody foreshadowed now starts to be played by everything except for the higher strings that play a counter-melody. This section has the amount of pure intensity equivalent to the section at 1:44. Awesome. The chimes will even play a part as well by hitting an F every four measures. Did I mention that there's choir here too? Yeah, they come in at about 4:37. At about 4:56, after a lot of the same stuff heard, the sound gets completely sucked up and then spat out again at 5:00. The only real change here is the uniting of the high and low strings to play the counter-melody. Plus, the bass is emphasized much more. At 5:28 there's an awesome drum solo, which then completely changes the melody back to what it was at 1:44. It took less than a second to change, yet in the end it turned out great. It's almost like the section at 1:44, except with more cymbal crashes and less strings. The string instrument from before will take over the melody again at 5:50, although this time the piano will join with it simultaneously. At 6:04 another section similar to 2:00 is played again, except the percussion will join in shortly at 6:10. At 6:15 there's quite a large ritardando which slows down the song immensely. I remember that the first time I listened to this, my fingers were tapping on my desk but then messed up the beat during this section. Even the chimes come in at 6:20 and play that rhythm at an incredibly slow pace. After that's played though, the song speeds up slightly (although it's no where near as fast as it was back a minute ago). This entire section has every sound being sucked up constantly, while the string melody (which does have a lower octave of the same sound play with it now) continues to endure the slow tempo. It's not until 6:51 when the section changes again. The percussion now drops, creating that atmospheric feeling back in the beginning of the song. At 6:57 the piano comes in to play one last little tune (which is actually one of the themes from the game, I believe), and the strings will play in the background. Starting at 7:07 there's some sort of buildup that gets louder and louder. I wish I could describe it, but it's a pretty strange sound. It almost sounds like applause. Then, just when everything's built up again, a hit from the chimes will ring, getting cut off repeatedly even, until the song comes to a close.

Pros: The percussion was strong all the way through (when it was playing though). The atmosphere was just wonderful, and I'm glad that the strings had such a great harmony with the rest of the song. The piano would always appear at the right times. I just love the buildup from 4:10 to 4:25. It was completely epic during the best two sections: the sections at 1:44 and 4:25. This is one cool song, and listening to it is worth all 7 minutes and 20 seconds.

Cons: hardly is any to be found. The only con I could think of is something based off of my own opinion, which is that string instrument that will occasionally come in to play the melody. It's not that it was bad, but the sound of it sort of bothered me. The repetitiveness wasn't much of a problem though, although sometimes it took a little too long to transition into something else.

Overall: Hy Bound did a great job in making repetitiveness sound good. The melody is catchy, cool, and something enjoyable to listen to. I loved the amount of piano used, even if it was used merely to chime in during certain parts. Speaking of chimes, those were pretty awesome as well. This song is overall epic in a ton of ways. Oh, and I forgot to mention this: I've only had this song for a couple days, and yet as you can see I like this song already. This song is highly recommended. I love it, I love it, I love it!

Rating: 9.7/10

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Video Games: What I Want to see in Mass Effect 3

I've been playing the Mass Effect series after I purchased Mass Effect and Mas Effect 2 in the 2010-2011 Steam Holiday Sale. So far I have not downloaded any content beyond the original game and have not played any difficulty other than normal. I've played through Mass Effect twice with a soldier and an infiltrator and I'm currently in the process of a second playthrough with the soldier. I've taken the same two characters through Mass Effect 2. It's tempting to review the first two games, but since I'm probably going to get Mass Effect 3 I'm hoping that EA and Bioware will find the perfect balance.


So a lot of this stuff has been revealed already (seeing as the game is due for release in less than a year) and there's not too much for me to say here. I've read on IGN that they would appreciate being able to fly the Normandy. Honestly I think the Normandy is best left in Joker's capable hands, but it would be cool to experience futuristic dog fights in atmospheric fighter craft (although the Normandy is hardly big enough to carry more than a few such craft).

I'll be honest, the Mako was a little irritating, but overall I loved the exploration on the first Mass Effect way more than the second. Being able to drive through valleys, plains, and mountains with the Mako made each world seem so much larger. I also thought the inclusion of thresher maw nests was a great element and it always scared me pretty good when they popped up (before I began to recognize the warning signs). Overall, I'd just appreciate it if they found some way to make each world seem like an actual planet instead of one barren wasteland or one tiny mining camp. Perhaps the ability to jump to locations of significance on a single planet would work. I just miss the feel of Mass Effect 1; it made each world seem so much more expansive.

Story Mechanics
Bottom line: Don't screw it up. Mass Effect 3's story will literally make or break the franchise for me so it better be good. At least 20 different sorts of endings would be awesome, as long as there's some difference for the player to analyze. I was very glad to hear that Mass Effect 3 will feature team members and characters from both games as well as at least one new team member. There's really not much to say here that hasn't already been said.

Bring back the elevator sequences. For me, it was entertaining enough to watch stuff go on out the window while listening to your two squadmates talk about something. The news reports were less interesting and the scenery in Mass Effect could've been better, but I'm really counting on Mass Effect 3 to step it up in this department. I would also support getting rid of the planet mining system in Mass Effect 2 and simply reverting to the way gathering resources in Mass Effect worked. I also was a little irritated at having to fly the Normandy over the galaxy map instead of just mousing over each location although I don't see this is a big issue, just a matter of personal preference.

RPG vs. Combat Orientation
I would've put this under logistics, but there's too much here. While I enjoyed the combat in Mass Effect 2 to an extent (I thought it was better than Mass Effect), it certainly lacked the RPG element that made Mass Effect so addicting. Personally, I really don't mind flipping through inventory and selecting upgrades for each weapon. I admit the method for doing this in Mass Effect 1 is cumbersome in a lot of ways, but I liked it otherwise and I think making the RPG menu in Mass Effect 3 easier to navigate, but with the complexity of Mass Effect would go a long way. To summarize: the RPG genre is addictive, keep it complex, just make it easier to navigate and select.


I like Clint Mansell, but I'm really hoping he carries over a lot of the themes established in the first two games by Jack Wall. I own the soundtracks for Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and the additional atmospheric and combat albums for Mass Effect 2 and I'm pretty happy with how it sounds. Mansell should throw out some very epic music, but I'm hoping he'll continue to use a lot of electronic sounds, especially in combat. The track Legion in the Mass Effect 2 soundtrack was probably one of my favorites for combat and the mission aboard the dormant reaper was really enhanced because of it. Overall, I'm sure Mansell will deliver and I'm excited for the soundtrack's release.

I'm looking forward to this a lot. Any additional suggestions that I approve of will be added here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Video Games: Prologue

Before I begin putting up a lot of posts revolving around video games, I'd like to go through some background stuff. I've been playing video games for a while, but I'm busy enough that having games on my GameCube, GameBoy Advance, iPod Touch, Cell Phone, and PC is enough for me. Beyond the games that I actively play, I've watched several walkthroughs of games I do not own. Overall, I'm hoping that my thoughts on the matter aren't completely useless. Eventually I might refine this such as I did to Song of the Week, but for now we'll be going through a variety of potential ideas and concepts that we have about video games as well as reviewing games we've played.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Death of a Composer

The Composer found his seat as the audience quieted. No one knew he was here. They all thought he was still waiting in the hospital. After all, that's where the only hope was.
The Composer knew better. Hope died with the metastasis that even now stole his senses. He had lost sight an hour ago, he could hardly feel the polished wood beneath his hands, and a distinct taste of copper filled his mouth. His reason, he supposed, was gone already if he had come here.
But he could hear. As the tuning began, he could see a picture in his mind of every instrument - where it was and how it was being played.
A spasm wracked his body for at least a minute. The longest yet. When the pain lessened enough that he could think again, all was silence.
A lone flute sounded out a pure note, like a violet crystal hanging in the darkness. An icy eternity stretched out forever until the oboes and clarinets joined. The music slowly swelled, adding instruments into a quiet crest.
The Composer raised a finger.
The music burst forth in a golden wave. It rose up and swept the Composer from his chair. He was enveloped in it as it ferried him safely through the walls and up, up past the farthest reaches of existence. It didn't dissipate until he was well and truly alone.
The wave was gone. But a Music was still there. The Composer smiled, and when it caused him no pain to do so, he laughed. Pythagoras had been right. The cosmos made the greatest song to ever be played. It spread before the Composer, all creation laid open to him.
The Music of the Spheres sang to him. And he could improve it.


May(hem) is my version of March Madness. Basic idea: post every day of May, continue it into June, and give Arkive his long awaited debut. Here's what you can expect to start seeing:

Song of the Week: Both Marim and I have plans to get one up every Wednesday and every Saturday (.5).

Behind Closed Doors: I'm just about done with chapter 8 which will definitely appear in May. As for the rest of it... I'm in the middle of a plot crisis

Puns: Arkive's got a lot of these.

Random Thoughts: Arkive will probably go a long way toward reviving this obscure series.
Newspapers: Fictional news with a point... Arkive.

Video Game Reviews, Ideas, Discussion: At RPS we've always maintained that video games are a complex form of art resulting in anything from simple entertainment to a comprehensive experience. Arkive has ideas to make games, I have ideas to review games and talk about what I'm looking forward to *coughmasseffect3cough*.

Thursday Thoughts: It's easy and fairly well liked (in my experience), so why not?

Reogan?: Haven't even talked to him about this site in almost a month. Let's see if we can bring him back.

This is going to be hard to maintain. Any and all help would be much appreciated.