3 Admirable Female Video Game Characters (My List)

People admire strength and expect to see it in video games but strength is typically associated with men. Well, we all know that women are great. It’s 2021, right? Then why are we still debating about gender roles? I don’t know, but I see more and more strong female lead like Aloy from Horizon (2017) developed by Guerrilla Games in the media. She looks realistically fit for the role. She looks strong. Hurray, for female representation and to all the feminists!

Seriously though what is strength? Strong will? Defiance? Bold? Does inner strength counts? I believe so. So if you don’t have prominent features, that’s okay. Strength comes in different shapes and sizes.

Generally, I like female characters. A lot of them. Given the chance, I rather play as female than male because I think women are cool. The following characters I am about to list have more masculine traits than feminine but that’s because princesses don’t take action in video game, but princesses are cool too if they are given a voice (Sorry otome games don’t count because it’s not my cup of tea).

Here are my 3-list of cool girls!

Aya Brea from Parasite EVE

Aya Brea

One of my favorite female characters that many female gamers will mostly find agreeable is Aya Brea. Her fashion sense is quite simple: plain white t-shirt, leather jacket (she wears a jacket in the game) and jean. There is an air of coolness to her. She holds a gun and she is not afraid to face danger. That’s how the game started when her date didn’t turn out well at the Opera show. It’s fun to explore and play detective who doesn’t have a sport illustrated body like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. When I was a teen, I looked up to Aya Brea, thinking that’s the type of woman I want to be, the one who takes action and make things happen. It gave a puny stick-figure teenage girl like myself a chance to daydream of becoming strong once upon a time. But definitely not with a gun–with a pen or a keyboard. That’s how I get my point across.

Next up!

#2 Lucatiel of Mirrah from DARK SOULS II

Lucatiel of Mirrah

What’s so admirable about her? She is a very skilled fighter who eventually lost sight of why she wielded the sword. She came from an unprivileged social status and had to carve her way to make a name for herself just like all the nameless heroes (Dark Souls player) that walk into the fog in search of answer. She is often seen alone. Well most NPCs are alone in Dark Souls universe and perhaps that’s why I like her. I can’t give enough respect to women who pick themselves up from the bottom and make a name for themselves. On top of that, I like loners because some of us just work better alone.

Last but not least!!!

#1 Xiuying Hong from SHENMUE II also known as Lishao Tao

Xiuying Hong

What do I like about her? A woman of few words who gets her point across through actions. She is not only strong physically but mentally. At age 26, (she reminds me more of a 40 year old), she is in charge of the Man Mo Temple in Scarlet Hills. In the game, she serves as a guardian to Ryo Hazuki, the main character who is bent on avenging his father’s death. She taught him to slow down by making him catch leaves and carry books. The purpose is to distract him from thinking about his bloodthirsty revenge that would only turn him into a murderer himself which is to find Lan Di and kill him. I can’t emphasize enough on the importance of thinking, which makes her the most admirable female video game character in my book.

Wise words from Shenmue II

Since I’m currently playing Tales of Xilla and I have been enjoying it, I would like to throw in an honorable mention: Milla Maxwell is now one of my admirable video game female characters.

Why do I like her? Not only is she beautiful, she firmly believes in protecting humans and spirits. Plus, she spends all her time studying about humans and the world in her shrine so she can protect them. Now, that is a goddess and a character I admire. I love her godly determination.

Well that pretty much sums up my 3-list post for the week. Until next time, I hope you enjoy this list.

Some Halloween Posts for you Festive Folks

There are times when I feel motivated to write and then there are times where I feel uninspired to write especially around the holiday. I am not all that festive but I tried to be because a holiday is a great reminder that we should celebrate and have fun. Today, I am taking the easy route by recycling some older posts I have written.

It may seem as if I would never run out things to to talk about for Halloween because horror is my favorite genre, but this past two years since Covid-19 happened, I am just not in the mood for horror and dark. I think we seen enough of it in the media when people start dropping like flies or at least I have seen enough in my life. There is time to grieve and there is time celebrate. These days, I want to celebrate life without ignoring that we are living in scary times. For mental health’s sake, I find myself attracted to games like Tales of Xilia on the PS3, which I bought about 7 years ago! The game is about a goddess saving infants from playing with dangerous toys. Okay being sarcastic. Actually, I borrowed the words from the game! So far from what I am gathering, the female lead, Milla Maxwell is trying to protect the world from a mass destructive weapon. How does this game fits into celebrating life? Well, it’s about protecting the world and living in harmony with nature. What did you think? Did I make a great saleswoman?

Enough ranting, here are some horror-related posts you might have missed if you are new to my blog:

We got so many options these days to be entertained but too many options sort of discourage me from binging shows on Netflix. I have seen a few decent films but not enough to write about it:

  • Level 16 directed by Danishka Esterhazy (on Netflix)
  • Fear Street Part One: 1994 directed by Leigh Janiak (on Netflix)
  • The Thing (2011) directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (on Prime Video)

As for T.V shows, I finally finished Twin Peaks season 1 and 2, and Death Note the anime. So stay tune for Death Note review but I haven’t decided to write up on Twin Peaks. It’s a great show. Most people know that by now. If there’s a show you think I might like, please leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

Until next time, Happy Halloween. Can’t wait to buy discount Halloween candy!

Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin Rant: Crown of the Sunken King (Part II)

The boss fight in this DLC is shit. I said it and I’m not polite about it. In fact, the DLC is not mage friendly. I had to reallocate my stats to equip the right weapon to defeat Elana the Squalid Queen. Finally beat her after pulling a few hair strands from my head (don’t worry it will grow back. I hope!).

What was my tactic? Well, I farmed at Lair of the Imperfect bonfire for Petrified Dragon Bone to upgrade the Drakeblood Greatsword to +5. The beasts down there drop about 1700 souls. However, equipping Covetous Silver Serpent Ring will yield more souls. I used the extra souls to level up STR (strength) and DEX (dexterity). Summoned 2 NPCs for the boss fight. One died in the name of being a tank. Equipped gear with high dark magic defense. Regardless, no easy battle and we did it! I mean me and my imaginary friends. But I sure feel like a noob in this area.

Was Squalid a fair fight? Can't Say
We did it!

My character is currently level 157. Yes way too high (haven’t beat the game yet). Got side tracked tinkering things around. Then I realized I’m not making progress. I learned it’s not so much about strategy or timing in this level. The enemies just have high defense. There is a mob of them purposely gaining up on you and mind you better have high resistant to poison. This DLC is purposely hard for hard sake and I don’t really like it.

Trying to get to the Cave of the Dead Bosses Fight
Trying to get down to the boss fight

If you have played Dark Souls II on PS3 and did not purchase the DLC, I would just leave it as it is when the credits start rolling unless you are into the lore and playing for difficulty’s sake. I like to make progress and not get stalled and mainly play this game for artistic exploration. You know like opening an adventure book and reading it except my imagination is limited so I need real visuals to appreciate the fantasy. Dark Souls franchise hit the spot for me. Sadly, I am going to put this game aside even though I have two more DLCs to clear. But then…the ice levels are always my favorite in video games. I can’t just move on. Just look how cool it is? My inner child, is beckoning me to come play with her. So, I just can’t say GOODBYE!!!

Dark Souls II Rant: Rings and the Test of Patience

The title to this post sounds as if I’m a nagging, impatient girlfriend who is expecting a ring on her finger but her boyfriend is too busy playing games. Well, I’m not talking about the relationship between two human beings. I’m talking about my relationship with Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin, the game I keep going back to unwind. It’s the perfect melancholic companion whose a bit difficult to get through but very rewarding once you explore all its treacherous paths, including the hidden rooms behind the walls. They are the best because we know treasures lie ahead! As choppy as it feels compared to the first, it’s definitely not seamlessly integrated as Dark Souls in terms of the stage design, but the ambience atmosphere is strangely therapeutic and I sort of prefer it over the first. It does wonder to the senses with its fairy tale like atmosphere. After all, don’t we girls just love fairy tale?

I’m beginning to sound like an undead to call the soul’s universe an alluringly safe place to unwind. No wonder people called us DARK SOULS lovers machoistic. At the moment, I am currently hunting down and testing out rings because I want to be with my abusive lover (Dark Souls II) forever. No, I’m just being sarcastic. So far, Ring of Life Protection is my favorite because I like to remain in human form.

You can equip 4 rings, but would it have made more sense with 5. Weren’t we all born with 5 fingers?

Let me get you some backstory to why I keep going back to my abusive lover, Dark Souls II. Not too long ago I defeated Dragon Quest XI, which is a big accomplishment for me considering that it takes me ages to play games I purchased out of the whim. As I was working on clearing my backlog, I went back to Silver Case but got annoyed fast with its dark theme. Unlike Souls games, it’s hopelessly depressing with no warmth in sight. Plus, too much swearing doesn’t make characters appear tough; they just seem stupid. There was also a hint of misogyny which ruined the entire experience for me.

Halsdoll Playin
If I am going to be a piece of dead meat then I’m going to go to do it in the Souls universe not in Silver Case (thanks Nairdalex for the photo edit).

Now I have been playing Dark Souls II without caring too much about beating it in a timely matter so I can move on to the next game on my list. Despite what people say, it’s the perfect game for me to unwind. I like the quietness. Music in video game is unnecessary. Listening to my character’s footsteps echoing in the hallway and the sound of clashing and clinking of my weapons sounds more relaxing, oddly. I can hear the wind so I think I feel the wind touching my skin. I hear the waves splashing onto the shore and that makes me feel calm. I just like exploring its universe in the comfort of my home.

Currently as I am writing this post, I am at Huntsman’s Copse, preparing for a boss fight against the Executioner’s Chariot. Even though it’s optional, I still want to clear the area just for the sake of it. I walked the same path over and over multiple times by now that it feels less dangerous.

Annoying sadists crossing my path to the Executioner's Chariot
Annoying sadists preventing me from defeating its boss, the Executioner’s Chariot

I am progressively becoming better each time I enter the boss fight because of familiarity. I learned where to spot the annoying Necromancer black mages that keep spawning skeletons. Keep calm and focus and with a little luck I won’t feel so overwhelmed with a mob of skeletons. Once I clear them away, the boss is not difficult at all. It just the environment and the circumstance that is making it difficult. And that is what keeps me coming back to Dark Souls II. It’s hard, but achievable.

P.S

I beat the Executioner Chariot! Persistence and patience on top of learning where enemies spawn and timing helped me defeat this optional boss! Now I can boast, I did it!

My Video Game Shopping List: Video Games to Cool Down in Summertime

We had a heatwave which made it unbearable to play games without sweating and most older apartments and houses where I am from don’t come equipped with AC. Typically, the temperature tends to be on the mild side throughout the entire year. This year was odd. It was unusually cold in the winter and scourging hot in the summer. Luckily, it was only brief. Call it Global Warming or it’s just Mother Nature’s way of throwing a tantrum and trying to burn things alive and reduce it back to ashes–I need to find games that will cool me down quick, and not burn me. Even just looking at a burning building in Sekirko: Shadows Die Twice, I feel dehydrated. As a result, there’s not much I could do other than literally be a couch potato with an ice pack on my forehead, drinking iced water to keep cool. No seriously, I was on the couch staring at my ceiling-fan spinning round and round like a merry-go-round. The heat was slowly turning me crazy.

I am back with my 3-list post. I browse games and window shop all the time for games. Writing this 3 list post is always fun for me and it gives me a break from thinking things too deeply. So let’s go! What’s in my shopping bag?

1)Tales of the Black Forest

There’s no mystery by now if you have been following this blog that I really do love horror–the suspense and emotional stories that come with it always make me feel as if I gained something out of it and that is appreciating life. Want me to elaborate on what I meant by that? Check out my Kwaidan‘s analyses where I break down the stories and defined horror. So, when I find a horror game that looks interesting to me, I automatically put in my shopping list. Tales of the Black Forest made it on my list for the price which is currently $1.59 on Steam. It’s a deal, I think. Whether you are on the budget or not as I am at the moment due to moving expenses–this is a deal worth checking out.

2) ABZU

I got this game for “free” for having PlayStation Plus. It’s one of those free games that sits in your library as long as you are a member. On Steam it is currently $9.99. I don’t really think it’s a bad price for the content. Normally, I don’t play this sort of game to past time, but the summer heat does get to me and I don’t think there is a more perfect game to dump myself in the ocean to feel refresh mentally.

3) Ori and the Will of the Wisps

I have seen a couple gameplays and bloggers writing about this game and I have always wanted to play it. If I were to make a video game purchase, I think I’d go for this one which is currently $14.99 on Steam. The visual is stunningly beautiful and the adventure, I am sure, will help me escape from the summer’s heat. In addition, the undertone of the plot seems positively mystical, which is something I prefer lately. With all the chaos going on, watching Death Note the anime got to me. I’m not in the mood for a battle of the wit where teenagers make big godly life decisions over another life or simply I’m just not in the mood for dark content at the moment. I still have a couple of more episodes to go before I give it a proper assessment.

Well, that’s it for my 3-list post. It was fun looking for games to play like always. Now I just need to sit through and play one of them. Currently, I am playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Playing a calmer game on the side might balance things out for me. There are times, I cannot sit and play for a long time because of the heat. And then I often wonder in my youth why my favorite season has always been fall.

P.S

I did not purchase any of the games above but decided to resume Dragon Quest XI. Game has a calming effect compared to Sekiro for obvious reasons.

The Argument Against Books as a Form of Superior Medium to Video Games

I have been meaning to make more time to read, but sometimes I get discouraged from reading one bad book after the next which are supposedly bestsellers (keep in mind, it’s a matter of taste). Hence it’s why the book department in my blog is rather bleak and lonely. I have only reviewed one book so far: Handmaid’s Tale and quite frankly, I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I am not completely ruling out books for this blog because I am the poetry huntress. My passion is very particular in that essence. But I struggle to find a good book to read or maybe it’s just that I struggle to find a genuine book to read. So I’m in a bit of a dilemma.

I used to read a lot as a kid. In fact, I fell in love with books before I even started playing games. There’s something about the written word that makes it an intimate experience between the author and the reader. So it’s hard not to fall in love with books. But games consume most of my time nowadays so I started wondering why I play more than I read, knowing that books are great ways to formulate new ideas and open more dialogues.

And so I begin to ponder…

There are several films adaptation inspired by books. So it’s not hard to pay tribute to books as the superior medium. And many video games are inspired by films. You noticed a pattern here? Video game is a baby learning to walk on its legs, wanting to be recognized by its older siblings. Part of my maternal instinct is I want to see the baby grow. This brings me to conclude why I don’t read as much as I should nowadays: If people read purely for entertainment and for the artistic aesthetic, then I want to argue that video games are just as good as books. And perhaps even better than some books in terms of delivering meaningful content that adds value to our lives. Partially this is why I still hunt down to play a good game and why I rather invest playing games than reading. Out of love for the medium, I want to see it grow into something that’s respectable in the creative community.

Every time, I think about why I created my original blog back in 2016, I kept circling to the same idea: I’m writing to advocate and educate to the creative community. I write as a creative outlet because my soul depends on it and I want to share it with the rest of the world on what I enjoy. Video games can be great companions for those of us who are on the shy side. And on a personal level, video games gave me the inspiration to write most of my songs as mentioned in one of my posts. It’s like we are all connected. Books inspired films. Films inspired video games, and video games inspired me to write songs.

With this whole pandemic thing–isolation is not normal behavior even for an introvert myself. Some alone time is good, but too much is detrimental. I think video games have comforted some of us in some ways to help cope with mental stress. So let’s give some respect to video games because self-help books aren’t for everyone. Sometimes the bottled up emotions just have to go somewhere and for me it’s shooting virtual scary dogs. Well I guess it’s time to go shoot some skags in Borderlands 3 now!

P.S

If you are just stopping by this blog and if haven’t already, please check out some of my blog posts on games that I think are better than books in some ways. Until next time, see you later!

My Top 3 Best Video Game Soundtracks

If I don’t put “My” in the title, people will get upset, not realizing my opinion is not a fact. What is the irony in that? Unfortunately, many people are quick to speak than think. You can argue with me all you want on what is the best video game soundtrack because it will go from one ear to the next and then into thin air. My top 3, how subjective can that be? Yep, I am back with my list of three.

[By the way, I hope you enjoy the introduction. I feel like rhyming :)]

I love music generally, so it’s no surprise I love listening to video game music even after I am done with a game. It makes me feel hopelessly in love. There is a romantic side to me. After all, I’m only human.

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/56/Ni...

In the summer of 2010, I had one of the most memorable summer playing a game called Nier Gestalt; it blew my mind away in terms of storytelling. Back then, I was a penniless student. I couldn’t afford to go on a vacation. So there wasn’t much to do for summer break. It is one of those games where it will stick with you long after you complete because the music is so hauntingly good that I was under its spell for a long time. In my opinion, Nier Automata failed to capture that very same magic. The only thing it has going is a smooth gameplay. If you didn’t get a chance to the play the first installment, you will! There is a new version in the making. I just hope the sound effects and music don’t deviate much from the original! I don’t think anyone can argue that it doesn’t have one of the best video game soundtrack ever!

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d1/Trinity_...

Next up. It may not seem like it since I don’t cover much western media, but I actually love western literature, especially Greek drama. Oedipus Rex is one of my favorite plays. I can tell Trinity Souls of Zill O’ll was inspired by the play. But what made me love this game is how immersive and artistic the game is. It is like looking at a painting! And good music composition only alleviates the player’s experience. If you are a fan of JRPG, this is a hidden gem and a must play. I have two copies of the game. I love it that much if it weren’t for the music.

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron - Wikipedia

Final but not least, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. Another artsy game that looks pretty good on the Xbox 360. It is also available for the PS3. Gameplay is clean and highly addictive. The stages are unique from one another so monotone is not in its vocabulary. However, the only weak point is the story: it’s difficult to follow. Like Nier OST, I listened to the soundtrack long after I beat it. It’s good music for studying, working or just for plain background noise. It has a heavenly sound to it. If you feel the need to escape somewhere peaceful, I recommend this soundtrack.

Honorable mention: Shenmue. No surprise there as it is my favorite game.

I hope you enjoy my list and found something you like. Let me know what your favorite soundtracks are. I am always looking for new music. Until next time, bye bye.

Street Fighter II The Animated Movie (1994) Review: A Great Work Out for the Eyes

Do you like fighting games? I love fighting games even though I never did beat my brother in a match. It’s the only video game genre that will make me lose my temper. Let’s just say my brother enjoyed watching me get angry when I lose to him. Not so fun if you keep losing. However, I could sit for hours watching him play. It’s fun to watch. He still tries to encourage me to play it more often online. Unfortunately, I’m not the type who enjoy playing against a real life opponent. The fighting games community can be a bit aggressive for my liking.

This weekend I had a blast watching Street Fighter II The Animated Movie. Great fighting scenes mixed with ominous rock music made the viewing experience enjoyable. Even though the hero, Ryu is intended to be the highlight of this series (he stands for everything right and powerful), I actually am more intrigued with M. Bison. Why? His origin is mysterious and he has a crazy psychotic power. And I confess, there is a little bit of an evil side to me. Like M. Bison, I like to feel powerful! Who wouldn’t want to be the best of the best in terms of strength? I felt so macho watching this animation that it became comical to me. Ryu doing his rocking climbing and all. So intense.

All of the characters, Cammy, Chun-Li, Vega, Fei Long, Sagat, E. Honda, Guile just to name a few made their entrance in this animation. So it was fun to watch your favorite characters in action. Although, I must say the highlight of this animation was Chun-Li versus the flamboyant Boy, Vega. I can tell they put a lot energy into this fighting scene. I guess who wouldn’t want to see a beautiful woman kick some boy’s butt in her underwear? There’s no time to be shy and modest. Some guy just clawed her face. Go Chun- Li! Show that bad boy some manners!

I watched this on Amazon Prime Video. It’s currently free for streaming. And no, I am not advertising Amazon. The lockdown brought me to the site as I depend on it for groceries. It’s kind of like being distracted at the super market. Got to find something good to watch with my meal!

Well that’s it for now. Until next time, bye bye.

Great Story-Driven Horror Games for Halloween

I’ll be honest, I am not much of a routine type of gal. It drives me nuts, but they say– a good blogger must be consistent, so here I am again with my three list of recommendations. Why three you may wonder? Because “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. Two can be as bad as one. It’s the loneliest number since the number one” I quote the classic song to whom I don’t know who the artist is haha (let me know if you know!) Yeah, I like three because it’s not lonely! So three it is!

Since I am number one in my universe (I have no one to love so I love myself), the first game on my list I introduce to you folks today is Cat Lady.

The Cat Lady - Wikipedia

If you never heard anything about this game, you would think about a lone suicidal woman who lives by herself (ouch that hurts! I am single, but not suicidal). Well technically there is some partial truth to it, but it’s more of a comedy than horror. Sometimes I get horror mixed up with comedy. Let’s just say I have a morbid sense of humor, it can’t be help! The game is well thought out, poetic, and flows really well. I bought it on Steam for $1.99. Currently it is $9.99. Wait for it to go on sale, it sure beats a cup of coffee at Starbucks any time! If you are suffering from depression, it will make you come out stronger. I love the message.

Now number 2 goes to Detention!

Detention on Steam

This is one is from Redcandlegames, a Taiwanese developer. If you like Silent Hill 2 sort atmosphere then this is the game–even though it’s point and click. The illustration is very nice and the monster are scary and cute. One thing I liked about this game is how realistic the protagonist is as a female character. She is realistically feminine and therefore, relatable. Should check it out if you haven’t already.

Now final but not least! Death Mark!

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/43/Sp...

This is a visual novel game which I really enjoyed. The soundtrack and the illustration is pretty good. It’s really like reading a horror novel. It is suspenseful and the story is intriguing enough to keep me on my toes. I love it so much I played the sequel: Spirit Hunter NG. Rest assure, if you are the type who gets scared easily, it will not make you pee in your pants or die from shock like we see in House on Haunted Hill (1999). I am referring to the amusement park scene. In my opinion, Japanese are a master at telling horror stories. That’s why I am so addicted to the genre. If you are more curious about this game click on the title above for my review.

Well that is it for now. I thought I would introduce myself in anime style! Hi and bye bye for now!

It Doesn’t Sound Right to Say I Beat Art: My Thoughts on Games as an Art Form

Why does it feel good when you complete a game, but not when you finish a film? I remember several years ago, I spent every morning playing Okami on Playstation 2. It was the only time of the day I didn’t feel guilty enjoying a game because video games are known as a waste of time by society’s standard. Nowadays, it’s a bit more acceptable. Gaming and coffee was a great way to start the day (that’s how I became a morning person). I remember Okami wasn’t necessarily mind blowing, but it was good enough for me to complete. It took me about 60 hours. As I mentioned in one of my posts, I play games thoroughly. So when the credits started rolling, I felt a little sad that my journey has come to an end, but the result was quite rewarding. I felt a sense of achievement because I cleared the game.

Amazon.com: Okami - PlayStation 2: Artist Not Provided: Video Games

When it comes to films, I can sit and watch for an hour without feeling anything but entertained, depending if the movie is good. However, games require a lot of memorization, backtracking, and problem solving. No wonder, I often feel mentally drained once I beat a game. Games are simply expensive and time consuming. Movies on the other hand, are less expensive, less effort and therefore less rewarding in terms of achievements. I don’t feel the need to brag to my brother that I just finished watching a film. So when I hear people say video game is art, I sort of disagree even though I enjoy the artistic side of it very much. Yes video games can be artistic, but it is still not an art form. You see, I didn’t play Okami for art sake. I played the game to beat it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the story that comes with the game. However, in the end, you play to beat. You don’t say to someone: “Congratulations for completing the film.” It sounds awkward. Did it really require a lot of effort and time to complete a film other than requiring your full attention?

And before you jump the gun on me, I didn’t write this blog post to promote war, but a dialogue. If you have a different perspective, leave me a comment. I don’t mind being challenged. In fact I encourage you to prove me wrong.