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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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Revisiting The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Good day to you ladies and gents, and welcome to this blog post. This year has been a good time for video games, I have played a fair amount including Fire Emblem: Awakening, the brilliant Super Smash Bros. 3DS, and starting over with StreamWorld Dig, Mutant Mudds and Kid Icarus: Uprising. Obviously, they are primarily 3DS games, but that’s been my main gaming console for the year and other games I’ve played have been via my friends at uni. I haven’t been able to play many new games because I’m still low on funds (as usual), so I’ve been going backwards in time for my gaming and over the last three weeks I’ve gone back to one of my favourite games from 2011; The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

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Ah Skyward Sword, we’ve had a strange history we have. It is game I love but have only played it for a short time when compared to some of my favourite games. Now I’m going to talk about my experience with this game, so consider this a semi review of sorts. 🙂

My History

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Since E3 2010 I had been looking forward to playing this game, and after playing a demo at the MCM London Expo in October 2011, I was really intrigued to play more of this game with the new motion controls. So I got the game on the day of release and pretty much played it for weeks afterward. You see Skyward Sword was not only one of my most engrossing gaming experiences in a long time but it was also one of the most in-depth Zelda experiences I have had too. After 2009 my interest in gaming started to dip a fair amount, I think it may have been because I was just gaming on my Nintendo Wii or maybe it was because I started getting into watching films in the cinema, whatever it was, by the time 2010 came around I wasn’t that fussed. So in 2011 Sonic Generations was my first super happy time gaming again and then Skyward Sword just exceeded that. I fell in love with that Zelda game because for the longest time I have played many games in the series since Ocarina of Time, however Wind Waker was the first proper Zelda game I got into and played for a long time, but Skyward Sword is the first Zelda game I actually engaged with and felt like completing (besides Four Swords Adventure). I played the game almost everyday after I bought it and got around just over halfway through the game, however, after I went home for Christmas and had to leave the Wii back at home when I went to uni in 2012, I pretty much lost my groove and couldn’t get into the game again, so I left the game and never played it again, until this year.

Revisiting The Game

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So after THREE YEARS, and being very curious about the game, I decided to start over from the beginning on a separate file and my god, I felt the love all over again. I started playing the game and remembered the feeling wonder, surprise and fun that comes with starting a new game, however a lot of the criticisms of game that I’ve heard from certain fans have definitely become apparent. Criticisms of the game ar as follows:

  • The beginning of the game is still fun, but the amount of tutorials and talking at the start of the game was quite frustrating, tedious and unnecessary. It didn’t spoil my experience, however I’m not sure how I was so patient with it before.
  • Sometimes the controls can be a bit fiddly, because the game relies heavily on motion controls. Sometimes it is hard to make precise hits or movements even with Wii Motion Plus. Also sometimes the amount of motion controls in the game feels unneeded and could have easily been done with buttons instead.
  • That stamina meter, while it is great for running and climbing quicker, at the same time it can be very annoying when doing regular tasks like running, climbing, attacking, moving objects, etc. It is very tedious and can be very inconvenient when you run out of juice while in the middle of battle or moving over quicksand.

Besides the issues listed above, it is still hella fun. Jumping back into the game after so long made it feel like a new experience, however it was great to remember all of the things that I liked about the game when I first played it and that shows that the game definitely has replay value.

The Reason I Like It

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While Skyward Sword has a bit of mixed reception within the Zelda community, it is definitely regarded as one of the better games in the series, and for me personally I REALLY like this game. The story is pretty interesting too, Link is a great protagonist and seeing him and Zelda in a romantic relationship is different but quite interesting, I also love Ghirahim as the antagonist, he’s such a creepy/insane badass. I also love seeing everything all the foreshadowing that will come into play with the other games in the Zelda timeline. The visuals have a nice blend of watercolour paintings mixed in with the cel-shaded style of Wind Waker and realistic style of Twilight Princess and it gives off this very bright, vivid and charismatic type of game which is charming and pleasant to look at. And then there is the soundtrack which is gorgeous! The orchestral sound is heavenly and adds a lot to the gameplay when travelling and battling, the best songs being “Ballad of the Goddess“, “Ghirahim Battle“, “The Sky” and “Separation” to name a few. In addition to that, gameplay-wise, having the ability to run fast in a Zelda game (without the use of the Pegasus Boots) is a BIG deal and I LOVE it, I just like running all over the place. In addition to that flying on the Loftwing in the sky is one of my favourite experiences in the series, and I prefer it to riding Epona and possibly a bit more than the boat in Wind Waker. I also like the combat and the way it gives you full-on control and satisfaction when you kill your enemies. Foes you meet in the main worlds are fun to take out, I love fights with the Stalfos and Ghirahim, and some of the boss battles are epic and cinematic. And finally I like the way you get to interact with NPCs, have different choices with responses and deal with side missions and gear upgrading similar to Monster Hunter.

Conclusion

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In conclusion The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I still love this game. Some aspects of the game are a bit tedious, however I still love it. The gameplay is fun and exciting, the visuals are beautiful and the music is incredible, and playing through the game the second time is super fun and I haven’t felt this kind of fun since A Link Between Worlds last year and I can’t wait to finally finish this game. If you haven’t experienced the game yet I would recommend it, it’s a good time.

So have you played The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and if so what do you think of it? Do you love it, hate it or feel indifferent? And how do you think it compares to the other Zelda games? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in Game Reviews, Life, Media, Reviews, Video Games

 

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Favourite Songs #36: Michael Jackson – In The Closet

Howdy people of the interweb, and welcome to the 36th edition of my series of blog posts dedicated to some of my favourite songs ever in life. Today we will be going back to the legend that is Michael Jackson with one of my all-time favourite songs that has only gotten better with age. I am of course talking about “In the Closet“.

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Oh yeah this is my jam, this is the kind of song that when I hear it, I can’t help but get up and dance. In recent years it had definitely increased in the amount of times I’ve listened to it and I can safely that it is one of my favourite MJ songs ever.

Check out this awesome tune below:

Yes, oh yes! This is one of those songs that just gets you in the mood, the mood to get freaky. But more so than that, this song as a gorgeous sound, those beats, the singing, the lyrics, everything together just screams of awesomeness. It is unique and full of style, charisma and a lot of replay value. But make no mistake, this is probably MJ’s most sexually charged songs. The lyrical content is very promiscuous and the shouting and moaning only adds to the sexy nature of the song. The way I’ve perceived this song is it seems to be about the sexual tension/lust between and man and woman, and wanting to have sex, but not just casual sex, more like passionate love-making (like the way Chef from South Park describes love-making in his songs). It almost feels like this song is encouraging acts of sexual madness and if you let the music take over, I’m sure this song could end up being a song you make out to as well. Besides all that sexual stuff, “In The Closet” features great verses and the chorus, that just sends me into ecstasy yo. From the main beat to the sound of breaking glass to all of MJ’s trademark singing and shouting, this song has everything.

And there’s that music video, phew! Just have a look at it below yo:

After seeing this video I’m always like “Woah, steady on guys, it’s just a music video.” If the song doesn’t already make you hot under the collar, then this music video will. The song was sexual enough, but then with all of the imagery of MJ and model, Naomi Campbell together dancing, grinding and posing, it does make you feel like you’re watching the pre-show to a porn film a bit. If it wasn’t for MJ dancing dominantly throughout the video, this video would be a very different video altogether. But let’s talk about the video a bit. The sepia tone is nice and the style of filming and framing of certain shots is fabulous, I love the silhouette shots as well. And then there is MJ’s dancing. I am obsessed with MJ as a dancer, he has some of the best dance moves in the history of life, and in this video he struts some of his best stuff. MJ is kinetic, popping and locking, crotch-grabbing, the works and I love it. I normally watch the video just to see his dance moves. Oh and as you may know, there is a difference between the album version of the song and the music video version. I have mainly listened to this version because I’ve watched the video so many times, but I have to say that original is growing on me a bit more.

In conclusion “In The Closet” by Michael Jackson is just an incredible piece of music. The song is incredible and the music video on top of that just adds to the epicness. I used to hate this song when I was a kid because of the sexual themes, but these days that is one of the things I love about the song. If you’ve never experienced this song before, go check it out, it is definitely worth your time.

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 December 11, 2014 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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Favourite Songs #35: John Williams – Duel of the Fates

Howdy people of the interweb, and welcome to the 35th edition of my series of blog posts dedicated to some of my favourite songs ever in life. Today I’m going be talking about one of the most epic songs to have ever been created not only in film but in life, I am of course talking about the beastly “Duel of the Fates” by John Williams.

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Yes, yes, YES! This is what I’m talking about. For the longest time I have loved this song, it has always evoked a sense of epincess and badassery that have always known since childhood and since then my love for this song has only gotten stronger.

Check out this awesome tune below:

How do you feel after hearing this song? Do you not feel like you’ve been taken on an epic adventure? Like you’ve experienced the most amazing thing your ears have ever heard? That’s how I felt after hearing this the first time and every time since that feeling has never faded.

So what makes “Duel of the Fates” one of the best songs ever? BECAUSE IT IS! Sure that’s no description, but does there really need to be one? Everyone knows the epicness of this song, it is almost of legendary status. For the sake of this review I will try to describe why this song is awesome. This song has the best combination of bombastic and omnipotent classical music and incredible choir work. From the time it begins, you are introduces to a gorgeous choir and then a building load of instruments that later explodes into an immense sound of intense beauty. The song winds down to be calm, but then builds up and gets fierce as hell, like the heavens are opening up, hell is rising from the depths of the earth and both forces are clashing.

Those who are familiar with their Star Wars material will know that this song debuted when Qui Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi fought Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Sure, certain fans always argue that The Phantom Menace is not only one of the worst SW films, but also one of the worst films of all time. But one can not deny the epicness of the lightsaber fights, ESPECIALLY the major fight sequence mentioned above and this song was one of the main factors that made it work so well. And then there’s the man behind the music, John Williams, one of the most important and famous film composers in the history of film, crafted this piece along with the rest of the Phantom Menace soundtrack. Williams knows his music, his collection of work is varied and delivers different levels of awesomeness and while he crafted so many good pieces in the Original Star Wars Trilogy, I feel like this is on another level. The intensity of this song sets my soul on fire and is pretty much the best song of the Prequel Trilogy.

So to conclude Duel of the Fates” by John Williams is simply one of the best songs in existence. It is so gorgeous, ferocious and manly! Over the years I have come to love this song more and more. The super kick ass nature of this song is just off the radar and as a fan of classical music and an overall fan of film soundtracks, this is godly to me. This is perfection. If you haven’t experienced it, stop what you’re doing, check it out and get back to me.

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 December 1, 2014 in Films, Media, Music, Reviews

 

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The End of An Era: Finishing University

Howdy ladies and gents today I just wanted to make a short blog post about something that has been on my mind recently and that is the fact that the university part of my life is over. Now I’ve made one or two blog posts about becoming free of university and embracing the real world, but at times, I still feel like I haven’t escaped that lifestyle yet and while I don’t miss the educational side of things, I miss the city of Sheffield and all of my peeps. But after last week, I think I can say that I am just about ready to move on.

Now last week was pretty hectic week for me, I went to see someone about an internship, then saw Jack White at the O2, and even went for an interview for a job on a farm in the middle of nowhere, but none of that was as significant as Thursday, the day I graduated from uni.

misc-freddie-mercury-lThat’s how I felt when I got my moment in the sun on graduation day.

Unlike more uni’s that graduated from uni in July, mine happens to do it in November and for months I’ve been waiting for this day just wondering how it would turn out.Would I get from Luton to Sheffield on time? Would I be able to see all of my friends? Will I be able to get up on stage without doing anything embarrassing? Would I get to throw my hat in the air? Lots of questions, but no way to know until I got there.. Luckily for the most part the day was perfect. Getting up to Sheffield was a task, had to leave my house around 6:20am and drive up the motorway enduring traffic and pit stop because my family needed a toilet break. That being said, I got to Sheffield before the ceremony started, got my robes and official photos taken with time to spare. So much work and so much running around, bloody hell, I was so frantic. I got to the hall, met up with my friends again and endured the graduation of 300+ students. Luckily my department was first and we gave them a good show, but after that, the ceremony went on forever, so many students had special titles and so many of them got talked to while up on stage, it was SO painful, that being said it was fun and humourous at times. When everything had ended I got to chat and hang with me mate and take a good few pictures, it was a delightful and beautiful few moments of fun and nostalgia. I love my uni friends and seeing a few of them for the first time in four to five months was so special. After all the pictures, I went for food at Pizza Hut which was nice, never eaten so much pizza in a while.

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Me on graduaion day, yeah I know, not a very flattering picture but heck I did what I could haha.

After all that build up and hype, graduation is over and my ties to university have officially been severed. Now I pretty much have no reason to  go back to Sheffield when it comes to uni and I feel like that is important factor. For months now I have been done with my course and got my grade certificates and everything, but graduation felt like the final piece of the post-graduate uni puzzle that needed to be solved, and now that part is done, I feel like everything is done and dusted. It feels mental that I can look back to three years ago and I was just starting my uni adventure, making friends, playing games and living away from home. Even though most of my time for first year is pretty hazy now, I still remember a lot of uni life like it was yesterday. Remembering the house parties, late night gaming sessions, going for takeaways, spending long hours in the library, etc. It feels like a lifetime ago now, but at the same time I can recall it as clearly as I see things in life now. Such badman times.

In the end, that point in my life has passed and now I have to grow up (unfortunately) and move on. Graduation was the final step in finishing uni and now that’s sorted, everything is complete. Thursday was a good day and I know that I’ll want to go back to Sheffield sooner rather than later, but for now I’m just glad I got through uni without falling part haha. 😀

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Life

 

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Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy Review

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome this review, today I will be talking about the amazing time I had at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday night when I went to see Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy.

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Now to try and describe this event would be difficult. To even put it into words is near impossible purely because it is one you have to experience. Now I have to admit that I’m not one of the most hardcore Final Fantasy fans, I’ve only played a handful of the games and I’ve never even finished one. That being said, I have been playing these games since around 1997/98, I have played a fair few of the games and researched the hell of this series to the point where I consider myself personally invested, and the music has played a big hand in that.

Before starting I should mention that I’m probably not going to remember the names of all the songs or which order they came in specifically, that being said I will try my hardest to recall last night’s event without falling into a sea of happiness and forgetting to finish this review haha. Okay. let’s begin.

The Venue

All I can say is wow, I’ve been to a few venues since I started watching live music in 2011, but not many of them are as breathtaking as the Royal Albert Hall. This is a place I’ve heard so much about and seen on TV, but it’s not until you go there yourself that you get an idea of how majestic the place really is. It’s huge, very circular and has many levels, just trying to get to our balcony seats was a task in itself because it was on the other side of the entrance we came through and was up three flights of stairs. But it was worth all the effort because we had a gorgeous view of the orchestra, the screen for the projected imagery and seeing the hundreds of people below, around and above us. I was mad. The scale of the place once you sit down is one you just have to pause and take in, plus it helped that everything was incredibly beautiful inside with vivid colours and spotlights illuminating the area, it was lovely.

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The Atmosphere

As for the vibe in the main hall itself it was pretty nice, from the points when the orchestra came on stage to composer Arnie Roth making announcements between songs to the points when the Nobuo Uematsu came up on stage as well, the crowd went mad with the sound of applause. These were the fans shouting, clapping and giving standing ovations, you could tell that these were avid fans just happy to see their childhood recreated in a classical and epic manner. At one point when Nobuo Uematsu came on stage to play, before he started there this one guy in the crowd who shouted “I LOVE YOU!” At which point everybody laughed and applauded, again, this is the power of video game fandom and they are unashamed of their love for anything, as pointed out yesterday by that one guy haha.

The Music & Visuals

Let’s talk about the main aspect of this concert, the music itself. As I said before I’m not a hardcore fan, I’ve only played FF3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 10-2, 12 and 13, and in addition to that I know a fair amount about 6 and 14. But as you can tell I’m not well-versed in this world of gaming as I am with say Sonic, Zelda or Mario. I think I can say that hampered my experience a little bit when it came to certain songs, because I hadn’t played them, I couldn’t know of their significance. But at the same time, the music was so incredibly awesome that I didn’t feel that bad about it because I was thoroughly engaged throughout.

When it comes to the songs played there was everything from main themes to battle songs and the music covered had a great selection from all of the games, but they was definitely special love going out to FF6 and 9.

The concert opened to the dark and harrowing sounds of “Hymn of the Fayth” from Final Fantasy 10, it was a brilliant way to start and eased us nicely into the next song which was the classic, “One-Winged Angel” from Final Fantasy 7. I knew this would be in the concert but to have it as the second song, I was not prepared. I’ve loved this song forever, especially The Black Mages version and this rendition was pretty much exactly the same minus the rock guitars. It was some epic material.

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And along side the music there was a big screen that had scenes and gameplay from the various Final Fantasy games in correspondence to the musical pieces that were playing at the time. It was a great way of illustrating the music and further engaging the audience in the world of this game series. For the most part it was great, there was a good selection of imagery on-screen and it was done in a way where it matched the music’s power at the same time. My only minor nitpicks were that there were clips that was edited a little too quickly and some moments had repeated footage that would recycle during the same song or during another segment. Again these are minor nitpicks, but something I noticed in the midst of the awesomeness.

From that point onwards I couldn’t tell what came next in what specific order but I think I’ll just go through the games in numerical order, starting with Final Fantasy 5. With FF5 they played “Dear Friends” which was gorgeous and there was also I think a three-part melody with two other songs, the first part was “Battle on the Big Bridge” which is one of my absolute FAVOURITES, it was loud, intense and just bursting with badassery, I just wish we could have gotten the song in its entirety. And there’s Final Fantasy 6, damn there was a lot of love for this game. There was the character melody that featured Terra, Kefka, Celes and Locke which was nice and offered some lovely sounds, but things really got interesting when it came to “Balance Is Restored“, that was one of the most impressive and uplifting pieces in the entire concert. But I think it was “Dancing Mad” was the special one, it was the longest performance with incredibly sinister introduction and utilized the whole orchestra so well including the choir and even an organ too. It found ways to switch between being aggressive and calm while still being imposing, and then there’s the second half of the song where things just completely changed up in terms of pace and style and the sound was incredibly bombastic and insanely stylish, just to calm down and finish on a dramatic note, it was awesome.

Then there’s Final Fantasy 7 which had the “Main Theme” which was beautifully crafted and  of course the classic “Those Who Fight (Let The Battles Begin)” as part of the three-part melody I mentioned before which was lovely. As for Final Fantasy 8, I’m pretty sure there was a song used from that game because I’m sure the imagery on the screen was from that game but I cannot confirm that for sure at this point. Final Fantasy 9 was the next big one, there was at least three big songs for that game. “Rose of May” was a nice one, while “Festival of the Hunt”  was a massive highlight as it was so wonderfully layered with different instruments in the really loud segments, but the best one by far was “Vamo’ Alla Flamenco“, that was one of the most beautiful pieces as it was so classical but also Spanish-influenced as well. Truly magical. As for Final Fantasy 10 we were treated to “Seymour Battle Theme” which was so nicely done in an orchestrated form and “To Zanarkand” literally made me want to shed tears a little bit, it was that beautiful. The Final Fantasy 11 song had a very nice melody to it, however I am not sure what song it was, while the Final Fantasy 13 series got a bit of Lightning Returns with “Light Eternal“, but what they did was take the final chuck of the original song which predominately featured “Blinded By Light“. It was a beautiful and well-done performance that made me smile. And Final Fantasy 14 got one of the best performances in the form of “Answers” performed by singer Susan Calloway, her voice worked so well with the music in this epic performance which was so heartbreakingly awesome.

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The final three songs were wonderful as there was only going be one but then there was more. The Final FantasyMain Theme” and “Victory Fanfare” which was just the most delightful thing ever. And ending on “Swing de Chocobo” was pretty much the best thing ever, the icing on the cake for sure. Just when I thought the show was over we got a second encore and it was the one song I had hoped for, a Chocobo-related jam and it was so jazzy and funky, loved it!

Conclusion

So to conclude Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy was simply incredible, beyond incredible, it was spectacular. The orchestrated compositions of these classic and recent songs of the Final Fantasy series is nothing short of beautiful and with the projected visuals from all of the games it made you feel incredibly warm and nostalgic. Everything was fabulous and I got what I wanted out of the event and more even though I wasn’t familiar with all of the material that was played, if you’re a fan of this video game series then you awe it to yourself to check this concert out.

Thanks for reading this review and now I open the floor to you, the readers, have any of you been to see Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy before and if so what did you think of it? Whatever your thoughts are, be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see you on the next review. Until next time, peace out! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2014 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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My Favourite Music In Video Games Part 2

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Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to PART 2 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. It was a while ago, but back in part 1 it focused on franchises from the 90’s and I feel like we’re gonna continue that with some of my other childhood video games (with one exception). So here let’s get started:

Bomberman

Oh Bomberman, how I love you! Back in the last 90’s to early 00’s Bomberman was a huge part of my gaming world especially because of the games Bomberman 64 and Bomberman Hero, and those games were home to some incredible music. In 64 you had so many incredible songs from the main levels to the menu screen and multiplayer levels too. A few of my ultimate nostalgic tunes are: Green GardenBlue Resort, and VS Altair Part 2. And Hero had cool songs BeakRedial, Foehn, Dessert, Zip and Cell just to name a few. And then there’s Bomberman Generation, the last great Bomberman game in my opinion, besides being a good game it also housed some great tunes like Main Theme (Original), Tentasia (Original), Octo Ocean (Original) & (Crystal), Tako Desert (Eygptian) & (Funky), Coin Battle (Original) and the hardcore Majestar.

Favourite song – Mimesis:

It was a close call between this and Foehn, but I think I love this song the most because it is so upbeat and happy-sounding (if that makes any sense haha). A lot of the songs in this game have a very drum and bass like feel to it in terms of the beast and structure and that is what I love about all of the songs especially this one. This song is from the levels in Bomberman Hero when you have to ride that rabbit Louie, it’s a jolly little sound with a great beat and I could listen to it for ages on repeat.

Rayman

Now the Rayman series has housed a lot of good music ever since the first set of games on PlayStation 1 back in the late 90’s, but I mainly recall some of the newer music from Rayman Origins and Legends. The reason I am more interested in the newer Rayman games when it comes to music is because of their more quirky and eclectic collection of songs.

Favourite song – Medieval Theme:

Even though this is one of the first songs in the game, it honestly left the biggest impression on me. I like the choice of instruments and the fact that it really sounds it was from the medieval period. The song is super quirky, fun, upbeat and epic towards the second half. I could listen to this on repeat for ages.

Star Fox

The Star Fox series may not have that many games in its series when compared to other franchises like Mario, Zelda and Metroid, but that doesn’t make it any less important, especially when it comes to the music. Since the first game on Super Nintendo Star Fox has been home to some great music especially in Star Fox 64 aka Lylat Wars and Star Fox Assault. For me SF64 housed some good songs from the Opening, Title Screen to the awesome sounds of Star Wolf and Versus, and then you have Versus One By One, to the lovely Mission Accomplished. Star Fox Assault brought some really awesome style and flair with the orchestrated soundtrack which makes songs like Theme of Star Fox Assault, Mission Briefing, Oikonny’s Fleet (Space Battleground) and many others sound so good.And then the Super Smash Bros. series got some great remixes with Melee‘s Corneria, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl‘s Space Armada, Area 6, Area 6 Ver. 2, Corneria and Main Theme (Star Fox 64).

Favourite song – Star Wolf (Star Fox Assault):

I don’t really recall hearing the original Star Fox theme first time, but I remember it from my childhood playing Star Fox 64 especially when it came to multiplayer. That being said when I heard the Star Fox Assault version in Super Smash Bros. Brawl my world changed. Composers Yoshie Arakawa and Yoshinori Kawamoto have taken a simply cool song and turned it into an epic orchestrated piece of work that feels like it belongs in a western film or an older spy movie. It is just the definition of sexy and badass.

Snowboard Kids

The Snowboard Kids series only has three games to its series (though I don’t really count that reimagined version on the DS), but most people that remember this game series know about the two games on the Nintendo 64. I don’t know about Snowboard Kids 2 or the DS game, but the first game definitely has a great sound. There are unforgettable tracks in this game like Sunset Rock, Night Highway, Dizzy Land, Board Shop (a beautiful slow jam with a great melody) and the brilliant Grass Valley which just screams of adventure and awesomeness.

Favourite song –  Big Snowman:

I really adore the soundtrack for the first Snowboard Kids game and it was a close call between this and Grass Valley, but in the end this won me over. I do believe it to be the best song in the game purely because it is so cool, feel-good and the most energetic. I just love the composition and it makes me feel so happy. Plus it gives me a huge nostalgia rush of playing this game along with my sister and old school friends.

Castlevania

I never grew up with Castlevania and never really found out what it was until my late teenage years, but I understand and respect the franchise a lot. This is a series that is highly praised for its gameplay, presentation and of course it’s music too. There are a number of badass songs in this series from the NES and Playstation days right up until the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. There’s a number of cool songs like including that awesome Vampire Killer from the first Castlevania I which is the quintessential song on the series, you also have Divine Bloodlines from Castlevania: Dracula X, Bloody Tears (Day Theme) from Castlevania II, Beginning from Castlevania III and Simon’s Theme from Super Castlevania IV.

Favourite song – Monster Dance:

In the end this is my favourite song for sure and is my favourite song in the Castlevania series as it has style, a wonderful melody and it is totally memorable and addictive. Sure the song is a bit old, lacking in layers and is on the short side, but my god it is awesome. And I think one of the main reasons I love it is due to watching the Angry Video Game Nerd on several occasions since 2007 haha.

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 they’re 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 August 12, 2014 in Media, Video Games

 

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Remembering Robin Williams

Good day to you ladies and gents. Today is a sad day, today feels like there’s something missing or more specifically someone. In the early hours of the morning over here in the UK I found out that one of my favourite actors had died, Robin Williams.

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Now obviously it is public knowledge but it still feels like a lie. Like some sick joke. It is always surreal to hear about someone who has died when their famous and beloved among millions across the world, and Mr. Williams joins the list of famous actors who have passed on in the most unexpected way. Shock and disbelief is how I feel about his passing and I don’t think that will pass anytime soon.

So I’m just going to talk about how I remember him.

Back in the 90’s

Where I remember Williams the most was in the 90’s the man was pretty much in all manners of films during that period, especially kids/family films. The guy was my childhood yo. He starred in classics like Mrs. Doubtfire, Flubber, Ferngully and one of my all-time favourites, Jumanji and Hook.

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But the quintessential performance for me is his role as the genie in Disney’s Aladdin. That film is one of my favourite films of my childhood and just my entire life and that is mainly thanks to Williams’ performance. His charisma and natural-born talent for comedy made him inhabit the character in a way that no other actor could. He owned that role and I adore him for making such a memorable character in an animated film.

Other Good Films & His Stand-Up Comedy

In addition to those films from my childhood I have enjoyed Robin Williams in a number of other films including Robots, Happy Feet, Night at the Museum and his incredible performance in One Hour Photo. In addition to that Williams’ stand up comedy has always been a source of entertainment, while I’ve never seen any of his stand-up shows in full, I’ve seen clips and moments and he’s always been super funny.

What I’ve Missed

Unfortunately to my shame there are a number of famous and classic Williams films I have yet to watch. I haven’t seen Good Morning Vietnam or Good Will Hunting, both are films have the actor has been highly praised for and I just have never found the time to check it out. I know that sounds bad considering that I’m a massive fan of film but time never permits me time to get my stuff sorted. Other films I’ve missed include is Insomnia and Bicentennial Man too.

So yeah even though I’m working full-time now I’m going to try and find time to have a Robin Williams film session and watch most of the films, whether they are ones that I’ve seen or ones that I haven’t because I’m gonna need some cheering up after the sad news today.

robin-williamsRIP Robin Williams, you were truly one of the best.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Films, Life, Media

 

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