Thursday, February 28, 2019

General RPGs' AMVs 16

Well, it’s a new year, so that means it’s been long enough since the last AMV rant to post another. Check out the great RPG music videos I’ve found since last time, and leave a like or even a positive comment on them if you agree that they’re pretty cool. This little corner of fandom seems to be a dying art, so the more encouragement can be given to those who still engage in it, the better.


Borderlands 2: Paper Planes, by UFets
The music used is Paper Planes, by M.I.A. It’s kind of hard to imagine there ever being a better AMV for the Borderlands series than this one. Simply put, this is a masterful coming together of the perfect song for the perfect game. Paper Planes’s unsettling whimsy and energy is an absolutely flawless companion to the Borderlands series’s style, and UFets takes full advantage of that fact, creating a fun, active AMV that manages to be a tribute to the game, and yet also kind of just a likable engaging mess of noise and violence--which essentially makes it even more of a tribute to Borderlands 2. By far my favorite aspect of this AMV is that it replaces the various sound effects of the original Paper Planes (notably the gunshots), and replaces them with various sound effects from Borderlands 2. It’s a fun and creative quirk, and it makes this all the more great a tribute to the fun and madness that is signature to Borderlands 2. This one’s definitely the best AMV of today’s bunch.


Fallout 4: Happiness, by Pandamic
The music used is Final Frontier, by Thomas Bergersen. This is a tribute AMV for the first half of Fallout 4’s main story, showing us the story of the Sole Survivor’s search for Shaun. It’s extremely well done, giving us a neat, tidy narrative of voice-overs and visuals that leads us along, but doesn’t over-explain, the protagonist’s journey to find her/his son, and effectively underscores the major ideas and themes of Fallout 4’s first half, most notably that of loss--of family, of purpose, of a life and world, of happiness, and of control. This is 1 of those videos that uses its short time well to crystallize the higher ideas of a game’s narrative, making clear the greatness of the game’s writing in a condensed way that might be too diluted over the long period of the actual gameplay for some players to have really come to appreciate. And while the music does not interact much with the visuals, it’s still a skillful AMV (or cousin to an AMV, however you count a tribute video) in that the music is well-chosen to convey the epic nature of Fallout 4’s story. This is a great offering that every Fallout 4 player should see, in my opinion.


Final Fantasy Series: Monsters, by YuniX2
The music used is Monsters, by Matchbook Romance. YuniX2 never fails to please, even when making a crossover AMV which incorporates a few clips from that horrific trash Final Fantasy 10-2. While this video is, by the creator’s own admission, not up to her usual standards, it’s still a damned solid, well-compiled music video that coordinates the tune and atmosphere of the music skillfully to the visuals of Final Fantasy 7, 8, 9, 10, and 10-2, and it serves as a good tribute to the villains of the FF series. Fine work once more from this AMV artist.


Fire Emblem 14: Novacaine, by Phoenix of Nohr
The music used is Novacaine, by Fallout Boy. Although this video doesn’t really connect to the lyrics of the song in any particular way, this is nonetheless a well-made AMV for its ability to work Fire Emblem 14’s visuals to the pace and tune of the song, creating a fast, energized music video that catches you up with it from start to finish. It’s simple but strong AMV all-around.


Kingdom Hearts Series: A Ballad From a Dream, by Retro Raider
The music used is A Ballad From a Dream, by Retro Raider. Yeah, this is quite an interesting little AMV specimen, in that its creator is also the composer of the music within it! Apparently, Retro Raider created the music with the Kingdom Hearts series in mind, as a musical tribute/representation of it, much in the same way as Miracle of Sound has made dozens of original songs in tribute of various video games and movies, and bronies have composed hundreds of original songs based on characters, scenes, and ideas for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It’s a rather cool new branch of fandom that has some pretty great creations, and this song is 1 of them--it’s quite lovely.

As far as the actual AMV goes, it’s quite nice. Which is not very surprising, since I imagine the process of thinking about a game while composing and capturing that which you love about it is probably a lot like creating an AMV in your head, so there’s already a natural synergy to be found between the game and the song.* This AMV doesn’t really excel in any particular aspect, but it comes together as a whole to be a calm, lightly epic tribute to the Kingdom Hearts series, worth checking out.


The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: To an End, by Pixaa Maana
The music used is Carnivore, by Starset. This is an AMV that exists in a rather rare niche, as fan music videos go: it relies frequently on special effects and typography, but it actually manages to use them sparingly, effectively, enhancing the visuals and emphasizing the song rather than just clumsily overshadowing them. A frequent annoyance of mine with special effects in AMVs, and especially with typography in AMVs, is that these bells and whistles often become the overwhelming focus of the work, obscuring the actual subject matter and basic foundations of a music video. It becomes like a meme so full of text that you can’t actually see the image behind it, or a picture so saturated with Photoshop lens flare effects that you can’t actually tell what it’s supposed to be.

So the fact that this AMV actually uses effects and typography in a way that increases its quality instead of utterly nullifying it is pretty damn great to me. I mean, it’s not some brilliant masterpiece in this regard, but it’s competent and enjoyable. The AMV also does well with pairing the darker visual style of TLoZTP to the music’s tone, and, of course, a song about a carnivore has a natural cohesion with a game about transforming into a wolf--although there are plenty of other aspects to the song’s lyrics that are well-characterized through the scenes’ visuals in this AMV, too. Good stuff.


The Witcher 2 + 3: Will of Thousands Wolves, by Ariyerd
The music used is Until We Go Down, by Ruelle. This AMV is characterized by impeccable editing, as the creator follows and coordinates each beat of the song with the visuals. Few AMVs are able to so organically meld and synchronize the video and audio to this degree, making the AMV as a whole feel like a single living entity. Spectacular editing talent makes this a high quality music video, plain and simple.

The Witcher 3: Geralt of Rivia Tribute, by Larvayne Yuno
The music used is Center of His Universe - Redemption, by Thomas-Adam Habuda. This is a really good AMV that serves as a tribute to Geralt of Rivia, and the Witcher series as a whole, primarily using the Witcher 3’s expansions to do so. It’s heartfelt and adept, and definitely fulfills Larvayne Yuno’s intentions as a poignant goodbye to the Witcher trilogy. I can think of few better fan works to experience after completing the trilogy than this video.

* Although, funny enough, I would have to say that I can imagine quite a few RPGs that I feel are actually better characterized by this song’s feel, style, and pace. The KH series definitely works for it, but I feel like the song’s elegance and tone could find closer matches. In my frank opinion, Kingdom Hearts is simply unworthy of such a good song born from a fan's heartfelt devotion as this.

Monday, February 18, 2019

General RPGs' Random Encounters' Strange Camaraderie

It has been said of both misery and politics that they make strange bedfellows, but I must contend that they are not alone: RPGs, too, join them.

I mean, honestly, does it strike anyone else as weird that you can, while walking around any given dungeon or outdoor environment in an RPG, encounter a skeleton, a bat, and a giant carnivorous plant all within 3 feet of one another, and that they have all formed an unspoken pact to work together as a single, cohesive battle unit to take out any random adventurers that happen to pass by? I mean, it’s not just that your party happened across a bunch of assorted wildlife/indigenous non-humanoids/robots/ghosts/etc at 1 location--it’s that they’re all cooperating specifically against you.

Why are these moles and this owl working together? Aren’t owls usually the natural predators of small mammals like moles? That bird should be concentrating on catching those moles as its dinner, not teaming up with them to assault random androids and aliens that happen to be close by. Furthermore, if the moles are, indeed, capable of working as a team with other non-moles, shouldn’t they choose, in this scenario, to ally with the adventurers, who, regardless of how threatening and unwelcome, are at least not a daily threat to the moles’ existence?

It may seem more normal for a bunch of the same kind of animal to work together, and I guess it is, but at the same time, when has a group of snakes ever come together to cooperate as a team toward a common goal? Snakes do not have thinky-thinky parts advanced enough to understand the concept of teamwork, let alone engage in it. The decision to defend their territory (and that really has to be the only reason they're on the attack, because I don't care how far their jaw unhinges, there's no way those things are gonna manage to eat Velvet and company) should make each of these serpents at least as antagonistic toward their fellows as towards the adventurers--more so, really, since the other snakes are the ones who would compete for the same resources.

And that’s just the oddity you can encounter with semi-normal animals. At least as often as you’ll encounter wolves, bears, eagles, rats, and unusually aggressive rabbits, you’ll get match-ups like this one:

Why is this jester out in the middle of the woods, and more pertinently, why is he working with animated, concentrated, floating spirits of fire? Even better, how is he working with them--how is said fire self-aware enough to determine that it wants to battle alongside this particular humanoid but not the other 4? Why do the fire and the jester want to murder these random explorers to begin with? Was this some sort of extremely private Tinder hookup, and they’re just pissed off at the heroes having caught them in the act? What does the giant fungus get from all this?

RPGs are weird, man.

Friday, February 8, 2019

General RPG Valentines 3

A great many thanks to both my sister and to Ecclesiastes for their help with making these!

Well, folks, it's Valentine's Day once more, and you know what that means: in an attempt to keep myself in good company, I've crafted some RPG-themed Valentines for you to send to the object of your affection, so that you, too, will spend this year's holiday single. Happy Day Before Cheap Chocolate Day, all!

And of course, for those of you who want a more straightforward but still RPG-themed way of driving people away, I got you covered on that angle, too!