Top 10 Game of Thrones Season 8 Predictions

The ending of this season was amazing!  No joke, I loved it.  So much character payoff, the series went back to a lot of its roots with the political intrigue, and ended on a note so crazy that I had literal chills.  Not to mention, am I the only person who caught this – the dragon that goes evil is the one named after Dany’s piece of shit brother.  It’s too perfect.  I genuinely am amazed no one else caught that.  I swear, the moment the writers were thinking about this season, they knew which dragon to have turn to the Night King’s side.  Can’t wait to see how they finally bring down that monster.  Turns out that most of my predictions for this season were right.  I’m digging that!  I have a gift for predicting this series.  With that in mind, let’s get down to my predictions for the final season of the most epic and ambitious series ever created.

10. Jaime and Bronn take the Lannister army north
Probably my second-favorite scene in the episode is where Jaime chose to finally abandon Cersei.  He’s broken free of his need for her, and now we’ll get to see him get to reclaim his honor.  It truly is a pity that he is almost-guaranteed to die in this series.  I’m assuming it will be when they head back south to deal with Cersei.  Them dying together is fitting.  However, I think that the season will begin with him meeting up with the Lannister forces and persuading them to head north to join the fight against the dead.  Bronn has grown more than a little in this series, and I think he’s going to join him, because while he isn’t itching to die, he’s not going to just wait for the end.  I cannot wait to see what happens to Jaime.  Once the series is over, I’m going to do my top 15 characters list, and he’s going to be on there.

9. The Hound kills the Undead Mountain
Who else could it be?  They couldn’t have possibly made it more clear how their story is going to play out.  The Hound knows that his last battle will be to destroy the brother that he has always hated.  I get the feeling we will see some truly fantastic character development as he confronts all the anger and pain he’s kept inside over the years in one last showdown.  It will probably kill both of them, but it’ll be worth it.  There’s a TON of character payoff coming with the fight between these two.

8. Arya takes Littlefinger’s face
I refuse to believe that her list of names is gone, just because she’s back home.  Arya is still a killer.  And why let a face with as much influence as Littlefinger go to waste?  Personally, I think she’s going to put it to good use.  Or, if nothing else, to have his face in her own little collection of faces.  This girl is going to be getting into some crazy shit this season, and I think we’ll have a truly dark character moment when Sansa sees her taking a face and has to confront that Arya truly has become a Faceless Man.

7. Tyrion and Sansa remarry
It’s a perfect political union.  Sansa knows how to play the game now.  What’s more, she knows that Tyrion is the best of the Lannisters.  Since it’s a guarantee that the Lannister house is going to continue through him as Warden of the Westerlands, having a union between the Starks and the Lannisters through their marriage and child is a perfect course of action.  I also get the feeling that she was genuinely coming to like him before everything with her brother dying forced them apart.

6. Melisandre brings an army of fire priests
The magic of the Lord of Light is something that we haven’t gotten to see a huge amount of.  Magic in this series is rooted in darkness, blood, ice, and fire.  When you have an army of the dead, who have a huge Achilles heel to fire, what better than to have some of those who worship your god come in and bring fire with them?  She said she would have to die in Westeros.  Given how the faith of the Lord of Light is taking root all over Essos, her bringing a ton of priests and priestesses who can wield the flame with her is fitting.  I also get the feeling that it will be Jon who kills her.  He said that if she ever came back to the North, he’d hang her for murder.  Ser Davos said that he’d kill her before he got the chance.  I get the feeling that one of them will make good on that.

5. Jon becomes a dragon rider
I suppose this should be obvious.  I mean, did anyone notice that one of the dragons is named after his father?  Come on!  I guess this is a given, considering that the Night King now has Viscerion under his control, and so we will get an epic battle a lot like the Dance of Dragons between the two.  Part of me is desperately hoping the episodes of the final season are full-length.  As in, well over an hour.  I want to see what it’s like for Jon to learn how to ride a dragon.  The real bummer for me is that I get the feeling we’ll never see Ghost on screen again.  That just kills me.  I miss that direwolf.  But the budget only goes so far, unfortunately.

4. Arya kills the Night King
Why else would they have given her a Valyrian steel dagger if she wasn’t going to do something really badass with it?  Everyone is thinking the final battle will be between Jon and the Night King.  That would be cool, but I get the feeling that Arya will be the one to land the killing blow that ends The Long Night, Part II.  I’m sure their last battle will be insane.  I wanted to say that I still think she’ll be the one to do Cersei in, but I think they’ll keep her in the North (which is BORING!) and have her deal the killing blow to end the War for the Dawn.

3. Euron turns on Cersei
This also feels like a given.  Everyone has said that they think Theon will be the one to kill him, and I don’t think that’s entirely true.  I think it will be him and Yara.  I think he’s going to go back to Pike and rescue her, finding the whole place empty, except her, in whatever twisted torture chamber Euron has for her.  As I said, it feels like a given.  When Euron said he wanted to join forces with Daenerys, it was all to marry her and usurp the throne after doing so to become king.  Way I see it, he will have The Golden Company at his command, so he’ll use that power to turn on her and take the power for himself.  Maybe it will allude to Robert’s Rebellion, where Cersei opens the gates to let him in, and they start sacking the city.  Would be some poetic irony in that.

2. Jon hides the fact that he’s a Targaryan and takes the name Stark
This was also alluded to, when he told Theon that he doesn’t have to choose between the name Greyjoy and Stark.  He can be both.  Jon is loyal.  He’s loyal to his family.  In either the first or second episode of the last season, he’s going to be hit with the fact that he’s the last son of Rheagar, and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.  I think he’ll work with Daenerys to cover up the truth about his name, and choose to leave her as the only Targaryan, in exchange for getting his name and joining their houses by marriage.  It would end a potential war before it starts and secure a large portion of the land.  I think it will be Tyrion who poses this idea to them.  Here’s hoping he can finally convince Jon to lie.

And my biggest prediction for the final season is…

1. The war with the Night King isn’t the final war
Since we know that Cersei is going to take over the country while Daenerys is up north, it’s pretty clear that the series will end with the combined armies that she has left marching south to retake the Iron Throne and end the war, bringing peace to the Seven Kingdoms.  Personally, I’d like to see the very end of the series be set after the winter is over and have some kind of epilogue to show how the story ends for all the great houses.  How the Seven Kingdoms finally finds peace.  But yeah, the War for the Dawn is the biggest fight and will be the most epic, but the true end of the series is going to be much further south.

What do you all think is going to happen?  Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“That which is dead, shall never die.” – Theon’s Balls

Peace out,

Maverick

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Top 10 Fictional Dads

With Father’s Day tomorrow, I thought that I would do a tribute to the fictional dads that I really liked.  Whether they are the biological fathers, or father figures, they are loyal parents and often go to incredible lengths to protect their children.  Sometimes they are diligent, doting parents, other times they are aloof but prove their loyalty in other ways.  I’m not limiting this to any one genre of fiction, because my favorite fictional parents come from all sorts.  Let me know the fictional parents who you admired most in the comments.

10. Sojiro Sakura
Persona 5
When you first meet Sojiro, he’s a stern and almost cold character.  He doesn’t like you and makes no secret of the fact that he sees having to watch over you as a burden.  However, as the plot unfolds you realize that there is a caring man, who has a secret.  He has been caring for the daughter of a dear friend who passed away a long time ago.  The girl is a shut-in and he desperately has been trying to be a good dad while also respecting her very strict boundaries.  But once she is able to come out from that shell, their bond becomes just that much more apparent, since he can finally be a doting father figure to a child who has had a very hard life.  Stern, yet compassionate.  A Japanese father to a fault.

9. Peter (last name unknown)
Animorphs
The father of one of the main characters, Marco, he is one of the most interesting literary parents.  His wife died a long time ago, and he has been looking to move forward with his life ever since.  This has caused more than a little strain between him and his son.  What I like most about the character is the fact that they show him to be human.  Very much so.  He’s lonely, and wants to be able to move forward from losing his wife.  Now, granted there is more to what’s going on with his wife, which makes Marco even more unhappy about how his father is trying to move on, but Peter doesn’t know that and so his son is trying not to hold it against him.  When you finally see the two of them bonding, it feels genuine.  Not the most dynamic character, but a human one all the same.

8. Lieutenant Colonel Griswald
Recess
A military man through and through, and father to Gus Griswald, the Lieutenant is probably the most stern character on this list.  He talks to his son as if he is one of the men under his command, and does have high expectations of him.  However, there are numerous times in the episode where you see him genuinely care for him and even go out of his way to help him in whatever way he can.  The fact that his son wants to follow in his footsteps as a soldier constantly makes him proud, along with the fact that he is loyal to his friends.  Again, not the most dynamic character but having known a few Army brats growing up, this makes me think of them.  One of them had a really shitty dad, but another had one who reminded me of the Lt. Colonel.

7. Hank Hill
King of the Hill
Hank is the quintessential typical American dad.  He’s conservative as all get-out, has no understanding of his son or the world he lives in, and constantly sees the youth culture as strange and disconcerting.  But despite all that, he is still a strong family man.  Not only does he constantly try to be a good husband, but he tries to be a good father too.  There are a lot of moments where he looks after Bobby despite not understanding the first thing about him and the world he lives in.  At the end of the day, him and the family can bicker and argue, but they’ll still have a grilled steak, so long as the grill uses propane.

6. Jack Foreman
Prey
A stay-at-home father who is trying to get used to the dynamic he is living in, all while battling his sense of uselessness and his growing sense of ownership over the home and the relationship with the children as his wife is growing more and more distant.  Jack is a fantastic father.  Not only does he make sure the house runs smoothly, he goes out of his way to try and be understanding of his wife’s situation with her increasingly demanding job.  However, when he gets involved in his former employer’s situation in the desert, and things are looking their worst, the first thought he has is to protect the children that he left behind.  The book ends with him taking radical steps in order to protect them, but he’ll do whatever it takes.  So loyal that he fights against forces so radically overpowering in order to keep what he has waiting for him safe.  Naturally he’s from my favorite book.

5. Bryan Mills
Taken (the first one, not the shitty sequels)
This character is probably the most loyal father ever.  A former CIA badass who ends up retiring so he can try and reconnect with his daughter.  However, when she is kidnapped by Algerian sex-slavers, he will stop at nothing to secure her freedom.  He’ll attack cops, shoot the wife of a former ally, even torture a man by electrocuting him until the power shuts off just to make a point.  Bryan is a no-nonsense, do not fuck with me dad, and has years of “specific set of skills” to prove it.

4. Victor Sullivan
Uncharted (series)
Sully has no children of his own.  However, as you learn in Uncharted 3, one day he happened upon a little punk in Spain who he took under his wing.  That punk just happened to be Nathan Drake.  What came from that was a relationship of two career criminals who just happened to rob the artifacts of ancient empires in order to sell them and live the good life.  Sully is crass, suave, a complete man-whore with all the talent to be cool as fuck while doing it.  He also has no problem using a gun. The scene where he tells Nate that he always saw him as the son he never had was pretty touching.  No matter how he may not have been the best father figure, he is Sully, and that’s all he’ll ever need.

3. Ethan Mars
Heavy Rain
Bryan Mills would kick whoever’s ass to keep his daughter safe, but Ethan Mars is a bit on the different spectrum.  After a moment of losing track of his first son led to him being tragically killed in a car wreck, Ethan and his wife are separated and he is a little overly protective of his younger child.  So when the Origami Killer steals him, Ethan is now in a position where he will do whatever it takes in order to keep him safe.  Even if that means complying with the increasingly-twisted demands of the killer, like to cut off one of his own fingers.  It’s horrifying, but when you see him weather it in order to get his child back, it makes you want to fight even harder to make sure it happens.

2. Maes Hughes
Fullmetal Alchemist
Probably the most doting father on this list, Hughes attachment to his little girl is more than a little insane.  And he makes sure that every single person around him is forced to suffer through it at all hours.  However, underneath that there is an incredibly intelligent investigator who is not only looking to keep his family safe, but also his best friend Roy Mustang.  When he happens upon a truth so horrible that it threatens to destroy everything, he rushes out without hesitation to confirm it.  But in the end, that determination to dig up the truth is what gets the better of him.  The enemy becomes the one thing that he can’t raise a weapon to – his wife.  A good man, a loving father, and a tragic end.  He is pretty awesome like that.

And my favorite fictional dad is…

1. Joel
The Last of Us
While the relationship he had with his daughter Sara is a profoundly beautiful and tragic relationship, we don’t get much chance to know them.  It’s his relationship with his companion Ellie, who becomes his surrogate daughter, that is the one I want to talk about.  Joel is a survivor.  After Sara is tragically killed, he has 20 years for his heart to harden to ice.  But when this teenage girl comes into his life, and goes out of her way to try and bond with him and reach him on a personal level, he finds that ice melting away.  Eventually, he grows to see her as his own child, and will stop at nothing to keep her safe.  To the point that when he finds out the only way to get Ellie’s immunity into a form where it can be made a vaccine would kill her, he sells the ENTIRE human race up the river to save her life.  A cold, calculating, kind of monstrous person, Joel finds his humanity again in that little girl.  When you hear him telling her unconscious body the things he said to Sara and he ran with he, it makes the situation that much harder.

Who are all of your favorite fictional fathers?  And to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day

Until next time, a quote,

“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that bullshit.” – Joel

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 20 Favorite Anime

A long time ago, I did a post where I discussed my top 15 favorite anime series.  However, now that it’s been a few years, and I have become more familiar with more series, and have rewatched some of the ones on my list previously, my opinions have changed somewhat.  So now I am going to put out the definitive list.  Here are the top 20 favorite anime that I have.

20. Black Lagoon
What do you get when you combine an 80’s action hero, Studio Madhouse action, and one of the most dark and violent gunplay styles ever made?  You get this series.  Telling the story of a band of mercs for hire – the Lagoon Company.  This series has some of the best dub work of all time.  It has violent shootouts, insane villains, and absolutely zero subtlety.  It’s like someone wanted to bring the 80’s out of its hiding place and put it in the 21st century.  With an amazing cast of characters, all of whom are complete scumbags, you have a series that is morally gray in the extreme, and too much fun to watch.  I miss this style of cinema, but anime is keeping the flame alive.

19. Rahxephon
After the success of Evangelion and what a cultural icon it became, there were a TON of imitators out there.  Most of them never even went past the line of derivative, with people seeing them for the schlock that they are.  However, then you get series like this one.  Which took the formula for Eva and actually went further with it.  In fact, I would say that it perfected it.  A show about aliens who look like us, machines that are golems made of stone, and a focus on music and the power of sound, this was a very grim series that I would argue was better than the series it was riffing on, in more ways than one.  Were it not for the ending which is kind of dull, this show would be able to easily stack up to the more famous predecessor.  But quality animation, a fantastic score, and really good voice acting makes this series shine.

18. Darker Than Black (Season 1)
Another series where the second season just royally fucked the quality, this series was about darkness all around.  In a world where some nameless calamity has stuck the Earth and imprisoned it under a cloud that has stars symbolizing people with special powers, our tale follows a clandestine group who does dirty work for a shady organization who is exploiting those individuals.  Action that keeps you pumped, dark subject matter, and a kind of grotesque nature keeps you guessing.  This series is cold, but for at least the first season you can see where it’s coming from.

17. Digimon Tamers
Given how this franchise had been so light-hearted by comparison, this series in the franchise took a decidedly darker turn.  For a marketing vehicle, this iteration of the franchise was meta, had complicated characters who you like, and took some incredibly dark turns that as a child I was in love with, and as an adult I still can sit down and watch and feel very moved by.  How a show this dark was able to get onto a children’s cartoon block is beyond me, but I am glad that it is, because there is nothing like it.  Whether it is just for the nostalgia, or to just enjoy a children’s show that wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what is acceptable, it still holds up to this day.

16. Samurai Champloo
What do you get when you take the creator of one of the greatest anime ever made, add in hip-hop, and enough meta to make Deadpool proud?  You get this series, of course.  A stylistic, badass and overall too fun series about a bunch of travelers, I love this show so much.  It’s not complicated.  This is entirely style over substance.  But that style is just so damn cool!  The creator of Cowboy Bebop comes back to tell a story about three travelers in the Edo Period of Japan, trying to find a Samurai who “smells of sunflowers.”  From the awesome sword-fights to the fantastic voice-work in English, nothing about this series doesn’t stick with me.  Sure, there are some episodes which just die, but overall it is still a ton of fun to watch.  Steve Blum steals the show as Mugen, but the rest are still so cool.  If you can handle some history-twisting, this series is for you.

15. Gundam Wing
I am dying to know when FUNimation is going to re-release this series, now that they have  the Bandai licenses.  Here’s hoping they don’t do a shitty redub of it.  The voicework in this series is classic.  Telling the story of five youths who head down to Earth to get revenge for the murder of a leader of the Colonies, along with strike back at the clandestine Organization of the Zodiac, Gundam Wing is all about big robots and big battles.  But more than that, it looks at ideas about war, the nature of good and evil, and how the changing tides of history can leave people behind.  This series is classic, and while the animation hasn’t aged as well as you’d think, it still is pretty awesome.  I’ll admit that my nostalgia goggles are on pretty tight for this.  It is the first series that I watched as a kid that got me into anime.  But I still love it, and in my opinion it holds up to this day as a gateway series into anime.  Seriously, though, FUNimation, don’t do a redub of this.  It can only suck.

14. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
When I watch this series, the whole time I think about what life was like growing up.  But more than that, this series does something that so few stories about growing up does – feels real.  When I see the grungy basements that the band is playing it, I feel like I am there.  I feel like I could watch these shows and hear these instruments.  It tells the story of a young man who is lost growing up, and just so happens to run into the lead guitarist of a band.  From there begins a story of growing up, music, and the hardships that come from knowing that youth is temporary.  Were it not for a totally forced plot later about a mobster which had no reason to be in there, this series would have been nigh-perfect.  But I still feel each string of the instruments when I watch it to this day.

13. Baccano
What do you get when you combine a total lack of chronological order, supernatural powers, and the backdrop of early 1900’s gang warfare?  You get a show that is so damn fun to watch!  This series is a marvel.  It’s a marvel how such an unapologetically violent series can exist but be so fun to watch.  This series is brutal.  You have dismemberment, a gleeful enjoyment of murder, and characters who are pretty much all terrible people but you love all the same due to how deliciously evil they all are.  It tells the story of a train massacre, along with a drug war that goes on because of a substance that grants people immortal life.  Between the phenomenal acting in the dub, and the cool style that it has, this series isn’t about the narrative.  It’s about the crazy ride aboard a train that you can’t look away from for one second.

12. Outlaw Star
Some series are substance over style.  Others are style over substance.  Outlaw Star, on the other hand, is nothing but style and not a lick of substance to be found anywhere.  But dear god is it cool!  Gene Starwind finds himself going from a do any dirty job business owner to a starship captain outlaw who has a mysterious vessel and a mysterious woman who can pilot it in his care.  What this show lacks if any form of substantive elements it makes up in some of the most fun that a series has ever had with its premise.  This is science fiction escapism at its best.  This show knows exactly what it is and doesn’t shy away from it.  Hell, it embraces what it is, and does nothing but have fun with that every step of the way.  If you like all the trimmings of a space adventure story (no joke, they don’t miss a single beat), you need to watch this anime.

11. Vision of Escaflowne
First off, let me say, FUNimation – shame on you for making a redub version of this series.  If you hadn’t have included the original version in the blu-ray, I would be hunting you down.  The redubbed version is just bad, no matter how you scratch it.  A series that also retreads ground that we have seen before, but damn if it isn’t all the execution.  The story of Escaflowne is as predictable as it gets.  You have a girl taken to a mysterious world, who ends up becoming involved in a greater plot that involves fantasy elements in a world with animal people and fighting robots.  Original as my pizza pops idea, but as I said, all in the execution.  This series is incredible to watch!  From the gorgeous visuals, to the fantastic voice-work, it has it all.  Not to mention the soundtrack, which is so damn beautiful.  You know exactly where it will go from beginning to end, but each step of getting there is worth it.  Just wish the ending to the series wasn’t as flat as it is.  I guess they meant for it to go further, but ran out of budget.  Oh well.

10. FLCL
This series is one that I saw when I was much younger, but when I rediscovered it as an adult, it grew on me so much.  The best coming-of-age anime that I have ever seen, this short series tells the story of a young man who is dissatisfied with life, but has his boring days broken when a woman on a vespa with a guitar smashes him over the head and nothing in his life is the same.  While this series does play with elements of eldritch horror and mecha anime, at its core it is about our young hero and his issues with growing up.  He is a lonely kid, and I see so much of my own struggles growing up in him.  Plus, it looks at the problems associated with sex, love, and emotional honesty in a way that feels mature.  The guy who made it studied under the creator of Evangelion, but I would argue that this series does complex emotions better, simply because they capture what it’s like to be a kid better.  If you saw this when you were younger, check it out again and see what you think.

9. Death Note
One of the most widely-known anime series, Death Note tells the story of a man’s rise to power.  Light Yagami is a bored high school genius, who one day happens to come across a notebook dropped from a death god called the Death Note.  He then goes from a soon to be lawyer to little Hitler and he fights to remake the world in his image.  This series has zero subtlety.  None.  But dear god is it fun!  The game of cat-and-mouse between Light and L is too much fun to watch.  Too bad that the entire conflict just dies after that point, up until the very end of the series.  Looking back on it now, I don’t have the same love for this series that I do for others on the list, but it is still an incredible show that has one of the best dramatic arcs to follow.  At least for the first 25 episodes.

8. Wolf’s Rain
This series is probably the most thematically dense of any of the anime on this list.  This is a cold and cryptic series that fuses religious allegory with bitter tragedy.  It tells the story of a young pack of wolves, on their journey to find Paradise, all while the world is slowly descending into chaos and the end of everything is near.  Between the truly incredible visuals, the voice acting that is at the top of its class, and one of the most gripping tragedies ever told, this series will make you cry, think, and question all at the same time.  It isn’t for everyone, as the material is dense and there is virtually no exposition to let you know what is going on.  However, if narrative rich in symbolism and with a lore that you have to pay attention to in order to figure out is your game, then check it out.

7. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
I find it so weird that the most true to the original story version of this series is done in an anime set 3,000 years in the future.  That is just so strange to me.  It follows a young man named Albert, who comes into the acquaintance of a mysterious Count.  What follows is a tangled web of lies, manipulation, and a revenge story that will keep you hooked.  But not only that, it also has a style that is all its own.  This series animation is strange, to say the least.  But that strangeness is what sets it apart.  The style in it fits so perfectly.  This series is almost impossible to analyze, because it is nearly perfect.  Were it not for how bad the last two episodes are, I would almost call it a perfect anime.  Some flaws, but too much fun.  Not to mention having a villain who is just so awesome.

6. Stein’s Gate
When time travel, fate, and the changing of reality collide, you get Stein’s Gate.  Telling the story of a young man and his band of misfits who stumble upon the ability to change time, a young man learns the true price of changing reality, and what it takes to set things right.  So much of what I love about this series centers around the main character.  A lot of people see it as a gripping thriller about time travel, and that is true, but that isn’t what keeps me loving this series the way that I do.  Every single one of these characters all feel like people I could know and love, but as I said, it’s not what keeps me coming back.  The real reason that I love this series the way I do is the character of Okarine.  His anti-social nature and awkwardness in the face of life and the hardships he comes across resonate so much with me.  His fight to be a good friend all while battling his own awkwardness feel so true to me.  Not to mention the fact that he lives in his own head, desperately trying to make sense of it all.  It’s a cold story, but seeing how far he will go to save his best friend hits me right in the heart.

5. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
A lot of people have made comparisons between this series and Death Note, and while I do see those, I believe that this is the better series.  Why?  All because of the main character.  The story goes that Lelouch is a disaffected youth living in the occupied nation of Japan.  He has no thoughts about life and is looking to strike back at the Holy Britannian Empire who he blames for ruining his life and crippling his sister.  As fate would have it, he gets his shot when a mysterious woman gives him the power of Geass.  Now it’s a battle of wits to destroy the people he hates, and manipulate the world on his ultimate chess board, that grows bigger and bigger with every battle.  Light is an interesting character, but his corruption is ridiculously immediate.  Lelouch, on the other hand, is one we can watch grow and slowly become turned by his own power.  To the point that he has to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring about total peace.

4. Mushi Shi
Anyone who knows me knows that my first love is animation.  I love to watch animation that has quality and a look all its own.  It’s why I love the film Bambi to this day, even if it is cutesy to a sickening degree.  The animation is a step above.  To that end, this series is much the same.  Telling the tales of the wandering Mushi Master Ginko, this series is just so peaceful.  It’s kind of like a lullaby.  I can watch this series anytime that I need to just feel better about my day, and it works wonders.  But dear Groj, the animation!  This series is a visual marvel.  Each episode seems to play around with a different style, and man do I love it for that.

3. Fullmetal Alchemist (Original)
I honestly don’t think much of Brotherhood, so I’ll head that off.  But the original series is a brilliant character study into the Elric Brothers, and their tragic tale of trying to get their bodies back.  This series is nearly a flawless tragedy.  Telling the story of two brothers and how their quest to get their own lives back destroys the lives of countless people around them.  This series is a near-perfect character study.  Edward and his brother are so likeable, which makes the fact that they are doing irreparable harm to the lives of everyone around them that much worse.  This series is also almost perfect, save for the ending.  I am one of the few people who calls bullshit on that ending.  How does sacrificing memory for Al’s life even make sense.  This series would have been a perfect tragedy if it ended with Al giving his life, and Edward realizing that in the end, he has to accept that some things cannot come back, and he has to move forward with his life.  But it is still a transcendent anime that is another perfect gateway series.

2. Avatar: The Last Airbender
How America was able to create an anime this good is beyond me.  This series did something that few anime have done before – transcended the gap between kids show and adult.  This series is incredible.  There isn’t a single bad episode.  There isn’t a single wasted character.  There isn’t a single frame that doesn’t fit in one way or another.  When you learn the insane amount of research that went into this little masterpiece, then you realize that anime can be more than just a niche market.  The story of Aang and his journey to learn the four elements and save the world combines incredible animation, lovable characters, and so much fantastic story-telling in all the best ways.  I honestly can say that this series is perfect.  Right down to the ending, it gets everything right.  For those wondering what I think of its sequel series, then it can be boiled down to this – Season 1 and 3 are amazing, while 2 and 4 go from terrible to boring.

And my favorite anime is…

1. Cowboy Bebop
Everyone and their brother has said about how awesome this series is.  Most people will call me a sheep for loving it the way that I do.  But so be it.  This series is perfect.  From the very beginning where you see Spike going to what is likely his doom in order to escape his life in the mob, the end of the first episode that sets up the tragic nature of the series.  Taking elements from tons of genres and blending them all together, this series cannot be defined by any one genre.  The story of the Bebop and its crew of misfits goes from pensive look at tragic characters, to beautiful elements of action set-piece, all of which are set to the best music that anime has ever or will ever have.  This series is astounding.  People sing its praises, but you know what, it’s earned that.  No series has ever done it like this, and I doubt another series ever will.

So, what are your favorite anime?  Let me know down in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’m just in a dream that I can’t wake up from.” – Spike Spiegel, Cowboy Bebop

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Traumatizing Things in Fiction as a Child

I haven’t done a top 10 list in ages, and because I am so original, I want to piggy-back off this concept one of my favorite YouTubers put out – traumatizing things in fiction as a child.  As a kid, I had a love-hate relationship with fear.  I loved getting afraid of things, just so I could become more enamored with them.  Today I have a relationship with fear that it’s just being wasted.  Gory horror films do nothing for me.  Deep psychological thrillers, or horror films that actually take the time to build atmosphere (there are so few) are my jam.  As a kid, the stuff that scared me tended to grab my attention.  But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t fuck me up all the same.  Here is a list of the top ten things in fiction that REALLY messed with me, growing up, in a scary way.  Won’t be including any visual aids for this.  Sorry if that’s a deal-breaker.  I just have some of these attached to memories I’d like to forget.

10. Turning into lizard creatures
Star Trek Voyager
In one episode, Lt. Paris had discovered that it was possible to go to warp 10.  He wanted to test this, and he just so happened to take Capt. Janeway along for the ride.  What followed was them turning into these weird lizard creatures. But it wasn’t what you’d expect from Star Trek.  They weren’t some big bulky thing that you can clearly tell is a costume or prop.  They turn into these small creatures that look real.  It was so unsettling to me as a child.  For whatever reason, it just scared me out of my wits that I would turn into one of those things one day.

9. Pig head girl
Goosebumps
This one just fucked with my head.  An episode of Goosebumps featured this city that people could warp into.  It was a two-part episode where you had one of the main characters being turned into a pig because of her greed.  That image just fucked with me so hard.  Looking back on it now it’s ridiculous.  But at the time it just fucked me up so hard.

8. Back monster scene
Phantasm II
As a kid I had this bad habit of going over to my uncle’s house.  He is hardcore religious, and had a pool.  But he also had another thing that he did – watch movies that were SO not appropriate for children.  And as a kid who liked to do things I wasn’t supposed to, I would sneak over sometimes and watch them.  One such film was Phantasm II.  In it, we have a scene with a woman who is covered by a black cloak.  They pull it off her face, and see that her mouth is taped shut.  What else is under that cloak?  They pull back more to reveal that there is a monster inside of her back, eating her.  That scene stuck with me so hard.  Scared the living shit out of me.  But I couldn’t tell my parents about it because I would have gotten in trouble.  The things I dealt with in silence.

7. The covers
Scary Stories (series)
Remember what I said about things that scared me enticing me to know more?  Well, this was one such instance.  I am so fucking pissed that they redid the covers for the new editions of the stories.  The reasoning?  Because they are too scary for kids.  Bullshit!  That is fucking stupid, and people who think that way are stupider.  Yeah, they are scary, but sometimes things that scare kids also intrigue them.  We like a little fear.  I read all of those books because of the covers.  And the neat fact is that the stories themselves were usually about sources of fear who are just misunderstood.  I hate this idea that we have to make the world less difficult for children.  Yeah, because kids can’t handle some scary imagery.  Give me a fucking break.

6. The Witch
Hansel and Gretel
I honestly don’t know which version of this story I saw as a kid, but I remember that there was one version with this character who just fucked up my head so hard.  Something about her screaming at these two children who she had chained up in a cage just messed with my head so fucking hard.  I wish I could remember which version I saw.  This story has been done to death.  Another relic from a time gone by – when we could scare the shit out of children and it was okay, so long as the story has a happy ending.  Don Bluth became a household name in the 80’s because of that philosophy, and he is absolutely right.

5. The threat of nuclear annihilation
I honestly don’t remember what specifically it was that got me scared of this.  Maybe it was a movie, or the news, but I remember that the idea of a nuclear weapon attacking my house scared the piss out of me.  To the point that I slept in my parents bedroom for ages.  We had these mattresses that you could move around, and I was sleeping on one in the corner of their room for a long time.  Now that we could be facing down World War III with North Korea, and the fact that my home state is in their launch radius, that thought has come back to me.  Only this time I think I’d grab some marshmallows and enjoy the roast.

4. The Oompa Loompas
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I’m talking about the original, not that weird Tim Burton shit.  In this film, the only thing I found truly frightening as a kid growing up with those orange-faced bastards.  They are fucking creepy!  Their creepy faces and their creepy green hair and their creepy songs.  I hated them so much.  To this day I’m not a huge fan.  If I will say what the remakes did better, it is the different songs.  One good spot on a terrible movie.  That’s something, right?

3. Slappy the Puppet
Goosebumps
Oh my Groj, this fucking puppet.  One of the times that something didn’t entice me through fear and just freaked me the fuck out was this puppet.  Everything from its creepy face to its creepy voice, the thing was just so scary!  The guy they got for this puppet was just amazing.  To this day, that creepy face makes my skin crawl.  I’m well-aware how fake it all is, but it’s all in the performance.  The guy they got for that was just too good.

2. Chernabog
Fantasia
The quintessential example of fear compelling me to fascination.  As I am sure many who read my site know, Fantasia is not only my favorite Disney film, but my second favorite film of all time.  And nowhere was that quality better exemplified than in the final number.  In it, we see a powerful demon by the name of Chernabog summoning forth all of the damned for what must be one hell of a party.  That creature mesmerized me.  I loved everything about it.  It had size, presence, and a creepy smile that just played into how scared and captivated I was at the same time.  This character has become a staple of what I love about that film.  Just made me want to go to the party that much more.

And the thing that freaked me out the most in fiction as a kid…

1. Expanding feet
Full House
A disclaimer – I didn’t like this show growing up.  It was stupid, but I was young enough to be stuck watching it when the rest of the family was.  And one scene that really fucked with my head growing up was when the youngest child in the family had this scary dream about her feet expanding really huge, and seeing it.  That shit fucked me up!  For weeks I had bad dreams about that concept, and to this day I feel a little weird when I see it.  Old trauma, maybe?  In any case, in a series devoid of any real tension or darkness, that one element has stuck with me.  Hell, it’s the only thing I can actually remember about the series, outside of the Nostalgia Critic’s review of it.

So, what stuff from fiction fucked up your life as a kid?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“Like I said before, I think kids like being scared because it pulls them much more into the action. If they didn’t like being scared, they wouldn’t go out for Halloween, or watch High School Musical” – Nostalgia Critic

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2017

While 2016 was a bit of a slow year, 2017 is looking to be trying some new stuff.  This is a year full of IPs, sequels to games that weren’t super successful, and games that haven’t been confirmed for 2017, but I am reasonably confident will be coming out this coming year.  Call it gut instinct.  Wish I could put The Last of Us: Part 2 or Death Stranding on this list, but I know for a fact that they aren’t coming out this year.  Some of these are games that were pushed back from last year, and some of them are games that nobody saw coming.  I am excited to see what happens this year, so let’s not waste any time.

What Remains of Edith Finch10. What Remains of Edith Finch
Yes, we’re about to have your moment where you groan – I am a fan of Indie games.  That’s right, I like games that are typically not liked by the normal gaming scene.  The company who made this game, Giant Sparrow, made one of my Indie games – The Unfinished Swan.  A game about a fairytale telling a tragic story about a boy who loses his mother.  This game is keeping a similar storybook style, but this time telling the story of Edith Finch, who is returning to her family home to unravel the mystery of why the family always dies in their enormous house.  Gameplay segments have shown flying a kite, playing as a baby in a bathtub, and even a cat climbing a tree.  This game will have a dark edge, and I can’t wait to see more.

Yooka-Laylee9. Yooka-Laylee
After a year with things being pretty quiet, we finally got to see some gameplay that isn’t alpha stuff.  This little Kickstarter-funded passion project by the dejected devs who worked on Banjo Kazooie just looks better and better.  Like an homage to past games, they even have the cute little language that they used in the original games.  I am so excited to see what stages they come up with.  If it’s anything like that casino in the newest trailer, then this game will be a call-back to the best that the medium has to offer.

Kingdom Hearts 2.88. Kingdom Hearts 2.8: The Final Chapter Prologue
The final piece of the plot before the final game is revealed, this game brings forth the remastered version of Dream Drop Distance, which I have been DYING to play.  We also get a very cool intro to the gameplay style of Kingdom Hearts III with a segment where you play as Aqua, traveling the Realm of Darkness.  Of course, there is also a third segment that is literally nothing but cutscenes.  That will undoubtedly bug me, but it’s all going to be worth it for the first two.  The newest trailer has my mouth watering at the worlds you will explore with Aqua.  If that’s the kind of visuals that we can expect in the newest game, you cannot begin to understand how excited I am.  We desperately need a new trailer for the final game, along with an intro into some of the worlds.

persona-57. Persona 5
A game that was supposed to come out in 2016, it got pushed back.  Unlike some people, I am all for that.  I am glad when they have games pushed back, in order to get everything right.  New gameplay has shown that this game is all about using spirit creatures as proxies to fight.  Reminds me Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch in that regard.  Fine by me.  The game has a colorful style, beautiful character design, a world that looks fun to explore, and on top of that, combat that looks active and vibrant.  There has been a woeful gap in truly stand-out JRPGs in the last couple years, and I want that to change.  Hopefully this game will be leading the charge!

styx-shards-of-darkness6. Styx: Shards of Darkness
You know what I miss?  Stealth games?  You know I also miss? Stealth games with a protagonist who is fun, unlike all the gruff heroes who can do the stealth thing, but got no problem killing everyone when that doesn’t work.  When I played Styx: Master of Shadows, I thought two things.  First, this game’s loading screens are bugging the fuck out of me.  For a game that is all about trial and error, having to sit through those loading screens was more than a little frustrating.  Second, finally, a stealth game that is true to the name!  So many people were bitching that you couldn’t fight.  Well yeah!  You play as a little goblin-man!  He’s half the size of everyone else.  Of course he is kind of fucked if he gets busted.  But it wasn’t just that.  Styx was a fun character.  He was foul-mouthed, vulgar, and actually enjoyed being a thief.  Plus, the world had such interesting lore.  The original game wasn’t perfect, but with the stealth genre dead, I am so glad that we have a series coming up to bring it back to its roots.  Can’t wait to see what happens next.

nioh5. Nioh
What do you get when you combine the difficulty of Dark Souls with the weapons and aesthetic of the Samurai and monsters that take from Japanese mythology?  You get one badass-looking game!  Everything about this game screams that it will fit right in in the pantheon of games loved for their brutal combat and their rich lore.  I will say that the fact that the protagonist looks so much like Geralt is a little weird, but I am willing to give it a chance.  This is a game that seems to be flying under the radar with people, and I’m not sure why.  Maybe because of the people who say that it’s a Dark Souls knock-off?  They don’t know what they’re talking about.  However, the proof will be when we get to see the game for ourselves.

uncharted-the-lost-legacy4: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
After the end of Uncharted 3, part of me was kind of wondering what Chloe was up to.  You see in the newest game that she invites Nate out on a treasure hunt, but he says “no way.”  In what is probably the most gorgeous reveal I have ever seen, we see our girl is back in form.  This time, she has teamed up from the rather affable mercenary from the last game.  Sure, we wanted to kick Nadine’s ass, but she wasn’t all bad.  Just a merc trying to get by.  Now that her whole endeavor has fallen apart, she’s out to get rich quick.  The two girls are now out to find their own fortune.  Is this a DLC or a full-blown game?  Not sure, but either way, I am excited to see what Naughty Dog is going to tide us over with until The Last of Us: Part 2.

Horizon Zero Dawn3. Horizon: Zero Dawn
It got delayed quite a bit, but you know what, if the goal is to make the game as complete as possible, I am all there!  Originally debuted a couple years ago, we finally have a release date for it.  Won’t have to wait long.  I am all about this game.  A post-apocalyptic game about a redheaded huntress who is stalking the wastelands for parts by the mechanical beasts who roam the world.  There is a story behind all of this madness, and it’s clear from the trailers that this girl is out on a mission to go figure out that story and get the truth behind her ancestry.  With the same girl who did the voice of Chloe Price in Life is Strange, I am so excited to see what happens with the narrative of this game.  The gameplay has been pretty flushed out, so now I want to know where the story goes.  Traveling around, scavenging parts from robots is fun and all, but I want to get to know this world, and the people in it.  We’ve seen that conversation options are a thing, a la Mass Effect, but I’m not complaining.  There is also the fact that there are ancient machines with untold dark powers and dark purpose.  What does it all mean?  Where did the people go?  So many questions, few answers.  Can’t wait.

god-of-war2. God of War
This game was just announced, and I have no reason to expect that it will be released this year, but call it a hunch.  Something about the reveal and how far they are into it gave me the impression that the game isn’t that far down the rabbit hole.  A soft reboot of the God of War franchise, this game is a continuation of the story.  I am dying to know what happened to Kratos after the end of the third game.  How did he get into a land of Norse mythology?  Who is this kid who is clearly not his biological son, but whom he is treating with all the love and compassion that a Spartan would his son?  They make it sound like he had been fighting in this land for some time.  Why?  What purpose guides Kratos?  He says that the boy and him are going to be fighting together against the Gods.  What new gods has our favorite god-killer gone and pissed off this time?  Lots of questions, few answers.  As I said, no confirmation, but a gut instinct that the game is coming out this year.

And the game I am most excited for this year is…

detroit-become-human1. Detroit: Become Human
Another game that I have no confirmation that it will be coming out this year, but call it a decent hunch.  Announced two years ago, we first got to see the breath-taking spectacle of the world of this game.  Centered in the city of Detroit, it seems to follow the stories of a series of androids living in a world where they are treated as second-class citizens.  The first trailer showed an android who has learned how to hide what she is.  The newest one shows an android created specifically to be used in hostage negotiations.  At first, his mission is an outright failure, but the trailer shows that you can go about it other ways.  By taking in clues, you can tailor your negotiation to best deal with the deranged android.  It also shows that there are plenty of ways to save the little girl’s life.  The very best way shows that even when you do everything right and she is saved, the police still kill the android.  He calls you a traitor.  The last game by Quantic Dream was my second-favorite game of 2013.  I have nothing but high hopes for this one.  Let’s see what it’s got.

What about you?  What games are you most excited for?  Let me know in the comments

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s up to you how this story ends.” – Connor, Detroit: Become Human

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Final Fantasy Summons

Having just gotten done with Final Fantasy XV, I am thinking about the summons in that game.  A pity that I can’t summon them on command, but they are cool all the same.  It got me to thinking about the whole concept of summons in this series.  It has been known for having some cool-as-fuck ones, some weird ones, and a fat Chocobo.  No joke, that is a real summon.  It falls from the sky and lands on the enemy.  That’s just weird.  Let’s get down to it.

titan10. Titan
I hadn’t played a game with this guy in it until XV, but man did he make an impression.  In every game that he has been in, Titan is a gigantic monstrosity that rips the land apart in order to do massive damage to his enemies.  While not the most flashy summon, it is pretty cool.  The fight against him in XV was fucking awesome.  I wish that I had a more interesting reason as to why he gets on the list, but a giant who can rip the land to pieces is all he needs to be.

knights-of-the-round9. Knights of the Round
The most difficult summon to get in VII, instead of getting to have one ally come into battle with you, you get 13.  After winning all the chocobo races and breeding a complete rainbow of chocobos, It is the ultimate weapon, able to defeat almost any enemy.  Each of them are knights who serve under King Arthur, who is the last to strike with the blade Excalibur.  XIV brought them back, only as enemies this time at the end of the Heavensward expansion.  I am hoping that they will be able to be used as an ally again in future games.  Assuming there are any.

alexander8. Alexander
Probably the most unique of the summons, Alexander is a giant fortress.  That’s right, you get the beat the shit out of your enemy with a living, mobile weapon.  In VIII, it encloses the enemy and them blows them to bits.  In XIII, the fortress first sends down a giant walking golem, but you can call down the rest of it, a series of interlocking walls that use lasers to carve up all enemies.  Such a pity that such a cool summon was in such a mediocre entry into the franchise.  I think my favorite version is in XIV, where it is everything the giant mechanized fortress is supposed to be.

ramuh7. Ramuh
The god of thunder, I hadn’t gotten much experience with this old man until XV.  In every game he has been in, his look hasn’t really changed.  Taking on the appearance of a bearded old man, he brings down the wrath of thunder.  Was hoping to see him in X, but he was replaced by Ixion, who is cool in his own right.  In XV, you have to activate all of his stones.  Once you do, he can only be used once, but that one time is epic as fuck.  When assaulting an imperial base, you call down his Judgment Bolt to destroy the magitech generator.  Watching that happen is just fantastic.  Worth every second.  Sucks that that is the only time you can use him.  Would have given anything to have more time with the guy.

leviathan6. Leviathan
My first run-in with this summon was in IV, when you have to fight the guy.  A being who controls the sea, he wasn’t a summon you could use for the first few games.  Then I got to have control of him in VII, where you can call down the ocean to drown your enemies.  But, of course, the most fantastic version of the character is in XV.  Lunafreya wants to make a deal with it to give its blessing to Noctis.  The ancient beast does NOT like this arrangement, and instead attacks Noctis and the Imperial fleet who comes in to kill it.  The battle that follows pretty much levels the city, but it is spectacular.  Leviathan controls the water to make dragons that lash out at you.  A fantastic battle, in the lesser half of the game.

shiva5. Shiva
Don’t let the delicate femininity of this summon fool you, Shiva is no slouch.  The absolute power of winter, she uses it to freeze and obliterate her enemies.  My favorite version of the character is in X, where you get her at a very pivotal part of the story.  It’s right after you get to the temple in Lake Macalania, and you find out the truth about Seymour being a monster.  He calls forth a monster who we’ll get to talk about pretty soon here, and you now have Shiva to call to your aid.  In XIII, she is in the form of twin sisters, who can combine their bodies to form a motorcycle.  A pity that the game she is in there is so mediocre.  That concept has a ton of potential.  In XV, you see her as Lady Lunafreya’s attendant, secretly hiding who she really is.  But just when everything is at its worst, she reveals who she is, and comes to join Noctis in battle.  As sexy as she is deadly, her Diamond Dust will freeze your bones and rip you up.

ifrit4. Ifrit
Probably the most well-known of the summons in this franchise, the beast of fire is modeled after a fire spirit called Djinn.  It has demonic horns in every iteration, and the chief attack it uses is Hellfire.  My favorite iteration of the character is also in X.  He is the second summon you get.  Yuna calls him forth, being launched up in the air and landing on his waiting shoulder.  In XV, he is the only cool part of the shitty-ass climax to the game.  It seems that he isn’t keen on keeping humanity alive, so he makes a deal with the villain to kill everyone.  In this game, he is much more of a man, using a flaming sword and his flaming powers to destroy Noctis and his allies.  Whatever form he is in, fire is your friend.

anima3. Anima
Exclusive to X, this summon is both badass and scary as fuck, when you think about it.  For starters, her back-story is depressing as fuck.  Originally Seymour’s mother, she wanted to give her son a way to fight Sin, so she turned herself into a fayth in order to stay with him.  But it clearly had some horrific side-effects.  You have to collect all of the hidden treasures in each temple.  Then you unlock her.  When you summon her into battle, a giant chain comes from the sky, reaching into the ground,  You are literally dragging her out of Hell to fight for you.  Her main attack is called Pain.  She charges energy into her eye, blasting it out at enemies, causing either massive damage or instant death.  It is aptly named, since it makes her eye bleed in pain.  But that is nothing.  Her overdrive sucks the enemy into Hell, where her true form pummels the shit out of them, causing massive damage.  A depressing and nightmarish summon, and probably the most powerful in the game.

yojimbo2. Yojimbo
Another summon unique to X, he is also the most unique of the game because of what is required to get him to fight.  You find him in the hidden temple in the Calm Lands.  He is the summon that killed the first summoner that Lulu was with.  Getting this summon lays some of her problems to rest.  A very subdued swordsman, in order to make him fight, he must be paid.  And how much you give him will affect what kind of attack he does.  Give him a couple hundred gil and he will either have his dog assist him, or he will throw knives at the enemies.  A few thousand gil and he will use his blade to attack either one or all of the enemies, virtually guaranteeing instant death.  However, if you pay him over 10,000 gil, when his overdrive gauge is full, and he will call forth the Zanmato blade from the dark abyss that Anima lives in.  This blade is so powerful that it will cause instant and immediate death to whatever enemy he attacks with it.  You actually see lesser enemies get cut in half, with blood spurting out.  This is one samurai that you do NOT want to fuck with.

Some of you may see the #1 pick coming from a mile away.

bahamut1. Bahamut
This summon is not only very powerful, but it is arguably the most iconic if the franchise.  A Final Fantasy game isn’t complete unless we get to see this dragon.  My favorite iteration of the summon is, as you may have guessed, in X.  It’s my favorite Final Fantasy game, so sue me.  But that doesn’t mean he isn’t badass in the others.  In some iterations, he is a being with two wings, four wings, or six.  Then there was the retardedness in XII where he is a giant airship.  Yeah, that was dumb.  The iteration of the character in XIII was kind of dumb too, but that’s par for the course with that game.  As I said, my favorite version is in X.  He is one of two summons with Break Damage Limit as part of his repertoire.  Because of this, his regular attacks are deadly all by themselves.  However, when he charges up the Mega Flare, it is understood that anything he is shooting at won’t be alive.  I will say that I don’t hate the version in XV.  He is a giant humanoid in dragon armor, who can call a massive storm of swords from the heavens.  Only available at the fight with Ifrit, he does make an impression.  The greatest dragon in the entire franchise, he is my favorite summon.

So, what are your favorite summons?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Will you fight with us?” – Yuna, Final Fantasy X

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Promotional Songs in Video Games

You know what I love – music in video games.  Especially when it’s really good.  When it’s not, it sucks.  But there are so many truly amazing songs that transcend how I think about a game or that set the tone perfectly.  Or, in some piece’s case, set’s the tone just fantastically.  However music is used, it can make or break the experience.  Which is why I love it when there is a song that is either used specifically for a game, or in some cases written for a game to advertise it.  Here is my list about my favorite pieces of usage of a song as promotional material for video games.  Sometimes they advertised it perfectly.  Other times it wasn’t the best, but it still set the tone for the hype train.  With one of them, I am hoping that it isn’t setting me up for disappointment.  That would suck.  Let’s get to it.

fallout-310. I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire, by
Fallout 3
Whatever your opinion of the Fallout series, it cannot be denied that they have some truly fantastic marketing.  The way this song was used in the teaser trailer got people excited.  The juxtaposition between the song playing out and the destruction you see as the camera pans out is just awesome.  Finally, you get to see the destroyed capital in all its glory, with a member of the Brotherhood of Steel standing there, looking menacing as fuck.  I am not the biggest fan of these games, but I don’t deny that I get sucked in with the music.  I’m a sucker for old-timey stuff.

Bioshock Infinite9. Everybody Wants to Rule the World, by Tears for Fears
Bioshock Infinite
There are a couple reasons why I like the usage of the song in this game.  The first is in-game.  You hear the original version in the game when Elizabeth opens a door to Paris.  That part is cool and all, but I also love the version I linked above.  It’s a pretty awesome cover of the song.  There have been some absolutely stellar versions of the song in the last few years.  Lorde’s version is pretty good too, and so is this one.  It’s one of many songs that show that music from other worlds made it to Columbia and the people there translated it into a style that was acceptable to them.  You hear this version on the radio in Columbia at one point.  All of the covers in that game are awesome.

Bioshock 28. Dream, by the Pied Pipers
Bioshock 2
This version of the song only made it into the trailer, but hot damn!  This song is almost flawlessly used to set the tone for the ominous display of psychic powers that the girl who is implied to be an adult Little Sister uses.  She stands there, by the ocean, holding a homemade doll of a Big Daddy and recreates Rapture with the sand.  The implication is that she can’t stop thinking about that place, and secretly yearns to go back.  Perhaps some part of her life as a Little Sister remains, twisted up in dreams.  Part of me wonders if that trailer and the game we got were originally meant to be two different things.  Like maybe the original game was going to be about a Little Sister who goes back to Rapture and sees what’s happened.  Or maybe there was some darker plot involving the Little Sisters that even growing up and leaving Rapture couldn’t stop.  I don’t know, but I want to.

Batman Arkham City7. Short Change Hero, by The Heavy
Batman: Arkham City
A piece of music only used in a trailer, it is a surprisingly good trailer.  The lyrics “this ain’t no place for no hero” fits so perfectly for that game, because Arkham City is a sesspool, overrun with decay, violence and carnage.  Then you have the Bat, who is introduced with Hugo Strange saying that he creates the animals that he fights against.  It’s a contention that I happen to agree with, but that’s neither here nor there.  Shots of Batman trying to survive in the city, and a few of the villains that will be plaguing him.  The catchy tune plays out, and then there is a truly fantastic reveal for the Joker.  I loved this trailer when I first saw it, and I still love it now.

fallout-new-vegas6. Jingle Jangle Jingle, by Kay Kiser
Fallout: New Vegas
Once-again, a near-perfect usage of music to set the tone for the game.  In the trailer that it is featured in, we see one of those music bots flying around, just doing its job.  Then some wasteland asshole shoots it.  The robot tries to recover and go back to doing its job, and the asshole shoots it again.  This leads in to some clips showing off the world and all the carnage that you will be partaking in inside the city of New Vegas, ending with you seeing someone dressed like Frank Sinatra walking away from the whole damn city blowing up.  The trailer ends with that poor robot still trying to do its job, and the tagline, “enjoy your stay.”  Perfectly done.

assassins-creed-revelations5. Iron, by Woodkid
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Whatever your thoughts on the quality of this game (I am not a fan.  The changing of Altair’s voice is so noticeable and not for the best.  Not to mention the world is small and boring), the truth is that it was marketed so damn well.  This song is awesome!  It hits all the right notes.  It starts out contemplative.  In the trailer you have Ezio in a prison, waiting for death.  The hidden blade is broken beneath him.  It doesn’t look good.  Then we change gears, heading toward the ancient home of the Assassins.  When he arrives, he sees that it has been taken over by Templars.  Now he must fight their overwhelming numbers.  For a while, he seems to be doing well.  But then tragedy strikes, as he sees Altair’s ghost, which leads to his defeat.  We cut back to him about to be hung by the Templars at the same overhang that Altair jumped off of, years ago.  But just when all is lost, we see Ezio attack, back in the fight.  Awesome.

mirrors-edge4. Still Alive, by Lisa Miskovsky
Mirror’s Edge
Here is a piece of music that was written for the game itself.  That is what I have really been building to.  Promotional music done well is cool and all, but this sort of stuff just gets my attention much more.  Premiered in the initial trailer for the game, it got your eyes glued to the first-person parkour of the game that is the reason that it became such a cult hit.  Too bad it was followed up by such a mediocre sequel.  Makes one wonder if DICE can do anything right.  But that’s neither here nor there.  This song is hopeful.  With the visuals of Faith being on the edge, you feel the tension and how a song like this can go with it.  This girl is taking insane risks and putting her life in danger.  But she is still alive.  A fitting title, an awesome song, an underrated game with a mediocre sequel.

Metal Gear Solid V3. Sins of the Father, by Donna Burke
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Another song written for the game it is in.  This piece tells the story of the fallen hero, Big Boss.  He is the final result of the sins of the government that he fought for.  Forced to kill the woman who was a maternal influence and also his lover, Snake has fallen to the point that now he is a devil, living in his Outer Heaven.  The in-game usage of the song is with Skull Face where he talks his pretentious talk about his history and how his culture was destroyed, with their language being taken away from them as the final result.  And sure, the song does play on that a bit, talking about language and death, but I think it’s more to do with the fact that Snake has fallen to the point that he came out of Hell to become a monster who would have to work secretly to destroy Cipher and his former comrade, Zero.  This song is catchy as fuck, but not as catchy as one we’ll see further up on the list.

Final Fantasy XV2. Stand by Me, by Florence + The Machine
Final Fantasy XV
Probably the greatest cover that will ever be made, this version of the classic song sets the tone of this game so perfectly.  This game isn’t just about Noctis reclaiming his throne.  Sure, that’s the basic premise, but this game is also about another part.  In one trailer, you start with the epic part of the trailer, and it transitions into this.  Why?  Easy – because this game is also the story of Noctis and his friends.  Their companionship is at the center of the trailer I linked above.  That is awesome.  A fantasy game that features bros on a road trip, with their friendship at the center of the story makes me so excited.  The 29th can’t come soon enough.  But this song gives me chills each time I hear it.

and the best song promoting a video game is…

metal-gear-solid-31. Snake Eater, by Cynthia Harrell
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
This is one of the greatest songs ever made.  When this game was designed by Hideo Kojima, the whole idea was to riff on James Bond movies, but to subvert the tropes in this movies.  The beginning of this game opens with this theme song doing just that.  It is done in the same jazzy style of the openings to old Bond movies, but it is subverting how those work.  In the average Bond movie, you have some gorgeous woman being all sexy while the music plays.  Here, the only thing you see naked is a snake, slithering around.  That naked snake becomes a metaphor for the entire game, and how it isn’t about the idea of a spy or anything like that.  It’s the idea of Snake, naked and defenseless.  There are many scenes that emasculate Snake, like how Boss kicks his ass every time she sees him, or how the main love interest is never given what she wants and in the end double-crosses Snake.  This is the best theme to any game, and the best piece of music written for a game too.  I love it so much.

What songs in games do you love?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“I gave up my body and my child for my country.  There is nothing inside me now.  Nothing at all.” – Boss, Metal Gears Solid 3: Snake Eater

Peace out,

Maverick