It seems to be coyote season in my neighborhood. Every morning they're out there lurkin'...
Played through R-Type III [Super Famicom]. This wasn’t a legitimate clear because I used save states (bookmarks that aren’t natively built into the game), but R-Type III is just too challenging for me to finish otherwise. In spite of the punishing difficulty, though, this is one of the best space-shooters I’ve ever played. R-Type is the quintessential “strategy shoot-em-up” franchise, where the focus is on stage-memorization and route-planning rather than reflex. This is my personal favorite flavor of space-shooter, as my reflexes are awful and these games are essentially puzzles with lasers. Attempt. Get killed. Adjust your strategy. Progress a little further. Get killed again. Repeat. R-Type III in particular is a masterpiece among its ilk. The weapon-system is refined and versatile without being overwhelming (employing the standard cannon with upgrades, 2 variations of charge-shots, and the series’ signature “Force Pod” that can be attached to your ship as a shield and shot-upgrade,
Finished reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I found this book on the “free table” where people leave random stuff at work - and as a minimalist in many respects, a lifestyle book called “Essentialism” piqued my interest. While I tend to avoid the deluge of self-improvement content online these days (which usually leaves me needlessly stressed over living “the wrong way” and lacking the discipline to fix it), something about a physical, printed book curbed my hesitancy toward the broader topic. The main idea of Essentialism is to focus your efforts on the most meaningful pursuits while casting-off the desire to “do it all”, ultimately achieving far more towards your key goals rather than making scant progress in several lesser directions. McKeown conveys the idea brilliantly, expounding on the motto of “less but better” with a layered dissection of the essentialist mindset and lifestyle - from deliberate and calculated trade-offs to an emphasis on precisely-defined mission statements
I've been listening to Tactosa's "Exit Wounds" EP incessantly for weeks now. Tactosa is lauded for bringing deathcore back to its roots, and I definitely can't argue with that. Each track here is as aggressive as the last, and the simplicity of the orchestration is at the nucleus of this EP's appeal. There isn't a single superfluous element aside from the occasional audio sample preceding a breakdown (which is a gimmick I happen to love anyway.) And while I'm generally averse to 'high' screams as the dominant vocals in metalcore, Kyle Weeden layers them so well with his lows and gutturals that the contrast works flawlessly. The only crime here is that the tracklist isn't twice as long.
Played through Hello Kitty World [Famicom]. This game is a neat curiosity in its convoluted branding and localization. Its origins trace back to Balloon Fight, a staple of Nintendo’s original 1985 NES / Famicom lineup, which was heavily-inspired by Williams Electronics’ 1982 arcade hit Joust (but without the ostriches). Balloon Fight later spawned a 1990 Game Boy sequel - Balloon Kid, which was exclusive to North America and Europe at the time. Japan didn’t get a taste until 1992, when the game was ported back to the Famicom and rebranded with the Hello Kitty license. I had loads of fun with Hello Kitty World, as I do with most Joust-esque “floating physics” games (Flappy Bird included). But what makes this rendition of the formula so much more enticing than its progenitors is the progression element. Rather than arcade-style point racking against single-screen enemy waves, Hello Kitty World presents 8 levels to traverse - complete with enemies, hazards, and 4 bosses. This title is dec
Lately I can’t get enough of the “Pain Perspective” EP from For the Likes of You. I’ve had their single, “Rot With Me”, in steady rotation for such a long time that I’m surprised I wasn’t aware of this release sooner. In any case - the dynamic vocals still deliver, the production is squeaky-clean, and I’ll take downtuned chugging over typical wheedly metal guitar any day. The most exciting aspect of this EP is the introduction of some trap / lo-fi elements into the mix, particularly in the second track: “Even in Death”. There’s still untapped potential as far as integration is concerned, but this is one of the most successful attempts I’ve heard at this particular blend since Oceans Ate Alaska’s “Metamorphosis”. In any case, I hope lo-fi deathcore continues to evolve and eventually take off, even if the audience is exceedingly niche. And a caveat here - I’m usually quick to recommend my favorite media to other people, but if you’re not a fan of heavy music, this EP won’t be for you.