Friday Favorites #2: Creepy Video Game Music

October is nigh, and unlike last year, we’re going all the way with horror games this upcoming month. As a prelude, I’d like to share some of my favorite scary songs from games. They don’t all have to be from horror games, mind you.

You have been warned!

1. “My Heaven”, Silent Hill

Story time: I somehow didn’t realize how truly creepy this song is until I did a “30 Days Meme” for SH back on Tumblr. Just… listen.

2. “Don’t Cry Jennifer”, Clock Tower (SNES)

Question: Is Don’t Cry, Jennifer one of the best video game chase themes of all time? Answer: Yes.

Every element of this song works so well: the rhythm that sounds like a heartbeat; the strange sound that’s probably the laughter of the Scissorman; the tense strings…

3. “Trail of Blood”, Final Fantasy VII

This song accompanies some creepy moments involving Sephiroth. I like the strings.

4. “Hoshingoeka”, Siren

While this song is more atmospheric than scary, I also really like it musically. The Japanese lyrics sync up with the tale of the doomed village really well.

5. “escape from u.b.”, Parasite Eve

You’re Aya Brea, a badass cop with “good” evolved mitochondria awakened by a chance encounter with an opera singer who also unknowingly possessed evil evolved mitochondria. As Aya, you’re pretty desperate to save the world from the titular Eve’s offspring, the so-called Ultimate Being. Eventually, you seriously wound U.B., but he just refuses to die. So you retreat into the bowels of a Navy carrier to overlord the engines, hopefully taking U.B. with it. He chases after you, slowly picking up speed, with this playing in the background. 

Do you have any favorite creepy songs from video games?


Friday Favorites #1: Simulation Games

A list of my favorite sim games, in no particular order. 

1. Civilization is an incredible series of sim games created by Sid Meier and his development studio, Firaxis. In this series, you choose to play as one of many real-world civilizations. Civilization II features female and male leaders to choose from, some historical (Jeanne d’Arc, or Joan of Arc) and others mythological (Amaterasu, a Japanese goddess). All civs have their own perks. Your job is to lead them from the Stone Age to the Space Age in a randomly generated world. Will your civ survive?

Civ II received a PS1 port, but I played Civilization Revolution way more. This is a faster-paced Civ made for consoles, but it’s still ridiculously fun and addictive.

2. Harvest Moon is a cult favorite farming sim from Natsume. I like these cute and deep games, but I tend to get overwhelmed and stop playing them for a while…

While HM is probably Natsume’s most famous series, they have branched off into other sim games such as Rune Factory and Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon.

3. Animal Crossing is one of my favorite Nintendo series. It’s a very unique game. In some ways, it’s a very casual experience. There’s no world to save or deadline to beat. You decide what you do at  your own pace. I like to pimp out my house and try in vain to finish a complete furniture set to please the Happy Home Academy, who rates tour interior decorating somehow (their sneakiness is an in-joke) and gives you prizes if you score high enough. 

There are many cute, charming, and funny villagers to bond with as well. Just like the layout of your village, the villagers are randomly generated when you first move into town. From there, old villagers will move out after a while and new ones will come in. Sadly, there are only a few personality variations for possible villagers, but their appearances and decors vary. For example, there is a cat that looks like Cleopatra, and her whole house has an Egyptian theme.

4. Pandemic/Plague Inc.: Pandemic is the Flash version of a plague sim that first appeared on sites such as Kongregate. Years later, I would discover a free-to-play mobile version of the game, now called Plague Inc. 

This game worries me a little with how much I enjoy it. To start, you choose a plague type (bacteria is the default, the rest have to be unlocked on higher difficulties or purchased outright) and a country to infect. Your goal is destroy the world’s population while developing your virus’ attributes, symptoms, and resistances to different climates and eventually cure research with DNA points. Random viral evolutions, world events, and countries catching on to your virus all affect your chances of success.

The game has a bit of a sense of humor, but it can also be very creepy, such as when you hear someone coughing, the flat line of a cardiac monitor, and a little kid singing “Ring around the rosie…”

The game’s presentation may be a bit sparse, but the game shows red dots on the map for each person infected per country. Eventually, the whole world is covered in red…

The mobile version features 100 achievements.

What are your favorite sim games?

Dragon Age II Final Thoughts

Content Advisory: This post discusses implied sexual abuse in Fenris’ backstory.

There’s a lot to analyze about DAII. Let’s take it step by step.

The Aesthetics

I like the blood motif of the cover art for the first two Dragon Age games. I also like the default look for Hawke.

In terms of graphics, DAII is a bit of a mixed bag. It looks better than DA:O and has a brighter color palette, but after getting used to the look of DA:O and Dragon Age: Inquisition, DAII looks weird to me now. The human characters look kind of generic, and the attempt to diversify the look of elves feels like a misstep. Elves look more slender than humans overall, and have pronounced cheekbones and eyes. Characters still escape the Uncanny Valley better than the humans of Mass Effect, however.

I have to say that the elven DLC character Tallis, modeled after and voiced by the adorable Felicia Day, looks a bit weird to me. Tallis looks like an elven version of Day.

Characters from DA:O look pretty faithful to their appearances in that game, except for Flemeth, whose character was totally redesigned, and Zevran, an elf.

Continue reading Dragon Age II Final Thoughts

Dragon Age II Finale: Asunder/The Road to Hell

By the time we found Evelina, she had turned into an abomination. After the obligatory battle, Hawke comforted Walter and cricket and gave them some sovereigns. Walter siad he would buy food for some of the other kids…

A funny glitch left Fenris standing on Hawke’s head!

I like finding funny glitches, but I don’t find them very often. Continue reading Dragon Age II Finale: Asunder/The Road to Hell

Dragon Age II Part 11

Guess what? Sandal isn’t Bodahn’s biological son! Bodahn found him all alone in the Deep Roads, and raised him as his own!

Sandal: “I like Bodahn!”

Bodahn said that Sandal has always enchanted things. A year after they moved to the surface, Bodahn brought Sandal to a Circle of Magi. They declared him a savant. But then, they started eying him as if they wanted to keep him there, so Bodahn took him and left.

Sandal made a special rune for Hawke to use. It increases the chance of knocking an enemy back. Continue reading Dragon Age II Part 11

Dragon Age II Part 10: Alone No More

Whilst trying to stem the tide of revolutionaries, we met an Orlesian Grey Warden named Stroud. He thanked us for helping him fight off a group of Qunari revolutionaries, but he could not stay due to a more “pressing matter” of great secrecy. “Maker watch over you, my friend.”

He gave Hawke a ring: the Warden’s Promise and left Darktown.

Unlocked Mogul.

At one point, the elves joined in. Oh, dear.

They just wanted to protect their home. Continue reading Dragon Age II Part 10: Alone No More

Dragon Age II Part Nine: Grief

We managed to get Aveline and Donnic alone together in her office. They talked for a long time, and then… Aveline giggled. Then, there were other noises.

When Donnic left her office, Aveline spoke with Hawke. Aveline seemed so happy, and as if a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

This quest was very cute.

It’s one of my fav quests in the game, easily.

Continue reading Dragon Age II Part Nine: Grief