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RIP Chester Bennington & Top 8 Linkin Park Songs

Good day to you ladies, alas I am back in the blogging world to discuss some sad news from yesterday, the passing of Chester Bennington former lead singer of Linkin Park. I was hoping I would have to make another post like this for a while, but alas it seems like depression has gotten the best of another talented individual and man does it suck. Now I’m not gonna act like I was the biggest fan of Linkin Park, however, to say they didn’t have a huge impact on my music taste and life, in general, would be a big lie. Along with songs like “Nothing” by A and “Blurry” by Puddle of Mudd, “In the End” was part of my journey into the world of rock and metal, and their music helped me through a lot of the internal drama going on in my mind especially during my teenage years, but on top of that their music was incredible and a big part of that was Chester’s vocals which were so distinctive, intense and gorgeous and to know that he will sing no more hurts me the more I think about it.

So I thought I’d just share my favourite Linkin Park songs based not only on personal preference but also where I Chester’s vocals stood out the most, so in no particular order:

Easier to Run

For a good few years, this was my favourite LP song, it had a sense of drama and emotion that I latched on to pretty easily and the lyrics felt like they related directly to my life during some of those dark days, so this song was always comforting. It is the chorus that gets me every time, Chester’s vocals are gorgeous and you feel the passion especially towards the end with the instrumental side of things building up. Still awesome.

One Step Closer

What can I say? I love the classics, I’ve always loved shouting “Shut up, shut up, shut up, Shut up when I’m talking to you!” especially when you hear it at a night club where rock/metal music is the focus. Everything about this song just screams of pure energy and power and Chester’s vocals play a big part of that for me.

Crawling

I’ve always been attracted to this song because of the lyrical content and again how it felt like it spoke to me in my younger years, and the way Chester sang that chorus is what hooks me every time.

Bleed it Out

Ah man, this is one of the songs I played endlessly during my college years and since then it has been the one LP song I can put on repeat and never get tired of. It is on the shorter side and yet has the right about of style and drama in the music and vocals to stand out as one of my favourites from Minutes to Midnight. My favourite lines: “I’ve opened up these scars, I’ll make you face this, I’ve pulled myself so far, I’ll make you face this now!”

Pts.Of.Athrty

The original “Points of Authority” is still a great song, but the remix is the sound I fell in love with especially during the early 2000’s when it was used during a TV advert/music video for either Toonami on Cartoon Network or the channel CNX in the UK. The way the song has the rock elements but also these extra beats and variations on the original composition is wonderful. And once again Chester’s vocals along with Mike’s raps carry you through the song in a swift, badass and beastly way.

Forgotten

The sad thing is I never experience Hybrid Theory properly until I went to university which was 6 years ago so there are so many great songs I never heard until that point, and this song falls into that category. Well, actually I’ve never been sure if I have heard this song before 2011, but regardless this is easily one of the best songs on the album. Musically it is perfectly crafted with most of subtly and intensity, and Mike and Chester kill it with the rapping and singing, Chester’s vocal is so smooth, delicious and badass, frigging love it!

With You

At this point in time, this is my favourite LP song. There’s an intensity that you appreciate about this song from the first 20-30 seconds and the lyrics paint an emotional picture and good gravy the way Mike and Chester work together on this song is something special, its pure emotion and I adore everything about this song. The whole composition is aggressive and in your face and Chester’s vocals are fantastic.

The Little Things Give You Away

I remember the first time I heard this and good gravy I almost cried. The way the song starts up, with the soft guitar and vocals and then builds to that incredible ending with full on drama with all the instruments and Chester’s vocals washing over the track all the way until the end. Pretty much perfection. This was one of the first songs that I noticed as one of those key songs that finish off an album in a spectacular manner, and now that Chester’s no longer with us it makes the song more powerful than ever.

So yeah there’s my list, I could have done so much more with songs like “Numb“, “The Catalyst“, “Somewhere I Belong” and “Nobody’s Listening” to name a few, but I didn’t want to make this any longer than it needed to be. In the end, I just want to say that Chester, I appreciate everything that you and your band gave me and I’m going to miss you. RIP.

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Posted by on July 21, 2017 in Life, Media, Music

 

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Remembering the awesomeness of Chris Cornell

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it goin? For me, not too jolly. Alas another great individual in the world of music has passed, its been reported over the course of several hours today that singer Chris Cornell most known for his work with Soundgarden and Audioslave had died. Details on his passing at the time of me writing this post hasn’t been made clear, but there’s been talks that it could be related to suicide. Whatever the case is, I’m very saddened by this news and just wanted to share my thoughts/memories on what Cornell brought to my life.

A few hours ago I was skimming through my news feed on Facebook and a mate posted a BBC article about the passing of Chris Cornell and I was vocally like: “What? No! No way!” Unfortunately it was real once I looked it up on Google, I was gutted. It was just the other day I was thinking about Audioslave and Soundgarden and thinking that I wanted to go back to their material for the long walks I do when I go to and from work, but now knowing that Cornell is gone, it hurts, it hurts real bad. Now I’m not gonna at like I was the biggest fan of all of Cornell’s endeavours, but I’ve listened to his music a lot since I was 18 and I couldn’t imagine my life without the music he helped create.

I first became aware of Chris Cornell’s vocals when I heard “Black Hole Sun” in my childhood/teenage years and the song really resonated with me, the was a powerful and melancholy nature to it that as strange as it sounds made me feel at ease. Along with Staind’s “It’s Been a While” A’s “Nothing” and Simple Plan’s “I’m Just a Kid“, I had these rock songs that helped me cope with any troubled thoughts I had when I’d heard them. I then heard Cornell’s brilliant vocals again with his song, “You Know My Name” from 2006’s Casino Royale, and I frigging loved it! It was a dramatic change in the types of James Bond theme songs we’d had in the past, but considering that it was a reboot with a hard-edged and more realistic take on the character it suited so well and ended up being in my top 3 Bond songs. Fast forward a few years and then I found Audioslave in college, like I mentioned in a previous blog post I didn’t start listening to Audioslave in 2008/9 and I fell in love with their sound immediately. While there was a lot to love with the self-titled album, it was Out of Exile that hooked me. I adored that album and it was just the synergy of Chris Cornell’s vocals and the former Rage Against the Machine’s music that made it extra special. And finally there’s Soundgarden, I started listening to them after they released “Live To Rise” for The Avengers soundtrack, a lot of long-term Soundgarden fans hated the song and thought it was too soft, but I loved it. And so I went through Superunknown and discovered so much joy especially with the badassery of “Spoonman“! And then with King Animal, that became something of a special album for me, hearing the band sound old and new at the same time and knowing that Cornell hadn’t lost anything as a vocalist. What I love about Cornell’s singing is how you can hear the passion and intensity, how he could be super soft and then aggressively screaming, it had a unique, distinct and recognisable sound and I it was SO good!

So here’s some of my favourite works from Chris Cornell:

In conclusion I just want to say that I love you Chris Cornell, I cannot thank you enough for what you contributed to the rock genre and I will miss you a lot. RIP.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Life, Music

 

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First Impressions on Pokémon Sun

Howdy ladies and gents, I’m back from the underground to give you my initial impressions on Pokémon Sun, one of the two new Pokémon games recently released for the Nintendo 3DS. Now the game’s been out in the US since last week whereas us here in the UK only got it a few days ago and I wanted to bring myself away from the game just long enough to share with you readers how I feel about the 7th generation of the main series Pokémon games.

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So how’s the game? Well it’s pretty darn good. Here’s the thing, I’m not gonna act like I’m blown away by this game, however there’s a lot of interesting updates and surprises here and there that make this game worth picking up especially for veteran players like myself. I consider Pokémon Sun like a new season in a long-running TV show with this new entry bringing the nostalgia and freshness at the same time.

My Main Thoughts

Pokémon Sun does a lot of cool things, with the new Alola region (influenced by Hawaiian islands) it presents you with a brand new opportunities for a different landscape an interesting sense of style, culture and atmosphere. And of course it changes a few things up with the story, game structure and most importantly the Pokémon themselves.

What I’ve really liked so far is how the core game mechanics are still the same; you run around battling and collecting Pokémon, fight Pokémon in the wild or in battles with trainers and you can assemble a unique crew of Pokémon and level them up. All that stuff I love and enjoy. But there are some newer elements that been brought to the table like:

  • The Interactivity: This game must have the most interactive NPCs in the series so far, most people have something important, funny and informative to say and story-wise I feel like the two previous generations beforehand, this game has characters that accompany you on your quest that feel like they have personality and tell you interesting things mainly relating to the connection between humans and Pokémon and the Alolan culture.
  • Change in Structure: So far I haven’t seen any gyms, instead you have island trials which are a welcomed change and while simple, its different and entertaining. Plus the way you advance from point A to B feels slightly different with the way you gain items and come across trainers, but maybe that’s just me.
  • Exploring: While the game prevents you from going off the main path if key story and character material is going on, you are allowed to look around and you are rewarded for exploring with items on the ground with some that are easy to find and some that are hidden. Also with the Alola region there’s some differences with the route structure, design of the towns and activities to pass time with whether you’re using taking pictures with the Pokémon Finder or messing around with the Festival Plaza, both of which I’ve gotten lost in for a while in the first 4-7 hours.
  • Pokémon Refresh: Basically this was Pokémon Amie from X & Y except expanded, I haven’t played X since 2013 or 2014 so I couldn’t tell you what’s different, but so far I really like Refresh. While its annoying when you accidentally hit your Pokémon instead of petting them, I do enjoy feeding, cleaning and petting my Pokémon. Your connection to them feels more intimate and some of the Pokémon animations are so cute and fun, plus the effects of your close connections really helps in battle when it comes to landing critical hits, evasion and avoiding status ailments.
  • Visual & Audio Presentation: The game looks great, the art and animation are the best the series has seen so far, and because of the varied/dynamic camera angles, you travel through this world seeing all of the beautiful detail from different angles, it feels cinematic and larger in scope than previous games. There’s also minor yet notable updates to Pokémon battle animations, attacks and environments too. Also the music is really good, while not as immediately impressive as X & Y, Sun’s soundtrack is probably the most culturally diverse in the series so far along with familiar-sounding songs too in the vein of generation 6 too, I’m really starting to enjoy some specific songs especially the Evolution music (that sound is beast!).

Up to this point I’m enjoying myself, this game feels a little more personal, versatile and different, while being more of the same that I’ve come to expect from the series. While Sun doesn’t haven’t that wow factor that X did when I started playing that in 2013, this game has easily stolen many hours away from me to the point where I feel bad for not playing it. I’ve literally just started to get lost in this game with all of the new features, level grinding and catching different Pokémon and trust that I spent around 8 hours just doing as little of the story as possible, I didn’t even pass the first trial around 11 and a half hours in! If I have some nitpicks about the game is that it is a little easy in terms of the difficulty, some Pokémon take a little longer than I expected to evolve and with the new Pokédex you’re told exactly where to go whereas in the old games you just found your own way forward, but that’s just the traditionalist in me haha. Honestly I can’t wait to see where this game goes and hopefully I’ll be playing it at least beyond Christmas.

So are you playing Pokémon Sun and Moon and if so 1) Which version do you have? And 2) Are you enjoying it? Be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2016 in Media, Video Games

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Summer of Sonic 2016

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another review and today I’ll be giving you a convention review as I attended Summer of Sonic in London yesterday and I thought I’d give you my thoughts on what could be described as a very memorable day.

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So for those not away, I’m a stupidly big Sonic the Hedgehog fan, have been since the 90’s with Mega Drive and the characters are the reason I’m an illustrator too, and regardless of how questionable/crappy the current games are, I still show love for the hedgehog because I’m loyal. So you have to understand, going to this convention was mandatory, especially considering that its been going since 2008 and I’ve missed each one because of a lack of funds, university or bad timing with clashing events. Luckily I threw my money at the Kickstarter for SoS not too long after it went online, and then months down the line its August and I was so hyped to finally be going to the convention, and while I was late on my first train and my second got delayed by around 30-40 mins, I finally got to the venue and that’s when the magic started.

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It sounds kind of silly/lame, but there was a certain joyful/magical energy about being in the convention hall where everything’s Sonic, from the games new and old to the merchandise to the cosplayers and so on. Plus it was just nice to be surrounded by other people who share your same passion for the blue hedgehog, most times I’ve been to MCM London Expo or London Film & Comic-Con you’ll only meet a handful of fans, and the rest will just be haters and question while you still support the franchise. But yesterday it was all love and positivity, whether you mentioned Sonic 06 and Shadow the Hedgehog, standing in long queues or could hear Sonic R music playing in the background, it was all good vibes and that’s something I appreciated.

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When it came to what I did personally I did a lot and not too much at the same time, but I’ll try to highlight some stuff below:

  1. Watching the cosplayers: As soon as I got in there was the official person in a Sonic costume taking pictures with fans and I had to be mine done obviously. But then there was all the nice little moments like seeing this awesome Perfect Chaos costume or ladies dressed as Amy Rose or Rouge the Bat. But my favourite moments was when Sonic and Chaos were having a dance off and when the guy cosplaying as Eggman picked a fight with Sonic.
  2. Playing Sonic Mania: No way in hell did I expect this game to be at this event considering how recently it was shown off to the world, but I stand from a distance and knew I had to line up. And so I queued up for what felt like an eternity as the first line was a line to get into the official line for the game! 😛 But after around an hour of waiting and extreme leg pains, I got to play Sonic Mania and it was just as wonderful as I’d hoped. While I really wanted to try out Green Hill Zone for the chances made to the layout and use of elemental shields, but I had to go with Studiopolis Zone because that’s the new stuff. Mania was very pretty, the animation was super smooth, the art direction was great and most importantly the gameplay was accurate, this was classic Sonic and after messing around with my usual tricks I can say that this game is the good stuff and I can’t wait to play it in full next year. 😀
  3. Talking to fans: While waiting in lines or playing games, it was just cool to be able to talk about Sonic stuff the maximum level of nerdiness. Whether we were sharing gaming experiences, expectations for new games or talking about our favourite games or characters, it was just fun, plus I got to meet these two really awesome dudes who I got to hang out with and share some cool experiences with. 🙂
  4. Meeting Duncan Gutteridge: For me growing up in the 90’s, there were a few different art style for Sonic, but none of them were as popular or notable as Duncan Gutteridge’s work. His art style made Sonic look striking, dynamic and super detailed, and he’s almost the whole reason I started drawing because I wanted to draw just like him. So getting to meet him, shake his hand, show my appreciation and buy some of his artwork was a big deal for me.
  5. Jun Senoue & Crush 40 Live Music: Firstly, it was so cool to get to hear Jun Senoue jam away to some of my favourite tunes from Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 especially when it came to Emerald Coast, Prison Island, Pyramid Cave and Metal Harbour, but the sing along to “Escape from the City” was the best. But nothing could prepare me for Crush 40, no word of a lie, I have been waiting to see these guys live since 2003. I’ve been in love with their music since I played SA 2 and SA1:DX on Gamecube, and seeing Johnny Gioeli and Jun Senoue performing together on-stage was so surreal and beautiful. If I had time to cry I probably would have. But all I was doing his shouting my head off, waving my arms and bouncing around while I heard some of my favourite Crush 40 songs. The highlights was definitely “Open Your Heart“, “His World“, “I Am… All of Me“, “Live & Learn“, “Knight of the Wind” and of course “What I’m Made Of“. It was such an incredibly interactive, beautiful and badass session! 😀 😀
  6. Meeting Mike Pollock & Takashi Izuka: I’ve watched, heard and read interviews with Mike Pollock and he’s always come across as a nice guy, but I didn’t expect to meet him in person, get my copy of Sonic Colours signed and get a picture taken with him too. The dude was SO nice, funny, modest, charming and delightful, definitely one of my favourite moments ever. And just as the convention was ending Takashi Izuka was walking amongst the fans and I was luckily enough to shake his hand and get a picture with him too, su ch a cool way to finish the convention. 😀

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In conclusion Summer of Sonic was a lot of fun, it was great to just be around all of the fans, play some games, and check out some cool live music among other things. I was glad to have gone and while I didn’t get around to doing everything I wanted to, overall it was a great session and I really hope this is isn’t the last time this convention goes down in the UK.

Well that’s my review done, so did you go to Summer of Sonic and if so what did you think of it? Also was it your first time or are you veteran of this convention? Whatever your thoughts be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2016 in Life, Media, Reviews, Video Games

 

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Reevaluating My Views On The Star Wars Prequels

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for a special little blog post dedicated to the Star Wars film universe. Since The Force Awakens (Episode VII) will be out in cinemas in the coming months I’ve been recently catching up with the previous instalments in anticipation, and yes that includes the prequels. While there are a large number of fans that continue to act like those films never happened, I’m not one of them and I don’t hate those films either. Are they perfect? Heck no, but I’ve always found aspects of those films to be enjoyable. So with that in mind I wanted to give you all my thoughts on the prequels and how they’ve changed.

star-wars-prequels

My Thoughts in the Beginning

For the longest time I had very specific thoughts on the Prequel Trilogy, but in recent years I’ve had time to learn and understand the process that comes with making such epic films and learn about the production behind each of the Star Wars films. What was once awesome to me as a child doesn’t look that awesome these days and I’m not talking about the special effects only, these were films I liked watching (well at least episodes 1 and 3), but after watching so many online video reviews and other forms of analytical videos criticising the prequels I have changed my opinion somewhat. Though a lot of my feelings have been changed from watching the Original Trilogy in recent years and seeing what new filmmakers have been able to do with stories, sets and technology.

So with that in mind I’m going to give you my thoughts on each of the prequel films starting with The Phantom Menace!

Thoughts on The Phantom Menace

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Technically I’ve already given my thoughts on this film around 3 years ago, but for those who haven’t read that review I’ll try to sum up my thoughts the best I can. The Phantom Menace is infamous for being the film that ruined SW for a lot of fans with its focus on politics, a child Anakin Skywalker, Midichlorians and Jar Jar Binks and most consider it the lowest point in the series. When I first saw this film I thought it was awesome. I never paid attention to the story, all I saw was lightsaber fights and Podracing, and that’s all I needed. Bare in mind I was around 9 or 10 years old when first saw this film and I was very much into my action and spectacle coming off of films like Terminator 2, Jurassic Park and Aliens to name a few. TPM was a film I watched a lot until my late teens, I didn’t see the film again until it was re-released in 3D, it was at that point I really saw the film for what it was; a film with good special effects, action and music, but nothing else. The plot isn’t overly interesting as the starting point of the series and there are just a lot of odd decisions made for the characters and overall mythos. One thing that was super apparent was the lack of practical sets and real locations, there’s so much green screen and CGI, it just makes you wonder if the people behind this film were afraid to use anything but computers to craft their new worlds. As for Jar Jar, I used to thing of him as harmless, fun, but seeing TPM a dew days ago I can understand the hate. That guy is ridiculous, he’s like a frigging Looney Tunes character who has no business being in a SW film and even as the main source of comedy you don’t find him funny, he’s more infuriating than anything else. Oh and the additional scenes added to TPM don’t really add much to the film and are really noticeable when it is a scene with CGI. A lot of the acting is questionable ESPECIALLY from Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala, she’s so monotone and boring. With all that being said, everything I like about this film still stands, I love the lightsaber fights, the special effects are good, Darth Maul is cool, I like Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and the soundtrack is great especially “Duel of the Fates“.

Thoughts on Attack of the Clones

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Attack of the Clones, oh dear. While there is still this consensus out there that this film is better than its predecessor I respectfully disagree. While AOTC rectified some of the issues with the first prequel film, it still followed the same mistakes while creating a whole new bunch of them too. My thoughts were quite strong on this film when I first saw it when I was 12 years old and 13 years later not much has changed. This film wins points for having closer ties to the older films with interesting references, first appearances of classic characters and locations, and there was an overall sense of progression towards the Original Trilogy with the choice art design, costumes and locations. Also I appreciated some of the drama this film tried to create especially with Anakin, you can see what Lucas was trying to do and in more capable hands this could have been so much stronger, but I will give props to Lucas for the scene when Anakin and his mother are reunited briefly. That scene was pretty decent, it was a quiet, subtle moment and I thought it worked (even with Hayden Christensen’s acting skills), and what I really like is that Anakin’s found his mother and she’s alive just long enough to see him grown up, but then she dies and Anakin pretty much loses his shit on the Tusken Raiders with that beastly John Williams music swelling in the background. Other things I still like about this film was the improved CGI, cool action sequences, McGregor again as Obi-Wan and the introduction of Count Dooku played wonderfully by the late Christopher Lee. Oh and seeing Yoda actually battle in a lightsaber fight, awesome. Some people found it ridiculous and terrible but I found it hilariously badass…

HOWEVER! A lot of the good/decent aspects of this film are undone by the bad stuff, and trust me there’s a lot of it. This film’s main issue is the love story between Anakin and Padmé as it is one of the worst love stories ever put to film. The dialogue is terrible, there is no chemistry and acting is beyond bad. Their relationship just doesn’t come together well and feels forced, rather than a natural progression of a friendship into a partnership, and it doesn’t help that every line spoken between these two is really awkward or painful. That being said, I’ve memorised the dialogue to the point where I’ve quoted it with my SW friends and taken the piss so much that when I watch the film I can’t help but laugh. There are also wasted opportunities when it comes to Jango Fett, adding new mythology and the final battle between Obi-Wan, Anakin and Dooku (especially with Anakin and Dooku, that fight was half decent, half weird with spinning lightsabers). And like before the overuse of CGI and green screen when it comes to locations is very apparent, I think there were more real set locations than in the last film, but it was crazy how much of it I noticed with my film studies brain switched on.

Thoughts on Revenge of the Sith

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Okay so now we arrive at the final film in this series and I still like it. Now back when I saw ROTS in the cinema 10 years ago, I thought this film was SO cool and after I got it on DVD I watched a fair amount until my early twenties. This film more so than the previous films creates a tale full of action and drama that for the most part works, sure the love story aspect is still questionable and some things happen without explanation, but overall it is the most creative and strongest of the newer films. What I appreciated about this film was the darker tone, sense of scope and of course the closer ties to A New Hope. This film does a really good job with marrying the new with the old with the appearance of classic characters, costumes, set design and spacecrafts. I also love the action sequences, whether it is the introduction with that space battle, the lightsaber fights or the battle on Kashik, it is all handled in a really cool manner with awesome CGI and cinematography. Oh and the lightsaber fights are the bets so far. I loved the fight between Obi-Wan and General Grievous or Yoda vs. Dark Sidious or the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin, that stuff gets me giddy every time. Some other stuff I liked was the introduction of General Grievous, Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine/Sidious, the line “Unlimited Power!” and the ‘Execute Order 66′ montage. And once again I have to say that Ewan McGregor kills it as Obi-Wan Kenobi, he’s the most consistent aspect of the prequels and with each film he gets better and by this film his performance was very in line with Alex Guinness’ performance.

Of course this film is safe from scrutiny. The film still has some of that bad dialogue not just for the scenes between Padmé and Anakin, but for some of the other characters especially Dark Sidious, and speaking of Sidious… Ian McDiarmid, he was clearly having fun with the role in this one, but sometimes he was hamming it up a little too much and sometimes you can’t take the guy seriously. Again this film has some good ideas with the story, specifically with Anakin’s transfer to the dark side and his issues with Padmé, but again the execution was questionable and left a lot to be desired. The use of special effects is great but again you can see that there wasn’t much that wasn’t green screen of CGI. Oh and Darth Vader, I loved his introduction and seeing him get angry, use the force, stumble along, but that “NOOOOOOO!” line, damn, it just ruins that scene really.

Well that’s my take on these films. I can tell there’s a lot people who won’t agree with my opinion on these films and I say bring on the hate. These films haven’t always been looked at in a positive light but I’m seeing more and more these days with people voicing their favourable aspects of the prequels and I want to add to it. 😀 But anyway how about you lot? Do find anything redeemable about the prequels? Do you even like the prequels or do you despise them like everyone else? OR are you like, “Huh? What prequels?” Please be sure to comment below, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Films, Media

 

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Favourite Songs #38: Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone

Howdy people of the interweb, and welcome to the 38th edition of my series of blog posts dedicated to some of my favourite songs ever in life. So today I’ll be talking about one of my favourite songs from the 1980’s in the form of “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins.

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Excuse for following statement, but…. FUCK YEAH, this is my jam! There is nothing quite like this song and while I came across this a lot later in life, I will say that it has been part of integrated into my system ever since.

Check out this awesome tune below:

So what makes this song so awesome? Well, it is hard to describe because this song is more than just music, it is life. Haha. But seriously, this song, for me, is the definition of manliness. I think it is when you hear those guitars start up, you know you’re in for a good time. It is rock music with that great 1980’s sound. This is a song that sounds like it is of its time period, it could only work in the 80’s, and while some may consider it a little cheesy (probably because of the association with Top Gun), but I adore it. You have gorgeous guitar work, a lovely bass line and some lovely drums, along with the wonderful vocals of Kenny Loggins. When you hear this song you feel the passion, I love Loggins’ voice the way he sings just makes me feel the heat and epicness of life. The lyrics are sung with such passion, hearing lyrics like: “Headin’ into twilight / Spreadin’ out her wings tonight / She got you jumpin’ off the deck / And shovin’ into overdrive” or “They never say hello to you / Until you get it on the red line overload / You’ll never know what you can do / Until you get it up as high as you can go” (singing that part at the top of your lungs is the best). But this verse is my favourite: “Out along the edge / Is always where I burn to be / The further on the edge / The hotter the intensity“. But obviously it is all about that chorus. I don’t know if there is another chorus in life that is as fun or as epic to sing to. Oh and to find out Giorgio Moroder was behind the music composition of this song just makes me love it more as I’ve come to appreciate Moroder more after I found out about his work on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.

When this song comes on, nothing else matters, it is just you, and the manly sounds of “Danger Zone“!

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Top Gun honestly wouldn’t be half as fun without the epic sounds of Kenny Loggins, fact.

Now I obviously came across this song through the 1980’s classic, Top Gun. However, I didn’t see Top Gun until I was in college and had to watch in my media course which I think was in 2008. One would wonder why it had taken so long for me to see such a classic film, well I had a lot of other stuff to watch in the 90’s, plus if a certain film wasn’t on VHS or on TV in my house, I just wouldn’t see it. So  I hadn’t heard of  the pleasure of having this song be a part of childhood, however I can safely say that during my first viewing of this film my heart was captured by the epicness of this song. Hearing “Danger Zone” spread across the film just fuels the adrenaline, every time you came down, this song brings you back up!

In conclusion “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins is just epic, it is a fine example of some of the best music from the 80’s that works not only as a film associated with a famous film, but also on its own. It is the kind of song you should listen to on the highest volume and is just the best for karaoke. If you haven’t experienced the badassery of this song then you awe it to yourself to check it out as it is that amazing! Yeah I said it.

Well that’s another song review done, what do you think of my song choice today? Whatever your thoughts are leave me a comment below and be sure to come back next time for another song review yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Films, Media, Music, Reviews

 

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The Importance of the Solo Gaming Experience

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to another blog post from your online friend, the Hypersonic55! Today I wish to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a few days now and that is the importance of the solo video game experience.

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Now in recent times my sister has started playing Kingdom Hearts again (Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix to be exact) and it’s fun to watch her play and I would like to join in but I know I can’t because it is her game. KH is her game series and while I’ve helped on occasions, this has been HER thing and I know if I jumped in to progress the game she’d be pissed. Much like I would be if she impeded on my Zelda gaming. The thing about us is that since video games were introduced into our household my sister and I shared our games. Sure there were certain games that were exclusive to each of us, but a lot of games we shared like Streets of Rage, Super Mario Sunshine, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and the Super Smash Bros. series among others. But what has become apparent is when I went to university, people asked me about the games I’ve played and I told which ones I’d played, but when we talked about certain games and specific things like completion, I realised that I hadn’t finished these games or experienced them for myself properly because I’d only played part of the adventure and my sister or friend had done the rest.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE playing video games with not only my sister, but my friends and people I don’t know in general. These days there’s barely any games that exist without a multiplayer component, especially when it comes to online gaming. That being said, there are those who still appreciate a solid solo gaming experience with a good main campaign, and I am one of those people.

The reason I like playing games on my own is because you get to experience the game in its fullest capacity. You get to take in the story, check out every inch of the gameplay, find out the secrets and see if what the replay value is like. With platforming games like the Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario or Mega Man series, it is fine to play the whole way through or just come back to in short bursts. The rules apply to racing and fighting games. But when it comes to game genres like adventure and RPG with story elements, that’s when it becomes a different kind of experience to other genres. The Legend of Zelda series is one that really requires just one gamer because most games don’t have multiplayer elements incorporated. Sharing my early years of Wind Waker with my sister was fun for sure, but these days I feel like I missed out on so much by taking it in turns to play the game. That’s why I had so much fun playing games like The Minish Cap, A Link Between Worlds and more recently Skyward Sword. RPGs especially are all about story and solo gaming and none of those games would be a complete experience if you switched between you and another player. RPGs require strategy, concentration and determination to solve puzzles, fight bosses, use items effectively and find secrets, etc. Playing games like Final Fantasy IV, Golden Sun, Fire Emblem: Awakening or the various generations of Pokemon would not be the same if I gave the games to someone else to play with me. Even some of the 3D Sonic the Hedgehog games would not have the same level of satisfaction if I had shared it with other people, playing through Sonic 4: Episode 1, Adventure 2: Battle, Colours and Generations on my own was great experiences.

Zelda-MC-ALBW-SS SonicAdventure2-Colours-Generations

When you share a solo-based game with someone else, some of the game’s experiences aren’t your own and while it may not matter to some; playing games to completion on your own is a big deal and some consider your game experiences hampered by playing it with other people. There is just something super satisfying with playing games on your own and experiencing everything that game has to offer for yourself without the aid or the distraction of others. These days I take my solo gaming quite seriously and try to take on most games when I can.

So going back to the Kingdom Hearts series, seeing my sister go through Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix has been fun, but at the same time has been very saddening as I would love to have played it all myself, but I can’t, because this is her game series, it is her experience and all I can do is occasionally level grind, and that sucks. I adore this game series, I love the gameplay, characters, replay value and story (though it is complicated and messy as hell), however, I’ve barely played any of the games myself. I’ve played good portions of KH1 & 2, but I still have tried the Birth By Sleep, Chain of Memories, Coded or Dream Drop Distance. The only game in the series I’ve played is 358/2 Days, the game that’s regarded as the worst in the series and I only got to play this because it was exclusive to the Nintendo DS. Most people despise that DS entry, but I quite liked it, 358/2 Days felt like a simplified version of the first game with a different kind of progression and levelling up system. Some of the portable games I should be able to play for myself, however I fear that when Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out I’ll probably not get to play that to the degree that I want unless I get a copy for myself or create a separate save file.

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Anyway to conclude I just wanted to point out that gaming, as fun as it is to play with others, I still value the solo gaming experience and would like to make sure that I get around to playing as many solo games as possible without having to share some of these experience with my sister.

So what do you think of this post? Do you agree that solo games should just be experienced by one person or could those games be shared with other people and still be a rewarding experience? I would love to read your thoughts below. Until next time, laters! 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2015 in Life, Media, Video Games

 

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Favourite Songs #37: Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue

Howdy people of the interweb, and welcome to the 37th edition of my series of blog posts dedicated to some of my favourite songs ever in life. This is the first post of 2015 for this blog series and today I’ll be talking about one of my favourite songs in rock music which comes from Yellowcard and the song in question is “Ocean Avenue“.

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Heck yeah, this is my jam son! I know I say that a lot, but I can’t help it. This was the song that introduced me to the sound of Yellowcard and since then it has only gotten better with age.

Check out this awesome tune below:

Oh yeah, such a good sound. So what makes this song kick so much ass? Well it is mainly because it has such a feel-good sound. From the time song begins with the guitar, drums and then with the vocals, you know you’re in for a good time within the first 5-10 seconds. And it’s always a good thing when you get into the groove of a song straight from the beginning. I love this song for both the instrumental side of things and the vocals too. I always like bands with great vocalists that not only sound good, but can sing their lyrics with passion and Ryan Key does the job so well. I love the lyrics to this song, they are lovely and heartfelt. The lyrics were apparently about where the band used to hang out and have memories in Jacksonville, and I can definitely hear that, and while I always thought the song was about relationships and good times gone by. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about this song and Yellowcard in general was the way in which they were able to incorporate violins into rock music and make it work in a cohesive and beautiful way, I never thought it would work, but these guys make it sound so nice!

This song takes me back, about 6 or 7 years now. Back in college (once again) when I was going through my discovery of rock music, around the time I found AFI, I came across “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard. Then from there I listened to the albums Ocean Avenue and One for the Kids and really got into their music. And while it wasn’t until the last two years when I started listening going through the band’s discography, “Ocean Avenue” has remained one of my favourite and most frequent songs on my music playlists.

In conclusion “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard is one of the best feel-good bit of rock music that makes me feel good every time I hear it. After all these years the song still makes me smile and evokes a lot of nostalgia and memories of better times. If you have yet to experience this awesomeness then please do so because it is THAT good.

Well that’s another song review done, what do you think of my song choice today? Whatever your thoughts are leave me a comment below and be sure to come back next time for another song review yo!:D

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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How I Feel In Pictures #8

Good day to you ladies and gents and welcome to the 8th edition of How I Feel In Pictures. In these posts I’ll upload a piece of art that I’ve drawn that basically represents how I feel at that current point in time. So this is the first post of 2015 for this series, and since I’ve drawn some new stuff I thought I’d post on this blog.

Check out my set of pictures below:

PowerPuff Girls

Gotta love the PPG.

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My all-time favourite Pokemon here looking all badass.

So as you can see above these pictures are fan art based on the cartoon show, The Powerpuff Girls and video game series, Pokemon. I drew the picture of Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup based on an old sketch I did from I think around 11 years ago, and since I was feeling a bit fancy I wanted to update it on Photoshop and this was the end result. As for Charizard, I drew a little picture of him in my mini sketchbook and thought that it would look good in colour with a background, and well, what you see above is the end result.

Both pictures represent a piece of me nostalgically. PPG was one of my all-time favourite cartoons from Cartoon Network, while Pokemon was pretty much the phenomenon that took over my world with the video games and TV show. Both pictures also represent, decent, if somewhat lacking pieces of work. I look at them and think, “Yeah they’re good, but I know I could do better. I expect better.” They feel incomplete and maybe that’s me expecting more from myself then I technically can deliver at the moment, but hey what would life be like without a little challenge. I think the way I feel in through these pictures can be summarized as proud and yet disappointed at the same time.

Well that’s it for this blog post, hopefully you liked what you saw and if you’d like to see more check me out at http://thehypersonic55.deviantart.com. Peace out!

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Life

 

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My Favourite Music In Video Games Part 3

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Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to PART 3 of My Favourite Music In Video Games, a blog series dedicated to some of my favourite tunes in video games that I feel everyone should hear too. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out PART 1 and PART 2 of my music assessments. Today I’m gonna get a little more modern with my music findings today, but still have some blasts from the past as well. So let’s get started:

Phantasy Star

When it comes to the Phantasy Star series I’m not the biggest fan, I actually discovered this series after I played Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II for the GameCube in 2004. It was only after some research when I found out that the series had been since the days of the Sega Master System, Mega Drive/Genesis and Saturn as well as the compilations and remakes on the PlayStation 2. PSO Episode 1 & 2, was my window into the world of Phantasy Star which I loved and then there was PSO Episode 3: CARD Revolution which was very different kind of gaming experience but was still fun. But one thing is for sure, both games had awesome music. PSO Ep. 1 & 2 (the stronger of the two games) has awesome sounds like OPENING THEME ~ The whole new world ~ (Lala Version), the gorgeous For Eternal Glory, Pioneer 2, Mother earth of dishonesty PART 1 & PART 2, Growl, from the depths of the earth, From seeing the rough wave, Codes of Silence, OPENING THEME ~ The whole new world (Episode 2), Silent Palace and A longing to ancient times – PART 2 as some of my favourite examples. Then there’s PSO Ep. 3 with Via Tubus, Tower of Caelum, Scenario – Courage, Tener Sinus -Tener Coast-, Unguis Lapis, Mortis Fons -Fountain of Mortis-, Morgue PART 1 and Code -Deck- to name a few of the best tracks.

Favourite song – Chaotic Bar:

Yes, this is my jam. While I love the opening song for PSO Ep. 1 & 2 and the sound of Code -Deck- from PSO Ep. 3, I that think this is a great song. I don’t even know how to describe what this song sounds like, it is some kind of funky electronic sound and it isn’t overly epic or subtle, it’s one of those sort of songs you chill out with, like jazz in a way. I can’t describe while this song sounds so good, maybe it is because I spent so much time going to the shop in single player, but every time I hear this song, I feel like I’m falling in love and sitting through the summer of 2004 all over again, and that was a good time.

Metal Gear

I’m going to be frank, I have never played a game in the Metal Gear series, well, besides the demo for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater on 3DS. I have been a gamer who has looked on at this franchise from the sidelines and has appreciated all of its unique qualities in terms of the gameplay, detailed stories, great graphics, in-game cinematics and of course great music. I never came across any of the music in the franchise until Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and it was there where I was introduced to such awesome tunes like Theme of Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid 2), Yell “Dead Cell” (Metal Gear Solid 2), Calling to the Night (Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops), and the awesome Theme of Tara (Metal Gear MSX2).

Favourite song – Snake Eater (Instrumental):

The first time I heard this song wasn’t in MGS3, but in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and after my first listen I fell in love. True love. Not even a joke. This is a jazzy/classical piece of music that is sophisticated, super stylish and sexy. I know that the original has vocals, but I prefer this version because it is just about the music and my god it sounds so good as it goes from being subtle and mysterious to big, loud and impactful. The thing I immediately noticed about the song was how much it sounded like a James Bond film, you know, that sexy/classy sound from the Sean Connery/Roger Moore days of Bond and then to see that composer Norihiko Hibino actually referenced Bond as influence for this song only makes me smile even more.

Halo

Now we move on to the Halo series, this is another series I’m not a massive fan of. I’ve played Halo 1-3, but that was it because I never really had many friends who were interested in the series after the third game and that’s when I lost interest myself. I think I may have played Halo 4 one time last year, but I can not confirm that at the moment lol. The one thing I can still give the Halo series credit for is the music, the soundtracks in each game have a way of sounding so epic and large in scale, like you’re watching an incredible film that touches you on every emotional level, but it also manly as hell. There are many great sounds from Halo 1, 2 and 3, but the song I’ll always remember is the Main Theme from Halo 1, sure there have been many incarnations of the theme since the first game but this one beats them all. This song is one of the most manly and hardcore themes of any game in the history of existence.

Favourite song – Truth and Reconciliation:

In truth I could have easily picked the Main Theme and that would have been it, however then I came across this song and had to choose it over the main theme because it is longer, more dramatic and in the end it still features the main theme in there so everything works out just fine. The song starts with a soft, subtle and dramatic intro before breaking into the main theme of awesomeness. After a while the song drops into this dark, psychologically creepy sound and eventually picks up in the last minute and a half with the upbeat main theme, so cool.

F-Zero

Ever since the first game in the series on Super Nintendo, the F-Zero series has been home to many memorable tunes that fans have enjoyed since the 90’s. The most classic of these tunes in Mute City, it is the signature song of the franchise in a way and has had several incarnations in F-Zero, F-Zero X, F-Zero GX, Climax and in Super Smash Bros. Melee & Brawl. However F-Zero isn’t just about Mute City, there are a number of other great songs from the series like White Land (SSBB version) and Fire Field (SSBB version). But the best game for music really was F-Zero GX with a rock/techno soundtrack which is bursting with life and energy with some of my favourite tracks including U-Rays, Like A Snake, Big Blue and the brilliant Planet Colors.

Favourite song – Shotgun Kiss (Casino Palace):

This is my jam for life! I swear since I hearing this song in F-Zero GX it changed my life, this is the kind of song that sets my soul on fire. It has a gorgeous rock/jazzy sound with a quick pace and a crazy switch up when it reaches pitch mode. The song gets me in a good mood and makes me feel happy and feel the thrill of racing in F-Zero even when I’m not playing the games, it is that powerful.

Mega Man

Ah the Mega Man franchise. This is a series I’ve always known about, but never really played until 2008/9. In truth I’ve only played three MM games; firstly there was Mega Man Star Force 3: Black Ace, Mega Man 2 and Mega Man & Bass. I think after playing Mega Man 2 I finally understood the importance of the game series from not only a gameplay perspective but from a musical one and the more I explored the main series of games, the more I noticed how much they’ve been in fan-based videos, reviews and covers by people on YouTube. In terms of tunes I like Spark Man Stage from Mega Man 3, but I’m primarily a lover of Mega Man 2‘s soundtrack, call me generic, but you can’t argue with the awesome sounds of Title Music Part 1 & Part 2, Crash Man Stage, Metal Man Stage, Wood Man Stage and Air Man Stage to name a few. And then of course there is the remixes from Super Smash Bros. 4 with Airman Stage Remix, Sparkman Remix and the badass Mega Man 2 Melody.

Favourite song – Dr. Wily Stage Theme:

It was honestly a close call between this and the Mega Man 2 Melody but in the end you can’t beat a classic. Dr. Wily Stage Theme is pretty much the quintessential MM song, it is a classic for a reason. This is the song that gets you in the mood to battle, gets your heart racing and feels your heart and ears with happiness. I was familiar with this song before I even knew that it was from MM2, however when I got to Wily Stage 1 and heard this, I knew I had arrived at the best song in the game. This song just sounds beyond amazing and proves that songs from before the 16-bit era of gaming can still sound badass.

So there you have it, my another five picks. Tell me if you’re familiar, like or dislike my choices in the comments below. Also, if there are any that you’d like to see in the future let me know. Other than that, make sure to come back for some more music madness in the world of video games. Bye bye for now! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in Media, Music, Video Games

 

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