My Video Games Shopping List (Part III): Bright Colored Games for Mental Health

If you are worried about talking into the void and it makes you feel invisible, unworthy, neglected, unlovable, it’s okay. I am used to talking to myself and I am quite proud of it. I don’t care how introverted you are but humans are made to talk! So talk to the void if you need to release mental stress! There is no shame to it. I promise it will make you feel better. Isn’t that why people confess to the preacher? Well I hope your sins are not too big.

I need to talk and I must talk! If you are new to my blog, I like to make a list of three recommendations. This time it’s video games instead of movies. I did this shopping list a few years ago on my old blog when I was still a bit timid about online exposure. You can check them out here:

My Shopping List–Casual Games are Great!

My Video Games Shopping List (Part II)

In the upcoming winter days, I prefer playing bright colored games. It’s good for mental health if you are feeling a little down from all the gloomy weather and the Dark Cloud (do you like the pun? I still have yet to beat the game, hehe).

  1. Sakuna of Rice of Ruin

I live in the city and city life has its pros and cons, but these days it’s more cons ever since the pandemic hit. If you can work remotely, there is no point in living in the city. Transportation was the main factor why there are city dwellers like me. But on the plus size, things have been quiet in the city except during certain nights I can hear homeless people shouting. It’s really sad because some are suffering from mental issues. It really is a societal issue. Even before the pandemic, I often dreamed of going into the mountains or somewhere far from civilization so I can breathe nature. I think I found the perfect game: I can play as a farm girl. Yeah, I want to be a country girl for a change! It looks fun and its popping bright colors will sure lift anyone’s mood in the upcoming winter days.

2) Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of An Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

I need to escape from reality ASAP, did I mention I am stranded in the city? I played the demo and really like how immersive the game is. I feel transported into a different world that is less chaotic. I think this is the game I am going to play on my birthday! Some people hate being born close to Christmas, but not me, I am sure the only present I need for Christmas and birthday combined is a good game. Bright colored games= instant happiness.

3) Cuphead

Cuphead [Online Game Code]

I normally purchased pc games that are story-driven and that is where I play most of the indie titles. They can be quite relaxing to play before bedtime. For Cuphead, I am still debating whether I should purchase this on Steam or on PlayStation store. The illustration looks great and I am always up for an adventure so Cuphead made it to my list for the winter days!

I hope you enjoy my recommendations even though I haven’t played them yet! I guess I am just so excited I have to make a list. Hopefully you found something you like on the list as well and it will add a little sunshine to your life. Well that is it for now, bye bye.

The Sword of Swords (1968) Review: The Awakening of A Reluctant Hero

The world of martials arts is nothing more than a world of politics. The one who has the most power has the most control over his fortune and the most freedom to live as he pleases (i.e. a king’s lifestyle). Doesn’t it sound enticing? But with great power comes with great responsibility. Those who seek power for personal gain is not fit to rule. In this tale, a meek hero is hesitant to get involved in the world of martial arts until his family and his country is on the line.

To give you folks a backstory of this legendary sword, I quote the introduction from the film for you to better understand the story:

During the Sung Dynasty, about 1000 B.C., a famed sword smith Meng Yao Chi took ten years to forge a sword from the best metal available. When China was invaded by neighboring Liao state, Meng presented his sword to General Meng Liang. With it, the General won battle after battle and the sword became a legend. After General Meng’s Death, the sword was lost until rediscovered in the Ming Dynasty. The prince of a nearby barbarian tribe coveted the sword and dispatched a trusted warrior to acquire it. This is the story of this mission.

Based on the quote, the sword sounds pretty epic, doesn’t it? I don’t think I would want the sword even if I was fit to rule the martial arts world. It’s too much stress and responsibility. So I can sympathize with the hero in this film who learned martial arts to hunt and nothing more. However, our destiny is not always decided by us. The hero, not only has the mental capability but also the physical strength to be the keeper of the legendary sword. After all, those who yield the sword has the power to control the land for good or evil. It sounds kind of like Lord of the Rings, Chinese version the more I think about it, but not as dark.

What surprised me about this story is how passive and meek the main character is. I have never seen a highly skilled martial artist who is unreasonably meek. His saint-like personality is his downfall. It is because of his reluctance to kill the main villain when he had the chance caused him a spiral of tragic events. As the audience, I can’t helped but be a little annoyed by his passiveness, but then again, there wouldn’t be a story if he weren’t a reluctant hero. He eventually learned from his mistake and become emotionally stronger towards the end, but at the expense of losing his parents, sister and his two eyes! It made me wonder whether the film was trying to tell ordinary men to step up and be more assertive. I think there are a lot of men out there like him–fully capable and strong to make a difference but choose not to meddle with politics until he is backed into a corner. On a positive note, what I like about this film is that the hero’s weakness becomes his strength. The hero always find a way to win in the end magically, which makes me feel happy. After all, I am always rooting for the good guy to win.

For my final thoughts, this film is decent but not great. I like The One-Armed Swordsman (1967) more which was played by the same main actor, Jimmy Wang Yu. One plus thing about this film is the cinematography and swords fight. It’s beautifully well done. So if you are a fan of martial arts films, it’s still worth watching.

Ninja Scroll(1993)Review: A Love Story for Humanity

Don’t underestimate the power of good illustration. Like a prey, people like me get trapped by its web all the time. That’s what happened to me with Ninja Scroll. I jumped into this film without knowing anything about it. I just saw the cover and I thought it looked cool. And I was not wrong. The illustration is stunningly beautiful despite the gore, sex and violence which enhanced the overall viewing experience. I was in awe or perhaps, after seeing so many subpar animations, it’s nice to finally see the real deal. Then again, I like the films directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, which I later found out after watching this film that the same director did Demon City Shinjuku (1988). I noticed his style. It’s alluring. Ninja Scroll is how I would define a romance story. The relationship between the poison taster Kagero (female lead) and the wandering ninja Kibagami Jubei (male lead), illustrates a romantic union for human survival.

Right off the bat, the film started off really cool where Jubei, a very skilled swordsman, got attacked by thieves. It’s later, we learn that Jubei was hired by a clan for 20 ryo to get a highly treasured sword back for a poor clan. How many people do you know would accept a modest compensation for a big task? Only a big-heart hero like Jubei would. Instantly, I was wooed.

On the other hand, Kagero’s entrance came on strong as well. In fact, highly admirable. The way how the scene introduces her barging into a room of ninjas, instantly won me over. She refuses to stay behind and watch all of the clan members get wiped out by the Shogun of Dark clan. Hot-headed and as fearless as she is, makes her an entertaining character to watch alongside with the more relaxed, hobo-ish ninja, Jubei.

Of course, it is probably not intended to be a romance story, or perhaps it’s a subtle romance story about humanity striving to survive the corrupted world filled with demons (I am thinking abstractly here). Your experience with the film may differ from mine. But I think we can agree that the animation in this film is top-notch. Some of the scenes, however, involving women, can be gruesomely graphic (rape scenes). It may make some uncomfortable, but it didn’t offend me because it serves a purpose by illustrating how politically corrupted the world is in that time era. And honestly, I kind of like that over the top exaggerated storytelling. It’s art. To be fair, both men and women in this film are both sexualized and both are just as equally strong while having their own unique vulnerabilities. It is nice to see the masculine and feminine energy at play, metaphorically speaking.

In conclusion, I have never experienced love to know what romance is until I watched this film. I protect you; you protect me. Isn’t that how relationship should be? Kagero and Jubei made a great team. This film is my definition of what makes a romantic love story.

Three Horror Series Worth Watching

Halloween is over but it doesn’t mean it will stop me from consuming all things horror-related as it is one of my favorite genres.  Why you may wonder? Because death is the biggest mystery of them all and I’m a big lover of the supernatural world. The genre if done right, teaches people how to live wisely. Typically, anything that is good for my brain, I will consume it.

Yes I am back with my list of three. Why three because it’s my favorite number. So three it is.

  1. Hell Girl
Hell Girl - Wikipedia

Yes I have been told that I am weird, it’s okay I am used to it. Misery loves company and Hell Girl is comforting to me. If you go around abusing people, eventually karma will get to you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Yes, that’s why I like this anime. It’s eerie, but justice will be served.

2) The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House (TV Mini-Series 2018) - IMDb

This was a very good series–inspired by Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. I must confess though, I did not read the book until I watched this series. I like it so much that I bought the book. The book is also good, but it’s not the same story as the T.V show. I was hook. It’s extremely rare for me to binge watch shows. Yeah, I watched it on my laptop in my closet to get the pitch black movie theater experience. You should watch if you haven’t already. It’s well done compared to The Haunting of Bly Manor, which was rather a disappointment.

3) The Girl from Nowhere

Girl From Nowhere | Horror Amino

My work friend actually recommended this show to me last year and I finally finished watching it. It’s kind of similar to Hell Girl, but with a Thai flavor. I enjoyed each episode but there were a few I didn’t like much, especially towards the end. The series started off strong but ended weakly.

I know normally I like to crack jokes, but today feels a little heavy. If you have seen any of these shows, let me know what you think. Well that’s it for now. Bye bye.

Call Me (1988) Review: “I like your flaw”

Call Me (film) - Wikipedia

I think Amazon Prime Video is having a blast with me, or I am just paranoid. They sure like to recommend me strange films that make my eyebrow raise. But I am glad they recommended it to me. I got hooked to this film because I found the real life Albert Wesker from Resident Evil series played by the actor Stephen McHattie. Just google him or watch the film and you can see the strong resemblance. He’s the classic alluring bad boy that woman like Anna, the protoganist just can’t resist: “Keep calling! I love your sexy voice, but you are kinda scary. So stop calling me!”

Taking a trip back to the 80s might not be so bad actually. It’s better than 2020–bombarded with options and there’s no real mystery to what people are thinking. Back then caller ID did not exist so you can’t tell who is on the other line. I remember very well when I first received my first sexual harassment call which was in the 90s. I was so angry! The memory is forever embedded in me. I still recall the conversation, it went like this:

Me: Hello?

Strange Man: Hello, are your parents there?

Me: No.

Strange Man: Can I talk to you?

Me: Okay.

Strange Man: How old are you?

Me: 10 years old.

Strange Man: Do you wear bra?

Me: No… Excuse me!?

I Slam the phone *click!*

For a kid, it’s really scary that a pedophile would talk to a child like that. But for this film, the context is appropriate since it involves full grown adults. So you can laugh at the situation. Desperate Anna just want some affection from her career-oriented boyfriend. So when she received a mysterious phone call from a sexy voice man, she mistook him for her boyfriend, and out of desperation for TLC, she followed his instruction to wait for him at the Polish Bar, wearing something nice but without panties! It’s a comical thriller with a twist. I laughed so hard.

This show will be removed from prime on Nov. 30th. If you want to hear cheesy pick up lines, I recommend this film. Nodaway, it’s more appropriate to say “Swipe me if you are feeling lonely.” As for me, I rather stick with my blog. I don’t want the virus nor do I want to spread it! No pun intended, haha! On a serious note though, I enjoy fishing for metaphors.

P.S

Sending virtual kisses to all the lonely folks from my kitchen, love Halsdoll~

Resident Evil 2 Remake Review: An Upgraded Classic Rollercoaster Ride

s1.gaming-cdn.com/images/products/2709/orig/res...

I know I am a bit late to the party. I finally got a chance to play Resident Evil 2 the remake, which was released back in 2019. For those who are new to my blog, I am not a little girl and I’m definitely not new to this franchise. I first played this game with my brother back in day where we supposedly fake sick so we can skip school (actually the real deep root was social anxiety. Some kids just function better in smaller crowd).

Let’s just pretend you are new to the game. There are two parts to the game that you can play: the rookie Leon Kennedy’s route or the good bad-ass Claire Redfield who is searching for her brother. The proper order is to select Leon’s route, but back then playing the original, I started off with Claire because she is GIRL POWER!!! Did I mention that she is bad-ass a minute ago? Yeah I did.

Anyway, this game is well designed in terms of appealing to the younger generation of gamers without jeopardizing its survival horror aesthetic, which older fans often complained how they didn’t like how the Resident Evil franchise turned into action games. Zombies are noticeably less aggressive and slower than Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6. Atmosphere is very dark in tight corridors. Ammo is scarce so don’t go shooting blindly and aimlessly out of terror. The remake is also generous enough to allow players to switch to Assist Mode if they are having trouble. Assist Mode is another way of saying easy mode, but it seems like the developer didn’t want to hurt player’s feelings so they called it Assist Mode which sounds more polite than easy (that’s just my speculation though. I like to come up with backstage stories lol). Standard Mode is normal mode. Most people start off with Standard Mode, which is what I did. But then I realized I had to switch to Assist Mode because I kept dying, trying to explore the police station. It’s difficult to explore if you are new the game because there are enemies (the infamous lickers and the Tyrant) that will get in your way!

RESIDENT EVIL 2

It’s nice that the developer allow you to switch mode in the middle of the game as the earlier Resident Evil games rely heavily on exploration and solving puzzles, which I like very much. I am the type of gamer who enjoy playing games twice: one for story and second for the gameplay. Like anything, practice makes perfect. So the order I went back then, was to play on easy mode to get the feel of the game as I don’t rely on guides. It’s more fun to figure things out yourself. Another generous thing about the remake is that you don’t need ink ribbons to save. In fact, it autosaves quite frequently. So you don’t have to panic about not having enough ink ribbons to save your progress! For some players, especially kids who are just learning how to play games (we’ve all been there) it’s a nice component, but not so much for the veteran players. Lastly, the map is also well thought out. It’s easy to spot what items you missed which make it easier for you to backtrack, and once you found all the items, the location of the map will turn red to clear, which means you don’t need to revisit the area. This saves a lot of time. Can you imagine those who have memory problems? Back in the day, games were kind of hard. Our only cue was looking for flashy things. Games like this really do test your memory skills. Like a mouse in a maze, you got to know where you are going in order to survive. It’s kind of like solving a math equation if you think about it. There is an order to everything.

Overall, I enjoyed the remake. It’s a fun game for newcomers and old fans. But personally, I think the franchise is dead to me as I still have yet to play Resident Evil 7, which I heard was decent, but I’m just not excited enough to play. Nonetheless, it’s still an iconic series that will always have a special place in my heart. The little girl in me likes to come out and shoot some zombie heads once in awhile. I still have to explore the side mini games that the game has to offer.

P.S

There are some jump scare parts. Okay you got me, haha!

The Garden of Words Review: More Green Is Good for You

My attention span is pretty short these days. Whenever I look for something to watch, I scan for something that is short. This one is 45 minutes. Short enough where I don’t become restless. Perhaps this is why I can’t stand watching long films like Lord of the Rings in movie theater.

The visual in this anime is beautiful. Raindrops falling from the grey sky and a lot of green. I love green because I love trees. As for the story it strikes a chord that many people can relate to. Not everyone do what they enjoy for a living and some people have very specific dreams. In this case, the male protagonist wants to make a career making women shoes. I found his passion for shoes to be quite admirable; in fact strangely noble. The female protagonist, on the other hand, who happens to be a school teacher, is not passionate about teaching, and therefore is detached from living a full life. Personally, I can relate to the female teacher. I’ve been in that route where I was once dead for a long time until had to get away from everyone and everything to breathe.

Like After the Rain, it’s about realizing one’s dream. It’s about learning how to breathe, literally. Is it a romance story between a young man and older woman. The age differences might make some western audience feel uncomfortable, but it didn’t bother me because sometimes emotions are just not black and white, and age is just a factor in life.

Now I want to go walk in the garden in the rain. It’s peaceful and quiet. Not many people are out under grey clouds, and in that moment of quietness you might actually hear yourself breathing.

Lying Eyes (1996) Review: It’s Always the Dumb Blonde who Gets Screwed

Air-head Amy is a high school cheerleader who seems to suffer from daddy issue. So when she met her 33-year old lawyer boyfriend through a car accident, she thought she found love (sorry Amy but you are just his new booty call). The dude is married to a foxy redhead and he has two children with her. He is such a player that it’s no surprise that his profession is law. He sure has no problem breaking rules.

Lying Eyes

I must confess, I have never met a dumb blonde in my entire life until I watched this film. Every thing about this film is theatrically hilarious, including the creepy lawyer. But I was thinking the whole time, give the blondes a break and stop making her a sex symbol, but I guess that can’t be help because she is just so drop dead gorgeous.

Well there’s one lesson to be learned in this film: don’t be so naïve when men give you a lot of gifts. Some men don’t give stuff for free. He is literally trying to buy you. That’s a message for young women. Watch out for the predator! He likes high school girls especially in cheerleader outfit!!!

Halsdoll’s Diner: It’s Breakfast Time

I am due for a post! I have the energy to whip a post after drinking hot chocolate. I feel so recharged. While on my mini blog break I had a strange idea to motivate myself to become a better cook. As I mentioned in my previous post I need to learn how to cook properly so I don’t disappear. So I decided to create my very own diner and the only customer is me! That way I won’t risk getting the virus! On a serious note though, I used to dine alone a lot after work because I am too lazy to cook but that has changed! Life is different now so I have to adapt to the new reality.

Anyway, I went to the grocery store bought food this weekend so I don’t have to go out for the remaining of the week. While I was at the grocery store, I realized there are so many men in ponytails shopping for food by themselves. The lockdown sure has turned many men into cavemen. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not–but it doesn’t bother me as long they are civil. For the most part, they are polite.

I thought I’d start creating my menu. Back in the day, in my happy days in elementary, I have always admired the lunch ladies for planning out meals for each day. School lunch actually tasted really good so this is where I got the inspiration from apart from watching Midnight Diner on Netflix, which I enjoy very much. Stories surrounding around food sound appetizing. With patience and practice, I can become a better cook. I feel so happy just thinking about it.

For my menu, I start with the basic first, which is breakfast. It is also my favorite meal of the day! You can’t go wrong with a nice hearty breakfast. So far I made pancakes and French toasts. I am almost perfected the shape of my pancake but I need to be more patient so I can make a perfect circle! After all, we also eat with our eyes. I wonder is that where the word eye candy came from? Wait that is not the same thing! Oh my goodness I am turning into a pervert for food!

Breakfast is so good with black coffee!

I hope you enjoy breakfast with me at Halsdoll’s Diner. Please come again next time!

P.S

I just realized I need some eggs and sausage with my pancake. One step at a time, I am getting there.

Ranting about the Demon’s Souls Remake Trailer

Woke up to the sound of idiots racing down the streets. Normally after a few minutes, it follows a blasting sound coming from the cop siren, but not this time. I hope no homeless person camping out on the side of the street got hit. We live in a strange time and I know I’m overdue for a post. I hope my introduction didn’t leave you perplexed. It’s kind of hard not to feel on the edge when chaos is slowly taking control over the world. But I feel like I have prepared myself for this insanity a few years ago. What better way to prepare it by sharpening your mental agility by playing Demon’s Souls, a game praised for its difficulty, released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3? It’s good for brain exercise and will make you feel alive if you are the type who like a fair challenge.

Quite frankly, I am not too hasty about playing the remake as I’m not in the rush to purchase PS5 and it may be a year down the road that I might pick it up. But what really turns me off is how bright the game is. I originally played the game for its dark dreamy, fairytale-like atmosphere but the remake just looks too sharp and polished. There’s also too much noise coming from the character’s footsteps and his clunky armor. It’s too loud. In the original Demon’s Souls it’s more quiet and subtle and the more you die, it becomes more quiet as quiet as the sound of a feather falling down.

The only reason why I would only consider picking up the remake it’s because it’s one of the few co-op games that I actually enjoyed. Unless the remake has the ability to use mic–then that will surely destroy the atmosphere. From what I remember, the game is immersive and fun. It feels as if I was transported into a different world–thanks to the soundtrack and it’s beautiful world creation. If I can recall, players can rate people as well on their gameplay’s performance. Some people are nice and will give you a good score, some are just plain assholes. Nonetheless, there aren’t many games that made me feel so attached to a world. It’s one hellish adventure, but a strange one that I can’t pinpoint. I guess that’s the power of immersion.

This is one of the games I am proud to say I own the Deluxe Edition. It comes with the original soundtrack, artbook and official guide. It’s my treasure and I am not going to sell it unless I’m desperate for money or I am on my deathbed and I need to pass it on to a passionate gamer so my soul will depart the earth peacefully without care. Okay I am dramatic. I know. That’s how much I love the game and that’s why I am wary of the remake.

Amazon.com: Demon's Souls Deluxe Edition: Demon's Souls, Game: Video Games