January 13, 2014

Living Myth Celebrates 2 Years of Fun & Games

Final Fantasy VI - Terra Birthday

It's hard to believe, but Living Myth is already two years old! On a not-so-unlucky Friday the 13th in January of 2012, I made my first post and struck out into the blogging world. I really had no expectations of where it would go, and was mainly doing it just for fun. I didn't even care that I had no readers for a while (okay, maybe I did a little), and updates weren't always showing up on a regular basis, but it has always been an enjoyable and fulfilling project. I'm thrilled that more readers are starting to trickle in, and I can share my writing with a wider audience! Thank you so much for coming, gamers of the world!

I thought I would celebrate by sharing a few of my favourite posts from the past two years...

Rokko Chan Parties Like it's 20XX

My first post, and one which I keep coming back to. I love Rokko Chan so much, and even though it boasts a devoted community of fans (and even its own fan art and soundtrack remixes) I still feel that this indie tribute to the NES Mega Man series is criminally under-appreciated. It embodies everything I admire about gaming fan culture, and it's a great example of creatives in the indie scene putting in the thankless work it takes to fill a niche that larger companies typically have little interest in (and for free, no less). It might be fair to say that I originally started this blog just so I could write my review of Rokko Chan.

What I find a little strange is that Rokko's creator in the story, called Dr. Sane when I originally played the game, has been changed to Dr. Thane. Is that supposed to be a more accurate translation? I would have thought the first version better captures the opposition to the villain, Dr. Mad.

This piece may have been too lengthy for its own good, but there was a lot of material to cover in chronicling the dubious arc of the Mana series' Icarian obsession with overcooked mechanics and reinventing the wheel. As one of many fans who admires the first few games but could do without the gauntlet of self-mutilation the rest of the series put itself through, I was torn between the futile hope for a return to the classic formula and the grim realism that it would never happen. So, I came up with the best alternate solution I could, and it turned out to be a fairly surprising proposition. I don't know if many others would agree with my plan, but at least it was fun to look back at the rocky history of the Mana games and dream about what might be.

A Fond Farewell to The Legacy Music Hour

This comprehensive and entertaining podcast may be effectively discontinued now, but that doesn't make it irrelevant. The Legacy Music Hour is an exceptional radio DJ-style program with a backlog of over 150 episodes, providing a detailed examination of video game music from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. Hosts Brent Weinbach and Rob F. Switch add a healthy mix of silly banter and insightful commentary to the music, while highlighting clever techniques and stylistic choices of the great composers of the day.

If you think you've heard all the noteworthy music there is from this period in gaming history, or if you're under the impression that 8- or 16-bit chiptunes are necessarily primitive and unsophisticated, think again. This show will open your eyes (ears?) to a whole new way of appreciating game music.

The Legend of Zelda: More Than One Link to the Past

One of my most popular articles, which felt good because writing about one of my favourite games of all time was a blast. Describing the many facets of the Zelda franchise that originated in this one title came naturally to me, but even I was surprised at just how many there were when it all got assembled in one place. It seems like Ocarina of Time is "the big one" as far as popularity and fan nostalgia, but honestly I feel that in a lot of ways it is essentially a 3D recycle of A Link to the Past. I might even argue that although later titles developed new ideas and invented some creative mechanics, Zelda's SNES outing was the last time a game's foundations were so completely fresh and without pretension.

Early on, one of my first posts was about Toberu Mono, a beautiful piece from Mistwalker's Wii RPG The Last Story. Composed by famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, the track really spoke to me and its melody illustrated a sensibility reminiscent of the classic RPGs I grew up with. Two years ago, I shared the instrumental version of that piece, so to close today's anniversary post I thought it would be fitting to listen to the vocal arrangement:

Music is one of the aspects of video games which I most strongly respond to -- among the first things which draw me into a game, and the most enduring memories years after the fact. It's been a while since I wrote a post devoted to a specific piece, so I'll try to get back into it in the future.

Thanks again for reading -- it's been a great couple of years!

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