Because It’s Popular Doesn’t Mean It’s Good

The difference between the artist and the entertainer is that the artist creates out of selfish reasons: the self wants to come out. Whereas the entertainer, creates its medium solely for the purpose of its audience. Now selfishness is not always a bad thing. Taking care of one’s mental health by creating art actually heals the mind and it might help put things into perspective for other folks too. It’s a win win situation if done right.

Recently, I noticed that creators become sensitive when their works don’t receive the praise it should. It’s only natural to defend your creation because it’s like a baby that you bring into the world. If you think about it, the baby (creation) grows into an adult. The creator is the parent, so it wants the baby to reach perfection. It’s a parent’s pride to pass on his/her legacy. So naturally the baby becomes better overtime with the parent’s guidance. This is the curse of an an artist (read A Hunger’s Artist by Kafka). Constructive criticism is not meant to deflate one’s ego but to improve. I say this because I met many people who can’t handle criticism and therefore I’ve been called mean when in truth, I just have a keen eye for art.

So I will tell you a little story. When I was little, I was fascinated (still am) with the afterlife. I was obsessed and at the same time terrified of ghosts. I remember my first drawing was at age 4, and they were drawings of ghosts. I was so proud of my drawing that I went up to my siblings on one lazy summer afternoon, and I showed it off to them. I was a very confident child. A couple years later when I can distinguish shapes and sizes, I returned to my old drawings and realized what I drew was just scribbles. My confidence in my ability as an artist started to plummet once I was aware that what I create today might not be good at all. Creative people like to sabotage their own works. Real creators care less about praises, but more about how they can improve. It really is a curse.

It takes a lot of courage to show your creation to the world. So I must applaud to brave creative people out there who put their hearts and sweat into bringing something to life. The world will judge your creation surely. Some people would like it and some won’t, but what’s most important, is that your creation will connect with someone and bring them comfort. So taking that risk, is truly worth it. And that includes creating video game for art sake.

Dark Souls: Exploring Is An Achievement

Normally, I dislike traveling in games because it seems rather pointless, but Dark Souls knows exactly how to design stages and build the perfect momentum to control the pacing of the player. Exploration serves as a preparation for the next boss fight.

After I defeated the Gaping Dragon, I spoke to the NPC, bought a Crystal Straight Sword from him. That sword helped me clear the beginning of Blighttown, until it was on the risk of breaking. In that area, I slipped and fell several times, but it wasn’t all that bad. By mistake, I fell down with the creature onto a ledge; from there I found myself a whip. Although it didn’t do much damage, so I had no choice but to use the Drake Sword and hack my way down to the bottom of that treacherous town, built on steep cliff. Eventually, I fell into the poisonous swamp as the narrowed path made it hard for me to swing and attack the Cragspiders.

Dark Souls Blight Town

I don’t have the right stats so I was easily poisoned. I clumsily rolled on the sticky swamp, hacking my sword at every one of those giant-sucking mosquitoes that spit out a bucket of blood. They come in pairs. What a pest. Somehow, I managed to roll myself in that disgusting filth and found myself some good items, but at the expense of encountering scaly snake-like big leeches. They are so gross looking. I hurriedly found an escape from those leeches by stumbling into an opening of a tree trunk, which led me to The Great Hollow, one of my favorite areas in the game because I love trees!

DARK SOULS

Have you ever been on a tall slide in a shape of an “S”? When I was a kid, I used to beg my parents to take my brothers and me to the neighborhood’s slide. It’s a lot of fun going down the slide. The Great Hollow reminds me of that slide, except you don’t slide, you drop below onto each branch, until you hit the bottom. Certain branches have shiny items that appear attainable, but at the same time out of reach. Most of items are materials for weapon/armor upgrade. I died several times, slipping off the branches thinking that I am so close to grabbing one. When I looked at the time, I realized I was spending about an hour or two in the area, trying to collect all the items.

Apart from falling off the branch because I misplaced my foot, I also had to face the big yellowish, orange bulging-eyes basilisks. They are cute but ugly at the same time. It released black smoke which will curse you and reduce your life to half. So you got to be careful and stay out of the smoke. Once cursed, you’d need a purging stone to normalize yourself. I don’t bother killing them with my sword. Instead, I lured them so they will stupidly jump in the air and miss the ground and fall straight to the bottom.

As soon as I made my way near the bottom of The Great Hollow, I started to get hungry for pine mushroom soup as these little cute mushroom creatures toddled its way towards me. It’s not friendly as it appear because it attacked me. So I sliced it up with my sword. It squealed and died. Then appeared the mama and papa ( I assume because they were bigger in size). I should have known better to kill someone’s children. One punch from the giant mushroom was an instant death for me because my life bar was already halfway empty. It’s back to the bonfire. I had to make my way down again.

DARK SOULS

The more I think about the stages in the game, I had to climb down from that awful town and into the swamp to find an oasis. Out of this area is Ash Lake, a beautiful undersea-like world. Such a beautiful calming place. Exploring is a form of achievement. You never know what is at the end of that long, disgusting path that seem to never end. You will be rewarded greatly as soon you find a breath of fresh air. Likewise, I think of life the same way. There will be times you may feel uncomfortable and feel as if there is no end to your adversity, but there is. You just have to make the effort to get there. At least, this is the experience I got from Dark Souls.

Taking a rest at Dark Souls' Ash Lake

Now I don’t want to climb back to the Firelink Shrine or face Chaos Witch Quelaag. I just want to stay low underground far from human civilization with the Everlasting Dragon in Ash Lake. I have gotten so used to the solitary lifestyle of a solo traveler and I am a bit tired. For now, I’m going to curl up next to the dragon and shut my eyes because tomorrow will come another battle. Certainly, I cannot stay here for too long. Eventually, I have to report back to Quelaag as I am actually her apprentice, training to become a smoking-hot sadist. I’m just kidding!

P.S

There will be more Dark Souls content to come as I find this game to be an enjoyable pastime and a pleasure to write for this blog.

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon Review

I highly recommend playing the game before reading this post.   My intention is to share my interpretation of the game which may differ from yours.

I bought this game seven years ago and I finally beat it. The content of this game is quite mature but with light gameplay, which is both suitable for adults and children.  Perhaps, I am a child at heart but I really prefer the simplistic gameplay approach, especially when the story is the focal point. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is about a boy’s journey towards finding warmth in the post-apocalyptic world. It has a typical story but it took advantage of the video game medium to produce a unique experience.

What I enjoyed about the game is that it’s beautiful and atmospheric.  I found some of the enemies quite interesting and eerie, although this game is not a horror game.  I might do a separate post about this topic for in depth analysis.  Gameplay wise,  I personally think it’s a child version of Dark Souls.  In fact the bonfire and some enemies do have a strong resemblance to the Souls series. I don’t know much about the background for the development of making this game, but perhaps Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon  had some influences on the making of Dark Souls. Again, I will leave that for a different post after I gather some actual facts.

For now, I’d like to discuss Seto’s (the protagonist) journey. Throughout the game, Seto is accompanied by caring loving companions who are not humans. About midway,  Seto comes across an interesting character named Crow, who appears to be a big tea drinker like myself based on his clothes. This section, which may seem like a side track, is my favorite part of the game.

I enjoyed chasing and  hunting down Crow because it reminded me of  playing  hide and a seek and playing tag. For a moment, I didn’t mind taking a break from trying to find the silver hair girl. This section of the game illustrated an important point made by one of the characters, Chiyo : “It’s the sunbeams, the wind rolling over grass and the idle chit chat with friends [are] the gems of life.” That moment where Seto chased Crow to get his locket back is special. We must not forget during our journey to enjoy the moment we are in. That is called living.

However, the game also wanted to make an another important point:  Crow is a robot. Even if  we find happiness in the substitution of artificial life,  including digital ones–it does not replace the real life human interaction.  Thus, it’s the silver hair girl  that can offer Seto the real authentic relationship even if it involves conflict and misunderstanding between both people. And Sai, one of the main supporting characters, helped me understand that words may not always be the best form of expression, but it’s not entirely useless. Words fill in part where visual cue fails to communicate simple things such as  Seto wants Ren, the silver hair girl, to be his girlfriend. He is tired of being alone.

A little off topic here,  but I think everyone is alone because someone once told me that feelings are personal. We are so focused on our feelings most of the time that we forget other people have feelings too. There is a tendency to lack empathy for others and most of the time it’s unintentional. This lead to much hurt and destruction in the human society. The game really wanted to point out that the lack of empathy causes pain.

Overall,  the game provided a philosophical explanation for the continuation of existence, despite the dark side of humanity.  If you haven’t play this game already, check it out. And if you have played it,  let me know what you think. I’d love to hear them.

P.S

My next post most likely will be about Root Letter. I feel inspired by The Otaku Judge to get all the endings. Then I will play  Zero Escape: Nonary Games probably towards the end of this year.  

Thanks for reading! Until next time, take care guys.